5 Effective Email Marketing Tips For Beginners

Email marketing is a wonderful tool and a great way to deliver your messages directly to people in a very personal way. However, it’s also often misused and can even become a blight – according to a recent Radicati report, over 204.1 billion emails are sent every day.

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The trouble is, we’re all snowed under by emails offering all sorts of things from mail order Russian brides to incontinence pants. So how do you, as someone new to this frenetic market, actually put together an effective message that will stand out among the hundreds of messages bombarding the planet?

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In this article we’re going to cover a few important aspects to consider when entering the email marketing arena.

1. Target Your Readers Carefully

Whatever you are selling, it may seem like a good idea to pepper the world with your messages, regardless of people’s potential desire or even ability to buy. Not so.

Here’s one of the key rules to email marketing: You will get far more conversions if you have a clear idea of (a) who your customers are, and (b) what they want, then target your campaigns accordingly. Plus, of course, you are far less likely to find your emails blocked or automatically marked as “spam”, which can have a very real negative impact on your email deliverability.

Focusing your messages allows you to do a number of useful things. If you know who your customers are and what they’re buying, you already have a reasonable idea of what they like, so you can be confident that your other products should appeal.

You should also have a good idea of whether your clientele will respond well to a particular approach: Would they like an informal email, or will this just turn them off? Are they no-nonsense engineers who prize straight talk, or aspirational types that would prefer something slick and sophisticated?

So, do some research into your audience and create a customer profile that you use to launch your email marketing campaign.

2. Add Value

When companies sell to a customer, they typically look for ways to follow up: something extra that they can provide that goes hand-in-hand with their purchase. This will generally be something value-adding, such as a service or a related product (for example, if you sold mobile phones you might offer a selection of phone cases or car chargers).

More general emails usually highlight money-off discounts for the readers of the email, or promote a limited time offer, free trial, new product or competition. You need to connect with your customers in ways that attract their interest – there’s no point in sending an email with no news value. You can also spread the word to potential new customers through “like and share” links to social media.

Your sales pitch also needs to be up front: Don’t bury it in the middle of a sea of text and images. If you’re offering something – and you should be – make sure this is clear at the top of the email or in the subject line.

3. Keep Your Subject Lines Short and Catchy

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Well, we didn’t exactly, but this makes the point: Say something intriguing or urgent and people will be tempted to read on. A good subject line is a catchy phrase, or a Call To Action (CTA) that’s hard to ignore. For a card company, this might be something like “Remember Mother’s Day!”.

CTA stands for two different things – a call to do something (such as, “Remember to buy a card now”) and a link – a button or buttons – to click on to take an action (such as buy a card). Either way, the CTA is how you lead people from your email to your website to purchase items or sign up for something.

Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella says that it helps to start a CTA with a verb (an action word) – essentially a command, such as: “Read”; “Download”; “Register”; “Remember”. If the CTA is a link then it can take all sorts of forms, including an image or graphic. CTAs provide focus and direction to your email – so they also need to be easily located within your copy.

4. Keep It Simple

Don’t overload your page with words. If you want to catch someone’s eye, they have to be drawn to that first little square that opens when they click on your email. Try to whittle down what you want to say to one key, clear message and one or two images, plus your logo.

Think of your email as a little window onto your website. You can say everything you want to say on your website – your visitors are then free to browse as much (or as little) of it as they like. But to get them there in the first place you need a clean, attractive email. Don’t make your text too long; don’t make your layouts complicated. You don’t want to confuse or annoy your customers.

5. Make It Eye-Catching

Make sure your email has well-defined sections with clean, visually clear text, and striking graphics and logos. Start with a short, compelling first sentence that links to your subject line – this is your summary, where you tell your readers what your email is all about.

Take time to get your message right, both the look and the wording. And if your spelling is shaky please get someone to check it. Thinking about it, even if you’re sure your spelling is great, still get it checked. Things slip through, and this is something that represents your company, and you.

There’s little worse than a misspelled email, aside from a misspelled website. It’s about looking professional – you’re trying to build confidence in what you do, and if you get the basics wrong it sows a little seed of doubt, even if it’s subliminal.


In this post we’ve covered the basics of email marketing, but part of the process will also be trial and error. Invest in some analytics tools – these will allow you to discover what types of emails your customers are opening and acting on.

What tips and tricks do you use for your email marketing messages? Let us know in the comments section below!

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