Email Marketing Best Practices for the Win

If you are willing to put some time in to follow email best practices, chances are very good that you will see some positive results in your marketing efforts.

Wait a minute… email? Yes, email.

To badly mimic Mark Twain, reports of the death of email have been grossly exaggerated.

A Hubspot study at the end of 2019 showed that 78 percent of marketers saw an increase over the previous year. Numbers show that 2020 has continued that trend, as customers prefer to connect with brands by email.

Consistently, email marketing has been shown to be a great way to personally connect with your customers. Another benefit of email is that it’s a highly measurable marketing tool — something all SMBs need in their marketing efforts.

But as effective as email may be, one thing it should not be is a stand-alone strategy. Email needs to be part of an entire marketing program that includes web presence, your CRM (customer relationship management) tool and your brand image.

A High-Quality Subscriber List is Essential

When you are getting your email marketing started, remember: it is only going to be as good as the quality of your recipient list. 

What is a quality recipient list? It’s one in which folks have raised their hand and said “yes, I want to hear what you have to say.” That means you shouldn’t be sending out unsolicited emails or buying subscriber lists. In fact, sending email campaigns to those who have not opted-in to receive emails from you may get you flagged as spam and blacklisted. Hubspot has a great article on blacklisting and how to get off if you’ve been put on the blacklist.

Aside from the permanent loss of that individual as a potential subscriber and customer, the law actually says you can’t send to those who have not requested to receive information from you. Check out the CAN-SPAM Act for guidance on sending commercial email messages. For those of you who want to live dangerously, you’re in for a potential $40K fine!  

The best email subscriber lists are grown one subscriber at a time. 

So, how do you do that? All of your marketing efforts can be used to add email sign-up opportunities. Neil Patel suggests adding an email sign up to your website, for example. Or promote the newsletter on social media. You can even include an email sign-up link in your own email signature.

Don’t Jump on the Bandwagon Until You Have the Goods

When asked what they consider the most common mistake marketers make with email, one email marketing manager said: “Not having enough content on your website before you start your email marketing program.”

Campaign Monitor says the solution to this problem is for SMBs to have high-quality, relevant content. Because the goal of email is to send people to your website for great content, you need to spend some time building up a library of content to use as topics for your email. It should be content that your subscribers will look forward to reading. 

By offering this content on a regular basis, your subscribers will build a relationship with you and when it’s time to buy, they’ll think about you and your brand.

Ask What You Can Do for Your Subscribers

The best content you can offer in your email marketing program is relevant helpful content.

What is relevant helpful content? It’s content that is appropriate for your audience and their current period or circumstances and also offers a solution to a problem they are having! You probably know enough about what issues resonate with your customers and what problems that are having, so that is where you can concentrate your efforts. If you don’t, then discover how redMAP can help.

It may be tempting to send your subscribers content that immediately attempts to convert customers, says Forbes, but don’t succumb to temptation — be more than an ad for your own services. . Content that promotes your business does have its place, but should be used sparingly. In fact, if that is all you are sending, your customers will most likely unsubscribe from your emails.

When push comes to shove, email marketing has the potential to be a great tool for most SMBs. But if you are using email marketing best practices, it’s a tool that should be a core part of your foundational marketing program. 

Want a quick way to find out where the gaps are in your marketing foundation?  Take our free mini-assessment to get a snapshot of your overall marketing program in four key areas.


Tomato Fish Marketing is an Indianapolis marketing company focused on helping small and midsize businesses make good strategic planning decisions.