The 7 Commandments of Effective Email Marketing

The 7 Commandments You Must Follow to Succeed with Your Email Marketing

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 1: Thou shalt not write a boring headline

In a world where we are constantly bombarded by notifications, emails, pop-ups and generic direct mail correspondence (the list goes on…), it’s no surprise that we usually ignore the ‘boring stuff’.

In order to generate those clicks and the interest your business deserves, email subjects need to be juicy enough to get readers’ attention. This doesn’t mean the use of misleading clickbait headlines to get your prospects’ attention – this means writing in a way that jumps out in their inbox.

[Get help with headlines]

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 2: Thou shalt not buy email marketing databases

This is a pretty obvious one, right? Well, no. Despite the fact that GDPR came into force in May 2018, companies that sell email marketing lists for a living are still in business, believe it or not… But why? They prey on those who don’t know the ins and outs of GDPR – and you don’t know whether they were put together in a legal and ethical way.

Don’t ever get duped into doing it, it is not the ‘shortcut’ you’d hoped for. Not only is acquiring people’s personal details in this way putting you into murky waters without their express consent, but it also will not benefit your business.

Do it the right way. Build your database organically, by producing content that your target market will value. Over time, you’ll build an engaged database of people who really appreciate your business and who will actually be more likely to work with you. After all, there is little point having a database of 100,000 email addresses if not one of them buys from you.

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 3: Thou shalt not send generic campaigns

When you receive written correspondence that’s properly personalised, it feels a bit like Christmas, doesn’t it? The reason it feels that little bit special is that it’s rare these days.

To stand out in customers’, clients’ or prospects’ inboxes, personalisation is crucial. Numerous surveys back this up, too. Are you missing out on making business more personal? Make it personal again, people will respond.

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 4: Thou shalt be respectful of people’s time

Time is the most valuable commodity we all have. So, how we choose to invest in that time is crucial. When writing content and providing value to your subscribers, respect their time. We often hear from potential clients that they’ve actively avoided sharing in the past because they ‘don’t want to give the game away’. The truth is, the only way you can stand out from your competition these days is by being respectful, trustworthy, open-minded – and by sharing.

So, don’t hold back.

When you’re carefully proofreading or editing your content, one of the best things to ask yourself is ‘So what?’, as if you were your recipients. You may find this a really therapeutic exercise; it’s a bit like when you’re about to go on holiday and your suitcase just won’t close – you soon get rid of the stuff you don’t need.

Similarly, the ‘So what?’ approach is a great acid test to make sure your content is waffle-free and provides genuine value. When you do share openly and without expectation, people will begin to like, know, trust and spend with you much more quickly.

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 5: Thou shalt make it easy for readers to learn more

So, you’re confident that you’ve spent lots of time planning what you are going to say and how you’re going to add value to your prospects. You’re also confident that you’ll be able to get recipients to open your email and read more about what you have to say – and you know they’ll love what you’ve written. Awesome!

Next, you need to make it easy for them to take the next step. Whether you want to offer them the opportunity to learn even more or find out how your service has benefitted people like them, just do it!

This practice is referred to as writing a great call-to-action, which is generally a button with an actionable statement that’ll resonate with them. Would you benefit from more guidance on calls to action?

[How to Get Your Clients to Pay Attention to You]

Without well-thought-through calls-to-action, you’ll stop your prospects before they’ve even gotten started. 

It is good practice to put calls-to-action near the top of your email, throughout your email and at the end of the email, wherever possible. As screen sizes differ greatly on different devices, by strategically placing CTAs throughout your email, it will make it easier for your recipients to take the next step, whatever device they may be using.

  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 6: Thou shalt test your email marketing campaign

If you use an email marketing platform, you should always test before you send. If you do not use one yet, there are many lightweight options out there to get started with, such as AWeber, Campaign Monitor and Mailchimp. Recommending one for you specifically is pretty difficult as it will depend on which one fits your requirements best and budget most appropriately. We’re Keap Partners, so that’s what we recommend – as it enables you to do so much more.

These test emails will give you invaluable insights into how your email will look on different platforms, devices and screen sizes, and if your calls-to-action work properly.

Testing email campaigns is a crucial part of the process. Once you’re happy that you’ve got the content and calls-to-action right and it’s personalised well for your audience, you should send a few test emails to yourself to make sure it puts across the right impression.


  •       Email Marketing Commandment No. 7: Thou shalt always make sharing simple

If you follow the rules above, you should be well on your way to more successful email marketing campaigns.

Before you click send, if you want people to engage and encourage others to do so, you need to make it easy for people to share your email campaign with people they’re close to. Most email marketing platforms allow you to do so, with share buttons for most social media platforms and by email, by default.

So, the last lesson is a pretty simple one. Add sharing buttons to your email campaigns, as you never know who may resonate with and recommend your content to others.

If you’re struggling to find the time to get started but want to start marketing more effectively over email, we’ll be happy to help you.

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