8 Simple Steps to Effective Email Marketing

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When it comes to email marketing, the warning my buddy’s mom would shout out to us when we were kids sprinting out the door for the evening plays in my head. “Remember,” we’d hear her shout out just before the screen door muffled her voice, “just because you can doesn’t mean you should!”

The same wisdom applies to email marketing. There are a few simple rules everyone should keep in mind that will not only be appreciated by the recipients, but just makes for good customer service. And we all know that good customer service translates into sales.


  1. Don’t put recipients in the TO: or CC: field. Send it to yourself and BCC: the list. People don’t like their email shared with everybody on the list. Not to mention, you are giving your contact list away. This could potentially even lead to legal liability if it contradicts your privacy policy (e.g. not sharing emails with third parties).
  2. Don’t hijack lists – If you receive an email where somebody accidentally put contacts in the TO: field, DON’T use the list. It is extremely unethical because the list is the property of the sender, and the people on the list never gave you permission to market to them.
  3. Get people’s permission before you email them. You’d never expect your sales people to merely walk in the door of someone’s home without knocking, so don’t expect to enter an inbox without permission. Have a subscribe form on your website and practice “OPT-IN” marketing. If you let the customer choose, you’ll get better response rates and fewer complaints.
  4. Provide an easy way to unsubscribe, such as an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your promotional email. Make sure the process is a simple and automated one or two click process. Don’t use an anonymous email address in the unsubscribe link. Customers want to know this information going to a real person in the company.
  5. Let people know how frequently you email. If you send frequent (e.g. daily) emails, let them know. Some people are OK with high volumes, others are not.
  6. Know who’s on your email list and what their expectations are for your emails. Does the frequency of your emails and the content within the email match their expectations?
  7. Don’t forget to include contact information. If you catch people’s attention, but don’t provide a quick way to communicate with you through a return email and/or a phone number, you’ll likely lose them.
  8. Say thank you. Yes, just like your mom told you. It’s not only polite, but it reminds customers they are dealing with real people. If a customer buys from you, take the opportunity to thank them and “invite” them back to your store or website with some kind of offer.

Don’t forget, every business email is marketing. Your email marketing should meet the goals and objectives of your marketing plan.

Take some time to review the content and frequency of your emails, as well as check who is on your mailing list. Are these in line with your overall marketing strategy?

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