11 do’s and don’ts of email marketing

Email marketing is an important tool in your digital marketing toolkit.

Not only is it continuing to grow in popularity, but it’s powerful. About 92 percent of online adults use email, and about 61 percent of consumers prefer to be contacted by brands through email.

Plus, about 59 percent of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions, while 80 percent of business professionals believe that email marketing increases customer retention.

Simply put, email marketing refers to businesses sending emails to potential or existing customers to encourage those recipients to take action or engage with the sender in a way that generates sales or leads to new potential customers.

Email marketing is still the most cost-effective way to reach a large number of people with a single click.

The following are 11 do’s and don’ts of email marketing to help your business be more successful from the start.

The do’s of email marketing

Set small and big goals

Just like with any digital marketing tactic, you should ask yourself what you’re hoping to achieve. Some common goals tied to email marketing include (but are not limited to):

  • Increasing engagement
  • Delivering value to existing customers and subscribers
  • Re-engaging with inactive customers and subscribers
  • Acquiring new subscribers
  • Generating sales

Setting various goals (both small and big) can help you stay focused across the different email marketing campaigns you’re creating. Just make sure that you’re clear on how you measure success.

Dive deeper with our seven expert tips on setting achievable marketing goals.

Determine who specifically will be receiving your email(s)

It’s imperative that you determine who you want to reach with your email marketing campaign as you’re creating your email marketing campaign.

Are you encouraging past customers who haven’t purchased from you in months to return? Are you introducing yourself to new leads? 

Audience segmentation, available with DailyStory, is a great way to group up your contact list in such a way where you can best focus your message to the right people based on the data that you have about them.

If you’re still building up your contact list beyond your customer database, check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads.

Decide what type of email you’re sending

Likely, the type of email you’re creating and sending is tied to the goals you’re striving for and the recipients you’re targeting, but it’s key nonetheless to be aware as you create.

Be specific with the point of your email. No email should have everything plus the kitchen sink thrown into it. You’ll lose interest and risk losing subscribers as well.

Are you creating a newsletter touting updates about your business, products and/or services? Perhaps you specifically want to promote new services and products. Are you offering a special sale? You could be welcoming new subscribers to your list. Whatever it is, keep the focus there, and know that extra, unrelated information can always become a separate, new email in the future. 

The best practice is to keep each email as focused, direct and short as possible.

Use technology to your advantage

Email marketing technology includes such tools as analytics, segmentation, software integration, automation, templates, personalization and more.

These tools will help you send the most effective promotional emails, target those emails by demographics (and other contact characteristics or behaviors) and best understand what is working and what isn’t with your email marketing campaigns.

Personalization especially can humanize your message in a way that not only catches your audience’s attention but pursuades them to act.

Leveraging the power of DailyStory and all its features is a great way to take advantage of the technology available to you.

Create eye-catching subject lines

Email subject lines are the first thing a recipient will likely see when your email reaches their inbox. And what they see can make or break your email marketing campaign.

You want your subject line to attract their attention and interest so that they will open your email and continue reading (and potentially taking action).

Ideally, your email subject lines are short (between 40 and 50 characters long), straightforward and personalized (with their first name or something else).

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Always test before you send

No matter what email designer tool you’re using, it’s imperative to not only preview the email but to send a test email to yourself (and a few additional colleagues if possible). Of course, don’t just open the email on a computer, make sure to open on a mobile device as well.

By doing so, you’ll better catch any typos, broken and/or missing links, mis-sized images and more. 

Without testing, you risk sending out an email that looks unprofessional and loses the trust of your customers and subscribers.

The don’ts of email marketing

Bombarding your subscribers with too many emails

Because it can be so easy to send an email to so many, it also can be easy to overdo it. Sending too many emails will not only turn off your subscribers, but it could get your emails a one-way ticket to spam folders and even drive subscribers to unsubscribe.

Use a content calendar or other scheduling tool to understand the pacing of your emails, as well as when any might overlap or are too close. You’ll get some flexibility by segmenting your audience since not all contacts will receive all emails, but you still need to make sure that you’re not overwhelming anyone with your messaging. 

Waiting a minimum of three days is good, but keep an eye on your email marketing analytics. Everyone’s audience is different, so your metrics will show you what’s best for your email frequency. (In particular, look for an increase in opt-outs tied to your sending frequency.)

Overusing images

Mobile devices account for at least 50 percent of all read emails. So, keep in mind the mobile experience. 

For example, because of data usage limits, some consumers disable email images on their phones. If your email is using a lot of images to convey information, that experience might be very broken for the mobile user.

Images also can take a long time to load, and you could lose your recipient’s interest as they wait.

Visuals are still great to use in emails. In fact, check out these six ways visuals can increase your email conversions. You just want to use them strategically and with mobile in mind.

Forgetting a call to action

With all the time and effort you invest into creating an email, don’t forget to tell recipients what to do next.

Call to actions can be as simple as clicking a link to your website, forwarding your email to a friend and so much more. 

Keep it simple and make it easy for the recipient to do.

Leaving out a physical address on your email

Including your physical address in the footer of your email helps build trust with your subscribers, but more importantly, it’s the law. 

Fortunately, you can use a valid P.O. Box instead of your home address if necessary.

Learn more about the legalities of email marketing and what you should know.


No legitimate business wants to appear spammy to its email subscribers, but it can happen without proper planning and execution of your email marketing campaign.

Spam is unsolicited, overly promotional email that’s not only unexpected but also can be unwanted.

Spammy keywords (such as “make money”), too many links, over capitalization, too many images and so on can flag spam filters in various email clients. If you’re not flagged, you could be manually flagged as spam by your email recipient.

Make sure that the content you’re sending is wanted, needed and formatted appropriately.

Learn more about what happens if your subscribers mark your email as spam.

In conclusion

The power of your email marketing is a result of your overall strategy, as well as how direct yet human you can be in your messaging. Remember that your subscribers are people, not just dollar signs. Before sending out any email, ask yourself if the content would compel you to take action.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices that can help you make an impact.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy (along with its do’s and don’ts), consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways to comply with email marketing laws

It can be so easy to simply send an email, but email marketing laws require you to do more than that.

While you might be focused on catching any broken links, typos or other email marketing mistakes, non-compliance with email marketing laws is the biggest mistake you can make.

The biggest thing to know is the CAN-SPAM Act, which governs how businesses can act when sending promotional and commercial emails in the U.S. CAN-SPAM stands for “Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act.” It’s regulated by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

At its core, the CAN-SPAM Act aims to promote honesty, responsibility, transparency and choice, so email recipients have greater control over their inboxes and can trust the messages you’re sending (while being able to opt out at any time).

Violating the CAN-SPAM rules can get you fined up to $43,792 per violation, which can apply to each separate email. To avoid this massive financial penalty and conduct your email marketing honestly, the following are six ways to comply with email marketing laws.

Always get consent first

Before you add any contacts to your email list, you must get consent. Of course, consent can be applied in two ways. 

Implied consent is when a customer makes a purchase on your website or signs up to be part of a community. You then are allowed to send them commercial emails because they have engaged in an action that implies they’re willing to do business with you.

There’s also express consent when a user enters his or her information through a pop-up ad or a lead-generation form on your website, etc. You can then send them commercial emails in this scenario because the user knows that he or she is signing up for marketing emails once the user hands over contact details, which will result in messages from the business periodically.

You must refrain from scraping public databases and social media accounts to find emails and add them to your list. All underhanded methods are expressly forbidden.

Check out our 12 strategies to capture more email leads without annoying everyone.

Be clear about who you are as the sender

Your email messages must clearly indicate who the sender is. If you attempt to obscure or hide the sender information in any way, you risk non-compliance.

Remember that this includes your “from,” “to” and “reply-to” fields, as well as any routing information that goes along with your email.

Simply put, you cannot hide who the sender is. But on the flip side, being clear not only follows email marketing laws but help build trust with your email recipients.

No misleading subject lines

When the subject line blatantly differs from the actual content of your email, you’ll not only alienate your audience but fall into non-compliance with email marketing laws as well.

Email subject lines are critical for compelling recipients to open your email, but don’t go so far as to trick anyone into opening it. Do not promise what isn’t there.

For example, if you’re promoting a sale or product launch, you should include that in your subject line. But in general, allow your brand personality and honestly lead the way when writing subject lines.

Check out our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Show the difference between promotional and transactional emails

Email marketing laws require you to make it clear to recipients that your marketing email is an ad. Of course, this can be open to interpretation since there’s no specific requirement for your wording in this case.

The goal is that your audience can distinguish between promotional and non-promotional emails. Recipients should be able to quickly tell from the content that a message is for information purposes (transactional), such as a shipping notification, or for sales purposes (promotional).

Rely on your common sense and focus on being as clear as possible.

Include your physical address in the email footer

The FTC requires that you share a valid physical postal address in the footer of your emails. Doing so boosts transparency and makes it easier for people to get in touch or file a report if they have any concerns.

This address must be physical and valid, but it doesn’t have to be a street address. The CAN-SPAM Act allows for post office boxes or private mailboxes. This is great news for any businesses that are just starting up and don’t want to use a home address.

Make opt-outs easy and responsive

By providing their email addresses, contacts aren’t necessarily saying that they want to receive emails from you forever. Email marketing laws require that you make it easy for them to unsubscribe. 

Specifically, the CAN-SPAM Act says unsubscribing should be “clear and conspicuous.” This means it should be written in plain language so that anyone can easily understand how to opt out.

Not only should the unsubscribe process be easy, but you must honor these opt-out requests in a timely manner. Most email marketing tools, such as DailyStory, processes unsubscribe requests immediately, you still need to confirm that they are, in fact, being honored. Technically, email marketing laws require that you remove opted-out contacts within 10 days in the U.S.

Make the experience simple and warm. You never know when a contact might opt back in at a later time.

In conclusion

Regardless of whether you’re directly handling your email marketing or have an in-house or outsourced team managing it, it is your responsibility to make sure that your business is in compliance with all email marketing laws.

In addition, check out our 16 email marketing best practices that make an impact.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process. This includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.