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The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Email Marketing


Guest article by Pauline Farris.

Despite all the negative predictions on the future of email marketing, it continues to dominate the digital marketing landscape. Numerous reports from reputable online digital marketing sources indicate that email remains a growing, go-to channel for marketers. For example, Response Rate Report from The Data & Marketing Association (DMA) named email marketing the most effective and the largest channel for online businesses to reach their audience.

According to the report, email marketing has the highest median return-on-investment (ROI) compared with other popular marketing channels. As you can see, emails have no competition when it comes to this performance indicator.


Source: Response Rate Report, The Data & Marketing Association (DMA)

In addition to having the highest ROI, emails are also great for building loyalty and trust in their brands, increasing sales, and delivering personalized offers to customers. Impressive, right?

But before you get overwhelmed with the list of possibilities of email marketing, let’s learn about the most effective techniques that you can try right away, for free. This blog, The Ultimate Cheat Sheet on Email Marketing provides valuable techniques to optimize your email strategy.

Also, I’ll share some typical mistakes in email marketing so you can be sure that you’ve covered all bases.

So, enough talk, email marketing, here we go!

Cheat Sheet on Email Marketing

1. Personalization

Personalizing the content of your emails will go a long way in making the content more valuable and relevant to the recipients.

In fact, Q2 2017 Email Benchmark report prepared by the Cheetah Digital found that personalizing subject lines has a wide range of great benefits, including the increase in open rate and a higher click-through rate (and you know how important these rates are!). See the full list on the image below.


Source: Q2 2017 Email Benchmark report

Here are some of the high-performing personalization tips:

  • Insert the recipient’s name into the subject line and email. This is a simple technique that creates trust and helps to establish a long-term relationship.
  • Wish a customer’s happy birthday. Your customer base probably has birthdays of the people who provided their emails, so why not use this excellent opportunity to offer a highly personalized message along with a personalized offer? To quickly craft multiple versions of great texts you can use online tools such as RewardedEssays, SupremeDissertations.

Here’s how Gap does it.


  • Remind them of their abandoned shopping carts. These emails are sent to customers after they’ve left the website without completing the purchase. They contain custom content based on the browsing behavior of customers; for example, the email by an online store Huckberry offers a free shipping as an incentive to return to the website and complete the purchase.


2. Re-engagement

When your subscribers become inactive, you can win many of them back with a smart re-engagement campaign. Given that retaining an existing customer costs much less than getting a new one, it makes a perfect sense to target inactive subscribers.

  • Product recommendations. Send your inactive subscribers emails where you recommend them a product based on their browsing history. Chances are they’ll love them!
  • Offer incentives. Make them an offer they cannot decline. For example, offer a free shipping of a generous discount on a product they viewed. Here’s how a baby clothing store Carter’s does this: they give the customer a 25 percent discount on their next purchase over $50.


3. Timing

While it’s true that email marketing’s ROI remains high, you must ensure that it stays that way by using the experience of previous campaigns. One of the most important factors that you need to consider is timing.

For example, Social Media Today recently described the results of a survey of six industries which commonly use email marketing campaigns and found the following:

  • More than 85 percent of emails were opened on weekdays.
  • The best time to send a marketing email was between Tuesdays and Thursdays.
  • 24 percent of recipients opened emails between 4 pm and 6 pm.
  • Email engagement was best in all industries for emails sent mid-morning at 10:00 or mid-afternoon at 2:00.

4. Responsive Design

According to The 2017 Email Client Market Share Trends report from Litmus, the email audience is growing, engaged and increasingly mobile. Most of the emails are now opened using mobile devices – 46 percent!


Source: The 2017 Email Client Market Share Trends report

For you as a marketer or a business owner, this means one thing: your marketing emails should be mobile-friendly to suit the needs of people who used a mobile device as the primary platform to access their email.

Mobile-friendly design is often called responsive because it allows an email to change depending on what screen size it is viewed. As the result, the email will always render correctly regardless if you’re using a smartphone, a tablet, or other devices.

Some of the best responsive email design practices include:

  • Use 20-pt font for headings and 13- or 14-pt font for the body text in your responsive emails.
  • Avoid inserting too many hyperlinks. A viewer may try to tap one link and accidentally select another because it sits very close to the original one.
  • Use responsive images. See this responsive images tutorial from Interneting is Hard if interested.
  • Use a single column layout because it allows the best viewing and reading experience.

Typical Mistakes in Email Marketing

Creating Boring Content

Writing emails is an often-dreaded task for many people because they don’t have the skills of creating engaging texts. To avoid this mistake, I recommend to keep the content relatively short (no more than 250 words, and focus on the recipient’s needs.

Using online tools to proofread and edit email content is also recommended. Some of the best ones include HotEssayService and GrabMyEssay.

Ignoring Analytics

It’s good to see that your emails are being opened, but it’s a different deal to pay attention to how well they are actually doing. For example, are your subscribers clicking your links? Are they doing nothing? Or maybe they’re unsubscribing?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, email marketing is very effective at helping businesses and customers stay connected. In fact, it’s great for personalizing content and offers, which is something that your customers will appreciate.

Hope this cheat sheet is helpful to you to start your way in email marketing in the right way and get some good results in the short-term. So go ahead, get out your customer base with people who want to hear from you, and produce an email that is both useful and friendly. Happy marketing!


Author Bio

Pauline Farris is a translator, interpreter, a voting member of the American Translators Association (ATA), and content writer. She works with online B2B and B2C businesses from around the world and helps them create engaging and useful content for their blogs and digital marketing campaigns. She learned the art of translation and writing at the York University and the Federal University of Pernambuco.

Last modified:  November 14th, 2018