Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing for Engaging Subscribers

By Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder
Published: Mar 22, 2024
Master the art of email engagement by heeding the dos and don'ts: Build trust with authentic lists and avoid pitfalls like purchasing email lists.
Keyboard keys arranged to spell out the word "EMAIL" on a grey background.

We know you’re looking to use a powerful tool for engaging with your subscribers, but it’s important to follow certain dos and don’ts of email marketing to ensure your messages are well-received. 

Do: Build an authentic email list, craft compelling subject lines, personalize your emails, use clear calls-to-action, incorporate analytics, and listen to subscriber feedback.

Don’t: Purchase email lists, overwhelm your subscribers with too much content, send non-mobile-friendly emails, neglect email testing, or ignore subscriber feedback.

By focusing on building trust, optimizing email content, and learning from your metrics, you can create email campaigns that truly engage your audience.

Quick Tips:
  • Get permission before adding anyone to your list.
  • Personalize emails for better engagement.
  • Test different elements in your emails to see what works best.
  • Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly.
  • Listen and adapt based on subscriber feedback.

Dos and don’ts of email marketing: What You Should Know

1. Build an Authentic Email List

To do email marketing right, you need people who want to hear from you. Here’s how to get and keep them:

Ask for permission:

Put sign-up boxes on your website and social media pages so people can choose to join your list. Offer something like a small discount or a free guide as a thank you for signing up.

Always be clear about how you’ll use their email so they know what they’re signing up for.

Keep your list fresh:

Now and then, remove people who don’t open your emails or whose emails bounce back. Make it easy for people to leave your list or change what emails they get from you.

Make subscribers happy:

Send a friendly hello email when someone new signs up. Mix in helpful tips, fun facts, or special deals in your emails.

Check your progress:

One of the dos and don’ts of email marketing recommendation is to keep an eye on how many people open your emails, click on links, or unsubscribe. Figure out which emails people like the most and who isn’t paying attention.

By focusing on what your subscribers want and respecting their choices, you’ll naturally grow a list of people who are excited to see your emails. Skipping steps like buying email lists can mess things up, so stick to the honest path. It’s all about trust and giving people what they’re interested in.

2. Craft Compelling Subject Lines

Making a subject line that makes people want to open your email is key. Here’s a simple guide to doing it right:

Hold it short and to the point

Try to use under 50 characters so it doesn’t get cut off, and put the most important words at the beginning.

Make it personal if you can

Utilize the person’s name if you know it. Mention things they’ve bought before to show you’re paying attention.

Make it feel urgent or special

Use words that make it sound like they need to act fast, like “Only today!” Give them special deals that make them feel like they’re getting something extra.

Ask questions

Start with a question like “What do you think about…?” to get them curious. Use phrases like “You won’t believe…” to grab their attention.

Try different ones to see what works

Test out a few subject lines to see which one gets more people to open your emails, be careful with words that might make your email look like spam.

Make sure it looks good on phones

Check how your subject line looks on mobile to make sure it’s not too long. Make sure it still makes sense and grabs attention.

Look at how well it’s doing

Keep an eye on how many people open your emails and click on stuff inside. Use what you learn to make your subject lines better over time.

A good subject line is like a door that invites people in. Make it interesting, make it about them, and always check to see what works best. This way, more people will want to see what you’ve got to say.

3. Personalize Your Emails

Person working on a laptop with a document open, hands clasped over the keyboard.

Making your emails feel like they’re just for the person getting them can show you care and make your messages hit home. Here’s the simple way to do it:

Break down your list

Split up your email list into groups based on what people like or what they’ve bought before so you can send them stuff they care about. Send different messages to these groups based on their interests.

Use names and details

Add people’s names, where they’re from, or what they’ve bought before into your emails. This makes your emails feel more personal. Double-check to make sure these details are right before you hit send.

Tailor your message

Change up the content, deals, and pictures in your emails based on what you know about your subscribers. Test out different versions of your email to see which one people like more.

Send it at the right time

Figure out when your subscribers are most likely to read your emails and send them then. If someone leaves something in their cart, send them a reminder.

Look at the results

Keep an eye on which emails get opened the most and lead to sales. Use what you find out to produce your emails better and more personal.

Be respectful

Only use information that people have said it’s okay to use. Make it easy for people to change what information you have about them or what emails they get.

By making your emails more personal, you’re showing your subscribers that you’re paying attention to what they like. Just remember to always be respectful of their information and choices.

4. Use Clear and Direct Calls-to-Action

Making it easy for your subscribers to know what to do next is key to getting results from your emails. Here are some simple ways to make your calls-to-action work better:

Keep it simple

Use straightforward language like “Sign Up Now” or “Learn More”, and try to stay away from words or phrases that might confuse people. Keep in mind using direct verbs like “Download”, “Register”, or “Buy”.

Make it easy to spot

Forge your calls-to-action stand out with color, size, or where you place them, use buttons or links that are easy to click, making sure they’re easy to see and use on phones.

Make it personal when you can

Use the subscriber’s name if you can, do not forget to mention things they’ve shown interest in before.

Guide them on what to do next

Make sure each call-to-action takes them to a specific page that matches what you said, so with that, they’ll find and get a quick idea of what is awaiting them.

Put them where people expect to find them

Place calls-to-action in logical spots like under headings, use them at the beginning, middle, and end of your emails,

With straightforward, noticeable calls-to-action that match what your subscribers are interested in, you can get more of them to do what you’re hoping for. Keep trying new things and fine-tuning to make your email marketing even better.

5. Incorporate Analytics to Refine Campaigns

Understanding how people react to your emails is super important. It’s like having a secret guide that shows you what’s working and what’s not. Here’s how to use this guide to make your emails better:

Look at who’s opening and clicking

Track how many people open your emails and click on things inside. This tells you if they like your subject lines and your content. Try different subject lines and content to see what gets more opens and clicks.

Check different groups

See how different types of subscribers react. Maybe one group loves one kind of email, and another group likes something else. Change your emails to fit what each group likes.

Understand what people like

Compare how many people open your emails to how many click on links. This shows if your message is hitting the mark. Look at what actions people take after clicking to see if your emails are working.

Find and fix problems

If a lot of emails aren’t getting through or people mark them as spam, you need to know why. Keep an eye on how many people unsubscribe to make sure you’re not annoying your subscribers.

By keeping track of how people interact with your emails, you can keep tweaking and improving. Always be on the lookout for ways to make your emails more engaging and effective.

6. Avoid Purchasing Email Lists

Close-up of a smartphone screen displaying app icons including Google, a mail app with 20 unread messages, and phone and WhatsApp communication apps.

Buying email lists might seem like an easy shortcut to get more subscribers, but it’s not a good idea. 

You Don’t Have Permission

People on these lists didn’t choose to get emails from you. Sending them emails without their okay can get you into trouble. Your emails might end up marked as spam or ignored, which makes it harder for your other emails to get through.

People Aren’t Interested

Since these folks don’t know you, they’re probably not going to be interested in what you’re sending. This means they might not even open your emails. You’ll likely see a lot of people unsubscribing or complaining, which isn’t good.

It Can Hurt Your Reputation

If you send emails to people who don’t want them, email providers might start to see you as a spammer.

You Could Get Into Legal Trouble

Sending emails to people without their permission goes against laws like CAN-SPAM and GDPR. Breaking these laws can lead to big fines or even legal action against you.

Instead of buying lists, work on getting subscribers who are truly interested in what you have to say. You can do this by offering something valuable in exchange for their email, like a discount or a free guide. 

Remember, it’s better to have a smaller list of people who are really into your emails than a big list of people who don’t care.

Now That You Learned the Dos and Don’ts of Email Marketing

Implementing the dos and don’ts of email marketing is essential for cultivating strong subscriber engagement. By prioritizing strategies like building authentic lists, crafting compelling subject lines, and leveraging analytics, you can refine your campaigns for optimal performance.

Ultimately, respecting subscribers’ preferences while delivering value-driven content fosters deeper connections and yields better long-term results. Embracing these principles empowers you to navigate the intricacies of email marketing effectively and drive meaningful engagement with your audience.

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Cam Velasco

CEO & Co-Founder

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