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The Dos and Don’ts of a Successful Email Marketing Campaign

First thing first, before you can send any emails out as part of your campaign you first have to have a list of email addresses where your emails will find a home. Next ask yourself is this person I want to approach still in the same position? It is no good trying to reach a company’s distributor, for example, if the contact details you have are out of date and the person has moved on. So before going head-first into an email marketing campaign, be sure the people you are targeting are really the ones in the right positions.

Now we have that out of the way, we can get down to lining out what can make your email marketing campaign a success and what will make it a flop – certainly something you will want to avoid.


1. Make your subject line pop – they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, well, when it comes to email marketing campaigns we all judge email content by the subject line. It is the title of your story, the first contact you have with the email recipient, and the tool that will get them to open the email or trash it without even giving it a second thought. But what can we do to make our first impression have that magical touch? Firstly, make the subject line clever and catchy, intrigue the readers’ imagination so they will want to find out if the email itself is just as intriguing. Try and keep the subject line at 50 characters or less and also add an emoji to tease the reader even more into opening the email, because – let’s face it – we all love pictures.

2. Focus on one topic– with emails being dished-out right, left, and centre to people in key positions, and their time being very valuable, it is important not to bombard them with every, single thing you want to communicate. So just focus on a single topic, don’t make it too crowded with lots and lots of information, so the recipient can understand your message in seconds and want to do their own research on your topic.

3. Provide multiple contact information – everyone has a favourite avenue of contacting people out there in the digital world, so offering the recipient all your contact details means they are more likely to go straight to the one they prefer and get in touch. So offer your direct email address, your Twitter and Facebook pages, your direct and company’s phone number and – to keep it traditional – your physical address.

4. Be creative – this works on many levels. Make your first line of the email a question. This will get the recipient to want to read on. Give your email a distinctive look so it can stand out from the rest. Use a banner at the top of the email, put your logo in there, choose an attention-grabbing slogan – just make sure it doesn’t look too busy.

5. Write a different email for different market segments – we all like to feel special. How many times have you received an email with a highlighted text in it that should have been removed or changed according to the situation before being sent out? If you haven’t you are very lucky, if you have then you will know the feeling of being treated as just another fish in the sea. Avoid making the person on the other side of your email feel like this by catering your emails to the market sector they work in. Make the content relevant to your target market.


1. Send out emails without testing them first – if you want to look professional, testing is key. Send out an email to some friends just to check how it looks in their inbox and when it is opened. You could call in a focus group to give their opinion on layout, subject or anything else you are going with in your campaign before going live. Also keep a record of how the campaign went before changing anything, that way you can have a clear view on what works and what doesn’t for next time.

2. Send out just a sales pitch – just going for the kill makes people feel like a piece of meat, and no one will trust you, respect you or want to work with you if this is the case. So avoid self-serving promotional emails. Remember, the recipient is the one who should feel they are getting something out of this.

3. Use offensive content – this one is kind of self-explanatory, but you never know. Across cultures the way we act differs, etiquette and manners may be seen as one thing in once culture and another in other cultures. Also, be careful with humour, not everyone appreciates a bit of joking around when it comes to business, so try to avoid it – unless you know that who you are targeting knows you are using humour in the most professional

4. Spam – this is a big no, no. Of course, no email campaign was ever built without getting permission to get started, so first we’ll need to focus on building a sizable email list. So don’t just email anyone because if you do you will look desperate and unprofessional.

5. Bombard them with email after email – give the recipient time to miss you. Make them look forward to receiving your entertaining and clever emails. You do this by sending them out sporadically, otherwise, they will get tired of you and simply delete the emails without even opening them.