Best Email Marketing Methods | February 14th, 2011

If you’ve put a lot of time into building an email list, the last thing you want to see is that your customers aren’t reading your emails or – even worse – that they are unsubscribing left and right. While it is unreasonable to expect 100% of your email recipients to open every communication from you, there are ways to prevent people from hitting “delete” the minute your email hits their inbox.

Here are five tips for effective email marketing:

Effective Email Marketing1. Create thoughtful subject lines. Avoid gimmicky calls to action as this can be a big turnoff. Try to come up with an attention grabbing and to-the-point subject line for each newsletter you send out. Instead of your subject line being “News from the Anytown Garden Center”, try “10 Tips for Deer Resistant Landscaping”. This will entice viewers to open your email and read on.

2. Provide useful content. This goes hand in hand with avoiding the gimmicky subject line. Let’s face it. You are sending these emails to promote your business or organization, but if you relentlessly barrage your customers with a sales pitch in every email, you are not going to hold a captive audience for very long. Sure, its okay to send out occasional promotions, but try to do it infrequently. Instead, offer helpful advice and tips, or entertaining tidbits. Try to stay on subject, too. There is usually a reason people subscribe to your list. So if they’re expecting an organic gardening newsletter, don’t start giving advice on travel.

3. Keep links in check. While I recommend having links back to your website, don’t go overboard. You always run the risk of people not clicking through. Let’s say you have two articles. The first one is four paragraphs long and the second is two paragraphs. You might place the first two sentences of the first article with a “read more” link back to your site or blog, but the second article you could place in its entirety. This is far less annoying to your customers than having to bounce back and forth between the email and website. If you are sending out a quarterly newsletter and have several lengthy articles, consider placing one or two of the most important articles in the email. You could list the table of contents for the remaining articles with a “Click Here to View the Rest of these Articles Online” link.

4. Limit the amount of information. If you’ve written 20 articles you think will be useful to your customers, good for you! Just don’t send it all in one email. Your clients don’t have three hours to read your newsletter. Break it up into 10 or 20 bi-monthly newsletters and you can sit back and relax for the next 5 to 10 months.

5. Set a schedule and stick to it. When deciding on a plan, there is a delicate balance between too many and not enough. If your organization sends out a quarterly newsletter, make sure you set dates for each and adhere to them. If you are in business, commit to sending out a newsletter at least once a month, but not more than once per week. This keeps your name in front of your customers without driving them crazy. Consistency is key. If you send out a newsletter the 15th of every month for six months, and then stop doing it, customers will lose interest or will wonder if you’ve gone out of business.

Put a little effort into your email newsletters, and you will prevent unsubscribes.  Offer good content and you’ll find your email list growing as people share the information you’ve given them.


  1. Lynn Gierie says:

    Thanks Judy! This article is right on and extremely useful. Clearly, you are the best in your profession.

  2. […] average – keep up the good work. If you’re below average, start playing around with better subject lines and content to grab your reader’s interest, and hopefully you’ll start to see your numbers […]

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