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Go Back To School With These Email Marketing 101 Tips

Posted by Kirsten Onsgard

August 06, 2018

email-marketing-basics-101Take a seat and grab your pencils, marketing professionals. We’re going back to email marketing school this month. First: a quick refresher course in Email Marketing 101.

This course is for everyone, from email veterans to marketing freshmen.

Why? Because in the daily grind of writing copy, designing CTAs and digging into data, it’s easy to forget the basics of email marketing. After revisiting the basics, even some Honor Roll email marketers will revise their strategy.

Take note. Email Marketing 101 is in session. Here are 5 email marketing basics to consider.

Write great copy

Copy should be clear, catchy and converting. It sounds simple, sure. But as any writer will tell you, crafting a concise message is tough.

Consider these email copy tips:

  • Use action language first
  • Write in the second person (you, your)
  • Focus on the benefits, not features
  • Prioritize clarity over cuteness.
  • Include a defined CTA
  • Run your copy through a text editor such as the Hemingway App or Grammarly.

Pop Quiz: Reread the copy on your latest email. Is the copy clear?  What action do you want readers to take? Would you keep reading?

Design effectively

No doubt — with all the easy-to-use, drag and drop design tools out there, your email campaigns should look stunning. But design isn’t only about aesthetics. Good design includes a good, accessible user experience.  

Today, more than half of emails are read on mobile. Mobile-first design can increase click-through rates by up to 16%. That’s why responsive design — or designing for all devices, including desktop, tablet and mobile — is essential.

How else can you improve your design?

Pop Quiz: Do a design audit on a recent campaign. Check the email across devices and on different email clients. Is the email responsive? Does it do its purpose? Why?

Maintain deliverability

Even the most beautiful, creative emails can end up in the spam folder.

Why? It’s all about sender reputation.

Here’s a quick breakdown: Your sender reputation is a measurement of how well you follow email standards established by Internet service providers (ISPs). ISPs use these criteria, based on your sending practices, to filter spam and unwanted email.

Think of it like troublemakers in school. Email senders with a bad reputation often see their emails sent to the spam folder.

That’s why Email Validation is essential. Email Validation helps senders remove toxic data, which impacts sender reputation.

Pop Quiz: Is it time for your company to clean up its act? When was the last time you used Email Validation?

Grow your list

Here’s a startling fact. Marketing databases decay by about 22.5% every year. Companies that do not account for this loss will lose contacts. Growing your list is essential to maintaining and expanding your current reach.

Scared? Take a deep breath and study up.

  • Add new lead generation forms or pop ups to your site
  • Capture leads on new channels, such as in stores or on social media
  • Offer an incentive for signing up
  • Write a creative newsletter with helpful content
  • Use an Email Append service

Pop Quiz: Are you growing your list fast enough to account for natural decay? How can you capture leads in new ways?

Personalize, personalize, personalize

Customers expect brands to understand their needs. More than half of customers say a personalized experience is very important to them. So important, in fact, that customers are willing to share more of their information with a brand if it will result in better service.

Personalization is vital for email marketing. Segmented and personalized emails drove more than half of email revenue, according to a survey by the DMA.

Personalization creates a better brand experience, improves customer service and helps to align marketing messaging.

Personalize your content and segment your list based on:

  • Demographics
  • Lifecycle stage
  • Purchase intent
  • Lifestage
  • Lifestyle
  • Past purchases

You should also ensure you have complete, accurate consumer data by appending third-party information, which adds context to behavior.

Pop Quiz: How are you personalizing your content? How do you empathize with customer needs? What feedback to you get from your customers and your data about your personalization and segmentation?


Did you pass Email Marketing 101? Or, is it time to hit the books?

The good news for email marketing freshmen: There’s no need to pull an all-nighter.

Even A+ email marketers have room for improvement. Plus new data solutions, marketing automation and strategies are helping to ease those email marketing frustrations.

What are your biggest marketing pain points? Where do you need to study up?

Plus, find out how TowerData’s services can help you pass Email Marketing 101 with flying colors and take your strategy to the next level.

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