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Email marketing may seem like it was “so yesterday”, but that just isn’t true. It is still effective after all these years! Email is a great way for businesses to keep in contact with current clients and nurture relationships with leads by providing valuable content they actually want to read. But, that’s where the problem generally lies with a lot of emails – content your audience actually reads.

Email Marketing - typing on laptop

We’ve all been there. You’ve just spent a bunch of time putting together an email and felt pretty good about it. But, after you hit send, waited, then waited some more, no one read your email or engaged with it. How frustrating is that?

Well, don’t give up on email just yet. Try incorporating these seven email marketing tips into future emails to boost your open and click-through rates.


1) Write a compelling subject line

Your subject line can make or break your entire email. Think about it – this is the first thing your recipients see. If it doesn’t capture their attention or seems like spam, your email could be overlooked or worse, deleted immediately. To avoid that, keep these subject line tips in mind:

  • Keep it under 50 characters. Different email providers and screen sizes will cut off your subject line after a certain number of characters. A good rule of thumb is 50 characters or less to avoid the dreaded “…” in the middle your subject line. And, to make doubly sure it isn’t too long, we suggest using the preview function in your email marketing platform (HubSpot, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor, MailChimp, etc.), and always test!
  • Personalization. Adding a contact’s first name (and/or city name when it makes sense) into the subject line is a great way to get their attention. It makes the email feel more catered to the individual, thus making them more likely to open it. Don’t use this feature every time though. It loses its effectiveness when overused.
  • Try emojis. Emojis are another way to grab your recipients’ attention in their inbox. However, it’s important to think about your audience. If the majority of your contacts are Millennials, then emojis make sense, but if you’re targeting an older demographic, they may not be as effective. 
    • Pro email marketing tip: If your email marketing platform does not have emoji options, use a website like Emojipedia.org to search, copy and paste emojis into your subject lines. It works like a charm! 👍
  • Create a sense of urgency. This works especially well when you’re promoting an offer or something with an expiration date or deadline, like a sale, discount or scheduled webinar. Phrases that create a sense of urgency include (but are definitely not limited to): limited time, act now, enter now, book now, and countdowns (i.e. 5 days left). 

Email Marketing Tip - urgency - alarm clock

  • Make the value clear. Who doesn’t love a good pun or words that rhyme? Well, sorry pun-lovers; they typically don’t belong in your email subject line. Instead, make sure you're being upfront about the value proposition and what you’re offering in the email. It can definitely positively impact their willingness to open since it tells your audience what they’re getting and why they should care. 
  • Test it out. Testing is super important, and there are multiple ways to do it. We already mentioned using the preview function to make sure your subject line isn’t getting cut off. Another subject line best practice is A/B testing, which is basically a test of two subject lines that are both sent to a set percentage of your contacts. After the test is completed, the winning subject line will go out to your remaining contacts.
    • Another way to test the effectiveness of your subject line before hitting send is through Subjectline.com. This rating tool is totally free and easy to use. Simply copy and paste your subject line to the site, click “Evaluate”, and it’ll populate a rating out of 100, along with recommendations to make your subject line even better.
    • Email marketing tip: SubjectLine.com

2) Keep it concise

Your contacts are busy, and more than likely, they get a lot of emails. That being said, don’t write a novel. Get right to the point without all the extra fluffy messaging. That way, when recipients open your emails, they understand the message, get the value, and can move on with their day. They will definitely appreciate it, and will be more likely to consume your content if it doesn’t take too much time to read it.


3) Personalization

This goes beyond a simple “contact first name” field in your subject line or email body. We’re talking about personalizing content. For example, let’s say you visited a shoe retailer’s website and looked at men’s running sneakers. More than likely, you wouldn’t want that retailer to then send you an email about a sale on women’s sandals, right? It makes the email seem random and definitely not meant for you, the consumer. So, make sure you’re putting yourself in your audience’s shoes (pun intended) before you hit send and ask yourself, “is this content relevant?”.

When the answer to that question is "no", try making slight variations to your email for different contact lists so it becomes more targeted. 


4) Choose relevant and interesting images

An email with visually interesting images is more likely to get a reader’s attention and get them engaged with the content. Make sure they’re relevant though. Randomness can cause a disconnect with your audience.

Email marketing tip: Nifty ImagesPro email marketing tip: Add personalization to your images with a paid tool like Nifty Images where you can create custom countdown clock images, photos with contacts’ first names, and so on. Super cool tool to use if you have the budget for it.


5) Don’t be afraid of whitespace

Whitespace in your email is the space between blocks of text and images. To some, it can seem like wasted real estate, but it’s actually very beneficial. Not only does whitespace help break up your main points, it also helps your readers digest the content.


6) Valuable content always

One of the most common email marketing fails is blasting your contact list with content that doesn’t provide them with any value. To make sure your email content is valuable to your audience, see if it does one of the following:

  • Educates them
  • Offers a solution to the problem they’re facing
  • Makes their life easier 
  • Keeps them up-to-date


7) Clear call-to-action

An email with no call-to-action is like a movie with no ending. It leaves your audience asking themselves, “Okay, now what?” And that isn’t a good place to be. This is your opportunity to give your contacts some direction. Depending on the email purpose, your call-to-action could:

  • Drive them to a landing page to sign-up for a webinar, download an e-Book, etc.
  • Link to a relevant blog
  • Request feedback via a survey link
  • Watch a video
  • And so on!


As you can see, there is a lot that goes into crafting an effective email. And as you start implementing these seven email marketing tips into your strategy, make sure to give it time. As the old saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, and neither are email results. You’ll have to determine which tactics work best for you and your unique audience. Happy emailing!



Behind every great email marketing strategy is a solid list of qualified leads. If you're lacking in that department, check out the free inbound marketing campaign checklist below.Get My Inbound Campaign Checklist