The Do's And Don'ts Of Email Marketing

Anna Lomsadze

Mar 15, 2022

Email Marketing: Why is it Important for a Small Business

Email marketing is not spam. Neither is it a personal text from an old pal. When done right, it's that sweet spot in between. Even though email marketing might lack all that bling compared to the newer, shinier marketing channels, it still gets the job done.

Email remains one of the most impactful ways to build strong relationships with your customers despite all the other new toys we have today for marketing. 

Let’s understand what email marketing is before we're ready to discuss its benefits.. Email marketing is basically building relationships with your customers through emails. Sending out quality content that your customer can quickly relate to is a great way to start nurturing a valuable relationship with them.

And while businesses of all scales have had their fair share of gains from email marketing, in 2022,  small companies and startups are going to benefit the most from it. Email marketing can be your growth BFF if you're one of them.

Email marketing is known for getting high ROIs with little investment; a real treat, isn't it?

But hang on a second! What’s ROI? Well, ROI, or Return On Investment determines what your gains are from all that investment you just made.


ROI%= (Gained Dollars – Spent Dollars) / Spend Dollars

And not the question you might have in your head now… What do I email about? 

Well, It could be anything ranging from cutting-edge content & tutorials to offers and freebies! With time, you will figure out what your audience loves to read from you and it will be easier for you to adjust the content. 

Now, before we begin, you might want to go over a few terms and understand what they mean in detail.

Best Practices Of Email Marketing That Drive Great Results

Now, even though email marketing can be your ticket to a successful marketing campaign, it can very quickly become just another spam for your customer if not done correctly. Best practices can make sure that your emails consistently drive great results.

Discussing all the practices of email marketing is going to take the whole day, so, to begin with, let's cover some of the most important ones below. Let’s see how strong your email marketing game is and how you can improve it. 

The Dos of Email Marketing

Optimize the Email's Preview Text

The impact your email's preview text can have on your open rate might surprise you. A preview text that reads "email not visible properly? Click here" can bring down your open rate. It's like telling your customer, "Hey, guess what, this email probably doesn't work." 

Your preview text should always supplement the subject line of the email. A preview text that throws in the right details (in the right way) can grab the attention of your customer and get them to open your email. 

By default, the preview text of an email pulls in the first bunch of words of the email body and shows it right next to the subject line before the recipient opens it. So why not go for a customer preview text, huh? 

Include Signature

This one's a rule of thumb: Always add your signature to your emails. 

Duh! The newsletter may be sent to your customers from the brand, but the email should still have the signature of a person. 

An email signature is an excellent scope for visibility and branding. Adding your signature to the newsletter gives a personal touch and credibility.

Clean your Mailing List

It's tempting to keep a long email list. 

But sorry, that's just not healthy.

Let's face it, some of your email contacts will not bother going through the standard process of unsubscribing and opting out of your emails. Keeping them in your mailing list is probably of no use (and not to forget, it will kill your open rate). Moreover, having these people on your mailing list will only bum you out since it will make your campaign performance look worse than it is. 

Please do yourself a favour and make it a habit to go through your mailing list. Don't hesitate to scratch out names from that list who haven't engaged with your email in a period of time.

Keep the Main Message and Call-to-Action Above the Fold

'Above the fold' is the section of information visible to the recipient before they start scrolling down. Even though customers nowadays are quite comfortable scrolling and swiping through content (thanks to social media), above the fold still gets the most attention; 'Above the fold', that's where your main message and CTA needs to be. 

Personalize the Email Greeting

Honestly, how likely is it for a customer to open an email that starts with "dear subscriber"? 

There's no harm in segmenting your audience by type, subscription interest, membership, but that should not be the first thing they see when they see your email. What you should do instead is personalize the greetings. 

Send emails that have their first names (like Hi, Adam!); That does the trick. And no, you don't have to personalize the greeting for every customer individually. Most email marketing tools can automate the process, so all your customers get their personal version of the same message.

Split Test Different Subject Lines and CTAs

If your open rate and clickthrough rate have been stagnant for a while, you might be doing a couple of things wrong; it could be you are not emailing the right audience, or maybe your content isn't updated.

Let's for a minute assume that the content is the problem- A/B testing might be able to help you get you back on track (and running).

Here's how A/B testing works: It splits your audience into two groups and shows them different variations of the same content (say, the original content and the updated content).

You can compare the two groups and see which of the two variations is doing better.

 Maybe try a different colour for your CTA or a quirkier subject line?

‘No-Reply’ Emails are Not an Option

Ever got an email from an address that goes kind of like ‘'? Such addresses don't allow the recipient to respond to the email or even opt out of further emails. It's annoying, isn't it?

It's always better to have email addresses that go by the first name, you know, something like ‘'. Your recipients are more likely to open emails that they think are written by a person. 

Stick to Fewer Fonts

When it comes to email layout, always keep it simple. Remember, the less the clutter, the more the chances for your customers to go through your email (and like it). 

Two fonts are more than enough. Also, consider web-safe fonts with sizes from 10-point and 12- point. Sticking to fewer typefaces will ensure that your email is legible to all your customers.

Don't forget these steps to build a healthy client list, make sure your email campaign is efficient and reaches the right people!

Don'ts of Email Marketing

Now, coming to what's forbidden in email marketing, here is a list of things you need to keep away from:

Never Buy Your Contact List

Your email marketing campaigns are heavily dependent on how healthy your contact list is. And the best way to keep your list healthy is to collect your contacts from previous interactions, engagements, and connections. 

The open rates of your emails heavily influence your email campaign performance. Contacts you bought are highly likely to make the email's performance dip. And with your open rates going down, your click rates will also take a hit, and this will bring down your deliverability, along with your reputation as a mailer.

More emails do not mean better results.

As a rule, don't bombard your customers with emails. 

No matter how amazing the content is, it can wait. But what is the correct number of emails to send them? 

Here's something you can try:

  • Send your follow-up email 3 days after you have sent them the initial email. After that, wait for about 1-3 weeks to send them the next email. This will help you stay in their inbox (nobody likes being thrown in the spam folder, right?).

  • Adding visuals (images) is undoubtedly a great way to grab your reader's attention, but let's not overuse images. Why? Because most of your readers are likely to open the email from their phones. And thanks to limited mobile data, it might take longer to load, and a huge chunk of those people probably have images disabled on their phones.

  • Don't forget to add a catchy CTA to your email. No matter how compelling your content is, a single email is probably not enough to fit in all the details. Remember to add a clickable link that leads to your website. 

A couple of other things that you might want to keep in mind are:

Let people unsubscribe if they want 

Not adding an option to Unsubscribe is not the best strategy to have. For all you know, you might be sending tons and tons of emails to someone who is not interested in your content.

Never sell your subscriber’s email address

Selling your email list is, well, not illegal, but it's definitely frowned upon.

Often, email addresses are purchased and used for unethical activities. You wouldn't want to be associated with any of that. Moreover, every one of your subscribers should feel safe and protected when they share their email addresses with you and sign up for your mailing list.

Not optimizing your email is a bad practice.  

Don't forget to optimize your email across devices.

Try a responsive email template that adjusts the content of your email depending on the screen it appears on (laptops, smartphones, tablets). Make sure the images in your emails render no matter the screen size. And check that your images are not too heavy (it may not download on slow connections). 

To ensure that you are not wasting your time and money for a  campaign that does not work, take note of these 5 simple DONTs.
Avoid them and you can be easily proud of your emails!

Wrapping up

There are a whole bunch of rules that teach you the "right" way of email marketing. Some rules are helpful, while some rules are meant to be broken. However, the most important rule is this: Be nice to your audience and be relatable (no, seriously!). The remaining is really just a trial and error process: You learn as you grow. 

That said, email marketing does come with its own set of Dos & Don'ts, which are important, and as a small business, it can feel a little overwhelming. SanityDesk might be able to help you there. Keeping in mind small companies, startups, and solopreneurs (our favourite clients) - we have included a full-suite email marketing solution on SanityDesk. The best part is that our platform takes care of most of the technically best practices - allowing you to purely focus on content. And here’s the best part, It's free!


Written by:

Anna Lomsadze

Junior Marketing Manager

Mar 15, 2022


Useful terms

Open rate is how many of your email recipients opened your email. We know this sounds pretty obvious, but it's not just about how many people open your email—it can also tell you which kinds of emails people like to read (for example, emails with lots of exclamation points in the subject line, etc.).

Unsubscribe rate is how many people unsubscribe from your list after opening an email. 

The Click-through rate is the number of clicks on the links in your email. Click-through rate is a good indicator of how much interest there is in what you're sending out to your readers. If it's low, maybe you should consider changing some things up!

Deliverability rate is the ability to deliver emails to your recipients’ inboxes. Every time an email lands in the inbox, it is considered a success for the brand. The opposite outcome - email does not get delivered,  happens for various reasons:

  • it bounced (soft bounce - temporary problem with the recipients' server; hard bounce - indicated a permanent error, or can be caused by an email security system),

  • recipient opted out, 

  • recipient marked an email as spam (or spam filters flagging it), etc.

Above the fold -  the top section of an email message that subscribers see upon opening. That's the part of your email that shows up first in most email programs - even before your subscribers have to scroll down.

Preview Text is the short text that shows up in your inbox, to the right of your subject line. Think of it as a supporting subject line to your email. And use it to explain what's in your email or to convince someone it is worth checking the email out.

A/B testing, which is also popularly known as split testing is the process of sending out two variations of the same campaign (email) to a small group of customers and seeing which performs better in terms of opens, clicks, or other metrics.

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