Incorporate These Best Practices When Writing Marketing Emails for Your Business


Invented in 1971, electronic email, aka email, was initially used for government, business, and educational purposes up until the mid-90s when the World Wide Web officially opened to the general public and free email accounts became readily available. When what would take days now took mere seconds and what required postage now became free, email instantly became an integral part of society as a much more preferable option than traditional mail. 

Even today, despite the advent and popularity of direct messaging and chat apps over the past two decades, email remains a go-to communication channel for everything from reaching out to friends, to contacting customer service, to tracking a shipment. In fact, its popularity continues to rise. In 1997, roughly 10 million users worldwide had free email accounts. In 2022, there were approximately 4.3 billion global e-mail users, a number that’s predicted to grow to 4.7 billion by 2026. 

Practically every adult in America has at least one email account, and most of them check their inboxes on a regular, if not daily, basis. This makes email not only great for personal use but also an incredibly valuable tool for businesses to use in order to rapidly connect with customers and market their goods to a large audience all at once.

You may already use email when marketing your own brand or are just starting to consider it. Either way, here are some of the best practices to keep in mind when writing your emails to ensure they have maximum impact, whether your goal is to increase brand awareness, improve sales, or drive more traffic to your blogs. 


1. Get Your Foot in the Door

The idiom about getting one’s “foot in the door” harkens back to when a door-to-door salesman would literally stick his foot in the doorway so as to continue his pitch and prevent a homeowner from fully closing the door. Think of your email’s subject line and, to a lesser extent, your preheader as the doorway and getting the click as your foot in the door. If a recipient reads your initial pitch yet doesn’t open your email, you won’t have the chance to give them your full pitch.  

How well you craft your subject line usually dictates whether you get that proverbial foot in the proverbial door or have it slammed in your face. Highly effective, attention-grabbing, persuasive subject lines and preheaders result in higher open rates and better engagement, but they’re not exactly easy to write in such a limited amount of space. 

To increase your odds, you must convince readers that value awaits in opening the email, be it a superior product, free information, or great savings. Use actionable language and create a sense of urgency or a fear of missing out to stand out in an inbox. Avoid using all caps, dollar signs, multiple exclamation points, and other spam filter-triggering copy. Also, ensure that your email’s body copy aligns with your subject line and preheader or else you risk alienating your audience when they doubt your honesty going forward.  


2. Call Readers to Action

The whole point of sending a marketing email is to get the recipient to take some sort of action, such as visiting your website, signing up for a newsletter, or reading your blog. Moving people into the sales funnel requires clear and effective calls to action (CTA), typically toward the end of your email. Unless you’re just trying to direct the reader into your brick-and-mortar, the CTA should be a button or link to the relevant digital assets such as a company website or social media page where you can continue your pitch. 

As with your subject line, it helps to keep them short and create a sense of urgency or FOMO in your CTAs when you can. Examples range from extremely short CTAs like “Learn more,” Shop now,” and “Sign up here,” to slightly longer ones such as “Check out our latest assortment,” “Get your coupons before they expire,” and “Start on your road to success today.”


3. Make Sure It’s Phone-Friendly

As with all of your other digital media nowadays, mobile optimization in your emails is a must. This means making sure the email is not bloated with images or videos that slow down their loading time. It also means designing it so that it flows effectively and is aesthetically pleasing as a person scrolls down.  

Because most smartphones show just up to roughly 33 characters, you’ll want to keep your subject line relatively short if you want the whole thing to be visible at first glance, which is optimal. If you feel you must exceed that limit, make sure your main message is at the beginning of your subject line, so there’s enough info to hook readers. 


4. Cut to the Chase

Would you prefer receiving a promotional email that was long and rambling, bloated with copy, images, and messages, or would you prefer a short and sweet one that hits all the right points and gets the message across quickly and clearly? 

In today’s fast-paced world, most people won’t put a lot of their precious time into any email, let alone one coming from a company, so brevity is something you want to shoot for in your emails’ body copy. Not only that but brevity fosters clarity, and clarity is important when you’re dealing with a mass audience. The clearer and simpler your copy, the better. Some ways to do this include breaking your copy down into smaller easier-to-digest paragraphs, adding title breaks, and using bullet points, numbered lists, or infographics. 


5. Keep It Conversational

Remember, this is an email, not a press release or grant application. You’re speaking directly to a human which means you should be speaking to them like one, not like a stuffy lawyer or emotionless robot. By using a conversational, friendly tone, you’re more likely to keep the reader’s attention and build a stronger connection with them. People tend to respond better to messages that feel human and relatable. While some emails may call for a more serious, automated tone, such as a shipping update or addressing concerns with a product, most of the time it’s best to keep it real.  


6. Make It Personal

In a 2023 survey, the top priority of email marketing professionals for the upcoming year was to expand how they use personalization. In fact, due to many brands incorporating personalization into their emails, a lot of shoppers expect that now. While a conversational tone is a great way to make an email read more personal, it’s not the only way. Using recipients’ actual names from your email contact lists in greetings and copy is one way you can add a personal touch. Providing personalized product recommendations based on a person’s purchase history is another. 

Targeting segmented audiences and tailoring your email campaigns to their preferences and behaviors also helps to narrow your language and content so that it seems more relevant and connected to the individual. Highly segmented and personalized emails tend to improve KPIs including open rates and click-through rates.  


7. Provide Value 

The core of all marketing is conveying to an audience that a product or service can improve a person’s life in some way. Whether providing a superior product, offering valuable information, or helping readers save money, you have to provide some sort of value through your emails so that they will respond to your calls to action and seek that value by moving further along the customer journey. Do this enough and your customers may even come to anticipate opening your emails.    

Researching your audience to know their true wants and needs will help you know what value to highlight in your emails so that it resonates with your audience. But be sure to tout the benefits to the customer instead of just throwing out and listing the features such as dimensions, colors, materials, etc. People are much more easily persuaded when you can help them picture how much healthier, prettier, wealthier, or happier your product will make them. 


8. Add Social Proof if Possible

Word of mouth and what real people think of your brand is typically more powerful than any marketing efforts coming straight from your company. If you have them (and you should), it would greatly benefit your emails when you include testimonials, ratings, and/or reviews from actual customers that speak highly of your brand and can relate real-world experience with your product or service. 

We’re talking real proof from real people, not obviously fake paid-for or bot reviews and comments. True social proof can be extremely persuasive, not only helping you earn the sale, but also build that all-important trust and credibility for a long-lasting brand-customer relationship down the road. 


9. Tell & Show

When some people think of email, they still think of mostly black copy on white paper, just like an old-school hand-mailed letter. That may be how emails started, but it’s not how they are now. Today’s emails can feature special fonts, images, buttons, videos, and more, just like a website page. Your brand should take advantage of that and spruce up your emails with your own branding, product images, infographics, and other visual elements, as long as it’s relevant, not overwhelming, or slows the page load down. Visuals tend to grab attention and improve engagement better than copy, and emails are great not just for telling, but also for showing.


10. Mind Your Brand 

Just like on your website, other digital branding, and non-digital marketing (e.g. print and broadcast), your business should be using specific colors, fonts, narratives, and other elements  that make up your brand identity, and you should tastefully incorporate them into your emails. Maintaining consistency in tone and style across all channels including email is essential to creating familiarity and trust from your audience as well as a seamless customer experience from one channel to another. 


While there are many other considerations that go into optimizing your email, these are some of the most significant best practices. For professional help creating your email campaigns, reach out to M:7 Agency today. At M:7 Agency, we’ve strategized and executed countless successful email campaigns and can guide you toward becoming an email pro in no time.