Email on tablet
Email marketing has been used for decades, but subscriber expectations have changed in recent years. — Getty Images

Companies have been marketing via email for over 40 years. However, over that time, plenty has changed. The level of email personalization has changed, as well, and users are now expecting more from the email lists to which they choose to subscribe.

“The most valuable asset any business has is its list of customers. The problem is that you don’t own your list of Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Email marketing is the only reliable way to stay in constant contact with your top followers and communicate with them in your own unique voice,” said Tom Corson-Knowles, founder and CEO of TCK Publishing.

Along with Corson-Knowles, CO— also consulted with Ryan Goff, chief marketing officer for MGH, Inc., Jaime Eschette, marketing director at EvansHardy+Young, and Ari Saposh, senior vice president of Data and Strategic Partnerships for Bridge Corporation to compile the following list of 20 quick and easy tips to get results from email marketing—from preparation, to execution, to follow-up.

[For more on email marketing, see: A Guide to Growing Your Business With Email Marketing.]


“The key to effective email marketing today is customization,” Goff said. “Gone are the days of full-list blast emails, as we welcome an era of messaging that's customized to each customer's brand experience.”

In order to ensure a positive, customized brand experience for your subscribers, make sure you have the following tips in place before issuing any email communication:

1. Create a target list specific to your industry and goal. Options include obtaining trade show attendee lists, collecting or handing out business cards at events, driving social fans to sign up, purchasing a list, and using LinkedIn to reach new prospects.

2. Select an email marketing platform to facilitate your campaign. Free version or free trial platforms include Mailchimp, Constant Contact, SendinBlue, Drip, and GetResponse.

3. Design a winning template for your emails that are visually appealing and organized.

4. Create and connect your social media accounts and website to your emails by finding ways to tie them in. If someone is subscribed to your email list, they’re more likely to click a link within the email than they are to take an extra step by going to a platform and searching for you.

Email marketing is the only reliable way to stay in constant contact with your top followers and communicate with them in your own unique voice.

Tom Corson-Knowles, founder and CEO of TCK Publishing


Email marketing is the ideal vehicle for driving traffic, loyalty, and conversion. “Even a simple email campaign with limited budget can target, nurture, and engage your customer making it a powerful tool for small businesses,” Eschette said.

There are countless ways to execute an email marketing campaign, but the following tips and tricks remain fairly consistent across the board:

5. Determine the amount of emails you’ll send over a set time period and keep it consistent.

6. Determine the days and times per week you’ll send your emails out, the results of which can be tested through analytics software.

7. Avoid “spray and pray marketing” used by many big companies. For example, major retailers send emails daily without significant customization and different sales or discounts every day. Consumers are smarter than this, and this tactic doesn’t fare well for smaller businesses.

8. Write like a pro, using proper capitalization, punctuation, sentence structure and spelling, and always proofread your emails before sending them.

9. Be personal. If you met this particular audience from a trade show or event, send an email relating to that event with information that is of value to them.

10. Keep your manners. Instead of commands, ask your audience questions. Also, end the email in a grateful tone by saying a version of “thank you,” so your audience feels valued and appreciated. And, of course, stay away from foul or offensive language.

11. Be specific. Many times, when checking emails, people do not have the time or patience to read through several paragraphs. Be specific about what you’re after, with concise language, so your audience does not have to guess.

12. Offer something of value to your readers, such as new information relevant to your industry, event offerings or discounts.

13. Break up your writing into bite-size nuggets. Keep paragraphs short, and use bullet points for supporting information.

14. Consider stand-out effects, such as using emojis in your subject lines. While these may not always be appropriate, depending on brand, a heart or smiley emoji can catch a reader’s eye and encourage them to click around.

15. Infuse humor in your message when appropriate. Humor can make subscribers smile and want to interact with you. It also gives your brand personality.

16. Be honest with your audience. Transparency in your emails nourishes a higher click-through rate (CTR).

17. Always include a call to action, which nudges a subscriber to take another step to engage with your brand after reading your email. It can be anywhere from a link to your site to a lead for a purchase.

18. Test timely copy, down to details like current weather. If it’s raining out, send an email telling your customers you'd like to take away their ‘rainy day blues’ with a special offer.


An email campaign is only as good as its proof of success. By utilizing the following tips, you’ll be able to understand which methods work well and which do not; identify the different ways in which your audience engages; and compare and contrast different timings, methods and email styles.

19. Use split testing (or A/B testing) to gauge effectiveness, so you know which content works best for which audience(s).

20. Track metrics over time, including customer acquisition, open rate, CTR, conversion rate, and traffic to site.

CO— does not review or recommend products or services. For more information on choosing the best email marketing services, visit our friends at

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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