What is Email Marketing: In-Depth Guide

On February 14, 2023
21min read
Dzenana Kajtaz Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap

Would you believe that the first mass email marketing campaign was sent in 1978? Yes, 54 years ago, Gary Thuerk, the man dubbed the Father of Spam, sent a few hundred emails and got the ball rolling for commercial email. Since then, this has become one of the most effective and popular tools in marketing.

But with great power comes great responsibility confusion (yes, the strikethrough was on purpose 😉 ). 

Many of you reading this article probably find yourself in a situation where you have an email marketing list with tons of subscribers but no idea what type of marketing emails to send them or even what options you have.

To help clear up this confusion and leverage the great benefits of email marketing, we’ll go on a deep dive into all the ins and outs of this direct marketing method.

So, let’s dive in!

What is email marketing?

In layman’s terms, email marketing is a digital marketing method that uses a combination of email as a communication channel and promotional or informational content to advertise old and new products/services to past customers, existing customers, and potential customers. It’s also an irreplaceable asset in situations where a company needs to share a general message related to a controversy, market/industry event, and similar.

What is an email marketing campaign?

The phrase “email marketing campaign” gets thrown around quite a lot, but many don’t know the true definition behind it, which, simply put, is “a sequence of individual email messages (although it can be a one-off send, too) sent over a period of time to multiple recipients”.  

A campaign has to be well-timed and well-planned, so it arrives at the best moment and delivers valuable content and/or relevant offers (more on that in the best practices section). And in the case of campaigns consisting of a series of emails, staying consistent with the design and messaging is also very important.

5 examples of companies with great email marketing campaigns

Whether an email marketing campaign will be seen as great largely depends on who is sending it, its target audience, and its purpose. In other words, a campaign that works great for one business might work terribly for another.

Still, some businesses execute their campaigns so well that showing them at least as examples is a must. And that is exactly what we are going to do now!


Bonobos, a menswear retailer, nails simple emails that still engage the audience. How? With clear call-to-action buttons (CTAs)!

Its emails have a clean structure as well as a simple copy that comes with a dash of playfulness, as seen in the example below:

Source: reallygoodemails.com

What’s more, Bonobos tailors (no pun intended) its emails for and only for its audience – young male professionals – which makes them pretty effective.


This one probably doesn’t come as a surprise because what would a marketing article be without mentioning the company that has mastered the craft, BuzzFeed?

In its email marketing campaigns, BuzzFeed puts a lot of focus on the email subject lines and preview texts, which is pretty obvious looking at this inbox. 

The subject lines and preview texts it uses are textbook examples of engaging, and this approach also transfers to the content within their emails.

Usually, a BuzzFeed email will consist of eye-catching images, engaging headings and descriptions, as well as CTAs. The goal of such emails is essentially to gain the attention of the reader while making them want to visit the BuzzFeed website for the full content.

Another aspect of email marketing that BuzzFeed made a smart decision on is subscriptions,  where it allows people to choose which campaigns they want to subscribe to while informing them of the type of content and frequency of the campaign emails. Talk about personalization!


Simple is the best word to describe Uber’s email marketing campaigns (and its service :)).

Uber’s emails, in most cases, come with a custom design, short yet engaging text highlighting Uber benefits, and a strong CTA.

The headings and CTAs used are very straight-to-the point which is great for people just skimming the content.

What’s more, the emails are highly relevant to the recipient as they are meant to serve as notifications about a new extension of the service or promotion.

From the two examples above, you can see the consistency in Uber’s emails when it comes to style – a style that is also used in their mobile app design. This is worth noting, as maintaining consistency across campaign emails as well as marketing channels is a great practice. 


Airbnb uses its emails to encourage recipients to interact and take action while maintaining a friendly and inviting tone by featuring some of the best homes Airbnb has to offer.

The company is also very clever with using the data that website visitors provide it with. So, for instance, if you used Airbnb to look for accommodation in a specific city but didn’t complete the booking, the next email you receive from them will most likely be related to the destination and the Airbnbs located there.


Taking an approach similar to Airbnb’s, Netflix uses a subscriber’s watch history to create emails featuring shows/movies the subscriber is/might be interested in.

In terms of design, Netflix takes advantage of the visuals related to the content you can stream on its website and sticks to its signature black and red colorway, thus giving recipients the sense as if they are scrolling through the streaming platform.

But it’s worth pointing out that you won’t find a lot of copy in Netflix’s emails, as it relies on letting the visuals communicate – a smart way to get recipients to visit the Netflix website and learn more.

Advantages of email marketing

You’ve read the definitions and seen the examples, but you’re still not sold on the idea of doing email marketing or putting more focus on it than usual? In that case, reading the list of advantages below might help you make a decision.

It’s cost-effective

Compared to other forms of marketing, the cost of email marketing is much lower. How so? Well, a basic email marketing campaign can be created with just an email template, some copy, and unique or original stock images. Plus, the whole creation process can be completed by one person if they happen to be a decent copywriter who knows their way around email marketing software tools.

So, if you’re tight on budget but still want to market your business, then email could just be your best and cheapest bet.

It allows for personalization 

Personalized messages are something that can’t be used in all types of marketing, but in email marketing, they are almost a standard. 

With personalization, your audience gets messages containing targeted content instead of something generic and not very engaging. And in case you are unfamiliar with what personalized emails look like, it can be something as minor as including the recipient’s name in the email greeting or as thorough as including details from the recipient’s interaction with your website (search history, purchased products/services, and so on) in the subject line, preview texts, copy, and visuals. 

It can drive sales

Email marketing campaigns that feature your products/services, offers, and promotions can influence the purchasing decisions of the recipients and, thus, your sales. On top of that, if you are using personalization, you can send emails to people who abandoned their shopping cart, encouraging them to come back and finalize the purchase.  

All in all, if used correctly, email marketing can be very effective at every stage of the sales funnel, so make sure to start building your database of old and new customers as well as prospects in time.

Its success is easily measurable 

Measuring the success of campaigns is quite easy in email marketing, thanks to the built-in analytics provided by most email marketing platforms. Through these analytics, you can see the open rate, bounce rate, conversion rate, number of unsubscriptions that occurred after the email was delivered, number of clicks the links/CTAs within an email received, your email marketing campaign’s CPM, and much more.

Having this type of information at hand will enable you to see where you went wrong in your campaigns and also to test different variations of the same campaign to see which performs better.

It has a high ROI

According to Oberlo, email marketing has the highest return on investment (ROI) among marketing channels- $40 for every dollar spent.

Source: oberlo.com

Add to that the fact that email marketing revenue is projected to hit 11 billion by the end of 2023, and you can clear any doubts about whether a good email marketing strategy will make you money.

Source: statista.com

It generates traffic for your website

Great content and offers on your website aren’t very effective if the website has no visitors. With email marketing, you can significantly increase how much traffic a website receives by sending emails containing links to fresh as well as evergreen content and new offers.

Of course, it’s a must to format these emails well and include enticing CTAs. This way, the recipients will be encouraged to actually visit your website and not just stick to reading the email.

Note: It’s important to highlight that the above holds true for businesses that have a pretty large email subscriber list. However, for the majority of businesses that don’t, garnering website traffic through email marketing won’t come as easily, and they will first have to work on building their email subscriber lists with the help of their website and using other means.

It allows you to reach an already-engaged audience

Unlike other marketing channels, the messages sent through email marketing are (in most cases) welcomed by the recipients as they have willingly entered their email address into a signup form and thus subscribed to a business’s email contact list. 

In other words, with email marketing, businesses target people who have expressed interest in their products/services – an approach that results in more campaign effectiveness and higher conversion rates.

Also, as many businesses segment their email lists and send different messages to different segments, they end up delivering relevant content to an already-engaged audience and thus build rapport as well as trust. 

Disadvantages of email marketing 

Quite an impressive list of benefits we covered above, right? Well, now that you are aware of them, you should also be aware of the disadvantages that come with email marketing. And those disadvantages include:

Dealing with high competition 

Due to its massive popularity, email marketing is a highly competitive field, with businesses often fighting to reach and engage the same people. And even if they are not your direct competitors, big businesses with recognizable domains that have mastered the art of email marketing will likely end up in the same inboxes as you, making your emails almost unnoticeable unless you find ways to stand out.

Adhering to spam laws

Spam laws are, without a doubt, a necessity, but they can also be somewhat of an annoyance when it comes to adhering to them in terms of email marketing. 

Most parts of the world have imposed strict spam laws that are not entirely the same, meaning you have to be aware of all of them in all the countries your email subscribers reside in; otherwise, you might find yourself unknowingly breaking a few and getting banned or fined heavily.

Getting sent to the spam folder

Although the word spam refers to all irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the internet, it is mostly associated with email nowadays.

Your marketing emails could end up being marked as spam for a few reasons, the two most common being:

  • Sending emails very frequently or not sending emails that are relevant 
  • Triggering spam filters used by email clients 

So, when sending out your emails, keep in mind that if you raise any red flags with recipients or email clients, chances are high that they’ll see you as nothing more than a spammer.

Having to adjust your email design to different screen sizes and email clients

Subscribers of your email list are definitely not all going to be users of the same device or the same email client, meaning that your email design might end up being displayed and rendered in all kinds of ways. 

Unfortunately, unresponsiveness and poor rendering are not only an eyesore; they also have a poor effect on clickthrough rate (CTR), conversion rate, and other email marketing success factors.

Burning out your email subscriber list

Launching email campaigns that are not well-thought-out one after the other could cost you one of your most valuable assets – your email subscriber list. 

How? Well, as one would assume, poor email marketing campaigns will irritate the recipients. And since these recipients have a readily available unsubscribe button in each email, as it’s a requirement in most countries, many might choose to simply click the button.

Over time, as more unsubscriptions happen, your email subscriber list could shrink significantly, causing the hard work you put into building it to go to waste and your emails to reach a much smaller audience.

Dealing with size issues 

When using email, you are limited in the amount of information you can include in one message due to imposed size limits. Also, even if you are within the allowed size limit, your email could take a very long time to load if you include a lot of images or attachments. 

This slow loading time could lead to frustration and overall disinterest in your emails by recipients.

Most important email marketing success factors

If you are a newbie or this article is your introduction to email marketing, by now, you might have the sense that terms like ROI, CTR, conversion rate, and open rate are something you should be well familiar with. And you would be completely right! 

These email marketing success factors are something you need to closely monitor to see how well your campaign and email marketing strategy, in general, are performing. And now, we’ll go over what each represents, how to calculate it, as well as satisfactory values you can use as goals to achieve.

Success factor nameDefinitionFormula for calculating Satisfactory value 
Open rateThe percentage of people who open an email belonging to a specific email marketing campaign.Email open rate = (Number of opened emails / Total number of emails sent) * 10020-30%
Clickthrough rateThe percentage of people who open an email and take action, like clicking on a hyperlink, CTA, or image within the message.CTR = (Number of clicks on email links / Number of emails sent) * 1002-5%
Conversion rateThe percentage of people who complete a goal action (purchasing, becoming a lead, etc.) after clicking on a link within an email.Conversion rate = (Number of email conversions / Number of emails sent) * 10010-20%
Return on investment The net profit generated from an email marketing campaign.ROI = (Revenue generated from the campaign* – Cost of the campaign*) / Cost of the campaign * 1004000% (average)
 *Net Profit = Total Revenue – Total Expenses
Cost of Investment = Original investment amount
Revenue generated from the campaign = Total revenue generated from conversions resulting from the email campaign
Cost of the campaign = Total cost of creating, designing, and sending the emails

Most popular email marketing types 

Marketing emails come in all shapes and sizes. Unfortunately, due to being too focused on crafting the right messaging, picking the optimal sending time, and so on, many marketers aren’t even aware of all the different types of email marketing campaigns out there or at what stage of the customer journey they should be used. This could lead to a lack of variety in your email communication which is key to engaging your audience and motivating them to take a specific action. 

To avoid that, we’ll quickly run through the most popular email marketing types.


Marketers use email newsletters to deliver company and/or industry news, offers, tips, and essentially any type of content the recipients will find valuable. Newsletters are sent out on a regular basis to people who have subscribed to receive this type of communication, thus keeping them up-to-date with the company and industry.

Frequency: For most businesses, the frequency of sending newsletters should be monthly or once every two-three weeks. This, of course, depends on the business’s target audience, the goal of the newsletter, and the content included in it. But, as a rule of thumb, the amount of time that passes between two email newsletters should be enough for you to create new valuable content and collect interesting additions such as links to webinars and events, company milestones, etc.

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Welcome emails

The purpose of a welcome email is quite simple – to thank the new subscriber for signing up, give your business an introduction, and let the subscriber know how often they should expect to hear from you. 

You can think of welcome emails as an opportunity to make a good first impression and start building your relationship with a subscriber.

Within welcome emails, in most cases, some company and/or product/service information is provided, as well as links to related social media pages and helpful resources such as faqs, onboarding materials, or case studies. On top of that, this type of email might also include a special offer or discount code using a QR code generator as a sign of appreciation.

Frequency: Not applicable

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Re-engagement emails

If you have inactive subscribers, re-engagement emails can help you remind them of your business and the value it provides for them.

These emails can include things like special offers, discounts, coupons, exclusive content, and similar. And in some cases, an email asking the subscribers to update their email preferences can also be sent as a re-engagement email.

To spot inactive subscribers, you should use engagement metrics such as click rate, open rate, etc.

Frequency: The time span between re-engagement emails should be around 4-8 weeks, which is just enough time for the recipient to not quite remember the last re-engagement email you sent. 

If you send a couple of these emails back to back, or very soon, one after the other, you might irritate the recipient, causing them to unsubscribe.

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Cart abandonment emails

If you’ve ever shopped online, chances are you’ve received an abandoned cart email. This kind of email is triggered by an uncompleted purchase process in an eCommerce store, and its goal is to remind the customer about the item(s) they left in the cart and give them a little nudge to complete the transaction.

Good abandoned cart emails are not pushy and should do the reminding in a friendly way.

Frequency: Abandoned cart emails can be sent more than once for a single purchase process, and the recommendation is to send the first email within 24 to 48 hours of the cart abandonment. 

The following abandoned cart emails can be sent every 3 to 5 days through a drip campaign for as long as you deem necessary or until the transaction is finalized/the item(s) are out of stock.

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Transactional emails

Although they aren’t technically marketing emails, mentioning transactional emails is important as they are part of an overall email marketing strategy and complement marketing emails.

Transactional emails fall under the category of confirmation emails and are sent after a customer/user completes a certain transaction – password change, sign up, order, etc. 

These are personalized and automated emails that usually contain a confirmation of the completed action, some information related to it as well as details such as the customer’s/user’s name, account information, and similar.

Within an email marketing strategy, transactional emails can be used to:

  • Upsell or cross-sell
  • Build brand awareness
  • Collect feedback
  • Nurture relationships

Frequency: Not applicable

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Product update emails 

Product update emails are very effective at informing customers/users about product changes such as new features, removed features, bug fixes, integrations, enhancements, pricing, and basically anything that will affect product usage.

Depending on the amount of detail provided in the email by the company sending it, the email could contain either just a simple copy explaining the changes or be as detailed as to include images, demos, and links to product landing pages, support articles, and other relevant things.

Frequency: Not applicable

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Post-purchase emails

Post-purchase emails are considered both transactional and marketing emails as they are triggered by a specific action taken by a customer but also provide an opportunity to engage with customers and encourage further action.

Through them, customers receive all the necessary post-purchase information, such as delivery and shipping details, product usage guides, and so on. This is when they take the form of transactional emails.

But post-purchase emails can also deliver upsell or cross-sell offers, links/forms for feedback submission, and more when used as marketing emails.

Implementing a well-structured automated system for these transactional emails not only ensures timely communication but can also guarantee an efficient delivery, since it provides customers with a seamless and informed experience from purchase to product receipt.

All in all, post-purchase emails serve as a great way to help build a relationship with the customer as well as customer loyalty and keep them updated on the status of their purchase.

Frequency: The first post-purchase email should be sent right after the completed purchase. Additional emails of the same type should be sent over the following days or weeks.

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Seasonal emails

Seasonal emails can include all (usually) promotional emails that are sent and themed according to specific upcoming events or times of the year. 

The goal of these emails is to engage the subscriber list, boost sales, and strengthen brand awareness. 

Within seasonal emails, you will most often find holiday greeting messages, discounts, deals, and season-themed product recommendations.

Frequency: Not applicable

Source: reallygoodemails.com

Steps for launching an email marketing campaign?

Considering how effective email marketing campaigns can be, it should come as no surprise that launching them is a multiple-step process. To familiarize you with all of the steps, we’ll now go through each one and explain what it entails.

1. Set clear goals/objectives

Earlier in the article, we introduced you to different email marketing campaign types, which are all intended to achieve a specific goal. With that said, to create a successful email marketing campaign and use the right type at the right time, you need to set goals you want to accomplish and make them clear. 

These goals will help you stay on course when creating copies, CTAs, etc., and will also serve as a benchmark for measuring campaign success.

2. Define your target audience and segment them

To create relevant messages, you need to get to know your audience so you can tailor messages to its different segments. 

When trying to determine who your audience is, you have to take into consideration a number of factors such as email list subscriber location, age, gender, occupation, purchase history, email engagement rate, and so on. Most importantly, you have to get to the bottom of why each subscriber decided to give you their email address and what they expect to gain from that.

Once you have all the necessary information, use it to divide your audience into appropriate segments, to which you can then send highly-targeted emails they are more likely to engage with.

3. Pick an email marketing platform

To run an email marketing campaign, you will need an email marketing platform (also referred to as an email marketing tool or email marketing service) that will enable you to reach your audience and achieve the goals you set. The platform of your choice should also provide you with marketing automation and insights into how effective your campaign is. 

The additional aspects to keep in mind when making your email marketing platform pick are the features and functionalities it comes with, which need to support your business needs, ease of use, and scalability.

So, before deciding on one platform, mark down your feature requirements, budget, as well as the size of your audience, and then test out any free email marketing platforms that might be a good fit and those that offer a free trial.

4. Create the content/copies

Creating email content is maybe the step where most of your focus should be, as content is what speaks to the recipient and what will encourage them to follow through with a desired action.

In the content creation process, you will have to take care of the subject line, preview text, and email copy for each segment of your audience.

As a general rule, keep the email copy original, in line with your brand’s voice, informative and short. 

Also, whenever possible, personalize the content for each recipient.

Lastly, if appropriate, add some humor to make your email stand out.

5. Schedule and launch

Once you have all the elements of your campaign ready, you’re just one step away from launching it! 

The last step is to pick a sending schedule. This is very important as having a sending schedule allows recipients to know when they can expect to hear from you, adding a dash of consistency to your campaign. 

But do keep in mind that this schedule shouldn’t be something that exists only in your head. Instead, it should be implemented using the email marketing platform you decide to go for, which usually comes with a built-in scheduling feature.

6. Monitor results

Campaign results are what is going to tell you how your audience is responding and whether you are close to reaching your goals. They will also help you do data-driven email marketing, learn from your past campaigns, and build more effective future ones.

Again, results should be directly available within the email marketing platform you are using, and they should consist of all the email marketing metrics we covered earlier (open rate, CTR, conversion rate, ROI), as well as bounce rate and unsubscribe rate.

Of course, you can choose to pay attention to other metrics, too; just make sure they are actually helping you understand how close you are getting to your goals.

Finally, result measuring should be done as often as you deem necessary, but let once per month be the minimum.

7. Test and improve

Whether it’s because of the constantly evolving trends in the industry, some minor errors in the creation process, or something completely different, your email marketing campaigns will never be perfect. And that is completely fine! 

To get as close as you can to perfection, you need to repeatedly test and improve your campaigns. 

What should you test exactly? As many campaign elements as possible – design, layout, copy, subject lines, preview text, CTAs, sending schedule, target audience segmentation, etc.

And what is the best method for the testing? A/B tests!

These types of tests will allow you to test different versions of the same email and compare the results in terms of effectiveness which then enables you to make the necessary improvements in future emails and choose the most effective version. What’s more, running A/B tests will not hurt your budget, as sending emails is relatively inexpensive.

Email marketing best practices

Whew! We have covered a lot thus far, but the most important part might be the one we have left – email marketing best practices. 

Regardless of what type of business you have or how you choose to go about your email marketing, the following best practices should increase your chances of running successful campaigns as they are universal but also tested and proven to work.

Never skip on personalization

Throughout this article, we have stressed the importance of personalization. So it should come as no surprise that using it whenever appropriate is the first best practice we’ll mention.

The simplest way to personalize an email is to address the recipient by name, and this is what many like to call “the bare minimum”.

Besides using recipient names, you should also be using dynamic content that matches the specific interests of each recipient. 

Of course, this personalization element is not something that should be implemented manually. Instead, your marketing platform should be taking care of it per your instructions.

If it’s advanced enough, the platform could even use a recipient’s browsing history and personal information such as their birthday, purchase history, and so on from your website to personalize emails even further.

That being said, it is important to note that although personalization is great, if it doesn’t improve the relevancy of the email, then it can be skipped.

Segment the audience

Personalization and segmentation go hand in hand, and that is why both fall under email marketing best practices.

The segmentation of your audience should start the moment you start building said audience. And while you can stick to basic segmentation based on demographics, location, and browsing history, you can also decide to take it a step further and segment based on email engagement, content preferences, emailing frequency, etc., to maximize the chances of your emails resonating with recipients.

Also, if you have access and are comfortable with using it, AI can also assist in the segmentation process and do it automatically for you based on a range of factors.

Make the subject line and preview text optimized

Once your email lands in someone’s inbox, it’s up to your subject line and preview text to entice the recipient to open it. And for that reason, you need to optimize them. 

Generally, subject lines should be 30 to 50 characters long (spaces included), give people a hint of what to expect within the email without revealing too much, but also urge them to an extent to open the email.

Preview texts, on the other hand, should be 40-140 characters long (spaces included) and work well with the subject line. 

It’s very important not to skip creating the preview text since email clients will otherwise generate it themselves using the first few lines of your email copy which isn’t the best solution.

Other tips that can be applied when writing both your subject lines and preview texts are:

  • Add some originality
  • Include dates and events to make things timely and inspire action
  • Put in the same amount of effort and detail as you do in writing your email copy

Include clear CTAs

Make sure your recipients know what action you want them to take without leaving much room for guesswork by including a clear CTA. If you fail to do so, they might take the wrong action, no action at all, or in the worst case scenario, decide to unsubscribe.

So, what does a clear CTA look like? The CTA text should be concise and about one to five words, while the button itself should be visible, accessible, and blend well with your email design.

It’s also a good practice to put your main CTA above the fold (the part of the email that is visible without scrolling).

Turn things mobile-friendly

The hundreds or even thousands of email subscribers you have are very likely not users of the same desktop or mobile devices. Yet, each of them expects your emails to display properly on their device. 

What this means for you in terms of design is that you need to make things mobile-friendly and responsive.

So, before you press “Send” on that next email campaign, make sure you preview how it looks on the most popular screen sizes.

Shoot out welcome emails

Raise your hand if you like a warm welcome! Trust us; we do too. So why not give your email subscribers exactly what they want by sending them welcome emails?

As mentioned earlier in the article, through welcome emails, you get to greet new subscribers, reintroduce yourself, and set the bar for what subscribers can expect from you. On top of that, these emails offer a great opportunity to redirect subscribers to your preference center, where they can modify what type of emails they receive from you and how often.

If you feel it’s necessary, you can also enhance your welcome email a bit by including some company history and behind-the-scenes, content recommendations, or a surprise discount/promotion.

Ditch the “No-Reply” sender email address

If you’re dealing with transactional emails only, then using the “no-reply” email address is fine, as it’s unable to receive any incoming messages. But when it comes to any other type of email you send to your subscribers, “no-reply” is a no-go. 

You see, “no-reply” email addresses give the impression that your email was sent by a bot, thus damaging the closeness you built with your target audience. In addition to that, the US CAN-SPAM – an act that established national standards for sending commercial emails –  forbids the use of the words “no reply” or anything along those lines as your sender name. 

Instead of “no-reply”, opt for using the company name or a personal one and encourage recipients to send replies so you can collect much-needed feedback.

Deliver emails at just the right time

Nailing the perfect time to send your emails will require getting to know your target audience very well and running a few tests. 

But before you gather your own data, you can also use the following research done by CoSchedule to send your emails at the most optimal time and day:

Best time to send a marketing email:

  1. 10 a.m.
  2. 9 a.m.
  3. 8 a.m.
  4. 1 p.m.
  5. 3 p.m.

Best day to send a marketing email:

  1. Thursday
  2. Tuesday
  3. Wednesday

Clean up your subscriber list regularly

Some uninterested subscribers will remove themselves from your email list on their own, allowing you to add them to your suppression list on time, while some might stay there indefinitely, ignoring your emails, thus ruining your IP reputation and putting you at risk of being seen as a spammer by ISPs.

To prevent this, take time to remove email subscribers who aren’t engaging with your emails as well as those causing soft bounces and hard bounces from your subscriber list. No, it won’t be the best feeling seeing the subscriber number go down, but in the long run, it should help improve your open rates and get valuable results when analyzing your campaign performance.

If this is too harsh for you, you can also decide to implement a workflow that moves subscribers onto subscriber list segments that are contacted more or less frequently based on their activity. Or you can attempt to re-engage inactive subscribers and ask them to express their interest in staying on the list.

Let people unsubscribe easily

Closely related to the previous best practice mentioned is letting people unsubscribe from your email list with ease which is also a requirement under the EU data protection regulation, GDPR. 

In most cases, the unsubscribe button can be found right next to the sender’s email address. And depending on the email service provider (ESP) you are using, it might be added automatically.

If this placement is not something you like, you can, of course, change it in your email design.

Now, when designing the unsubscribe button, steer clear of any deceptive tactics, such as using small fonts or hiding the button. This will only give people more motivation to hit the spam button instead. 

Also, you should not require logging in, filling out a survey form, or sending an email message for someone to be removed from your email list, as this will only lead to them becoming irritated by your email marketing efforts.

Implement a double opt-in email signup

Last but not least, make sure you are using a double opt-in email signup which consists of an additional confirmation step. 

With this, you will ensure that when someone initially adds themselves as a subscriber, they truly want to be one and want to receive emails from you. 

It will also help eliminate fake signups and improve your open rate, email deliverability, and, ultimately, your sender reputation.

Start your email marketing journey on the right foot

In this article, we did our best to cover all of the questions a newbie email marketer might have. And although we didn’t go into too much depth, the information provided should provide you with a sufficient overview to enable you to kickstart your email marketing journey or at least serve as the basis for further research on how email marketing works or any of the subtopics mentioned.

If you’re interested in further reading and content more technical in nature, we recommend checking out our articles on email infrastructure, shared vs. dedicated IPs, and domain reputation.

Good luck!

Article by Dzenana Kajtaz Technical Content Writer @Mailtrap

I’m a Technical Content Writer with an educational background in software engineering and 4 years of experience as a writer, editor, and content marketer. Currently, I mainly focus on writing about email infrastructure, sending, testing, and so on, but I do love creating fun and engaging content on email marketing topics as well.