Email Best Practices

Email Best Practices

Below are best practices for emails. The best way to determine what works for your company and your list is to test. Consider testing every part of your email (and update based on the data).

Subject Lines

  • Personalize – Use the recipient’s name or location
  • Quality – Be descriptive, use teasers, use questions
  • Shorter – Shorter subject lines usually perform better (target 7-9 words)
  • Subject lines are one of the main drivers of open rates. Studies indicate up to 50% of recipients open an email based on subject line.


  • Use the preheader
  • The text can be longer than subject lines, but many of the best practices for subject lines apply to preheaders.
  • Your preheader should work well with the subject line.
  • Preheader is almost as important as the subject line with open rates.

From Name/Email

  • Use a person vs. a company or department
  • Optimizing this will help with open rates.

Time of Day / Day of Week

  • Generally, Tuesdays and Thursdays are better days. But your list may be different.
  • Time of day will depend on your list. According to GetResponse, 9-11am and 3-5pm are 2 very effective time slots.
  • If you test and optimize on this, you will increase open rates.

Segment Your List

  • Segmenting your list will increase overall effectiveness.
  • Segmenting means to divide your list into different categories. These categories can vary depending on your list. Below are some examples:
    • By title
    • By industry
    • By company
    • By demographic data
    • By geographic data
  • The purpose of segmenting is to make the information more relevant to the recipient. For example, a CTO has very different concerns and hot buttons than an accounting manager. By segmenting, you can use their language and hit their hot buttons.
  • Segmenting your list will help with click through rates and overall conversion.

Messaging and Content

  • Understand your market.
  • Make sure the content you are creating is something your list is interested in.
  • Give away useful information, tools, etc. (via links to content on your website)
  • Make your email easy to read and easy to scan. Use bullet points, headlines, subheadings, etc.
  • By segmenting, you can tailor your message to use the same language your list would use. Keep in mind specific words they use, concerns, etc. This is why it’s important to segment your list.

Calls to Action

  • Have 1-2 calls to action and repeat them.
  • Inspire action with your copy.
  • Use buttons (keep verbiage on buttons short and use action words)


  • If you can personalize the email, you will typically get better results. Using the recipient’s name, company, location or other specific identifier has shown to increase open rate, click through rate, and overall effectiveness
  • You can personalize using your marketing automation or email marketing tool. Or, if your list is small, do this manually.
  • Personalizing the subject line will help with open rates. Personalizing the body will help with click through rates.

Clean your list

  • You should clean your list on a regular basis.
  • Remove people that are dormant or have not engaged with you in a specific timeframe.
  • Keeping a clean list will help increase deliverability, open rate, and click through rate.

Mobile Friendly

  • Many of your recipients use their phones or tablets to read emails.
  • Make sure your emails are mobile friendly (and you test on mobile devices)

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