From figuring out what to write in your emails to deciding when and how often to send, these best practices can offer the guidance you need to build an email marketing strategy for your small business.
But best practices are just the starting point.
When you’re first starting out, best practices provide the perfect foundation. Over time, you’re able to build on this advice to figure out what works best for you and your audience.
Below you will find a list of 125 email marketing resources to help you become a more effective marketer.
Is your business brand new to email marketing? Sign up for a free 60-day trial of Constant Contact’s easy-to-use email marketing tools.
We organized these resources by topic to make it easier for you to find the advice you need. If you have questions that aren’t answered below — let us know in the comments section.
We’d love to hear from you.
Why use email marketing?
If you still haven’t gotten started with email marketing, the first question you need to answer is whether or not it’s right for your business. You may want to see what other small businesses and organizations have to say about email marketing, and find out how email can complement the work you’re doing on other channels — like social media. These first five resources clear up some misconceptions about what email marketing is and how it can help you grow your business.
- [SlideShare] Why Use Email Marketing? 31 Reasons from Successful Small Business Owners
- 10 Eye-Opening Email Marketing Stats You Need to Know
- Why Now is the Perfect Time to Start Email Marketing (Even If You Don’t Have a List to Send To)
- 10 Things You’re Missing Out on by Using a Personal Email Account to Do Your Email Marketing
- 5 Email Marketing Misconceptions that Could Be Holding You Back
Getting started with email marketing
If you’re new to email marketing, you probably have questions about the best place to start. Hopefully you’ve already set up your account and uploaded your first group of email addresses. Next, you’ll want to learn some of the basics and prepare to send your first campaign. These resources can help.
- [Guide] Email Marketing Essentials: Reach Your Customers, Increase Loyalty, and Do More Business with Email Marketing
- I Just Started Email Marketing, What Are My First Steps?
- [Infographic] Before You Send: Your Email Checklist
- 5 Creative Email Marketing Ideas to Try
- 7 Free Resources to Get Better Email Marketing Results
Planning your email marketing
Creating a plan can change the way you think of your email marketing. You’ll be able to develop a schedule, set deadlines, and establish goals for your marketing efforts. This will not only help you improve your results but can also help you save time and stay organized in the process.
- How to Create an Email Marketing Plan (That You’ll Actually Stick To)
- [Template] How to Create a Successful Email Marketing Plan in Minutes
- How Creating a Plan Can Change the Way You Think about Email Marketing
- How to Create a Time-Saving Email Marketing Routine Right Now
- A Procrastinator’s Approach to A+ Email Marketing
Building your email list
90 percent of consumers like to receive promotional emails from the companies they do business with. The reason most businesses struggle to get more of these people onto their list is that they don’t have the right plan to help them do it. From collecting email addresses in-store and at events, to growing your email list online — through your blog, website, and social media channels — there are plenty of ways for you to build an email list. These resources will help you create a plan that fits your business.
- [Video] Why Should You Build an Email List?
- The Ultimate Guide to Growing a Massive Email List
- [Worksheet] How to Ask for Email Addresses (A Simple Script that Works Anywhere!)
- 15 Creative Ideas to Grow Your Email List
- One Big Mistake You Don’t Want to Make When Growing Your Email List
- 9 Expert Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook
- Checklist: Grow Your Email List, Grow Your Business
- 5 of the Best Tools to Build Your Email List Online
The importance of permission
The best marketing strategies start with making sure you’re getting permission before adding new contacts to your email list. When you ask for permission, you show your audience that you appreciate their privacy. You also avoid communicating with people who aren’t interested in hearing from you, which results in fewer opt-outs and spam reports. Most importantly, you’ll be in compliance with important legislations like the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and the CAN-SPAM Act in the US.
- [Guide] How to Get (and Keep) Email Permission
- How Purchased Email Lists Can Destroy Your Email Marketing
- What is CASL?
- Everything You Need to Know About Permission-based Email Marketing
- How to Make People Hate Your Email Newsletter
- [Video] Why You Should Only Send Email to People You Know
Managing your email contacts
All of your email contacts are not the same. They have different needs, interests, and reasons for doing business with you. By taking the time to collect information about your email audience, you’ll be able to create messages that are more relevant and interesting to different groups of people on your email list. You’ll also have higher opens and more opportunities to drive meaningful business results beyond the inbox.
- Are You Getting the Most You Could Be from Your Email List?
- What’s the Difference Between Email Lists and Tags?
- 4 Ways to Segment Your List to Get the Right Message to the Right Audience
- All Contacts On Your Email List Are Not the Same (And Why Their Differences Matter)
- 3 Ways to Make List Segmentation Work for Your Nonprofit
- How to Market with a Personal Touch (Even When You’re Speaking to Different Audiences)
- The More You Know, the Easier It Is to Inspire Action with Email
Understanding your spam risks
Spam reports can damage your reputation and make it difficult to get your message in front of your target audience. Luckily, there are best practices you can follow to limit the risk of having your emails marked as spam.
- 6 Mistakes that Can Get Your Emails Marked as Spam (Even if You’re Not a Spammer)
- Is Your Email Reputation at Risk?
- 5 Tips to Increase Your Email Deliverability
- Can I Send Emails to a List I Got from Another Business?
Using your email reports
You don’t have to be a data enthusiast to use your email reports. With a basic understanding of the terminology and a plan to put your data in action, you’ll be able to approach your reports with confidence and gain the insights you need to become a better marketer.
- How to Master Email Measurement in 3 Easy Steps
- [Glossary] 10 Email Marketing Terms You Need to Know to Improve Your Results
- [Worksheet] How to Measure the Business Impact of Your Email Marketing
- How to Interpret Your Email Marketing Results (Without Spending All Day Doing It)
- How to Measure Email Marketing Beyond Opens and Clicks
- 6 Reasons Your Emails Have Bounced (And What to Do to Improve Your Bounce Rate
Improving your email open rate
Getting more email opens starts with making sure you’re providing valuable information that’s interesting and relevant to the people you’re trying to reach. From there, you can build on your strategy by finding the right sending frequency and deciding the best time to send.
- 5 Simple Strategies to Improve Your Email Open Rates
- When is the Best Time to Send Your Email Marketing Campaign?
- Improve Your Open Rates with One Simple Tweak
- [New Data] 3 Proven Tactics to Increase Your Email Open Rate
- Can Resending an Email Improve Your Open Rates?
- How Often Should You Email Your Customers?
- Help, My Contacts Aren’t Opening My Emails!
Using your click-through rates
While your open rate tells you how many people clicked to open your email, your click-through rates will tell you how many people take the next step and engage with a link within your email. Paying attention to your click-throughs will help you determine if your messages are resonating with your email audience and will also help you determine which offers and content your readers are most interested in.
- New Data: How the Amount of Text and Images Impact Email Click-Through Rates
- 7 Things You Can Do to Significantly Improve Your Email Click-Through Rates
- How Your Click-Through Rates Can Help You Create More Effective Email Content
- How to Optimize Your Emails to Get More Meaningful Click-Through Results
Crafting email subject lines
Your subject line is one of the most important lines in your email because it’s the first thing people see when you land in their inbox. The following resources will provide tips for writing effective subject lines and offer examples to help you craft a subject line that gets opened.
58. 11 Surefire Secrets to Standout Subject Lines
59. Improve Your Open Rates With These 12 Subject Line Tweaks
60. 15 Truths You Must Know To Create Almost Perfect Subject Lines
61. [Cheat Sheet] 12 Ideas for Super Subject Lines
62. 15 Subject Line Examples for Your Email Marketing
Coming up with content ideas
You know you need to communicate with your audience on a regular basis, but how do you figure out what to send? One of the best places to start is your audience. But you’ll also want to identify the different sources of content you can pull from when you run into writer’s block.
- How to Create Engaging Content by Writing to One Person
- How to Create and Find Engaging Content That Has Nothing to Do with What You Sell
- 20 Places to Find Email Content — It’s Closer Than You Think!
- I Can’t Find Enough to Say In My Email, Where Do I Turn for Email Content Ideas?
How to write email content
You know what you want to write about, but you’re worried that you don’t have the skills to develop content on your own. The good news is that you can create engaging email content (even if you think you’re a horrible writer). The following resources will provide tips for planning and developing email content that will lead your readers to take action.
Choosing email templates
Choosing an email template is the first thing you’ll need to do when you’re ready to design an email. These customizable templates are designed to make it quick and easy to get your message out to your audience. Once you find the right templates for your email marketing, you will be able to rely on them to help you save time on future emails, as well.
Email design essentials
Email marketing services, like Constant Contact, give you the tools you need to create emails that look great in any inbox. Once you get familiar with how these tools work, you can make decisions about how to design your emails. What colors or fonts will you use? How will you incorporate your brand? How can you organize your layout to make it easy for people to read? The following resources will help you answer these questions and more.
- [Guide] How to Design the Perfect Email Newsletter
- How to Design Emails to Drive More Action
- [Checklist] 7 Essential Elements of Email Design
- How to Brand Your Emails So that You Look Like a Pro in the Inbox
- How to Use the Right Images in Your Email Design
- How to Choose the Right Colors and Fonts for Your Emails
- 7 Email Newsletter Design Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making
- How to Make It Easier to Read Your Emails
Adding images and video
Adding visuals to your emails is one of the best ways to stand out in a crowded inbox. Images help grab your readers’ attention and connect with people in a way that text alone cannot. Videos can personalize your message and tell your story in a whole new way. These resources will provide tips for finding and creating images, and help you avoid common mistakes when adding photos and videos to your email messages.
- 7 Tools for Creating Better Holiday Images
- Create Original Images for Your Emails with Artworktool
- 10 Ways You Can Use Images to Bring Your Emails to Life
- How to Use Animated GIFs in Your Emails
- 9 Ideas for Adding Video to Your Email Marketing Strategy
- 6 Expert Tips for Using Video in Your Next Email
- Avoid These 6 Common Mistakes When Adding Images to Your Email Marketing
More than half of all emails are now read on a mobile device. This is good news for businesses trying to stay connected with current and potential customers, but it also means you need to make sure your emails look great on any device. Find out how you can harness the power of mobile and adapt your email marketing strategy for today’s increasingly mobile world.
- What is a Mobile-Responsive Email Template? (And Why You Need One)
- How to Design Emails for Small Screens and Short Attention Spans
- The Easiest Thing You Can Do to Get More Email Opens on Mobile
- 5 Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails
- What Happens When You Are Not Mobile Friendly?
- Making the Switch to Mobile: 3 Small Business Success Stories
Combining email and social media
Email and social media have reshaped the marketing landscape for small businesses. But as valuable as these channels are on their own, the results that come from using them separately barely scratch the surface of what they offer when used together. The following resources will help you better understand the relationship of these two marketing channels and provide tips for creating a plan that incorporates both.
- 3 Small Business Marketers Share Their Social Media & Email Marketing Secrets
- 3 Ways to Use Social Media to Grow Your Email List
- 4 Tools You Need to Create an Email and Social Media Marketing Calendar
- Use This One Little Trick to Get More from Your Social Media Marketing
- 3 Reasons to Use Facebook Ads to Promote Your Emails
Automating your email marketing
Adding automation to your email marketing can help you save time and generate deeper engagement with the people on your email list. One of the most important ways to add automation to your email marketing is with your welcome email, which will be sent to new subscribers when they join your email list. You can also use automation to create a series of emails to introduce new clients to your business or to reward long-time customers with exclusive content and offers. The following resources will help you add automation to your email marketing strategy.
- [Guide] How to Put Your Marketing on Autopilot with Autoresponder
- 4 Things Your Welcome Email Must Do (and Probably Doesn’t)
- How to Use Email Marketing Automation, Without Turning Your Subscribers Off
- 3 Emails Every Automated Welcome Series Must Have
- How to Engage New Email Contacts, Right from the Start
- 3 Ways to Automate Your Email Marketing this Holiday Season
Promoting emails beyond the inbox
One of the best ways to promote your emails beyond the inbox is to share them on your different social media channels. But you can also take that a step further and pay to promote your emails to a wider audience. Facebook Advertising is a great example of this. Facebook Ads let you target your message to a specific audience on Facebook as a way to generate more exposure for the messages you’re sending out.
Nonprofit email marketing
Whether you’re looking to drive immediate donations or build relationships with supporters and volunteers — email marketing is one of the most effective communication channels for nonprofit organizations. These resources will provide best practices for adding email marketing to your nonprofit’s communication strategy.
- 5 Tips Nonprofits Can Use to Harness the Power of the Inbox
- Set Up Your Monthly Giving Marketing Plan in 4 Simple Steps
- The 5 Essential Elements of a Fundraising Email
- How to Create a Welcome Series for New Donors
- How to Prepare for a Successful Year-End Fundraising Campaign
- How Long Should Your Email Be? New Data for Nonprofit Associations, Membership Organizations, and Religious Organizations
- The 5 W’s of Effective Nonprofit Email Marketing
Email marketing success stories
Seeing how other small businesses and organizations have achieved success with email marketing is one of the best ways to identify new opportunities for your own marketing strategy. From using email marketing to build brand awareness to creating a newsletter that generates new leads on a monthly basis, these resources will provide real-life examples of how email marketing can work for you.
- How to Keep Your Business Competitive With Email Marketing
- How to Use Email Marketing to Build Your Membership Organization
- How to Use Email Marketing to Build Brand Awareness
- From Snail Mail to Email: How One Spa Made the Switch to Digital and Saw Great Results
- 4 Ways to Make Customers Crave Your Emails
- How One Law Firm Uses Constant Contact to Build Client Relationships
Use these email marketing best practices to fuel your marketing!
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2015 and has been updated for relevancy and accuracy.