Your email marketing checklist

So you just heard that email marketing works?

And now, you want to give it a shot – more so after reading that – email marketing brought in average $40 for every $1 spent.

But to email people – you need a list of email ids. In my world creating a good list of email ids takes time, care and effort.

Not it yours. You got 10-15 industry magazines, newspaper and starting noting the website urls of your potential customers and then a friend told you that you can buy a big list for minuscule amount of money ~ 1 million email ids for $100.

You started dreaming about riches, about the times when you will press the send email button and automatically there will be millions in your back account.

While doing it – you educated yourself, wrote a good email and send the press button in email marketing software of your choice.

You could not sleep that night thinking that phone will not stop ringing tomorrow and that your email inbox will be full of product sales updates and requests.

You got up and even before getting into your office you checked your email inbox – of course it was full. You could not believe your eyes and opened first email. It was an update that someone unsubscribed.

You opened next one thinking that this may be a one off email. But it was not – 1st, 2nd. 3rd email after email – about someone subscribing. Some even calling you out for being a spammer.

You dreams of untold riches were shattered.


But all is not lost.

There is a way out and there is actually tons of wealth, good will and happy customers messages – if you it right.

Here are some basics and ideas about how you can do it right.

Know that size of your email list matters but not until it is a quality list.

You need to nurture and not spam your list. You need to maintain a descent dialogue with your prospects, and convey the right message to the right people at the right time.

Even after you start with right intention, you will notice two main challenges that email marketers face.

  • Email going in reader’s spam box
  • People not clicking on your links

Why people do not click on your links. May be the color and design is not trustworthy. May be content of your email is not compelling enough to drive users to click. We will see.

Before we talk more about finding a remedy to this situation, let us first understand what email marketing is.

What is Email marketing?

Here is a bookish definition (fairly accurate though) 🙂

“Email marketing is sending out direct commercial messages including ads, offerings or business requests directly to the customers through an email, in order to build brand awareness, encourage customer loyalty, build trust, inform about new product launches, etc.”

Email marketing can be used to connect with your existing customer base as well as to share info with new prospects/ cold lists. There are two types of emails – direct and transactional.

Direct Emails: In this a marketer emails send an email to customers/prospects – to communicate a promotional message or an announcement related to schemes and offers. This can be done by a company’s in-house employees or outsourced to experts outside.

Transactional Emails: Transactional emails are the ones – sent out after a customer takes a action with a company’s product (mostly software) or service. For example – when you sign up for an account with Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter and the email that you automatically receive saying “thanks for joining” is a transactional email.

Check out more about transaction email.

Goals of Email Marketing

  • Compel audience to open email and read it
  • Evoke a response
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Convert readers into customers

Whenever you design a promotional email, you always need to consider the following:

  • Subject line: It is most important – if you do not have a relevant subject line. Here is an interesting comparison by mailchimp of various types of subject lines. 
  • How it looks. Here simple trumps complex
  • The words you use means copywriting.
  • The emotion you want to evoke and action you want your readers to take

Guess now you know a fair bit about email marketing game. Time to dig in and explore details.

Do you have the permission?

Ask yourself.

Make sure that you are not spamming people and that you have permission to send them email. Either they subscribed on your website or gave you there card and said that you could email them. This is the most important thing to know.

Your Words Matter

When you write an email for your email marketing campaign, choose your words with care.

If you are just getting started with writing, this evergreen post on how to write well should help. Of course shitty first draft works – but in subsequent drafts fine tune what you wrote. Use active over passive, simple over complex. No jargon, no fluff. Be all about total value, clear message and a compelling call to action.

If you have to sell – do it with your words but do it gracefully. Do not shout by using all caps and tons of exclamation marks.

Go for Clean Design

Appearance matters. If you’re under the impression that good content can beat anything and it will be a success no matter what, it’s time to change your perception. It is true that quality content works but it works better with a good design and visual appeal.

So, focus on the layout and design of your email. Use images that are relevant. When you become better at this craft, go and use images create cognitive dissonance and pull the reader in. Better, if you email has clear segments. Text grouped around a theme, or a block about product feature, one for testimonial and other for your offer.

A clear Call to Action (CTA) helps

You wrote a good email and got a good design. Your prospect is now reading it. Now what? This is the answer you give to your customer by showing a clear call to action. If you want the prospect to buy a product online – say so. For example, CTA for a purchase decision can be “Buy Now” or “Learn More”.

Or you many want an existing customer to refer her friends. Ask for whatever your want the user to do. Also one CTA per email – do not ask a customer to buy from your website and refer friends at same time. You can ask for referral after the users have gone to your website and bought from you. But not before that. Not 2 CTA in one email.

Think of readability

Never send an image as your email.

It may be visually pleasing. But these days most of (web) email clients – gmail, yahoo – block images. So go for a mix of text and images. More text and less images – so there even if a reader cannot see your image – she can read what you have to offer.


Not that important but it helps.

If you have your logos in your email then it helps your users remember you and strengthen your brand – given that your product or service is good.

Hope you are ready to get started.

Whenever you stuck come back to this email marketing checklist and get going.

If you have questions or need guidance about your next email campaign, say hello and ask your question 🙂

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