Email Marketing Best Practices in 2016

woman sending email and buying online

2016 is here! New year, New life, New best practices!!!

Email marketing is getting harder by the second, imagine that by the year!

With this New Year of 2016, I´ve took the time to write the biggest RED FLAG´s of email marketing practices.

I like to keep it simple & clean, so I´ll just focus on 5 major issues:

  • Subject Lines
  • Content & Copywriting
  • Segmentation
  • Frequency
  • Mobile everything

So, let´s start with the first:

Subject Lines you should not use!

We all want to be edgy, new, and futuristic. Deep down, to differentiate from the herd…right?

Sure, but your Picasso vein has a time and place and maybe (just maybe…) your newsletter subject line isn´t the right place to put it to a test.

Remember your subscriber’s aren´t your childhood friends. They´re most likely individuals that share some common interest with you but only to a certain point so, refrain from sending shady, obscure, ironic subject lines.

Keep it professional. Explain exactly what you´re selling / advertising / communicating and do that with courtesy. There are several words you should not use, here are some of them…

Avoid using:

  • Buy Cheaper, Huge Discount, $ Off,
  • Bargains, Offer, Cheap, Sale, Stock-off and similar discount-related terms
  • $, €, %, !!! or any other punctuation
  • Invest, Investment, Funds, Cash,
  • Affordable, Save, Trust fund,
  • Credit, Money, Loan and similar
  • Ads, Spam, Junk, Traffic, MLM, Multi Level,
  • SEO, Search Engine, Increase, Freemium and similar marketing-related terms
  • Hidden, Password, Stop, Success and similar generical terms
  • All adult-oriented terms
  • Several pharmaceutical terms
  • Several medical terms
  • Urgency terms
  • Everything free-related

Content & Copywriting

Are you too lazy to write your own amazing and original content?

Great! Stop trying to have a website or blog then…

If you´re copying what someone else has written, why should someone go to you and not rather go to the original content instead?

This goes for content in webpages, articles, opinions and communication channels such as your email marketing campaigns.

Don´t be one more of the same. Be yourself and for sure, you´ll find YOUR audience. If you copy another website, another newsletter, you´re asking to get out of business fast because there´s nothing special about you to offer your subscribers / customers.

Segment, Segment…Segment!

For the content sake, don´t send everything to everyone!

We´re not all yellow and we sure as hell don´t all love yellow, so please don´t shove yellow emails down your customer´s inbox, assuming every single subscriber in your email database loves the same thing.

One easy way to stop doing this and really adding value is by simply adding subscribing options whenever someone decides to subscribe your newsletter.

Eg. Subscribe our newsletter by clicking one or more of the following:

  • News & Stories
  • Online Marketing
  • Paid Search
  • Social Media
  • All the above

This will help you understand which customer is interested in what and then deliver the relevant and more engaging content to its rightful recipient.

Frequency: too much is too bad…

Simply because someone loves chocolate cake, that doesn´t mean he or she would eat chocolate cake every single day of the week, don´t you agree?

Now that you establish that you have readers interested in your content – why else would they subscribe – setup the standards of communication.

Speaking for experience, even if you love a specific topic, that doesn´t mean you want to receive daily or even weekly emails about it.

Give you readers a chance to choose. Just set up a simple but very effective option on subscription:

  • Daily digest (newsletter sent once a day)
  • Weekly digest (newsletter sent once a week)
  • Monthly digest (newsletter sent once a month)
  • Hit me with everything you got (for fans @ our disclosure)


Is there any doubt that 2015 was the year of mobile?

Back in October 2015 Google announced that mobile searches had finally surpassed desktop searches. If literally everyone is using a mobile device to access data, why should you keep optimizing just for desktop?

Ten years ago there was no such thing has a smartphone or a tablet, but they´re no part of our life an most important, our communication habits. The hours of day we access data with it, the type of usage and data we consume through it are of the utmost importance for all type of business. This is remarkably truer and doing nothing is not an option…

Earlier in 2015 Google released a new algorithm change that many quickly named as Mobilegeddon (mix between Mobile and Armageddon). It was basically a mobile friendly update that showed the world the importance Google attributes to a good, mobile friendly website.

What is true for websites applies at the same level to your email marketing campaigns. Chances are a little over 50% of your overall email traffic will be coming from mobile devices, so for me it´s a no-brainer. Hope you feel the same!

Not sure your website is mobile friendly? Check here!

Want to check if your newsletter is mobile ready? Check Litmus software.


To conclude

This is it! I´m pretty sure you can find tons of information related to email marketing procedures, but I´m just not in the mood for big, hard to read articles.

We will later talk about deeper levels of segmentation, like Remarketing associated with email marketing, and the use of less or more images or text within the email body.

Also take in consideration that Spam laws are similar from one country / continent to another, but simple tweaks in the law can make a very big difference so be sure to read all applying laws in your case.

Just to be sure, you can also check these useful links:

Definition of Spam

European Union Anti-Spam Laws

United States Anti-Spam Laws