The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing: 7 Best Practices for Winning Campaigns

Transform your email marketing approach with these tried and true tips.

How to Craft Irresistible Emails That Get Opened Every Time

Are you tired of sending emails that never get opened (or end up in the dreaded spam folder đź’€)? Whether you're a seasoned pro or a newbie in the world of email marketing, I've got some tips and tricks to help you craft killer emails that'll make your subscribers swoon.

7 Best Practices for Email Marketing

7 Must-Follow Rules for Email Marketing Domination

In this blog post, I'll share seven best practices to make your emails stand out like a glitter bomb in a plain white room (if that's the look you're going for). So get ready to take notes, and let's dive in.

Write a clear subject line

The subject line is the first thing that recipients will see when they receive your email, significantly influencing whether or not they open it. Here are some tips to help you write a clear and compelling subject line:

  • Be specific: Your subject line should accurately convey the content of your email. Avoid being too vague or general, as this can confuse recipients and make them less likely to open your email.
  • Use descriptive language: Use language that accurately describes the content of your email. This can help recipients understand what to expect and make them more likely to open your email.
  • Keep it short: Keep your subject line concise, ideally under 50 characters. This will make it easier for recipients to read and understand.
  • Avoid spammy or clickbait phrases: Phrases like "Act now!" or "Limited time offer!" can make your email sound like spam and reduce the likelihood of recipients opening it. Instead, focus on providing clear and accurate information about the content of your email.

Personalize your message

By addressing your recipients by name and using language that resonates with them, you can create a more personal and engaging experience that is more likely to capture their attention and encourage them to take action. Here are some tips for personalizing your email content:

  • Use personalization tags: Most email marketing platforms allow you to insert personalization tags, which automatically populate the recipient's name or other information into the email. This is a simple way to personalize your message and make it feel more personal.
  • Segment your email list: Consider segmenting your email list based on demographics or behaviours, such as age, location, or past purchase history. This allows you to tailor your message to specific groups of people and make it more relevant to their interests and needs. (I wrote a blog on this if you want to learn more.)
  • Use language that resonates with your audience: Pay attention to the language and tone that your audience uses and try to incorporate it into your email content to help your message feel more relatable and engaging to your audience.
  • Use behavioural triggers: Consider using behavioural triggers, such as abandoned cart emails or post-purchase follow-ups, to provide personalized messages tailored to the recipient's actions.

Keep it concise

The average office worker receives over 120 emails daily (seriously), so make sure your message is short and to the point. Here are some tips to make your email content clear, engaging, and easy to digest:

  • Start with a clear and compelling message: Your opening sentence should quickly convey the purpose of your email and capture the recipient's attention.
  • Keep your paragraphs short: Long blocks of text can be intimidating and overwhelming to readers, especially on mobile devices. 
  • Use subheadings, bullet points, and numbered lists: These formatting tools can help break up your content into smaller, more digestible chunks, making it easier for readers to scan your email and find the information they're looking for. (Need help figuring out where to start? Check out the Hemingway Editor—a free app to help you make your writing easier to read.)
  • Focus on one or two main ideas: Keep your email content focused on one or two main ideas or messages. This helps ensure your message is clear and not diluted by too many ideas or calls to action.

Provide value

Providing value to your email recipients is essential for building trust and establishing a positive relationship with your audience. Here are some tips for creating valuable email content:

  • Offer information or education: Share tips, news, or industry insights that are relevant and helpful to your audience. This can position you as an expert and thought leader in your industry.
  • Provide entertainment or inspiration: Depending on your brand and audience, you can provide value through humour, inspiring stories, or engaging visuals. This can help make your brand more relatable and memorable.
  • Offer special deals or discounts: Everyone loves a good deal, so offering exclusive promotions or discounts can provide significant value for your email recipients (make sure the offer is relevant and valuable to your audience).
  • Provide exclusive content or access: Offering exclusive content or access to your email subscribers can make them feel like VIPs. This can include early access to new products, behind-the-scenes content, or exclusive webinars or events.
  • Ask for feedback: Asking for feedback, opinions, or ideas from your email subscribers can help you understand their needs and preferences, which will help you create more targeted and valuable content in the future.

Use visuals

Incorporating visuals such as images and videos into your emails can be a powerful way to capture your audience's attention and make your messages more engaging. Here are some best practices for using visuals in your emails:

  • Use high-quality visuals: Your visuals should be high-quality and relevant to your message. Avoid using stock images that feel generic or irrelevant to your brand.
  • Optimize for mobile devices: Many people check their emails on mobile devices, so use images and videos optimized for smaller screens (so they can load more quickly).
  • Use alt text for images: Many email clients block images by default, so using alt text for your photos is important. Alt text provides a description of your image that appears in place of the image if it's blocked to ensure your message is still communicated effectively, even if your visuals aren't visible.
  • Use videos strategically: Videos can be a powerful tool for engaging your audience and communicating complex ideas. However, they can also be a barrier to engagement if they're too long or difficult to access. Consider using short, snack-sized videos that are easy to watch and understand.

Make it easy to take action

Calls to action (CTAs) are crucial to email content because they direct the recipient to take a specific action. Here are some tips for creating effective CTAs in your emails:

  • Make your CTAs prominent: Your CTAs should be clearly visible and stand out from the rest of your email content. Consider using contrasting colours, bold text, or buttons to make your CTAs more prominent.
  • Use clear and action-oriented language: Your CTAs should use clear and concise language that tells the recipient what action they should take. Use action-oriented verbs such as "Shop now," "Learn more," or "Subscribe" to make your CTAs more effective.
  • Use multiple CTAs: Consider using multiple CTAs throughout your email to increase the chances that your recipients will take action. Just make sure that your CTAs are spaced out and don't compete with each other.
  • Make your CTAs mobile-friendly: Many people check their emails on mobile devices, so it's important to make sure your CTAs are easy to tap and use on a smaller screen.
  • Make it easy to complete the action: Once the recipient clicks on your CTA, make sure the landing page is relevant to the email content and makes it easy to complete the action. This can help increase conversion rates and ensure a positive experience for your audience.

Test and optimize

Testing and optimizing your email content is important in creating effective email campaigns. Here are some best practices for testing and optimizing your email content:

  • Use A/B testing: A/B testing, or split testing, involves creating two versions of your email and sending them to a small segment of your email list. You can test elements such as subject lines, CTAs, visuals, and copy to see which version performs better. Once you've determined the winning version, you can send that version to the rest of your email list.
  • Test one element at a time: When conducting A/B testing, it's important to test only one element at a time to determine what's driving the changes in performance accurately. For example, if you're testing two different subject lines, ensure that the emails' content and visuals are otherwise identical.
  • Use analytics to track performance: Analytics tools like Google Analytics or email marketing platforms can help you track important metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Use this data to understand how your audience interacts with your emails and identify areas for improvement.
  • Continuously optimize based on results: Use the insights you gain from testing and analytics to optimize your email content continuously. This could involve changing your subject lines, experimenting with different types of visuals, or refining your CTAs.

How can Sitecore Send help?

Sitecore Send is like the Swiss Army knife of email marketing—it's got all the tools you need to create, send, and track emails that convert. With its personalization options, automation capabilities, and user-friendly design tools, Sitecore Send is the secret weapon that can take your email marketing to the next level. Plus, with a bunch of user-friendly design tools and branding options, your emails will look so good that your subscribers won't be able to resist clicking through. Have questions or want to chat it out? Let us know.


I hope you're feeling ready to take on the world of email marketing. Remember to keep it concise, add some visuals, and make those CTAs irresistible. And, of course, test and optimize as often as you can. With these best practices in your arsenal, you're sure to see some serious ROI from your email marketing efforts. But here's the thing: email marketing trends are ever-evolving, and what works today might not work tomorrow. So keep experimenting, keep testing, and keep honing your skills.

Now go forth and conquer the inbox!

đź‘‹ Hey Sitecore Enthusiasts!

Sign up to our bi-weekly newsletter for a bite-sized curation of valuable insight from the Sitecore community.

What’s in it for you?

  • Stay up-to-date with the latest Sitecore news
  • New to Sitecore? Learn tips and tricks to help you navigate this powerful tool
  • Sitecore pro? Expand your skill set and discover troubleshooting tips
  • Browse open careers and opportunities
  • Get a chance to be featured in upcoming editions
  • Learn our secret handshake
  • And more!
Sitecore Snack a newsletter by Fishtank Consulting

Meet Robyn James

Content Marketing Strategist | Sitecore Strategy MVP


Robyn brings over ten years of experience crafting impactful content marketing and communications solutions for a number of high-profile brands. With diverse sector experience—including healthcare, energy, tourism, hospitality, and telecommunications—she has a deep knowledge set and the ability to easily adapt to differing industry needs.

Robyn is adept at blending data-driven research with a pragmatic approach to creativity, delivering results that inform audiences, change perceptions, or inspire action. In her spare time, she enjoys digital painting, reading, and being a pet mom to her fluffy brood of three.

Connect with Robyn