When you hear the phrase “email marketing,” you probably think of the millions of emails that clutter your inbox on a daily basis, screaming for you to open, open, open and buy, buy, buy.

As a consumer, the increase in email marketing over the last several years can feel seriously annoying. But when you’re considering email marketing for your business, there’s no getting around it: It seriously works.

According to Salesforce, 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies. For every $1 spent on email marketing, companies receive an average return of $44.25. And 93% of consumers get at least one permission-based email a day. (Pretty convincing stats, no?).

If you’re creating your first email marketing strategy or looking to revamp your approach, don’t let your email campaign be one that constantly gets deleted from your audience’s inbox. To make sure your marketing is effective as possible, try these four tips that I’ve borrowed from my favorite email-savvy brands.


1. Tell a Story

Sometimes, in an effort to be perfect and poised, we end up beating our messaging to a pulp in the process. We want to be articulate, impactful, SEO-friendly, professional, grammatically correct, and the list goes on. But in trying to tick all of those boxes, we often lose the real essence of our message.

Yes, you’re a serious business owner growing a serious business. But you’re also a human. And humans like to connect with other humans about human stuff. So instead of sending an email with your typical product jargon (“5 Techniques for Determining Your Innovative Core Competency”), share something you’ve experienced or learned recently and find a way to tie it into your business.

For inspiration, check out two of my all-time favorite email marketers, Nisha Moodley and Sarah Jenks. The subject of Nisha’s last email blast: “Introducing the 14-Day #FreedomAdventure (come play—it’s free!).”


2. Pay Attention to the Aesthetic

I love opening emails from online marketplace One King’s Lane because they’re absolute eye candy. The photography is beautiful, the style is simple, and there’s something luxurious in the design. In short, it doesn’t look or feel like an email; it feels like a Pinterest board.

Had the retailer used a traditional email template and listed out, in bullet points, details about today’s duvet sale, I probably wouldn’t keep an eye out for it every afternoon. In short: Plain walls of text won’t work; if you want your audience to pay attention, aesthetics matter.


3. Make Us Feel Special

Now that businesses have taken over our inboxes, consumers want to feel like they’re getting something out of it. The most successful email marketers understand this exchange, which boils down to this: For the opportunity to continue to flood my inbox, please give me something I can’t get any other way—a discount, an engaging piece of content, or a funny story.

Business coach Marie Forleo is fantastic at this. Each week, she emails a new episode of “Marie TV” to her community. Often, the email itself includes a funny anecdote or story related to the interview’s topic that doesn’t live anywhere but our inboxes. She makes me laugh on Tuesdays—with something unique that I can’t get anywhere else—so I keep myself subscribed to her newsletter.


4. Same Time, Same Day

We’ve talked about the importance of consistency in your messaging, and the same applies to your email marketing. You want people to fall in love with your content—so much that they make a habit of looking out for it.

For example, every morning at 5 AM, I get a #TruthBomb email from Danielle LaPorte. It’s the first thing I read when I wake up. If she posted them willy-nilly throughout the week, I’d still love them—but I wouldn’t build them into my routine.



Now, for the don’ts: If people have invited you into their inboxes, don’t send them 10 emails a day. Don’t overdramatize your emails (“You’ll never know happiness if you don’t check out our sweater sale!”) or scream at them (LAST CHANCE! 10%! DON’T MISS OUT!). Don’t promise anything in the subject that you’re not actually going to deliver in the email.

Most importantly, don’t lose your sense of humor. If you’re flooding your community’s inboxes throughout the workday, you better make those people giggle.


Photo of email courtesy of Shutterstock.