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25 Essential Email Marketing Rules

By Deborah Kurfiss, Umbrella Communications & Content Director on Feb 16, 2024

Email marketing may not be new,  but it remains a cornerstone for your digital marketing clients to engage with their customers and get results.  Here, we outline 25 indispensable email marketing rules for launching and running successful campaigns. Ignore them at your peril.

1. Understand Your Audience

Before anything else, know who you’re talking to. Segment your client’s audience based on demographics, behaviors and preferences to tailor your client’s messages. According to Campaign Monitor, marketers have noted a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns.

2. Draw Them in with Compelling Subject Lines

Your subject line may be the most important part of your email. If it doesn’t speak to your client’s audience, they may never see the gold within. 47% of email recipients decide whether to open an email based solely on the subject line.

Hone the fine art of writing email subject lines that are catchy yet concise. It’s a good idea to use a tool such as that found at to evaluate the effectiveness of your subject lines.

3. Personalize Your Messages

Personalization goes beyond addressing the recipient by name. Tailor your email campaigns to fit individual user preferences as much as possible. It’s worth it. Personalized emails generate six times higher transaction rates and revenue per email than non-personalized email.

4. Focus on Deliverability

Ensure your emails actually reach the inbox. This is one of the most important of the email marketing rules. Regularly clean your email list to remove inactive subscribers and avoid spam filters. You may want to consider one of these 8 Best Email List Cleaning & Scrubbing Services for 2024.

5. Optimize for Mobile

With over 40% of all email now being opened on mobile devices, you must be sure you are optimizing your email design for mobile to ensure a good user experience.

6. A/B Test Everything

From subject lines to calls-to-action (CTAs), A/B testing helps identify what resonates best with your audience. Individually test key parts of important emails systematically before sending out your big campaign. A systematic approach can significantly improve open rates and conversions.

7. Use Eye-Catching Visuals

Incorporate relevant, high-quality images or GIFs to make your emails more engaging. Emails with images increase click-through rates by 42% compared to campaigns without images.

8. Write Clear and Concise Copy

Get to the point quickly. You never want to run on in marketing content, but it’s absolutely critical that you keep your emails short and sweet. Your audience just doesn’t have the time or inclination to wade through long email.

9. Use Social Proof

Testimonials, user reviews and case studies build credibility and trust, encouraging more subscribers to take action. In this, email marketing rules are not unlike your other marketing.

You don’t need testimonials in every email, but you should plan on how you are going to incorporate them into your campaigns.

10. Offer Value

Whether it’s insightful information, exclusive deals or personal recommendations, make sure each email offers something of value to your subscribers.

11. Make It Easy to Unsubscribe

Make the unsubscribe process simple and straightforward. It’s better to have a smaller, engaged list than a large, disinterested one.

12. Time Your Email

The best time to send an email varies based on your audience. Experiment and analyze performance data to find your optimal send times.

13. Write a Clear Call to Action

Your CTA should be obvious and compelling, guiding subscribers towards the next step you want them to take. Once again, this applies to any kind of marketing where you want your client’s customer to take action not just email marketing rules.

14. Maintain Brand Consistency

Ensure your emails reflect your brand’s voice, style, and values consistently across all communications. Subscribers should be able to quickly recognize your email both by its style and voice.

15. Automate for Efficiency

Leverage automation for welcome emails, transactional messages and personalized follow-ups to save time and maintain engagement.

16. Respect Privacy and Compliance

Adhere to laws and regulations. These may vary according to where you are located and where you are sending email. You will want to be aware of a host of regulations including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and CAN-SPAM, passed by the US Congress to address the problem of unwanted commercial electronic mail messages.

17. Monitor and Analyze Performance

Track important metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates to measure success and identify areas for improvement. It’s important to identify the goals of your email so track the important key performance indicators.

18. Engage with Inactive Subscribers

Sometimes customers fall away, but they may not be lost forever. Implement re-engagement campaigns to win back subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails in a while. Maybe they were out of the industry, out of the country, or had some other reason they stopped engaging. Don’t give up easily!

19. Keep Your Client’s List Warm

Regularly send valuable content to keep your audience engaged and prevent your list from going stale. You shouldn’t always be sending content aimed at selling. Send helpful content to help your clients to bond with their customers.

20. Leverage User-Generated Content

Incorporate content created by your audience, such as social media mentions or customer reviews into your email. User generated content helps enhance engagement and provide authenticity in all channels including email.

21. Experiment with Email Formats

Test different email formats such as newsletters, promotions and announcements. Track what your client’s audience best responds to.  It’s best to use a variety of formats, but this will help you decide how to weight their use.

22. Incorporate Interactive Elements

Polls, surveys and interactive images can increase engagement and provide valuable feedback from your subscribers.

23. Use Storytelling

We’ve talked about the tremendous power of storytelling before. Narratives and storytelling can make your emails more compelling and memorable, fostering a stronger connection with your audience.

24. Optimize for Speed

I’m sure we don’t need to tell you that people just don’t have the patience to stand by and wait for seconds while your email loads. Ensure your emails load quickly, especially the visuals, to prevent subscribers from losing interest.

25. Never Stop Learning

Stay updated with the latest email marketing trends, technologies, and best practices to continuously refine your strategy. If you don’t have time to do this yourself, consider white label email marketing by experts.

Help with Implementing Email Marketing Rules and Campaigns

Email marketing can deliver impressive ROI when executed correctly. By adhering to these 25 rules, your marketing agency can create email campaigns that not only reach their audience but also drive engagement, motivate conversions and generate loyalty.

If email marketing is not your focus, consider setting up a free consultation to discuss white label email marketing with Umbrella. You can schedule on the Umbrella website or by calling (866) 760-2638.


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