The Golden Rules to effective email marketing

Once you’ve read through the list of rules there is a downloadable checklist at the end of this page for you to use to see how your email marketing is doing.

1. Remember the difference between informational emailing and email marketing

Informational emailing is about communicating data about a product or service that has already been purchased ie changes to a service agreement or contract, providing purchase confirmation, e-invoicing etc. Email marketing is used to build relationships with existing clients (for reselling) or new prospects (to generate that first sale). The first is used in the process of selling a product/service while the second is used to increase the potential for a sale.

2. Comply with all anti-spam regulations

It is important to check policies in your area but generally this means:
  • Gain explicit permission from each individual on your customer/prospect list prior to sending them email.
  • If the prospect comes to you from a website or social media sign-up source, implement a double-opt-in process.
  • Provide an unsubscribe option on every marketing email sent out and act promptly on every unsubscribe request received.
  • If you are selling products to the European Union, you will also need to ensure you comply with GDPR regulations even if you are not a European citizen.
Tip: You can find the Canadian anti-spam guidelines here:

3. Don’t send “spontaneous” emails to your list

Every email you send is an opportunity for the recipients to decide whether or not to stay on your list. The list is fragile so treat it carefully.  Plan the email content and frequency of key campaigns up front so you’re not sending out last minute emails that you haven’t fully considered.

4. Not every email should be about “selling”

Pushing constant promotions on your clients (potential or existing) can be very annoying to a full inbox even if you believe you are offering them something of value. Instead, offering news about your industry, yourself, or other helpful information is more likely to prevent them taking that unsubscribe course of action and allow you the opportunity to connect again a few days, weeks or months later. The goal is to build a steady and trustworthy relationship.

5. Consider welcoming new subscribers with something useful and free

If someone has made the bold move to join your list, a nice welcome and a gift will be appreciated. It could be as simple as an open-ended money-off voucher or a downloadable document that provides some useful information or even a welcome video you create just for new subscribers on your YouTube channel. Whatever you offer, don’t put a time-limit on it – that’s the sort of pressure a new subscriber will not want – and ensure it really does add value to the client’s experience.

6. Do not share your list with anyone

Treat it like gold and respect the privacy of those who have or may do business with you. This is a huge trust issue. Sharing or selling your list with other businesses may also be against anti-spam policies in your area.

7. Keep emails short

You can always add a link to a fuller version on your website or maybe a longer video within the email. People have low attention spans, if they open up an email full of text, they are bound to click delete without reading.

8. Consider using an email marketing system

Finally, use an email marketing system to fully leverage both the power of creating a professional looking email, managing your list, and collecting emails via your website or a subscription box on your social media site. It’ll save you time in the long run and make managing unsubscribes and double opt-ins a breeze.
Tip: As a start, take a look at the free options offered by and, though there are many more options.
Why not download the checklist below and see how your email marketing is stacking up against our Golden Rules?



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