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Email Marketing Best Practices

June 7, 2023

One of the number one pieces of advice from entrepreneurs is to start building your email marketing from the beginning. From day one, you need that first-party data to communicate with your audience, build community, and eventually, monetize, if that’s your goal.

Email marketing can be a more effective tactic than social media. You never know when big tech companies will change their algorithm, affecting your ability to communicate and reach your audience.

Email marketing is a powerful tool for small, creative businesses to promote their products and services. Here, we list some of the key email marketing tips and strategies that are practical and actionable for small businesses.

Creating email marketing campaigns

Email Marketing 101

Email marketing should be a huge piece of your marketing strategy, but first, it’s important to understand the basics of email marketing.

How and Why to Leverage Email Marketing

Email marketing is the method of sending out marketing materials through email. This type of marketing strategy sees big numbers — according to Statista, about 319 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2021. They expect this number to increase to over 376 billion emails a day by 2025 as businesses continue to compete for inbox space.  

Your goals will guide the content you create and the frequency of your emails. Think about what you want to achieve with your email marketing campaigns. Do you want to increase sales, drive website traffic, or improve customer engagement?

You’ll also need to determine how often you want to send emails to your subscribers. This will depend on your goals, your audience, and your resources. Some businesses send emails weekly, while others send them monthly or quarterly.

How to Build Your Email List

Email marketing is a necessary part of your marketing strategy, but how do you build your email list? There are a few ways to gather emails:

  • Sign-up form on your website or landing page: Include a sign-up form on your landing page or link in bio, as well as on your website and other relevant pages, such as your "About" or "Contact" page.
  • Pop-up or slide-in form: Display a pop-up or slide-in form on your landing page or link in bio to encourage visitors to quickly sign up for your email list as they click through from your social media.
  • Incentive: Provide a compelling reason for people to sign up for your email list, such as a discount, a free e-book, or exclusive access to new products or services.
  • Social media: Promote your email list on your social media channels, encouraging followers to sign up.
  • Events: Collect email addresses at trade shows, conferences, or other events by offering a prize drawing or other incentives for people who sign up.
  • Referral marketing: Encourage your current email subscribers to refer their friends and family to your email list in exchange for a reward.
  • Exclusive content: Provide exclusive content or insider information that is only available to email subscribers to make signing up more attractive.
  • Partner with other businesses: Partner with other businesses or influencers in your industry to promote each other's email lists to reach a wider audience.

Remember to always make it clear to subscribers what they can expect from your emails, such as the frequency of emails and the type of content they will receive. Additionally, make it easy for subscribers to unsubscribe at any time.

Norby’s digital toolkit makes it easy to build your subscriber list. With Norby’s email marketing tools, you can create custom sign-up and opt-in forms that easily capture leads from your social channels.

Different Types of Marketing Emails

There are many types of marketing emails you can send, and each has its own purpose. Some of the most common types of marketing emails include:

  • Newsletters: Newsletters are regularly scheduled emails that provide your audience with updates, news, and insights about your business. They can include a variety of content, such as blog posts, product announcements, promotions, and industry news.
  • Promotional emails: Promotional emails are designed to promote a specific product or service. They can include discounts, special offers, or other incentives to encourage subscribers to make a purchase.
  • Transactional emails: Transactional emails are automated emails that are triggered by a user's action on your website or application. Examples of transactional emails include order confirmations, shipping notifications, and password reset emails.
  • Welcome emails: Welcome emails are sent to new subscribers to introduce them to your business and set expectations for what they can expect from your emails. They can include information about your business, links to your website, and calls to action to encourage subscribers to take further action.
  • Reengagement emails: Reengagement emails are sent to subscribers who haven't interacted with your emails or made a purchase in a while. They can include incentives or personalized messaging to encourage subscribers to reengage with your business.
  • Abandoned cart emails: Abandoned cart emails are sent to customers who have added items to their cart but haven't completed the purchase. They can include a reminder of the items in their cart as well as incentives to encourage them to complete the purchase.
  • Survey emails: Survey emails are sent to subscribers to gather feedback or insights about your business or products. You can use them to improve customer satisfaction and gather insights to improve your business.

Each type of email serves a specific purpose in your email marketing strategy. By understanding the different types of emails and their purposes, you can create a more effective email marketing campaign that delivers value to your subscribers and drives results for your business.

Key Elements of a Successful Email

Every successful email has three elements: the subject line, the body content, and the call to action.

Subject Line

The subject line is the first thing your customers will see. It needs to grab attention in an inbox full of other emails. The header should tell the reader what they’ll get if they open the email. If your subject line promises one thing but delivers another, your audience is less likely to click through, and your conversion rates will drop.

Body Content

The body content is the main portion of your email. The reason why you’re sending out the email goes in this section. If you’re sending out a newsletter, you’ll put updates here. If it’s a promotion, sales and deals will go in this section. The body content should create interest and urgency that segues into your call to action.

Call to Action

The call to action is the final and perhaps most important part of your email. This is the place where your audience will make a choice: to click through or not. Your call to action may change based on what your email is about but can be something like:

  • Download the e-book today!
  • Check out what’s on sale!
  • Register for our next event!

The call to action is what turns an audience member into a customer.

Email Marketing Best Practices

With so many emails being sent and received each day, you need to figure out how to make your emails stand out above the rest.

By following these email marketing best practices, you can create more effective email campaigns that deliver value to your subscribers and drive results for your small creative business.

Personalize, Segment, and Target

You don’t necessarily want to send the same emails to every single person on your email list. To help you achieve the best results, you need to personalize, segment, and target your emails:

  • Personalization involves tailoring your email content to the individual subscriber's interests and behavior.
  • Segmentation involves dividing your email list into smaller groups based on demographics, behavior, or interests.
  • Targeting involves sending the right message to the right audience at the right time.

Personalization, segmentation, and targeting are important because they help increase the relevance of your emails, improve engagement rates, and drive more conversions.

Write Effective Subject Lines and Preheader Text

The subject line and preheader text are the first things a subscriber sees in their inbox, so it's important to make them compelling and attention-grabbing.

Effective subject lines and preheader text are concise and specific and provide a clear value proposition. You can use AI tools like ChatGPT to help craft compelling subject lines to help increase open rates.

You should test your subject lines and preheader text to see what works best for your audience. If your email service provider offers A/B testing, you can test split your list or audience and test subject lines against it.

Create Engaging Email Content

Engaging email content can include storytelling, images, videos, and other interactive elements. The key is to create content that resonates with your audience, provides value, and encourages them to take action.

Using data you’ve collected and customer profiles you’ve developed, you can create engaging emails by:

  • Having a goal in mind for each email, such as promoting offers or updating your audience on your business
  • Creating urgency for offers and sales
  • Keeping your emails short
  • Finishing with an enticing call to action

You can also repurpose content from newsletters on your social channels or use top-performing content on socials and repackage it for emails.

Optimize Your Emails for Mobile

More than half of all emails are opened on mobile devices, making it super important that you optimize your emails for mobile.

To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Use a responsive design
  • Make sure text and images are easy to read on a smaller screen
  • Minimize load times

Make sure you check the file sizes of images so you can see what will work best with the email tool you’re using.

Test and Measure Your Email Campaigns

Testing and measuring your email campaigns allows you to see what works and what doesn't. You can test different subject lines, email content, and calls to action to see what resonates best with your audience.

Measuring your email campaigns allows you to track key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions and make data-driven decisions to improve your campaigns over time.

Norby’s digital toolkit includes advanced analytics so you can understand your audience and explore hidden trends.

Note that with the demise of third-party cookies and increasing data privacy, it's getting hard to trust open rates of email, though they're still an important metric.

Applying Email Marketing to Small Creative Businesses

As noted above, you need to have clear goals for your content and your email marketing and frequency. Once you've determined your email frequency, it's time to brainstorm content ideas. What topics will resonate with your audience? What types of content do they prefer: blog posts, videos, infographics, or something else?

Once you have your content ideas, it's time to create a content calendar. This is a spreadsheet or document that outlines the topics, dates, and types of content you‘ll be sending in your emails. Be sure to include holidays, events, and other relevant dates that might impact your email content.

You can use free tools like a Google Calendar and create a dedicated content calendar, a spreadsheet, or Notion, which has content calendar templates.

If you plan to include promotional emails in your campaign, be sure to plan them in advance. Determine the dates and types of promotions you will be offering, like Black Friday or holiday deals, and include them in your content calendar.

Finally, be sure to track your email marketing results so you can adjust your content calendar as needed. To do this, monitor your open rates, click-through rates, and conversions, noting the time of day and subject line. This allows you to see what’s working and what’s not. However, remember when looking at the stats here that there is a third-party cookie demise at play, which may distort your numbers.

Use this information to improve future campaigns by making changes to your content and frequency.


Email marketing is one of the most effective tools you can have in your marketing arsenal. Before you can start sending out emails, however, you need to build your list, understand your audience, and plan out your email campaign. You’ll also need to analyze the data from your emails to improve future campaigns.

Email marketing for small businesses is a great way to reach your audience without the fear of changing social media algorithms. It’s easy to get started: Sign up for Norby and start building out your email marketing toolkit with lead captures, landing pages, and more today!

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