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Email Etiquette for Marketers: 101

Email marketing is a lucrative channel. Compared to others, it has the highest conversion rates.

Some email marketers, though, are too focused on one thing: making a profit.

As a result, they don’t recognize flaws in their methods. They’re relentless, and while their determination is admirable, their frequency is annoying, invasive, and perceived as downright rude.

Are you one of those over-vigilant email marketers? 

If so, don’t be surprised if your email campaigns result in lower conversion rates (not to mention a hostile take on your brand).

Fortunately, you can refine your email ways by learning the best email etiquette tips, which we are here to share with you.

Write clear subject lines

An email subject line is the first thing a recipient sees. If crafted clearly and concisely, it can increase open rates and conversions, build trust, and gain benefits.

  1. $12,356 from just one simple funnel. Here’s how
  2. Do this and get your blog post shared 127X times
  3. Master this sales technique or let your business die
  4. 427 more affiliate sales per month? Yes, please!

When you look at those examples, you should see one thing that creates clarity: concrete statements. Creating crisp, specific statements is one of the strongest email subject line tips you’ll ever receive, so take it to heart. 

But wait…

Regardless of how clear your statement is, don’t make bold claims if you can’t support them (with, you know, reality).

Misleading claims leave a sour taste in readers’ mouths and put a major dent in your brand’s trustworthiness quotient. Not only will your recipients avoid replying to your email, but excessively bold or unsupported claims can cause a rise in the unsubscribe rate. 

Here are a few more misleading tactics to avoid:

  • Don’t add “RE:” – Using “RE:” suggests a reply. This should only be considered a subject line if an email recipient initiates a conversion (and the email contains an authentic reply).
  • Avoid fluff – Be straightforward. And tell recipients the purpose of your email early on.
  • Get rid of fake hype and fake scarcity – Keep matters professional. And don’t overpromise.

Introduce yourself

Tell recipients who you are and what you do. Keep it brief, then inform them of your email’s intention.

That gives them an idea of what they’re about to get into. And it establishes a personal and professional rapport between you and the person reading the email.

Tips for introducing yourself:

  • Be catchy and brief – Present yourself in a friendly, respectable, and memorable manner. And strive to leave a positive impression.
  • Maximize your email’s signature section – Include links to your social media accounts, latest blog post, Calendly appointment scheduler page, and more. Consider using a tool like Wisestamp to help you create a signature that introduces yourself effectively. 
  • Use a humanized “from” and “to” email address and name. “Eric Robbins” is much more personal-feeling than “Acme Marketing Dept.”

Establish transparency

Avoid emailing people with marketing offers — or any agenda — out of the blue. And don’t beat around the bush instead of telling them your purpose.

Approach the process this way:

What to doWhy
For the cold email outreach process:Inform recipients how you got their email addressIt allows them to know how you found them. It also gives them a reason to continue reading your email.
For email subscribers:Indicate how they subscribed to your site or how you got them on your listIt shows they provided you with their contact details voluntarily and that you didn’t add them to your list without their permission.

Talk to people like… real people

One of the reasons an email gets flagged as spam is because a marketer didn’t refer to a recipient by their name. 

Instead, they wrote something generic like “Hi friend” or “Dear Operations Manager.” For many people, if a stranger calls you a friend, or if they want your attention but don’t bother to learn your name, it’s perceived as either lazy or insulting. Possibly both. 

And if you use salutations carelessly in your emails, it shows you handle English poorly, which makes your recipients suspect you’re an off-shore marketer engaged in massive amounts of spam. 

So don’t do that.

Besides, part of an effective cold email outreach process is writing an engaging copy that compels people to a real message or idea — your real story. 

So, what better way to do this than to write as if you’re talking to a real person? (Which, by the way, you are.)

How to write your emails:

  • Use conversational language – Identify your target audience. It will help you use the right tone and a voice that resonates with them.
  • Avoid spammy language and damaging words – In marketing, words like “Click Below,” “Increase Sales,” and “Member Offer” are thought of as spammy words. If used without context, you could say the same about words like “will not believe,” “free,” and “one-time mailing.”
  • Thank them – As a parting remark, be grateful to the recipient. It shows you appreciate that they took the time to read your message.

Avoid using “no-reply” email

Effective email communication isn’t one-sided. Instead, it involves at least two people: the sender and the recipient. 

By sending no-reply emails, you’re indirectly encouraging miscommunication. You’re also preventing the relationship with the recipient from evolving.

And the adverse effects of no-reply emails don’t end there. 

If you persist in sending these emails, you’re depriving internet users of their right to reply. In fact, you’re going against General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) laws. 

Here’s why:

  • You’re not letting them ask about data usage.
  • You’re not allowing them to unsubscribe from a mailing list.

Always keep in touch

There are two ways to approach this:

What to doWhy
For the cold email outreach processFollow up if recipients didn’t respond to your initial email.There’s a chance that they didn’t receive the first one or forgot to reply to it because they were busy.
For email subscribersSend regular emails with new content.As they are already your subscribers, keep them hooked with news and engaging content. Give them a reason to stay!

Let’s talk about this image:

Source: Service Direct

Service Direct, a pay-per-lead platform, conducted a “What Matters to Consumers” study involving 614 consumers. They were asked questions regarding their relationship with small businesses.

Let’s focus on the question about email newsletters:

“How often do you sign up for email newsletters provided by small businesses?”  

Here are the top three results: 

  1. 37%  said “sometimes”
  2. 19%+ said “usually”
  3. 6% small percentage said “always.” 

If you put the figures together, 62% of consumers make it a point to subscribe — often, usually, or always — to a list. 

So remember, when your subscribers reach out to you, it’s good news. If you don’t tend to your list, their interest will just die a natural death. 

Ideally, you want to send them your thoughts periodically about the latest trends in your industry. Whatever the reason that caused them to sign up on your list in the first place, give them more of it.

You can also mix up your email marketing campaigns by sharing your latest blog posts or articles with your followers. This generates more traction for your posts, which could lead people to share your content on their social media channels.

Also, you can boost your overall success with your subscribers by recognizing that they’re not all alike. Using information about their differences, you can employ email segmentation to accommodate your target audience properly.

As a simple example, you may not want to send an email about buying new roofs to readers who live in apartments. But if you can send it just to those who live in single-family homes, you’ll have a much better response rate.

Similarly, your email about the benefits of renter’s insurance will do better if you mail it only to those who live in apartments.

Provide accessibility options

People with disabilities (PWD) and those with vision impairment are part of your email list. In fact, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that about 12 million Americans over the age of 40 have some degree of vision impairment — that’s a pretty large number. And to accommodate them, you need to gear up with accessibility options.

Notably, you need to design your email in a way that makes them feel included.

Here are email design tips:

  • Be strategic with typography and color choices – Some fonts and colors allow content to be more readable. A content checker (like Pilestone Color Blind Simulator) can help you assess your content.
  • Use alt tags on images – This makes images understandable for users of screen readers.
  • Leverage video content – Send personalized video emails using tools like Hippo Video or Warm Welcome. This way, recipients can just watch instead of reading.

Give them a way to opt-out

Subscribers and cold email recipients have the right to unsubscribe from your emails. 

They don’t even have to explain why. It’s part of their rights — thanks to the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act of 2003. 

So, include text that allows people to unsubscribe from your emails or list. 

Then monitor how many people ask to unsubscribe from each issue. Larger numbers mean your emails need work. They’re either flawed in some way or no longer interesting to your readers.

Either way, you’ve reached the point of goodbye. And while it may seem like a loss, it shouldn’t make you feel defeated. 

Looking at it from a different perspective, it’s actually a good thing because you only want subscribers who are genuinely interested in your emails. 

Also, take this opportunity to improve your email marketing. Maybe your email marketing skills need updating or fine-tuning, or maybe you just need a review of current email best practices.

So, using your email marketing platform of choice, you must create a clickable unsubscribe link on all your emails. 

Make it clear enough so people can identify it but small enough that it doesn’t actually encourage people to unsubscribe. 

You can even use gray as the color of the link, so recipients don’t notice it unless they want to unsubscribe. However, don’t hide or bury it because if readers can’t find it where they expect, they might mark your email as junk, damaging your reputation as an email sender with the programs that determine which emails get passed through to the recipient’s inbox.


Email etiquette speaks volumes about the value you can provide as a marketer.

Everyone wants to work with someone professional, respectful, and understanding, right? If you think your emails don’t represent you as an ideal person to work with, make it a priority to improve. 

If you haven’t built a harmonious relationship with your target audience yet, put a pin in your marketing until you learn how to nurture your relationship with your email subscribers with smart marketing and proper email etiquette.

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