Before jumping right into email marketing and trying to sell to your email list you should know some tried and true tenets that work for the vast majority of marketers. By following some simple rules you can ensure the biggest return on your email marketing investment. I call these tenets my golden three and they are Trust, Surprise and Listen.


It is extremely important that your contacts have faith in your business and what you are sending them. For email marketing trust starts with the sign up and needs to continue through the full lifecycle to ensure the best return on your investment. Starting with the invitation, your email sign up should clearly identify exactly what people are signing up for. If you are only sending newsletters, the sign up should only say newsletters. If you are only sending promotions the sign up should say promotions. A lot of companies pay little attention to this, and it is such an easy fix that every company should implement it.

After sign up should always come permission. Double opt-in is a phrase you may have heard, but there are multiple reasons for sending an opt-in email. Most of the time good email marketers talk about this because it confirms that someone is subscribing with a valid email address, and that they do in fact want to receive emails from you. But, double opt-in can also be used to build trust with your subscribers. If your sign up simply says “sign up for newsletters and promotions” this is an opportunity to give more specific details about what you will be sending. Doing this, once again builds trust.

After you have built some trust from the start, the next most important thing is recognition. By using a consistent email address (like [email protected] or [email protected]) when sending an email, helps confirm that the email is coming from you. The header in your email design should also remain consistent so that anyone opening the email can easily identify it as coming from you.


Surprise is something that a lot of email marketers and companies in general simply don’t understand. The first time you open an email you generally have no idea what you will be getting. After opening dozens of marketing emails from the same company you have a good idea of what the next email is going to look like. This is where surprise becomes very important. If all of your emails look the same and the offers or newsletters are pretty similar you will start to lose subscribers. Every subscriber counts for email marketing, and once you lose one it is nearly impossible to get them back. Mix it up, you’re advertising to the same people with each send so make it memorable and test to see exactly what works. Don’t be afraid to try new things with your designs, your newsletter subjects and your offers.

The subject line of your email also plays a pivotal role. It is the only thing someone sees before deciding whether or not to open your email. Writing subject lines is an art, and to get it right requires lots of practice and testing. It is also extremely easy to test, so a/b test your subject lines to find out what works, and experiment.


Now that you have some good ideas for building trust and engagement the next step is to listen. Some people will reply to your emails, but more often people will not. Send a personal email to a client or contact. Ask them what they thought of your last email. If you do this a few times after each marketing email you can get valuable feedback to modify your campaigns and help increase engagement.

For more information on Email Marketing, call us at 1-800-978-3417 or Contact Active Web Group and let us help you!

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