• 10 Golden Rules for Email Blasts

Email Mareting No Spamming Image

Even in this age of social media, emails remain one of the most efficient and effective ways to reach your contacts. So whether you’re looking to improve, restart, or begin email marketing for your business, you’re making a great decision. Do email blasts work? The answer is yes, but getting great results is not magic. Here are 10 rules for email blasts that will ensure customers open your emails and engage with your small business:

Related: Email Marketing for Small Business Owners (free eBook)

1. Make sure you have a great list, not a big list

There’s a common misconception that email marketing only makes sense if you have a certain number of contacts (“Thousands”, for some reason, is what we hear the most). Not true.

Email marketing is smart no matter what size list you have, even if it’s just a handful of contacts, because you’re just not going to get everyone’s time on the phone or in-person to say everything you want.  And, for some of your contacts, email just resonates better.

Ensure your email list is comprised of contacts whom have either opted in or whom you have a strong working relationship with. If you don’t have a list like this, focus on building one before you start sending anything out.  Quality email address are more important than the quantity of them. If you’re not sure if you have a good list, check out our blog post: Answers to Frequently Asked Email List Questions.

2. Commit to email marketing

If you say, “I want to see what type of response I get from my first email before I send more”, it’s not going to work. Email marketing is marketing, not magic. You wouldn’t expect to get a great return on playing a radio ad or running a TV spot just once.  Don’t expect a great return from sending just one email. Tell yourself you’re going to test the effectiveness of email marketing for a period of time (a full year is a reasonable amount of time). Remember that customers will open emails differently depending on the time of year and even the time of day that your email is sent. To get as many customers as possible to open your emails, you need to commit to sending emails over a period of time.

3. Be consistent

Whether you’re wanting to send emails quarterly, monthly, or more often, put your email creation dates on a calendar and stick to the schedule. You’ll build momentum for yourself and your contacts. They’ll come to start expecting your emails to arrive within a certain timeframe. If you’re good about sending your emails for a while but then suddenly go dark, you’ll start to lose the momentum on both ends. Keep the bigger picture in mind when forming this schedule. If you have a busy season or other foreseen challenge up ahead, for example, you may not have the same amount of time to allot to emailing as you do right now. Take the various factors affecting your business into account, and then increase or decrease the frequency of your emails accordingly so that you can maintain consistency.

4. Include a balance of text and pictures

All text is boring, but too many images, in relation to the amount of text in the email, can actually increase the likelihood your email will get picked up by a spam filter (spammers use this tactic, to hide spammy words from filters). In addition, images draw attention, but you do not want them to draw too much attention, away from important text.  You’ll be in good shape if you enter your text first, then sprinkle images where it’s appropriate.

5. Create an “above the fold” call to action

If you create an email blast that asks your contacts to do something (like call you, fill out a form on your website, or take advantage of an offer), make sure you have that high up in the email.  A good rule of  thumb is that your call to action should appear right away, when someone opens your email. If someone has to scroll to find it, it’s in the wrong place. It’s the same philosophy as the old newspaper theory that the stories “above the fold” are those which get the most attention.

6. Keep it short

Think about your own email inbox. Do you read lengthy emails, or do you delete them or save them and never read them again? If you have a lot to say, introduce your text with a small snippet, then link to a page of your website or a blog, where they can read the rest.

7. Track it

If you want your contacts to reach out to you, set up tracked links, a tracked phone line or link to a tracked contact form of your Website. Take the guesswork out of wondering if your email generated leads for you. Know if you’re getting results by setting up and analyzing marketing analytics.

8. Send yourself a test every time

This is good for a couple of reasons:

  • You’ll see if there are any formatting issues which need to be addressed before you send out the email and have egg on your face over an easily-avoidable mistake.
  • It gives you the opportunity to ask yourself “Would I read this, if I were one of my email contacts?”

9. Don’t spend too much time

Get into your email editor, put in your message and pictures, and send it out. It’s easy to become a perfectionist with the formatting. Keep your focus on the fact that this is about keeping a touchpoint with your contacts and getting a message out. There are many reasons spending too much time on your emails is a bad idea.

10. Always include your contact info in a prominent place

This is an often-overlooked item. Sometimes your newsletter will simply spark a reminder to your contacts that they wanted to reach out to you. Don’t make them search for that info on their own. Make it clear and obvious, in every email by including a professional email signature.

Follow these rules and you’ll be well on your way to seeing real success with your emails!


ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.


  1. Mario Wilson says:

    I am loving this article. I specifically like points 1 and 7. As for number 1, I think a quality list is better than a gigantic list of just anyone like you say. I think this is also true for “followers” and “likes”. Are the people following you genuinely caring about your content or just subscribing just to apease you? As for #7, we have to KNOW if our efforts are working and not just go off of a gut feeling. Great points here Erik.

  2. Rauf Zeynalov says:

    Thank you, a great piece of work. I was in a marketing event on launching successful email campaigns a few weeks ago. I spent literally two hours hearing the things that I just read here for 5 mins. Thank you once again for sharing.

  3. Thanks! Great pointers. Very helpful.

  4. Is there a way to build my database into the back end of my website and mail out from there?

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Hi Louise – it depends how you’re running your website. With an integrated platform like Thrivehive you can update your website and send emails seamlessly. Most website platforms do not have this capability and you would have to use a third party email campaign system like MailChimp or Constant Contact. For more information about our integrated platform, you can go to https://thrivehive.com/request-a-demo and fill out a form for someone to give you a call!

  5. Elaina says:

    I typically create my email artwork in photoshop and then just drop in the jpeg using html and image mapping. Is there a “best practices” when it comes to actually putting the email together? Perhaps speaking from an editing perspective? Basically I make one big image and then use coding: img name, src, alt, a href and so forth. And for every different block, I simply create a new jpg image to use. Is there a better way I should be doing this?

    • Emily Weisberg says:

      Hi Elaina – Make sure you’re using content in written form in addition to the images. If you’re putting the words of the email in the image itself, then your message may get lost if subscribers read emails as text only. Images are great to add to emails, but the important information should always be written out. Also, remember to include a call-to-action in every email!

  6. Thank you for this great roundup of tips regarding marketing emails. I especially appreciate your mention of tracking emails so you can continually improve your strategies, including an above the fold call to action so customers know exactly what to do next, and most of all making sure you have a solid (not necessarily huge) email list. Reaching out to those you know may be interested in your company and what it has to offer is always going to garner you the best results. I would also love to add that focusing on the customer, proofreading your email, and making the email conversational are other excellent tips for making your sales emails stand out and actually get read. Thanks again for sharing!

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