365 Top Email Marketing Best Practices to Help You Become an Email Marketing Expert

A Massively Cool eBook, and the Experts who Made it Possible

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Not being an email marketing expert myself (I’m more of a strategy, content, and creative guy), I wanted to learn more about what is essentially the most effective marketing tool in our kit: email. The bane of most marketers’ existence (just buy another list—I dare you), email marketing shares the unique distinction of being incredibly effective, yet the most under-appreciated-by-the-end-user-tactic available to us.  

Earlier this year, I wanted to dig deeper into this aspect of marketing, and found that there was a wealth of information on it all over the place. So, as we did with our Periodic Table, and Interactive Infographic, I wanted to curate some of the great tips and information and publish it in one useful tool. So, after six months of research, strategic planning, creative, some technological mind-bending antics, and a few late nights (along with a few of our own tips thrown in for fun), here it is.  

This eBook covers:  

  1. Strategy
  2. Content Creation
  3. Innovation
  4. Design
  5. Content Marketing
  6. List Management
  7. Repurposing
  8. Deliverability
  9. Spam

We have intentionally NOT gated this content. If you like it, and want to know as we publish content related to it, shoot us your email. Otherwise, snag it—obligation-free.

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Criteria for Inclusion

In deciding to pursue this eBook of email marketing best practices (and not at all expecting it would take us so many months to complete), we needed to have a plan—a framework—for creating this. We started with the development of an ideal persona: the in-house person responsible for the overall marketing efforts of a B2B organization—sans title.  

What? No title?  

No. Personas aren’t about titles. Sometimes they help, but titles are more of a crutch. What I’ve found in working with marketing teams over the last twenty-something years is that nearly anyone can be tasked with managing marketing. And that’s an unfortunate reality. I recently sat with an amazing team at a cloud-based SaaS startup. Sales, Customer Success, and Product Delivery were all part of the team. But they had no specific marketing role—they were all involved in marketing their business in some way. We have one client who has a single internal PR person in charge of their global marketing efforts. We have another client with one CMO and no staff, and another where all marketing is done by sales. So, while we have some clients that have full marketing departments, it’s not the rule.  

The reality is that our adaptive persona is based more on the “job to be done” for the marketing pro or team, rather than an arbitrary position in an organization. We developed this based on some great work on leveraging this approach by a client of ours, and it’s been helpful in developing people who are faced with true challenges, without relying too heavily on titles. In this case, that job to be done drove our criteria for inclusion, which includes:  

  • Be relevant. While a lot of email marketing has stayed consistent over the last few years, there have been some significant developments. We tried to keep our tips to within the last year (mid-2015) or newer, no matter how challenging it was. 
  • Be actionable. Theory’s nice, but we want to deliver practical application that you can put to work. So we snagged/curated the best practice, and in a similar fashion to what we did with our digital marketing predictions last year, we added our own take on how to apply the practice. This year we spent a little more time making the content usable. 
  • Be practical. Esoteric is fun, but we really want to move the needle here. You wouldn’t believe how much holiday material we had to weed through. Since our focus is primarily B2B email marketing activity, we tried to minimize holiday-focused tips, as impossible as that was. 

These days, too much content is self-promotional, and we’ve tried to stay away from that as well, and keep the emphasis on helpful, useful content. Too much content or data is out-dated and irrelevant. Too much content tells you what to do, not how to do it. We’ve tried to avoid all of these, and focus on creating something that is useful, and that you’ll want to revisit over the next six months.

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Some of The Email Marketing Experts who Made this eBook Possible

In addition to a tiny handful of my own tips, this book was created mainly as a curated resource, and would just not exist without the amazing work done by well-respected marketing experts and tech providers, some of whom include:  

neilpatelNeil Patel
Neil is an entrepreneur, investor & influencer. Columnist for Forbes, Inc., Entrepreneur, Huffington Post & more. Founded @CrazyEgg with @hnshah.

ebook_blog-twitter-images_pamelavaughanPamela Vaughan
Pamela is the Principal Marketing Manager of Optimization at HubSpot. Can be found in stock photos on lots of random websites. Also, the mother of two goofballs.

janellejohnsonJanelle Johnson
Janelle is the Sr. Director of Demand Generation at ActOn Software, specializing in marketing and sales alignment, Demand Gen, and Marketing Automation. 

pamneelyPam Neely
Pam is a content creation powerhouse – part writer, part marketer with a New York Press Award and a Master’s Degree in Direct and Interactive Marketing from New York University.  

jeremytaylorJeremy Taylor
Jeremy is a B2B social media consultant and content marketer at @OSTsocial. Proud Gooner and half-decent sailor who helps his clients make the best use of social media.

markschaeferMark Schaefer
Mark’s the Chieftain of the blog {grow} & social media bouncer. Consultant, educator, author of five best-selling books including Social Media Explained & The Content Code. 

mailchimpMailChimp
MESH’s email marketing solution-of-choice for small and mid-sized tech cos. +12 million people use MailChimp to grow their businesses every day.

…And too many more to include here. Thank you to all of those who slaved away, learning, experimenting, failing and ultimately succeeding for your hard work. Absolutely none of these experts has endorsed this project, and we’ve made every effort to make it completely transparent that this is THEIR content and THEIR work. We’ve done no pre-promotion, and no influencer outreach. If you haven’t connected with each of these people or companies, I urge you to do so today (and we’ve made it insanely easy for you to do so—and that’s a story—or blog post—all it’s own).

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The End…?

Will you be an email marketing expert after reading this eBook? Were you already an expert? If you’re anything like me, you’re never done learning, exploring, meeting new people or having new experiences. I know people who feel they learned everything they needed to know in college. I know people who aren’t interested in meeting new friends. I know one guy who—for the longest time—refused to hop on a plane or even venture forth from the Boston area, and that limited his options dramatically (he’s better now). Regardless, my philosophy is that we’re all always growing, expanding and changing. 

I know the moment we freeze this and publish it, it’ll start to become out of date, so I encourage you to stick with us, and sign up for updates to this project, as well as other fun interactive content marketing-focused things we do here at MESH. And, as always, please let me personally know what you think about this ebook. Is it hackie? Dumb? A waste of time? Or, do you find it actually useful and maybe a little inspiring? Tweet me and let me know at @billschick, and be sure to include #365EmailTips.

Best, 

—B