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Updated May 20, 2024

Email Marketing Best Practices and Predictions for 2024

Create effective digital marketing campaigns to improve customer relationships and boost sales.

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Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
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Growing your business with email marketing is an excellent tactic. This cost-efficient, versatile and highly effective marketing vehicle sends tailored messages directly to prospects and customers, allows two-way communication and conveys much more information than a social media post or text. However, creating a dynamic email marketing plan is crucial because new strategies and best practices are emerging constantly.

We’ll highlight current email marketing best practices and explore email marketing predictions as marketers take advantage of new trends, strategies and technology. Read through to decide which tactics you’ll use in your email marketing in 2024.

Email marketing best practices

These eight email marketing best practices are long-standing strategies. If you haven’t been following them, make 2024 the year to start. 

1. Follow the CAN-SPAM Act.

If you violate the regulations in the CAN-SPAM Act, you risk your domain name being banned, meaning you’ll no longer be able to send emails from your domain. The Federal Trade Commission compiled a CAN-SPAM Act compliance guide that includes the following rules for businesses:

  • Don’t use false or misleading header information.
  • Don’t use deceptive subject lines.
  • Tell recipients where you’re located.
  • Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future emails.
  • Honor opt-out requests promptly.
  • Monitor what others, such as companies you hire for marketing, are doing on your behalf.
Did You Know?Did you know
Although the CAN-SPAM Act was designed to regulate and curb email spam, marketers must also follow text message spam laws under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, which governs messages sent to wireless phones.

2. Cater your emails to your audience.

To improve marketing return on investment (ROI), you must understand and pinpoint your target audience. Create a buyer persona to understand and truly speak to your customers’ needs. 

For example, suppose your business provides dog training services and one of your target audiences is first-time owners of newly adopted puppies. In that case, your email marketing content may ask these questions:

  • Does your puppy bark at other dogs?
  • Does the puppy refuse to come when called?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed and unknowledgeable about what you are doing?
  • Is your puppy having bathroom accidents in the house?

Then, you might include the following:

  • A few tips on how to fix these problems (to help build trust and show your expertise)
  • A testimonial from a client
  • A clear call to action (CTA) that shows you understand their pain and can help
  • Cute puppy pictures

This email marketing best practice is called “segmentation,” which involves separating various email subscriber groups into smaller lists broken down by buyer personas. Segmenting your email lists into targeted groups is more time-consuming than sending one email to everyone on your contact list. Still, this extra work can yield a higher email open rate, a better click-through rate (CTR) and, ultimately, more sales.

3. Optimize your emails for mobile devices.

According to research from eMarketer, people open around 55 percent of email campaigns on mobile devices, so optimizing emails for mobile devices is crucial. Your recipients view emails differently on smartphones than on desktop computers, often scrolling quickly and sometimes paying less attention than they would if they were looking at a computer screen.

Follow these best practices to optimize your emails for mobile devices:

  • Put your best content at the beginning of your subject line so readers don’t miss it. (An email client may cut off part of the subject line.)
  • Keep your subject lines under 30 characters.
  • Add preheader text to help readers get a better idea of what the email is about and to entice them to open it.
  • Use a font size of at least 12 points so readers don’t have to zoom in to read your content on their small screens.
  • Use big images, but don’t rely on them as they may not load properly on all mobile devices.
  • Put your CTAs at the top (before readers have to scroll) so they don’t get missed.

4. Test your emails on various screen types.

Emails often look different on desktop screens than on mobile devices. Some email clients offer the option to preview desktop, mobile and inbox versions of your email. With this feature, you won’t have to jump from device to device to preview your emails (but it won’t hurt if you do). Using responsive design, which adjusts the design automatically based on the device and screen size, can save time. 

Preview desktop, mobile and inbox versions of your email to see how it will appear on each type of screen.

5. Keep your email list updated.

After you build an email list, you must keep updating it. Although this is one of the oldest email marketing best practices, many marketers allow their lists to languish. Here are some risks you take by not keeping your email marketing lists up to date:

  • Getting high email bounce rates (and thus having content that does not reach your audience).
  • Being flagged as a spammer by your email software, which means you may get banned from sending future emails from your domain.
  • Sending subscribers content that no longer interests them.

Take these actions to keep your list updated:

  • Keep a record of your latest lists of unsubscribers.
  • Avoid using old email lists for new campaigns. Instead, send the new campaigns to people who have subscribed within the past several months. For example, if you received a list of conference attendees two years ago, don’t send them an email campaign now.
  • Run campaigns continually to get new email subscribers.
  • Remove subscribers who have not engaged with your emails in the past year.

6. Analyze the results and adjust the campaigns accordingly.

Your work isn’t done after you send emails. As a good rule of thumb, wait about a week (to give subscribers a chance to open your emails) and then analyze the email campaign’s performance to learn what worked well and where you can improve. 

Depending on your email marketing strategy, your key performance indicators may include the following:

  • CTR
  • Open rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Unsubscribe rate
  • Spam reports
  • Shares
  • Lead conversions
TipBottom line
When using email marketing to grow your business, make subscribing easy, incentivize visitors to join your list by providing something of value and vary your content to grab readers' attention.

7. Market only to subscribers who opt in.

Some email marketing tools allow you to reach people who didn’t sign up to receive your emails. However, most experts advise against this approach. Emailing people who did not opt into your marketing campaign could be detrimental to your overall marketing efforts. Sending emails to purchased lists rarely works and wastes time and money while annoying people who aren’t interested in your products or services. 

Furthermore, email marketing must uphold digital privacy laws, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation. Follow opt-in email marketing best practices and cater to people who have shown interest in your products and services.

8. Consider email marketing timeliness.

Integrating timely email marketing into your strategy can help boost engagement and sales. For example, for a successful holiday marketing campaign, you might want to detail your discounts and promotions. 

Remember that your contacts are moving through the world in real time and are affected by current events. Whenever possible, create that link between your brand and what your audience is experiencing in their personal lives.

Email marketing predictions for 2024

Marketers are always taking advantage of new trends, strategies and technology. Here are some email marketing trends to watch for in 2024.

Automated email sequences

As the name suggests, an automated email sequence is deployed via triggers set forth by email marketers. For example, when prospects opt into your e-commerce clothing business’s email list, you can create emails that go out automatically. 

Here are three potential sequences for that scenario:

  • Send a welcome email with a promo code or offer a coupon for free shipping on their first order within minutes after they sign up for your list.
  • Email them a style guide on how they can mix and match some of your clothes one week after they sign up if they haven’t made a purchase.
  • If they haven’t purchased within two weeks of subscribing, entice them with a 48-hour promo code valid only for new customers.

Without email automation, sending emails at the right times to the right people can be a time-consuming task with little room for error. 

TipBottom line
Use tools like the customer relationship management (CRM) platform HubSpot to streamline the email automation process. Read our in-depth HubSpot CRM review to learn more.

Increased investment in email marketing

You need the right team to strategize email marketing correctly. Make 2024 the year you invest in qualified talent and the right tools to improve your email marketing campaigns and take them to the next level. 

Many companies are increasing their email budgets because marketers see email marketing, along with website, blog, search engine optimization and social media shopping tools as one of their top drivers of ROI. 

If you don’t think you have the budget for email marketing, consider cutting expenses in other areas. Email marketing is essential to keeping your audience engaged and building brand loyalty. 

Omnichannel coordination

Instead of having each marketing communication vehicle in a separate silo — with advertising, email marketing, customer service, social media and website efforts all in different departments — consider an omnichannel approach. An omnichannel approach allows your company to communicate with its prospects and customers in multiple channels, depending on the customer’s preference. The company’s marketing communications are centralized, tracked and used to get better insights into customer needs and preferences. Customer-level data enables successful personalization in email and other channels.

Email is a significant part of an omnichannel strategy. Typically, it’s used to promote website or blog content, build relationships and deliver customer-specific communications like invoices and support replies. 

Dark mode

Some iOS and Android mobile users view their devices in “dark mode,” a dark background with light text. Dark mode is easier on the eyes and preserves mobile battery life. To accommodate this preference, email marketers should design their emails in light and dark so they display correctly regardless of the user’s settings. 

Accessibility considerations

Emails cannot convey information and communicate with recipients if they find it difficult or impossible to understand the message. That’s why it’s crucial to design emails accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities.

Designing for accessibility includes using certain font sizes and text alignment and incorporating HTML coding to ensure everyone can read or hear your content. It is the right thing to do and ignoring this best practice can hurt your brand’s reputation and reduce your campaign’s effectiveness.

Did You Know?Did you know
It's also crucial to design your website for accessibility. To create an accessible e-commerce website, consider the needs of people with hearing and visual challenges and thoughtfully design elements such as usability, appearance and presentation.

Emojis

Marketers are using emojis more in the email subject lines, preheader text and body. Incorporating emojis is an easy way to inject an element of fun without too much coding. But use emojis with caution ― if a subscriber has images blocked, using too many emojis will turn your email into gibberish.

Personalization

Personalization is a continuing trend in which companies use customer data to personalize emails. Personalization includes using the customer’s name and referring to their purchase history. The best CRM software lets you personalize email campaigns easily with valuable customer insights. 

Did You Know?Did you know
Email personalization increases open rates, CTRs and customer satisfaction.

Agile email content

Email marketers can use feeds from their websites and social media accounts without adding information manually. This way, content stays up to date in emails even when it changes frequently. In addition to keeping content fresh, this method makes it easier to create the emails in the first place.

Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI)

ML can identify impactful subject lines and phrases for your email copy. According to research from Oracle, using ML in this manner can improve marketing results significantly. Many marketers also use AI tools like ChatGPT to write emails. 

Here are a few examples of how marketers can use ML and AI tools in their email marketing efforts: 

  • Input a simple prompt to generate helpful content: For example, enter, “Write an article on how beneficial it is for homeowners to install new windows in their home.” Review and expand upon the article carefully to ensure it will provide value for your subscribers.
  • Enter information to guide copy creation: In this scenario, you’d enter longer and more detailed information in your prompt as if you were giving instructions to a junior copywriter. For example, enter, “Write a 1,000-word article about seven to 10 benefits of installing new windows in a home, including energy efficiency, look, improving resale value and protecting from severe weather. Use a conversational tone and include a call to action to get more information by filling out our web form.” Once you receive the results, you can add additional edits or requests to ensure a quality article.
  • Repurpose existing content: Use AI to take an existing article, case study, white paper or video and repurpose it for your email campaign. For example, you can repurpose blog content by expanding on a post’s themes to make it appropriate for an email marketing message. 
  • Use AI for editing and proofreading: Some AI tools, such as those provided by Google Docs or Microsoft Word, can spell check, grammar check and suggest different wording as you type.

Send-time optimization (STO)

STO uses historical data on email opens and clicks to determine the optimal time to send emails. You can examine results on a macro level by looking at your list or list segments and determining the timing of the highest incidence of opens and clicks throughout a day and week.

If your email platform can process and analyze large data sets, you can determine the optimal times for individual subscribers and send to them when they are most likely to open and engage with your emails.

Your optimal send timing can also be determined for different types of content and goals. For example, your subscribers may be more likely to fill out a web lead form at 1 p.m. but more likely to purchase after they get home from work at 6 p.m.

Importance of a strong email marketing strategy in 2024

Studies have shown that email is one of the top forms of marketing. Consider the following statistics:

  • There were around 4.5 billion email users worldwide in 2024 and that number is expected to grow to 4.8 billion by 2027.
  • According to Constant Contact, the average email open rate across all industries is 37.72 percent and the average CTR is 2 percent.
  • For every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $36, according to research from Litmus. That’s a higher return than you can expect from any other form of marketing — digital or otherwise.

An effective email marketing strategy is important because it can help you accomplish the following goals:

  • Optimize your email marketing ROI.
  • Properly incorporate email marketing into your overall marketing mix.
  • Visualize your email marketing on a large scale and see where each campaign fits your overall business goals.

Benefits of an email marketing strategy

Here are three major benefits of developing an email marketing strategy:

1. You’ll build stronger relationships with your customers and prospects.

Building relationships to earn loyal customers can help keep your business afloat during tough economic times. One way to do this is to send emails to see how your customers are doing, how you can help them or how everything went with their order.

This email from Stellar Villa, a wall art company, is an excellent example of how to build relationships with customers:

This email is effective because it shows that the company cares enough about its customers to ensure that they received their order and are satisfied with it, notes Patrick Connelly, co-founder of Stellar Villa. Second, the email asks customers a question and prompts them to reply.

“This starts a conversation in which you not only further engage with your customer, but you create a memorable, positive experience for them,” Connelly explained. “Also, in the rare event there is an issue with a customer’s order, they can let you know, which will give you the opportunity to fix it right away. This prevents negative experiences.”

Connelly added that because the email is not promotional and contains mostly text, it does not get caught in spam or promo folders.

The subject line reads, “Re: Your Order from Stellar Villa,” putting the brand front and center. The company also inserts the customer’s first name, when available, at the start of the email to personalize it.

2. You’ll reach your prospects and customers.

With many people working at least part-time from home, your prospects may not be in the office to receive your business-to-business company’s direct-mail piece. They may not be on the roads to see your billboard ads or reading the newspaper to look at your print ads. 

They are, however, looking at their mobile devices wherever they go. As a result, your audience can access your email marketing content from anywhere, anytime.

3. You’ll craft emails that get results.

Email marketing should fit within your comprehensive marketing strategy. Speak in your brand’s voice and stay on track. You should also find a way to take advantage of email’s personalization options. 

When you reach someone’s inbox, you have direct contact with them. You can track metrics such as open rate, CTR and conversions to determine your audience’s engagement with your campaign. By identifying your target audience’s demographics, wants and needs, you can refine your email marketing content to relate better to your ideal customer. 

How can you gauge the success of your efforts? Improved engagement rates suggest your content is hitting the mark.

To develop content that resonates with your ideal customers, consider building customer personas to represent the people purchasing your goods and services. How old are these customers? What is their employment status? What are their problems, concerns and goals? 

Adjust your buyer personas as you get real-world feedback from your customers and use your buyer personas to refine your marketing strategy.

TipBottom line
Design emails to reduce shopping cart abandonment. For example, use retargeting emails to remind customers of items they left in shopping carts and offer a discount or free shipping to entice them to buy.

The best email marketing services

Email marketing services give you a platform to segment, grow and maintain your email lists. You can also easily create attractive, responsive email designs and track your campaign results. 

Here are a few of the best email marketing services to consider: =

  • Constant Contact: Constant Contact is a great email marketing service for small businesses. In addition to its ease of use, a wide variety of customizable email templates and extensive image library, the service provides higher-end functionalities, including a Canva integration, list-building tools, subject line recommendations and automated email campaign flows. To learn more, read our in-depth review of Constant Contact
  • monday.com: monday.com is a workflow management platform with robust email marketing features that help you coordinate all email campaign tasks. Its workflow management tools ensure campaigns are executed efficiently and analyzed for effectiveness. The platform provides email templates and lets you track and examine your campaigns by send date, goal, audience and other criteria. Find out more in our monday.com Sales CRM review.
  • Campaigner: Campaigner is an excellent choice when email is a significant part of your marketing strategy. It includes robust, customizable features, including autoresponders, automation workflows and personalization. You can set up triggers for automatic emails based on time or behavior so your drip campaigns are always working in the background. Our detailed Campaigner review explains the platform’s social media integrations and A/B testing, which helps you optimize subject lines, headlines and email content.
  • Benchmark: Benchmark is an easy-to-use, affordable email marketing service with helpful features like automation, A/B testing and responsive templates that ensure your campaigns display properly on different devices. Its impressive free plan can help you get started with email marketing, while more feature-full paid plans can accommodate your business as it scales. Read our Benchmark email marketing review to see if this service is right for you.
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud: Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a feature-rich platform ideal for businesses with extensive email marketing needs. The email marketing features are based on Salesforce’s CRM solution, so businesses can take advantage of extensive automation and personalization functions. Its Einstein AI feature helps you gain valuable insights from your data, including suggestions for additional steps you can take to connect with your target audience. Our Salesforce Marketing Cloud review explains more about this solution’s extensive training resources and other features.
author image
Jennifer Dublino, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Operations
Jennifer Dublino is an experienced entrepreneur and astute marketing strategist. With over three decades of industry experience, she has been a guiding force for many businesses, offering invaluable expertise in market research, strategic planning, budget allocation, lead generation and beyond. Earlier in her career, Dublino established, nurtured and successfully sold her own marketing firm. Dublino, who has a bachelor's degree in business administration and an MBA in marketing and finance, also served as the chief operating officer of the Scent Marketing Institute, showcasing her ability to navigate diverse sectors within the marketing landscape. Over the years, Dublino has amassed a comprehensive understanding of business operations across a wide array of areas, ranging from credit card processing to compensation management. Her insights and expertise have earned her recognition, with her contributions quoted in reputable publications such as Reuters, Adweek, AdAge and others.
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