The A-Z guide to email success

10 minute read

Here’s a whistle-stop A-Z guide to being successful with email marketing. There are lots of other topics, except possibly for X (?), but here are my top A-Z tips. Click the highlighted links in each section if you want to know more.

A to Z of email

A – APIApplication Programming Interface. It’s the translation technology that allows you, and us, to connect different data applications to your email marketing. It’s one of the most valuable actions you can take.

B – Basket recovery – It’s estimated that over 60% of items placed into online shopping baskets are never purchased. Basket recovery is a simple marketing automation process that takes data from eCommerce applications like Shopify and Magento and triggers a sequence of re-engagement emails.

C – Call to action – A key part of most email campaigns. Keep it simple, short and make it clear what you want people to do. You can add a call to action to text or images but a dedicated call to action button is better. Psychological studies say green or blue works best.

D – Dynamic Content – It’s an advanced personalisation technique that automatically adapts your ‘generic’ campaign content according to the profile of your subscribers. It’s all about relevance and it’s one of the best ways to increase your levels of engagement.

E – Engagement – It’s one of the 7 audience dimensions that you can use to precision target your campaigns. Engagement profiling quantifies a wide view of subscriber interaction and can be used to target re-engagement and VIP email campaigns.

F – From-address – It’s the name that identifies to your audience where your campaign is coming from. Be clear, consistent and always give a valid from-name. Along with your subject line it’s one of the key factors in whether or not people open your emails.

G – Geo-location – Another really useful precision targeting dimension. Use it as an additional audience filter to automatically include or exclude by a subscriber’s location. It’s perfect for targeting information for multi-site outlets, free delivery areas and other location specific campaigns.

H – Hard bounce – All being well you should expect greater than 97% delivery success. Anything less and you should look at your hard bounces – those emails which had permanent fatal delivery errors. It could be a data or delivery issue, but either way you need to investigate your bounces.

I – Inbox testing – Different email clients will display your emails in slightly different ways. If you want to check exactly how your campaign will look in all of the most popular email clients then perform an inbox test before you hit send.

J – Junk – Sent does not mean received. But don’t worry. There are some simple steps you can take to optimise your chances of avoiding the junk folder – it’s worth the effort. Check out our Coffee Break Guide to Email Delivery.

K – Keyword –  SMS text-to-subscribe is a quick and simple way to add new subscribers to your database. Invite your contacts to text your chosen keyword to your short code number and their details will automatically be added to your database.

L – Links – People are busy! Click-through links to additional content allow you to keep your email campaigns short and snappy. They also give you useful insight as to the interests of your subscribers, information that you can use to alert to opportunity and better target future campaigns.

M – Mobile – Statistics show that on average 55% of your emails will be read on a mobile device. Designing your campaigns with a mobile audience in mind is now an essential strategy. There’s lots of things you can do but using a mobile responsive layout is a great start.

N – Newsletter – The email newsletter is a hugely common form of campaign. A regular newsletter is one of the best ways of keeping your subscribers engaged. There’s lots of good reasons to switch your print news delivery to email. Here are my top 10.

O – Open rate – Other than delivery rate, open rate is your first go-to performance metric. It’s the number of unique opens as a percentage of emails sent. Above 25% and you are above the current average across all sectors that we track. But remember, open is just the start.

P – Personalisation – It’s easy to forget that email is essentially a 1-1 personal communication. Even simple personalisation reinforces this connection but if you really want to go to the next level of relevance think about more complex levels of personalisation like dynamic content.

Q – Questions? Knowledge Base is’s extensive online database of reports, advice and ‘frequently asked questions’. You can find it in the ‘Platform Guide’ section of the ‘Resources’ section of our website. Just click and type your question.

R – Responsive design – It’s an HTML coding technique for designing emails which automatically adapt your content for whatever type of device they are read on – desktop, smartphone, tablet. All you need to do is use a fully responsive editor – just as well is built around one of the best.

S – Split-test – A neat solution to the ‘what if…’ Split testing allows you to test different campaign variations on a guinea pig sample of your audience. Subject line is a common split-testing application. Test your variations and then send the best performing to your main audience.

T – Timing – The day of the week and the time of day can have a big impact on the success of your campaigns. Some simple analysis will show you how people are interacting with your messages. The data is all compiled for you in’s Analyse section.

U – Unsubscribe – Including an option to unsubscribe in all of your campaigns is a legal requirement. Those who unsubscribe are automatically added to your DNC (Do Not Contact) list. DNC subscribers will automatically be excluded from future mailings. It’s goodbye, for now.

V – VIP subscribers – automatically identifies your VIP subscribers with a 5-star engagement rating. They’re the people who consistently open and engage with your campaigns, and share your content with their networks. Precision target them with loyalty and rewards campaigns.

W – Welcome email – A big opportunity that’s often overlooked. Welcome emails are a simple application of Marketing Automation. As soon as you receive a new subscriber email send them your automated welcome message. It’s the most opened and clicked campaign you will ever send.

X – Xmas – Email traffic typically increases upwards of 20% in the festive run up so now’s the time to get organised. Even if you’re not specifically targeting a Christmas audience you’re going to have more competition for the inbox, so all of your good email marketing practices become just that little bit more important.

Y – Yes… yes! Permission separates genuine email marketing from spam, and the ‘double opt-in’ is the best way to go about it. It’s easy to set up an automated confirmation that verifies your new subscriber’s email address and confirms their sign-up.

Z – Zapier – We’ve established that integrating your data applications with your email marketing is hugely valuable. Zapier makes it really easy to integrate hundreds of the most common applications. Simply choose your apps, define your synchronisation and create a ‘Zap’. It’s done.