Monthly Archives: January 2014

17 Email Marketing Rules You Must Break

Email marketing has the potential of being the cheapest, easiest, most focused type of marketing when done right.  The challenge is that it is almost never done right!  Courtesy of, here is a list of 17 “Rules” we suggest you consider breaking, challenging what you think you know about email marketing.

When it comes to email marketing, there are a lot of purists out there who say you should ALWAYS do this or NEVER do that.  Consider all the “best practices” that are floating around online.  From PowerPoint presentations to old white papers, archaic eBooks and other resources that are just plain outdated, they promote rules that used to be true.  The reality is, as long as you aren’t breaking any rules, not much is black and white.  (That said, we do strongly encourage you to consult counsel for anything legal; we are not attorneys!)

That’s why we made a list of 17 email marketing “rules” that you absolutely, 100% must break*!

  1. NEVER use words like “free” or “deal” or “discount” in an email subject line.
  2. ALWAYS keep your email subject lines between 30 and 50 characters.
  3. ALWAYS use double opt-in when growing your list.
  4. NEVER use a pop-up (or pop-over) to collect email addresses.
  5. NEVER send a mostly text email.
  6. NEVER send a mostly image email.
  7. NEVER send an email with one big image.
  8. ALWAYS have a good balance of images to text.
  9. NEVER send “ugly” emails.
  10. NEVER buy a list.
  11. NEVER have fun.
  12. NEVER use all caps in an email subject line.
  13. NEVER use animated gifs in the body of an email.
  14. NEVER put the unsubscribe button at the top of an email (or make it obvious).
  15. ALWAYS send an email in the middle of the week.
  16. NEVER send an email at the end of the day.
  17. NEVER send more than one email per day.

* “Break” is a fancy way of saying test to see what works best for your audience.  Don’t assume that all these rules will work for you simply because they worked for someone else.  Test. Tweak.  Then, break the rules.  Figure out the best approach for your community.

For a great pdf of the above, click here: email marketing rules