May 15, 2024
May 15, 2024

Email Marketing Best Practices in an AI-Driven World

Email marketing is one of the most effective digital marketing channels for engaging your target audience.

For both B2B and B2C companies, nurturing leads with relevant email content and promotional messages is crucial for moving prospects down the funnel.

This type of personalized content allows you to build relationships, increase brand awareness, drive website traffic, generate leads, and boost sales.

In this guide, we'll cover 20 proven best practices for creating successful email marketing campaigns.

You'll learn tips for building your subscriber list, optimizing your emails for maximum engagement, and using automation to get it all done. We'll talk about everything from creating a pitch-perfect subject line and landing page to finding good email marketing software.

With the right strategies, you can significantly increase things like your open rate, click through rate, and return on investment from your email campaign.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing refers to sending commercial messages to a list of contacts or subscribers via email in order to promote a business, product, service, or event. The primary goals of email marketing include:

  • Driving traffic to your website
  • Generating new leads for your sales team to follow up on
  • Nurturing existing leads and moving them through the sales funnel
  • Increasing customer engagement and loyalty
  • Promoting special offers or new products to past customers
  • Building your brand and awareness through valuable, relevant content

Unlike general email communication, email marketing involves sending messages to customers or prospects who have opted in or provided permission to receive updates from your company.

Why Email Marketing is Crucial for Business Growth

According to Campaign Monitor, email generates $42 for every $1 spent, delivering the highest return on investment (ROI) of any marketing channel.

For lead generation and conversions, email is equally powerful. Over 80% of customers say email influences their purchasing decisions, and email converts 3 times better than social media.

Segment found that users who engaged with marketing emails spent 138% more than non-engaged users.

The data shows that when done right, an email marketing strategy delivers phenomenal results. With high ROI, strong conversion rates, and deep integration with sales funnels, email marketing is a must for companies looking to grow.

Traditional Email Marketing Challenges

Before the rise of AI, email marketing was a slow, manual process. Marketers struggled to effectively segment their lists, create compelling content, optimize campaigns, and achieve strong results.

Manual List Segmentation

One major challenge was the need to manually sort contacts into different segments or groups for each campaign. Emails sent to a broad audience have very low open and click rates compared to targeted, personalized messages.

But sorting through thousands of contacts to create custom segments was often time-consuming and inaccurate without AI.

Content Creation Bottlenecks

Creating unique, engaging content for each email campaign also proved difficult. Subject lines, preview text, and email body copy needed to be manually written for each new promotion or newsletter.

This resulted in content creation being a huge bottleneck that limited the number of campaigns marketers could run. l

Lack of Optimization

With manual workflows, marketers struggled to continually test and refine campaigns. There was no easy way to A/B test subject lines, send times, and content to identify the optimal approach.

And with such limited data, marketers were often left guessing at what might improve results.

Using AI to Streamline Email Marketing Workflows

AI and automation can help modernize email marketing campaigns, saving time while optimizing performance.

Rather than running campaigns manually, marketers can use intelligent platforms to handle repetitive tasks.

In other words, AI should be front and center in your suite of email marketing tools.

Benefits of Using AI for Email Marketing Efforts

Key capabilities provided by AI-powered email marketing platforms include:

  • Automated segmentation and personalization: AI can analyze customer data to automatically create highly targeted segments and customize messaging.
  • AI content generation: Natural language generation models can create initial drafts of emails, including email subject lines and CTAs. This saves time while ensuring brand consistency.
  • Predictive analytics: With machine learning, platforms can find insights that forecast customer needs and identify the optimal time to engage each person on your contact list.
  • Automated deliverability testing: AI can continually test emails against spam filters and suggest improvements to avoid blacklisting.
  • Built-in A/B testing: GTM AI platforms can run multivariate tests to refine content, send times, write engaging subject lines, and other elements to boost conversions.
  • Real-time optimization: With continuous analysis of performance data, AI can make recommendations to improve email metrics like open and clickthrough rates.

Best of all? An email marketer can do all of the above in just a few clicks. This frees them up to focus embracing marketing best practices, like developing stronger customer relationships.

Using AI to Streamline Email Marketing Workflows

Email marketing can be an incredibly tedious and time-consuming process without automation.

Tasks like list segmentation, content creation, optimization and testing have traditionally required extensive manual work.

This limits your team's ability to personalize and scale campaigns.'s workflows harness artificial intelligence to automate many of these repetitive workflows, allowing marketers to be more strategic with their time.

Automating Email List Segmentation and Personalization can ingest customer data like demographics, behavior, and preferences to automatically segment contacts based on that data.

Marketers define the rules and AI handles the actual segmentation at scale.

This enables hyper-personalized email content through dynamic fields tied to each subscriber's profile.

Instead of batch-and-blast campaigns, each person can receive a customized message tailored to their needs.

Generating Engaging Email Content with AI

The workflow can generate all the required copy for each email campaign including subject lines, preview text, and the email body. It can also create opt-in forms, blog posts, and landing pages to drive further engagement.

Optimizing Deliverability to Avoid Spam Filters workflows continually test and optimize factors like sender reputation and email content to maximize deliverability.

The AI learns which types of content get flagged by ISPs and optimizes accordingly. This helps improve open and clickthrough rates.

AI-Powered A/B Testing for Optimization

The workflows make it easy to set up A/B tests to identify the optimal combination of variables like subject lines, content, CTAs, and timing.

AI continually tests new variations and learns from the results to improve performance over time through machine learning.

Email List Building Best Practices

A strong email list is the foundation of any successful email marketing strategy. Here are some best practices for building and managing your subscriber list:

1. Obtain Explicit Permission

When building your list of GTM sales leads, it's essential to focus on individuals who have actively chosen to join. This approach ensures that your subscribers are genuinely interested and eager to engage with your emails.

An enthusiastic audience is more likely to interact with your content and ultimately become customers.

To make this process seamless, provide a clear opt-in form on your website or as part of any content offers. Use an unchecked checkbox that users can select to subscribe, affirming their consent actively.

This small step goes a long way in building a base of engaged subscribers. A double opt-in is even better.

Be upfront about what subscribers can expect in terms of email frequency and content.

Whether you're sending updates daily, weekly, or monthly, let them know what to expect and what kind of information they'll be receiving.

Setting these expectations from the start helps prevent any surprises and builds a trusting relationship, keeping your subscribers happy and connected over time.

2. Segment and Personalize

When managing your GTM sales leads, try breaking your list into different segments or groups. This allows you to tailor your outreach to specific groups based on their demographics, interests, and behaviors.

Understanding these differences helps you create messages that truly speak to each audience segment.

Once you've segmented your list, start personalizing the content for each group. This means adjusting your emails to reflect the unique preferences and characteristics of each segment.

For example, content that clicks with a younger crowd might include trendy topics and eye-catching visuals, while professionals might appreciate more in-depth analysis and data.

Consider adding dynamic content to your emails, which changes automatically based on who's viewing it. This could mean different images, offers, or text that resonate more with a subscriber's previous interactions and interests.

Dynamic content makes your emails more engaging and gives each recipient a feeling that the message was crafted just for them.

With this type of approach, you'll see better engagement rates and strengthen the bond between your brand and your audience.

3. Clean Your List Regularly

Maintaining a clean and engaged email list is crucial for the health of your email marketing campaigns. One important step in this process is removing subscribers who haven't interacted with your emails in over six months.

Inactive subscribers can negatively impact your deliverability rates because ISPs often use engagement metrics to determine whether your emails should reach the inbox or the spam folder.

It’s also essential to ensure that opting out of your emails is as easy as opting in. Include a clear and simple opt-out link in every email you send.

This adheres to email marketing best practices and respects subscriber preferences. Once a subscriber decides to opt out, honor their request promptly to avoid any potential frustration or complaints.

Keeping an eye on spam complaints is another critical practice. If a recipient marks your email as spam, take immediate action by removing them from your list.

This helps to maintain your sender reputation and reduces the risk of internet service providers (ISPs) blocking your emails.

Finally, consider using an email validation service. These services help you identify and remove invalid or non-existent email addresses from your list.

Cleaning up these addresses improves the accuracy of your engagement metrics and ensures that your emails are being sent to valid users, further boosting deliverability and effectiveness.

4. Import Contacts Carefully

When you add new contacts to your email list, particularly those from purchased or rented sources, it’s crucial to be cautious.

These lists can often include email addresses that are no longer active or valid, which might affect your campaign’s success and harm your reputation with email service providers.

Start by thoroughly cleaning your new list. Check the validity of each email address to ensure they are current and belong to real people.

An email validation tool can be a great help in this process by filtering out any addresses likely to cause bounce-backs or flag your emails as spam.

After integrating these contacts into your list, keep a close watch on how they interact with your emails. Pay attention to their open and click-through rates, and note any direct feedback you receive.

If you don't see any activity from specific contacts over a set period, usually a few months, it might be time to let them go. Removing unresponsive contacts helps keep your list fresh and engaged, which is key for successful email marketing.

Handling your email list with this level of care ensures your messages reach people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

This, in turn, makes your email campaigns more effective and improves your overall engagement rates.

5. Comply with Email Regulations

Email marketing best practices are all about building trust and maintaining your reputation. Here’s how you can stay compliant and keep your subscribers happy.

First and foremost, when someone decides they no longer want to receive your emails, make sure you respect their wishes immediately.

Keep a suppression list to ensure that once someone opts out, they aren't accidentally contacted again with another marketing email.

This quick action on unsubscribe requests not only complies with the law but also shows respect for your audience's choices.

For your contacts in Canada or Europe, getting explicit opt-in consent before sending emails is critical due to anti-spam laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Make sure subscribers clearly agree to receive your emails through a direct action, such as ticking an unchecked opt-in box. This step is essential to avoid legal pitfalls and to ensure your emails are welcomed.

Finally, think twice before purchasing email lists. If you do go down this route, ensure you have solid proof that the people on the list have opted in.

Sending emails without this consent can lead to severe legal issues and damage your ability to reach inboxes.

It's always better to build your list organically to ensure that your communications are both effective and compliant.

By adhering to these practices, you can keep on the right side of the law and foster a healthier relationship with your subscribers. That's what the best email marketing campaigns do.

Email Content Creation Tips

Crafting engaging email content is crucial for driving opens and clicks. We've rounded up a list of email marketing tips that follow email marketing best practices.

Personalize Content

Personalizing your emails can transform a standard message into something special that resonates with each recipient. To do this effectively, you can use dynamic content and merge fields to add a personal touch that goes beyond just using the recipient’s name.

Start by including personal details in your emails, such as the recipient's name, their company, or even their location. This isn’t just about addressing them directly; it’s about making the message feel tailored just for them.

But why stop there?

Create different segments within your email list based on various criteria like demographics, past purchases, or how often they engage with your emails. This allows you to craft content that’s specifically suited for each group.

For instance, you might send a welcome series to new subscribers with helpful information about your services, while long-time customers might enjoy exclusive offers or insights into new products.

Also, pay attention to your subscribers' interests and behaviors.

If a segment of your audience often clicks on emails about specific topics, such as new tech gadgets or seasonal fashion trends, tailor your content to dive deeper into those subjects.

When you integrate these personalized elements into your emails, you make each message feel like a one-on-one conversation.

This boosts engagement and strengthens the connection between your brand and your email recipients.

Optimize for Mobile

In today’s world, many of us check our emails on the go, so it's crucial to make sure your emails look good on mobile devices.

A mobile-friendly email can keep your audience engaged and make interacting with your content a breeze.

Start by using a single-column layout. This setup works best on smaller screens and prevents your emails from feeling cluttered or causing accidental taps, which can be annoying and drive people away.

Also, make sure your text and buttons are big enough for easy reading and clicking. No one wants to squint or fumble trying to click a tiny link; larger fonts and buttons are much more thumb-friendly.

It's also wise to keep your most important content and calls to action at the top of your email. Mobile users don’t want to scroll endlessly to find the good stuff—put your main message front and center to grab attention right away.

Focusing on these email marketing best practices will make your emails much more mobile-friendly.

It also improves the user experience and boosts the chances of your audience interacting with your content the way you want them to. So, give your emails a mobile makeover—your subscribers will thank you for it!

Keep Copy Concise

In the whirlwind of our digital lives, it’s crucial to keep your email copy sharp and to the point. This includes your email subject line.

People usually zip through their inboxes, so make sure your message stands out by hitting the key points right off the bat. This way, even the quickest skim will leave them with the essentials.

Break up your message into short, digestible paragraphs rather than overwhelming your readers with dense blocks of text. Bullet points are your friends—they help structure your content neatly, making it super easy for your readers to pick up the main ideas at a glance.

And remember, less is more. Overloading your audience with too much information can lead to your message being overlooked.

Keep your writing crisp and focused—cut out any fluff and get straight to what matters. This approach makes your emails easy to read and more likely to be remembered.

Subject Line and CTA Optimization

Your email's subject line and call-to-action (CTA) play a huge role in getting recipients to open and click-through your campaigns. Follow these best practices:

  • Harness emotional triggers: Subject lines that tap into emotions like excitement, curiosity, and urgency tend to perform better. For example, "Don't miss out!" creates urgency.
  • Ask questions: Posing questions in the subject line sparks interest and curiosity. For instance, "What's new this month?"
  • Highlight exclusivity: Subjects like "Just for you" or "VIP Access" make subscribers feel special.
  • Use numbers: Numbered lists (i.e. "The 5 Best...") stand out in the inbox and imply your email client will receive useful tips.
  • Test different lengths: Find the optimal length for engagement. Shorter subjects under 50 characters tend to work well on mobile.
  • Personalize dynamically: Insert first names, locations, and past purchases to boost open rates.
  • Focus on benefits: Subjects highlighting value propositions convert better than generic titles.
  • Urgency and scarcity: Limited-time offers in the CTA can increase conversions, like "24 hours left!"
  • Clear, action-oriented CTA: Use strong verbs like "Shop now" or "Get your free guide".
  • Contrasting CTA color: Make sure buttons stand out on the page with high-contrast colors.
  • Curiosity gap CTAs:  "See what's new" encourages clicks by not giving away the full content.
  • Testing CTAs:A/B test different CTA wording and placements for optimization.

With these tips in your pocket, you'll see higher open rates, click-throughs, and conversions. Test different options to determine which resonate most with your audience.

Timing and Automating Emails

Optimizing your automated email campaigns is critical to boosting open and clickthrough rates.

Best Practices for Timing Your Emails

  • Send based on subscriber time zones: Avoid sending emails too early or late based on the recipient's location. Segment your lists by time zone.
  • Test different days and times: Every audience is different. Send A/B tests to identify the optimal send times. Weekdays before 9 AM or after 5 PM tend to perform well.
  • Consider industry norms: Send times often vary by industry. B2B emails tend to do well in mornings, while B2C evening emails see higher open rates.
  • Study your analytics: Review historical performance to identify peak engagement times. Use rolling send times to cover high and low periods.
  • Schedule around behaviors: Send cart abandonment emails soon after abandonment. Promotional marketing emails should be sent on weekends, when customers have time to shop. Tailor timing based on behaviors.

Again, split-testing and analyzing your key email metrics can help you figure out when to send your marketing emails.

Use Trigger-Based, Automated Emails

Triggers are one of the easiest ways to make sure you capture every opportunity as your customer traverses their buyer's journey. We like to use these triggers:

  • Welcome email and onboarding series: Automate a welcome email and preset series of onboarding emails to guide new subscribers.
  • Cart abandonment: Trigger emails if items are left in a cart. Time it based on the customer's typical purchase cycles.
  • Event-based triggers: Send for events like new blog posts, product releases, or webinars.
  • Date-based triggers: Set automated emails around subscriber anniversary and renewal dates.
  • Behavior-based: Send re-engagement emails if a subscriber is inactive for a period of time.
  • Integration-based: Trigger emails based on actions in your CRM and ecommerce platform.

Automating timed and triggered emails ensures your messages hit inboxes when most relevant to each subscriber. This removes manual work while optimizing open and click rates.

Deliverability and Spam Avoidance

One of the most challenging aspects of email marketing is ensuring your messages actually make it to the inbox. With spam detectors getting more advanced, it's crucial to optimize your campaigns for deliverability.

Here are some tips:

  • Monitor sender reputation: Keep track of key email metrics like spam complaints, bounce rates, and placement in spam folders. These indicate your sender reputation. Work to actively improve it over time.
  • Test for spam early and often: Use tools to check your emails for spam before sending. Tweak content, links, and imagery based on results.
  • Analyze spam trap hits: Spam traps are fake email addresses that identify spammers. Minimize spam trap hits to protect your sender score.
  • Enable authentication protocols: Using protocols like SPF, DKIM, and DMARC authenticate your domain and improve deliverability.
  • Limit images and attachments: Too many heavy images or attachments can trigger spam reports. Optimize and use them sparingly.
  • Review link quality: Avoid too many links or questionable ones from low-quality sites. Stick to reputable sources.
  • Adjust your sequence timing: If you send too many emails in a short window, you risk getting flagged as spam. Space out your sequences.
  • Check placement by provider: Review inbox placement and spam folder hits for major email providers like Gmail and Outlook.
  • Leverage AI optimization: AI can analyze content, links, images to provide suggestions for improving deliverability.

Optimizing deliverability takes work, but it's essential for email success. Continually review your campaigns and make adjustments to keep your emails out of the spam folder.

Testing and Optimization Tactics

A/B testing is a crucial part of any email marketing strategy. By testing different subject lines, content variations, calls-to-action, and more, you can refine your campaigns over time.

To really dial in your email marketing efforts, it’s crucial to embrace a thoughtful testing routine. Begin by tweaking just one element at a time in your emails.

This focused approach lets you see clearly which changes are making a difference—mixing up several variables together can leave you guessing.

Remember to give each test enough time to reveal meaningful results. Cutting things short might cause you to miss out on key insights.

Regularly experimenting with your subject lines is a smart move too, as small adjustments here can lead to big jumps in how many people actually open your emails.

Don’t be afraid to mix up your calls-to-action (CTAs) and shuffle their spots around in your emails. This can highlight what catches your reader's eye and drives them to act.

Personalization can also play a big role; try sending different content variations to different groups and see what sticks.

How to Streamline Your Split Testing Process

To streamline this process, consider using automation tools for A/B testing. Manual testing can be a drag, so tools like those discussed in our GTM Tech Stack article can save you time and increase precision.

Make sure you’re also checking how your emails look on different devices to ensure everyone gets the best view.

Keep a close eye on key metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversions from each test. These numbers will guide you on what to tweak next.

Treat this process as a continuous cycle of improvement, always testing, optimizing, and learning. By staying proactive, you'll keep your campaigns fresh and effective.

In addition to A/B testing, be sure to analyze email metrics regularly. Open rates, click-through rates, bounce rates, unsubscribes, conversions, and other data will highlight opportunities to refine your approach.

Use analytics to identify underperforming areas and make data-driven decisions to improve email marketing results.

Integrating Email Marketing with Other Tools

Email marketing campaigns don't exist in isolation - they should be integrated with your other marketing and sales tools for maximum impact. Here are some best practices for integrating email with key platforms.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation can truly transform how you manage your email campaigns, making everything more efficient and impactful.

When you link your email service with a marketing automation platform like HubSpot or Marketo, you unlock a suite of powerful tools that take your marketing to the next level.

One of the standout features is how it allows you to track every interaction recipients have with your emails, right inside your CRM.

This means you can see who opens your emails, who clicks, and who ignores them, and use this data to automatically update your lead scoring. This helps you focus your efforts on the leads that are most engaged and likely to convert.

It also helps you trigger personalized email campaigns based on specific actions that your leads take. For example, if someone downloads a white paper or spends time on a critical product page, they can automatically receive a follow-up email tailored to their interests, nudging them closer to a sale.

You can also set up customized lifecycle campaigns that help guide your prospects through the buyer’s journey, delivering the right message at just the right time.

Plus, with automatic syncing of subscriber data across platforms, you’ll never have to worry about outdated or inconsistent information.

And if you’re looking to streamline even more of your sales process, check out how outbound sales automation can enhance your strategy at's blog on outbound sales automation. This resource dives into automating those crucial touchpoints that can turn prospects into customers, saving you time and increasing your success rate.


Connecting your email marketing platform to your CRM helps you:

  • Automatically sync subscriber data to your CRM in real-time
  • Personalize messaging with CRM data like deal size, role, etc.
  • Track email engagement back to each contact record
  • Trigger emails based on CRM events like closed deals

To dive deeper into making the most out of these tools, check out how CRM automation can streamline your processes even further at's blog on CRM automation.

Ecommerce Platforms

For ecommerce brands, integrate your email service with your ecommerce platform like Shopify or Magento. This enables:

  • Automated post-purchase welcome emails
  • Cart abandonment emails to recover lost sales
  • Personalized product recommendations via email
  • Tracking sales driven by email campaigns

Integrating your email marketing with the rest of your tech stack ensures your campaigns are triggered at exactly the right time, personalized with the most up-to-date data.

Staying Compliant with Laws and Regulations

Email marketing is subject to various laws and regulations that marketers must comply with. Here are some key areas to keep in mind:

  • Permission and consent: You must have opt-in consent before sending emails. Don't add contacts without their permission or buy unverified email lists. Provide clear opt-out options in every email.
  • CAN-SPAM Act: This US law requires accurate sender info, opt-out options, and prohibits deceptive subject lines. Follow best practices for compliance.
  • GDPR: The EU's data privacy law requires consent for processing data. Honor opt-outs, provide data access, delete data upon request.
  • CASL: Canada's anti-spam law is similar to CAN-SPAM. Ensure you have opt-in consent before sending emails.
  • Privacy policies: Have a clear privacy policy explaining how you collect, use, and protect data. Include info on email marketing practices.
  • Subscription management: Make it easy to subscribe, unsubscribe, or change preferences. Quickly honor any opt-out requests.
  • Data security: Protect email lists with encryption and limit internal access. Don't sell or share data without consent.

Staying up-to-date on laws and regulations will ensure your email marketing remains compliant. Work with legal counsel as needed to review practices.

The Future of Email Marketing: AI-Driven Hyper-Personalization

Email marketing is rapidly evolving thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

As AI capabilities improve, email marketers will be able to leverage predictive analytics and hyper-personalization to create more relevant and timely communications that drive higher engagement and conversions.

Here are some of the ways go-to-market (GTM) AI will shape the future of email marketing:

Hyper-Personalized Email Experiences

AI will enable true 1:1 personalization at scale by automatically tailoring email content, offers, timing and more based on individual subscriber profiles and behaviors. Marketers will be able to match the right message to the right customer at the right time.

Predictive Analytics for Perfectly Timed Emails

AI will analyze customer data to predict needs, interests, and behavior. This allows for timely, relevant recommendations and offers before subscribers even realize they want something.

Dynamic Optimization and Refinement

Machine learning algorithms will continuously test and refine email campaigns. Optimization will happen in real-time based on open rates, click-throughs, and other engagement metrics. Marketers will be able to instantly tweak content, timing and more to boost results.

Unified Customer Profiles

AI will automatically aggregate customer data from CRM, email, web analytics, social media and more. This unified view will enable perfectly timed outreach based on complete insights.

The future of email marketing is hyper-personalized, predictive and optimized for maximum relevance and impact thanks to AI. Marketers who leverage these new email marketing best practice  technologies will have a clear advantage in engaging and converting subscribers.

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