13 Consumer Email Marketing Best Practices

Email copywriting best practices for effective consumer email marketing

Email copywriting can differ slightly when it comes to consumer marketing because consumers prefer a personal level of attention. The audience in B2C is also more relaxed and is digesting your information in a leisurely manner. They see your email newsletter as informational and as a service, while B2B readers are usually time-pressed and likely expecting to be sold in every email newsletter.

Here are 13 consumer email marketing best practices:

Send a welcome email: Remind your user that they signed up for your email newsletter. Thank them for signing up, remind them how often they’ll receive emails from you, and make it personal. The welcome letter should use their name and might point them to helpful sections of your site. If you have a segmented list and your user chose “rose gardening”, you might want to point her towards “rose gardening” tips, videos etc.

Include a product in your welcome email: While you have your reader’s attention, don’t waste the opportunity. Within your welcome letter, in your right navigation or at the bottom, provide a casual ad for a related bestselling product. The point of this email is NOT to sell a product, so it shouldn’t be the topic of your welcome letter. A casual mention should suffice, remember, this is their first interaction with you so you want to make a good impression.

Ask them to whitelist you: Don’t use the word “whitelist” in consumer emails, but do ask them to add your email address (and provide them with it) to their address book so that they don’t miss a single email.

Be careful with images: While consumers are more likely to appreciate images in their email newsletters, consumers are also more likely to use webmail clients that automatically block images. If you plan on using images, make sure to let your user know that they need to click the option to “display images” in their email client. Also, provide a web-based version of your email.

Keep it personal: In the consumer market (as opposed to the business market) there’s a shift for a user to want your information rather than need it to do their job. Being as transparent and casual in your copywriting as you can builds trust with your readers and builds a personal relationship between your brand and your reader.

Don’t pull any tricks in your subject line: Great open rates don’t always lead to great conversions. Trying to pull a sneak attack on your users that have chosen to give up their valuable email address in exchange for your information does not build a healthy relationship. The moment a user starts seeing you as trying to sell them instead of trying to provide them with valuable information, you’re gone.


Tell a story: This might be obvious when it comes to email copywriting, or any type of copywriting but it’s most important when it comes to consumers. Telling a personal story of a friend from back home who used a certain type of seed and grew an incredible garden is going to sell seeds better than a block image that says “Save $0.25 per seed packet today!“.

Personalize the “From” line: If your brand has a recognizable personality, use their name in the from line on your emails (or at least your email promotions).

Use names: When you tell a story, don’t use the phrase “I had a friend once”; that depersonalizes the entire story. Say “my friend Jennifer has an adorable blonde little boy named Jared. The other day he said to me…

Develop a unique voice: Building a relationship with your consumer email audience is not just about your brand. For example, Sandi Wisehart, Publisher of KnittingDaily.com has a dedicated audience that is hooked on her upbeat personality. In every email newsletter there’s a “Note from Sandi”. For example:

Note from Sandi: Liz Gipson, managing editor of Handwoven magazine and co-host of Knitting Daily TV, is back today to share more about her fiber “space”. But, this time it’s her backyard. Liz is the proud “mother” of cashmere goats. Truly a woman after my own heart!

Chris Kimball from America’s Test Kitchen doesn’t sign his email newsletter but he does sign his email promotions. The email starts with something like “Dear Fellow Home Cook” includes a “From the desk of Christopher Kimball” stamp and ends with a “Thank you for your consideration, Sincerely, Christopher Kimball.”

Put the call to action up front and be clear: Don’t blast your reader with a sell, but do allude to the product you will promote later in the newsletter. Take the time to edit your email down so that there is less clutter and more key points.

Create a sense of continuity: When writing a series of emails, it’s personable to say to your readers that the email is part of a larger structure. To say “in the email we sent on Monday, we talked about XXXXX… now I want to talk about how XXXXX works with XXXXX“. By building this ongoing series of events, you’re likely to increase open rates on past emails and build a more evolved relationship with your readers.

Don’t tell them to “click here”: This is pretty much a universal best practice not to use these two words. However, there are some consumer-friendly alternatives in consumer email marketing: “read the full story“, “download this ebook“, “save 10% right now” are ways to express your benefit within the link and increase clicks.



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