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Effective Email Marketing

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What are the attributes of these effective marketing emails?

Obviously, at the core, we’ve got what we hope is an effective marketing email.

  • Relevant content: Is it relevant to your audience? Is it timely? Is it informative?
  • User-centric: Does it make the reader feel as if it’s personalized to them, targeting them specifically?
  • Demonstrates value: Does it demonstrate the value of your company? Does it demonstrate the ethos, what you’re trying to do, what you’re all about? Your email is representing your company. It’s representing your brand every single time at the personal level, at the corporate level. It’s representing you and your company. What message does it convey?
  • Conveys a message: Ideally, it conveys some sort of message that comes across. Maybe it’s a story, maybe it’s an action, but at least it conveys something to the reader.
  • Engages the recipient with great design: Great design really does matter. It used to be you could probably send an email, and it wouldn’t necessarily have to look that good. But now, graphic design has caught up with quality content.


Your emails are going to include a wide array of features, such as animated GIFs, static images, compelling text, and the graphical interface or a user experience that looks really good from a design perspective. So those are some of the key elements to an effective marketing email.

Compelling subject line

Once again, the subject line of your email matters so much. That’s almost the first thing that a reader sees. They usually see who sent them the message and what’s it all about. And the ‘what’s it all about’ question is answered in your compelling subject line.

Concise, relevant copy

Keep it short, keep it sweet, keep it compelling, and keep it interesting. Don’t overdo it. Don’t think that you must give everything to your audience with one email. You have an opportunity with an email, and an email marketing campaign, and plan to slowly build community, to sort of generate connection. You don’t have to have everything in one single message. Because if you try to do that, what often happens is people won’t pay attention. Keep it concise, and keep it relevant.

Clear calls to action

Let people know what it is that you’re trying to get them to do in this email in a very clear, concise way. What’s the call to action? What’re you trying to get people to do? If it is confusing to the reader what you’re trying to accomplish, then you’re not going to get a lot of calls to action. You’re not going to get people to do what you want. You’re not going to have a lot of open rates in the future. Because, guess what? Goes back to number two, number one.


This is probably one of the neatest things that’s emerged over the years when it comes to email marketing. Because we’ve enabled this sense of greater and greater personalization.

You remember the first time you got a piece of direct mail. A physical, snail mail. And it had, depending on when you watch this – if we’re in the far future and mail is totally gone, disregard this point. However, remember when you had the piece of mail, and it had your name on it, and it had a sense of personalization to it. It made you feel as if someone in an office somewhere had sent you this piece of mail. And it made you feel something because it made you feel special. It made you feel that this was actually personalized to you.

The same thing goes with email. Emails that make you feel as if the sender is just sending it to you and not a million people, that makes the reader much more interested. It’s compelling content in a way. It’s just to them. It’s not to a bunch of different people. So personalization does matter.

Of course, you don’t want to mess up on personalization too. How many of you have received emails that say, “Dear, “and it has an underscore? Or it has some blank insert-copy-here language where someone’s forgot to input the personalization field in the database or in the email service provider software. So remember, personalization is great, but make sure you double-check to make sure that it is actually personalized to each reader.

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Eric Stoller

Eric Stoller is a Higher Education Strategic Communications Consultant and Blogger at Inside Higher Ed. With a background in student affairs, academic advising, wellness, technology, and communications, Eric educates clients and audiences on digital identity development. As a blogger, he generates conversations, answers questions, and provides insight about a variety of tech topics, including Social Media Strategies and Email Marketing.

By the end of this topic, you should be able to:

  • Evaluate the role of email marketing in demand generation and lead conversions 
  • Evaluate marketing emails designs and their effectiveness
  • Appraise the performance of email marketing campaigns

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      Applied Email Marketing
      Eric Stoller
      Skills Expert

      Communication expert Eric Stoller will help you to identify the attributes and features of an effective marketing email. You will recognize the importance of professional email design to retain brand reputation and subscribers, and will understand that testing is the basis of every successful email marketing campaign. Eric will then introduce the key metrics and statistics within email reporting, and will help you to identify methods for optimizing the performance of your campaign.