10 email marketing do's and don'ts

Welcome to the first instalment of the EmailOctopus guide to email marketing. Through our guide, we'll share with you all our knowledge to help take you from an email marketing novice to an expert.

This first article covers the do's and don'ts of email marketing. There are hundreds of myths, outdated tactics and falsehoods which can have a negative impact on your campaigns. These ten tips will point you in the right direction, ensuring you don't make damaging mistakes which might impact the success of your emails.


  • Grow your list organically. Encourage subscribers to opt in to receive your emails and build your list over time.
  • Set up an automated welcome for new subscribers so they know what sort of content they'll be receiving from you.
  • Use preview text to increase your open rate by letting subscribers know what's in your email.
  • Personalise your subject lines using merge tags to increase your open rate.
  • Use automated email workflows to take your customers on a journey.
  • Test to find out the best time of day to send emails and get a good open rate.
  • Make sure your grammar and spelling are impeccable – and always check your links work.
  • Pay close attention to your campaign reports and understand customer engagement to tailor subsequent emails.
  • Create separate lists for subscribers who are interested in specific products or services.
  • Send a test email to yourself and a couple of colleagues before sending your campaign out. Emails can look different across devices.


  • Send cold emails to people who haven't asked to receive them, or buy lists of contacts.
  • Collect email addresses and not use them.
  • Send an email without the preview text field completed. Subscribers may not know what to expect and will be less likely to open.
  • Send 'one size fits all' emails that don't feel personalised or relevant to your audience.
  • Send infrequent, one-off emails and lose touch with your subscribers.
  • Send your emails randomly at any time of the day.
  • Send emails without proofreading and checking everything works as it should.
  • Keep doing the same things without testing and learning what your customers will respond to best.
  • Send all your products and services to a large generic list, regardless of your subscribers' interests.
  • Send your email to your subscriber base without first checking it on both your computer and phone.

It's time to send your first email!

Read how to write a great subject line

Start for free today

Sign up and send your first campaign in minutes. No credit card required.

Get started