Email marketing remains to be one of the most useful tactics to gain customers, clients, and earn the trust of your subscribers. You want to create resourceful content or something that will entice them to want to receive emails from you. It could be e-books, whitepapers, webinars or discounts, deals, and promotions.

So if you want to start doing email marketing campaigns what are some to dos you should make sure you have on your checklist, as well as what you should make sure you’re not doing.

9 Dos of Email Marketing

1. Personalize the email with their first name to improve open rates. In most email platforms the first line of the email is shown as a preview, and when you address the person they are more likely to open it.

2. Scrub your lists to make sure that the correct information is where it needs to be. If someone filled in their last name where their first name should have went, then they will be addressed as so, but you will be the one that looks bad.

3. Use responsive email templates, just like your website, so that anyone opening emails on their smartphone get the best user experience. With the addition to smartwatches, email opens will only continue to grow on mobile devices. In Q1 of 2014, 66% of emails were opened by a smartphone or tablet according to Movable Ink’s consumer device preference report. I think it’s safe to say that responsive design is here to stay and will only become more important as our mobile devices and the Internet of Things evolve.

4. Use visuals but don’t overdo it. Maybe a header image and a relevant image for each point you are trying to make in your email, but don’t stuff it with visuals everywhere. Visuals along with text make the user more inclined to read your email and follow through.

5. Create call-to-actions within a good use of white space, visuals and text. They give the user a nudge of what they should do next. If your content was good and it peaked their interest then they’ll know what to do next.

6. Always have an unsubscribe link and don’t make it hard to find. You have 10 business days to remove someone from a list that asked to be unsubscribed, but if you can do it sooner because if you send out another email you don’t want to risk really upsetting them and losing them forever.

7. Include your real physical mailing address. It’s part of the CAN SPAM act and it shows your subscribers you are a real business.

8. Test, test, test. Every email campaign you are sending out should first be tested to several different email platforms like Yahoo, Gmail and Outlook. Look at these emails on different devices for layout purposes; make sure all the links work, and that it didn’t hit your spam folder.

9. Lastly, always be tracking your open rates, click-throughs, and conversions to see what is working (and what isn’t). Some subject lines that are persuasive but not misleading might work better than others.

11 Don’ts of Email Marketing

1. Don’t spam. It’s that simple. If they didn’t opt-in to receive emails from you then you shouldn’t be emailing them.

2. Don’t purchase email lists. See point made above. Even though whom you purchased them from may have emailed them asking if they wanted to receive offers from a third party, you still shouldn’t use them. It’s not a targeted list and you could end up just wasting your time and looking really unprofessional.

3. Don’t be obvious that you are using a template. When the first name is in bold and a different font, it makes it look obvious that a template was used to fill in that information. If there was no first name on the list because you didn’t scrub, your subscriber might get an email saying “Hey %first name%,” and you will probably lose them to the unsubscribe link.

4. Don’t use fake emails or no-reply emails. If people want to get in contact with you make it easy for them by being able to just reply to the email.

5. Don’t use the carbon copy or Cc: feature in emails to send out to a list. No one wants his or her email publicly known to the world.

6. Don’t be “salesy” in every email you send. No one really cares about your products and services unless you gain their trust and show them how it will benefit them.

7. Don’t use an unrelated subject line to try and induce them to open your email. First, it doesn’t follow the rules of the CAN SPAM act because it is misleading. Second, you will just upset the user because you tricked them and they will probably unsubscribe.

8. Don’t use too many call-to-actions. This may confuse the user and not give a good direction of where you want to lead them. Make it clear what you want them to do next if you have peaked their interest.

Don’t use all caps or exclamation points in your email message. Just talk conversationally and casually so you don’t come across as yelling.

9. Don’t go over 50 characters in your subject line or your message will get cut off. Generally, 6-10 words in the subject line is the sweet spot for email opens.

10. Don’t use spam trigger words. Common words like free, cheap, discount, click here, prize, money back guarantee, test, and so much more will have your emails going to most junk folders. Hubspot put together an ultimate list of spam trigger words to not use, which is very helpful. MailChimp also put together some tips on how to avoid spam filters.

This list of 20 dos and don’t should help you to get started along your way with email marketing. Always be split testing, trying to find out what works best with your campaigns. Surely, there is more to this list so please let us know what else you use as best practices for your email marketing campaigns.