32 tips and ideas on creating a successful email marketing campaign – all based on experience

32 email marketing & design tips… are you ready?

Your agenda and measure for success may vary, but I am sure there are email design and marketing tips ideas here that will help steer you towards your own success. This post is a list of 32 ideas and tips to help either help you if have run out of steam or set you on the path if you are new to email marketing.
Your goal could be to inform your readers of your latest product, get a sale, receive a bulk order or to push contact form enquiries, I will leave that part for you and offer up tips!

This post covers tips and techniques which have been tried and tested.

My credentials

I have designed, created and launched email campaigns for over 10 years for various projects, products, and newsletters. I am going to share some important techniques and trade secrets that will hopefully move you in the right direction and avoid disappointment. I’m also pleased to mention whilst working at the previous position, that I managed to get into the TOP 500 for email design, according to Vertical Response.

32 awesome tips for creating a successful email campaign

32 Actionable Tips For your email campaign
32 email tips!

1 ) Have a good list

I would like to put this as number 1 as having a non-responsive, dodgy or an uninterested email list (readership) will undermine all of your best efforts. It is pointless to create an email campaign where the user won’t open or react to your message because they are bored or didn’t sign up in the first place.

I can’t emphasise how important it is to have a receptive list of readers. A clean database will help tremendously in the success of your email campaign.

2 ) Be GDPR compliant

GDPR is a ambiguous topic. Web marketeers were left in a turmoil in 2018 when they had to bring all their data collection practices inline with the new legislation – I found myself in the same situation. In essence, GDPR is about protecting your client or customer data and making their privacy a priority.

Practices such as scraping, harvesting – generally taking data without consent, is a big no-no! If you are taking an email address off somebodies website and adding it to your bulk mailing list ready for spamming, this is strictly against GDPR. If you are doing this, please stop now. Besides, there is little point in plugging your services or wares to somebody that really couldn’t care less about what you have to say.

GDPR, in a nutshell (please note I am not a GDPR consultant, but have taken the time to learn best practices)

  • Consent
  • Handling data responsibly
  • What do you do with data, “right to be forgotten”

You can read more on GDPR here – The joys of GDPR

3 ) Consider who you are talking to

It is important to create a clean and responsive email database, it is also important to know who you are talking to. If you can identify who you are sending your marketing emails to, you will stand a much better chance at creating a message that will resonate with the reader.

Somebody who is into fly fishing probably wont be interested being sold air vents, or train wheels (I have actually received an email with a company trying to sell me train wheels!) but, an avid fisherman may want to buy fishing rod or read tips on how to catch a certain fish with rod you have just promoted – especially if it is about Fly Fishing.

Another example worth considering is a Gamer. Who is your Gamer? Do they like Chess, Warhammer of video games? These are all Gamers, but they all different gaming groups and demographics. Narrow down on who it is you are talking to. You would be better to send a relevant message to:
a ) The chess player
b ) The Warhammer collector
c ) A video games enthusiast.

One size fits all, or maybe none at all!

4 ) Establish what you want the email to achieve

Establish what you want the email to achieve and make that your primary goal! If you want your reader to send an enquiry as to the main action, make that a number 1 objective. Avoid the urge to bombard the reader with too many calls to action and too much noise, keep it focused.

5 ) The subject line is very important (but you may already know that)

I wanted to avoid mentioning this tip but could be wrong in assuming that this is your first post and only post you have read for finding tips on creating a successful email campaign. The subject title is important – very important. Having a subject title that works with your target audience could make the difference between your email being opened or deleted.

6 ) Adapt, record and improve

Adapt, record and improve – repeat. When you send an email marketing campaign make sure to observe how it is being opened, when it is being opened and what your readers like! Based on your results over time you can make more calculated decisions be it the design, format, time of day and so on.

7 ) Time and Geography can play a part

Where and when your email campaign goes can be important to its success. If you send an email campaign when your audience is at their busiest can have a negative impact on your open rates. Also, if you have database that covers the whole world it could be worth translating your email so other nationalities can actually read your email!

8 ) Strike whilst it is hot

If you have just returned from a trade-show or a networking event, I have always found some of the best responses were within a week of sending a ‘thank you’ email.

You are still fresh in the other person’s mind when you send the email. If you leave it 3 months before saying “thank you” they will have forgotten who you are… more than likely.

(sometimes people can forget who you are the minute you walk away!)

Tips on important design elements for your email campaign

How you structure your campaign can be very important to get that click, button press of response. You shouldn’t overlook the graphic design of your email campaign which goes hand in glove with the marketing.

Weird vector graphic for drawing attention

9 ) Announce who you are early on

I would advise putting key pieces of information such as your brand, name or title at the very top of your campaign so the reader knows who you are before pressing the ‘junk’ button.

10 ) Don’t do an image only email-shot

If you do an image only campaign you will seriously reduce your chances of your campaign being opened correctly. Your campaign should have visible text which is part of the HTML and not embedded into the jpg.

11 ) Have a clear call to action

Are you trying to get someone to email you, send an enquiry, order a product? Make your call to actions easy to find. *certain audiences respond better to bold and brash, others to subtle and clear. Like a little text link or polite encouraging Call to Action – read more.

12 ) Make sure it works on a Smartphone + Tablet

In 2019 (and last decade) your snazzy mail-shot should display on a smartphone! this is called a ‘Responsive” design as it will adapt to the size of the reader’s screen. The images will be elasticated. In essence, stretch and scale according to the width and dimensions of the viewers’ screen. Before launching, test your email campaign on all devices.


13 ) Check, debug, then check again

Great, you have designed a killer email campaign with a witty headline that is certain to get a price request or order!


Wait why haven’t they clicked anything… oh, you forgot to link the graphic to the contact page! Check the email campaign before sending, ideally with another team member on a different device. They may see something that you have missed! e.g spleling or a tech…

… nic

……al … issue.

14 ) Fresh and interesting design will make a difference

In a previous position, I remember sending email after email after email to the same bored and tired list. It was a case of selling the exact same product worded in a different way to the same 2000 or so prospective subscribers, they must have been tired of seeing those emails coming into their inbox twice a week!

I recall taking a step back and coming up with an imaginative marketing email with distinct image: it was a vector image of a fist grabbing cash “Taking back power”. cash talk was also topical back in the time of the last recession and this design caught attention. I remember getting extra conversions and enquires from this.

The takeaway, create punchy visuals, make them look, don’t just talk at them. And of course, keep trying to come up with new stuff.

15 ) Use a style that appeals to the target reader

When you create an email campaign make sure it resonates with the reader, it is about getting their interest, not yours. If you are trying to sell skateboards, look at themes that may appeal to skateboarders, look at urban art, graffiti, sports, etc. If your target demographic are wine lovers, create a look at feel that may suit them.

16 ) Keep it visible for all devices (Photo Fitting)

Odd point? Not as strange as you might think. Make sure your photo’s or core imagery is easy to see if viewed on a Smartphone or Tablet. If you stick a large group shot of products together and place them in your email, it can be tricky to see the details of what you have to offer, possibly due to scale or width. For example, if you take a photo with 20 products side by side and then scale this down you are more likely to lose the detail due to how much of the picture you need to fit sheer amount going on in the picture.

It may be worth your while if you must have a group photo to ‘pull’ out core products and place them underneath or on their own so they can see what is being sold more easily

Also remember that your text / copy needs to be read on computer and smartphone’s too.

17 ) Mix up the design format

Rearranging the design and format may be just enough to freshen up the email campaign so that it engages the reader or gets them to click on a link and delve a little bit deeper. People get bored, try to keep them interested if you want to have a successful email campaign!

18) Don’t obsess by how pretty it is

Surprised to hear this? That is because the design isn’t all about the aesthetic, and this also applies to email marketing. You should consider how the reader will experience your campaign when it is opened and how they will engage with it. Your campaign needs to offer good information, strong calls to action, accessibility and then… last but not least, the aesthetic. Put content and messaging first, theming second.

19 ) Time efficiency – Re-purpose and recycle a previously created email campaign

If you have just designed an email in the graphics program, there is nothing wrong with considering how you can repurpose it for the future. There isn’t always a need for you to redesign your campaign every time you want to launch – just a thought!

20 ) Oh, it moves!

Animations in email campaigns can be very catchy! If you create an email with an animation embedded into the body this can be a great way of getting people to look but do take a couple of things into consideration. It takes time to create an animation. Not all animations will be seen or downloaded. Is it worth the time when a simple static would do the job?

Animated Gif Created in after effects bouncy ball - email marketing tips

21 )The type of subject heading matters

How you write an email campaign subject heading can influence its success. You could consider asking your audience a question about them or their business, keep it open-ended allow the reader to say “yes… that’s me go on” if they were to read the copy aloud.

22 ) Heal a pain

If you are in tune with your target audience and hear common complaints and questions consider how you may be able to address their problems. Are they strapped for time? Would they like more activity on social media but are pre-occupied with other aspects of the business.

Heal an email marketing pain!

In other words, can you help to solve their problems?

23 ) Design functionality according to your readership

If you study your analytics and record what you see, you may notice patterns: What your audience likes to read, what they dislike and what they press when they open your campaigns. Study your results and tag your images to see what they have pressed. This could provide valuable information for future email campaigns.

Place things like these at the end of your URL : #imgbtn1 #txtlnk1

You may also notice that your audience may favour text links over images. I have previously found that images were always a surefire way of getting people to ‘look’ in larger businesses but my smaller business lists tend to react more to text links – strange! But something I have acknowledged.

24) What an ‘Open’ really means

You may confuse an ‘Open-rate’ with delivery. When a bulk email is sent to a customer they will more often than not receive an email with a prompt in the top of the Outlook preview panel (or any like) saying whether it is safe or not top open. The images may be blocked out unless the reader permits them to be shown.

Once these images have been shown or displayed, that is in truth is what an ‘Open’ is in email marketing terms. Once the tracking pixel has been shown (because the reader has allowed it, and downloaded it with the images) this is when the email campaign is logged as an ‘Open’.

The good news is, more people than you realise may have seen your email but not reacted to it. There is no saying that they haven’t read the information. So back to an earlier point, don’t make it image only!

You can read more on this here : https://help.campaignmonitor.com/email-open-rates

25 ) Consider your ‘skimmers’

Your skimmers, if like me or the general busy web user, they may only skim your campaign to see if it is of any use to them. From there, they will either: read it later, continue reading then and now, or quickly click a button. Or, if they are no longer interested – unsubscribe. Make it easy to skim – make it easy for them to find out what it is about.

Well, you may be interested in knowing about what I had for lunch. But what you want is help. Not just any old help, maybe tips to earn money more money. Or balance a spoon on your nose… I find important information blah blah blah. I had a cheese sandwich.

Example of skimm text

26 ) Doesn’t need to be the whole article

Believe it or not, you don’t have to bore your readership to death by droning on in their inbox. If you are promoting a post or a blog, give them a quick overview of what it is about and why it may interest them. Give your reader a choice and let them delve a little deeper if they want to.

27 ) Create a HTML template

Doing this saved a tremendous amount of time when launching a campaign after campaign after email campaign. I would advise that you do the same as this is an invaluable time-saving measure. Create an HTML template which is easy to change and update.

Tips & ideas that provoke responses in email marketing (Messaging)

Tried and tested methods for provoking a reaction and getting a response from your email campaign.

28) Urgency!

On a personal level, I hate this method of marketise, but I have to admit on a professional level, that this approach has been very effective in the past. It’s also effective on me.

If I know I need to do something in a certain time frame to save money I will try harder to work to that deadline otherwise I will lose out on money and a potential discount. Moo does this quite a bit, as I write this article Moo has sent me an email offering me a 25% discount which has to be used by a certain time. Is it effective? I have placed that order twice in the past. I have also seen this work in 2 places of work.

29 )Having something ‘new’ to talk about

Announcing in your headline that you have some ‘new’ would often catch the interest of a potential customer. This may be part and parcel to do with the nature of the readership as they were concerned with beating the competition and getting their hands on the latest trend first, regardless the freshness of content cannot be ignored.

If you launch a project, a product, a website, a post, an article, the word “new” in the subject heading has attracted attention, and increased activity in email campaigns.

30 ) Giveaways

Giveaways can be a very interesting carrot if you are really eager to get a response from your list. This can work well if you are offering one of you own products as freebie or part of service. Note, if you give something away that isn’t part of your business, you could be kidding yourself! The customer who takes the offer may only be interested in the freebie and not your actual business, product or service. it could act as a distraction.

31) Catchy discounts exclusive to this email campaign!

Discounts can be a very strong incentive but remember only do this if you can afford to. It is also a good idea to make the offers exclusive to certain audiences for a limited time (combined with a timer).

Just so you know, I have seen discounts often bump enquiries, but don’t get carried away.

32) End of stock (EOL – idea for the retailer)

This falls inside discount territory which can potentially be taken in two ways if you are selling an End of line or end or stock product: 1, the product didn’t do very well the stock is being dumped. 2) The product line is being sold off as something new is about to come out. Either way, looking at selling off a stock that is a dead-weight, old, outdated could be an idea. It could be worth combing this with the sale of a middle-range product that you are also actively looking to sell.

End email design and marketing tips!

Thank you for reading these tips and ideas for your email marketing. If you have any question, queries feel free to get in touch! Or in the meantime feel free to read another post that may help with your business.

If this article was helpful please share on social media!

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How I designed a novelty flash drive

novelty flash drive ….

Hello, this post covers the steps, thoughts, and processes that went into creating a novelty flash drive. These flash drives have graced the shelves of Boots, Tesco’s and other international high-street retailers and to think, it all started as a happy accident (almost).

Stage 1 – The product concept

The initial drawings and images weren’t created to be flash drives – they were going to be characters as part of a marketing theme that would feature on email signatures, brochures, trade stands, and other collateral – not flash drives.

Rat animation gif

These darker characters were created to be the opposite of the Satzuma Man which was a glowing orange character which looks like a happy marshmallow. He was the ‘goody’ so to speak.

Rufus rat
Rufus 1,2,3!

As time evolved, so did the roles and priorities of the characters. It was discussed that these characters should be turned into something else, why not a product?

Not the first attempt at creating a product

This wasn’t the first time at making a novelty product – I should be ashamed to say that the first ever character to be created was the Satzuma Man… as Elvis. He looked more like Carlton Banks from the Fresh Prince and he was a pretty terrible version at that. I’m happy to say that this design is lost to eternity, never to grace your screens.

The Original Character Art – Pre-Production

The Flash drive models were based on my designs and illustrations. Although, if I was to be brutally honest… I was never keen on the stuck-on googly-eyes. It added a bit of humour but made the product feel a cheap-looking in my opinion.

Notice the early “Rufus” was a bit more moronic looking and mean? This was because he was supposed to be a villain to the Satzuma Man, you weren’t supposed to like the gormless rodent that meddled with the products and machines in the gadget factory! As time went on, more love was given to Rufus both commercially and conceptually and he became the “goody” with this, his features softened and he became cute – for a factory rodent.

Early Rufus Rat Design
Melvin Mutt
Hello Melvin – Product Concept

Stage 2) 3D Modelling

Once I created the 2d designs of the characters, the brief and reference images were sent to a factory to start creating the prototype. The rat and the dog was made up in a 3D program which was then sent back to us for approval. After this, the factory got down to creating the tooling.

Stage 3 ) The Product

It’s alive! Once the factory had made and completed the prototypes based on my specifications. The product was then produced in bulk, packaged and shipped out to the large high-street retailers. Melvin, Rufus and the flash housing are all copyright Satzuma LTD.

Melvin Flash Drive - Dog
Dog 2
Dog 3
Little rat

If you have any questions with regards to the project or any other project feel free to get in touch. If you are looking at creating a model, miniature or a product I may be able to offer assistance.

You may be interested in reading :
How to make a successful game
My creative journey
How we to design a killer kickstarter page

How to make a product for your business

Developing a product for your business isn’t a small undertaking… but it can be very rewarding if you do it right! This post has been written to share useful experiences for creating a product. In order to create a product, you should consider certain key aspects of its design.

So, how to make a product for your business :

  • Who is the product for?
  • Is there a market for your product?
  • Does the market need your product?
  • Would the market want your product? can you find out?
  • How much will it cost to create the product?
  • How will you market the product?
  • Where will you make your product?
  • Timeframe for product design

The questions above cover a couple strong questions when creating or launching a product.

Tips for creating or designing a product
Tips for creating or designing a product

Also, this post will cover what you shouldn’t do when developing a awesome new product. Enjoy!

My experience in creating physical products

In the early stages of my career I would never have imagined that I would have been involved in designing and launching physical products, it has been a journey that has both been challenging and exciting!

Speaking creatively, designing a product opens up a whole new road for innovative exploration – you just need to remember to put the breaks on every once in a while and assess why and what you are making.

My experience mostly covers designing products that are made from card and PET. I have also been involved in creating physical card/board games, developing learning products (STEM) and Flash Memory (injection moulding) and last but not least, the retail packaging that houses products.

Who is the product for? (It’s not you)

When you create a product, it shouldn’t be a product for you. This may sound counter intuitive but you need go beyond a gut-feeling if you really want to push the success of a product. One mistake I have often found is assuming that everybody else is a bit like me to a lesser and greater extent – this couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Not everyone is like you.

Do you represent a demographic that would buy your product?

It can be a good start if this is the case but try to get some idea who would buy your product through looking at information online with trends, forums, statistics and if you have the money and resources, surveys and product testing. These early stages will help to decipher whether there is viability in your product.

Don’t leave it to chance.

Make your product about your customer, make it something they would love, solve a problem, entertain. It will be them that buys the product in the end – not you. ( you may find this interesting, making a board game prototype )

How to make a product for your business | Product Validation

A very good way for a business to get a product validation is by testing the waters on a crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or IndieGogo. If you are going to do a Kickstarter, make sure you have a crowd and an audience ready on the launch day.

This is not a mandatory way to validate a product, but it does show if there could be a demand for your product.

If you would like help with your Kickstarter design you can read more on this post.

Is there a market for your product?

Assuming that you may or may not have gone down the crowdfunding root for your trailblazing new gadget or product do you have any evidence that the world ‘needs’ or would like your gadget or product?

A good way to check is to see whether other companies are selling something similar – I know, I know – you want to create something SO unique that you would have made Tesla shed a solitary tear but creating something without knowing if there will be demand can be a huge financial risk, and you could end up selling something that the world does not want or need.

It is a crushing feeling

if your product can’t get off the starter blocks when you have invested so much time and money into your passion. Make sure you do your homework first and maybe consider the – paragraph above “Product validation”.

Who knows, perhaps after creating your first few products you will be in place to show the world what you offer is better than what they want.

In time…

Show the world what you have to offer...
Show the world what you have to offer…

Great women inventors

Keep the cost down to create your product (*MVP)

If you are a creative or a student reading this post, you are probably going to hate this point. For your product to be commercially successful, somebody will need to be able to buy it! I know, who would have imagined!

Unless you are creating a product for wealthy people with large disposable incomes you will need to consider if the man or the woman on the street can afford what you are trying to sell them.

That will generally come back to keeping that initial manufacturing cost down.

Creating a Product As a business owner or Start-Up

This may sound like familiar territory to you. The lower the setup cost, the better the margin or the cheaper you can sell your product and it have a wider market appeal. A lower RRP will make your product more accessible to a larger buying market with shallower pockets.

The type of product, brand or business you want to be is down to you. It will come down to you how much you believe the customer is willing to pay for your product and be brutally honest with the prices.

This may influence whether you do mass production, batch or stay with smaller scale cottage industry production. The choice is yours – based on your research and expertise.

How much does it cost to make a product?

It can cost anything from 10p a unit to £1000’s of pounds for a large mass produced run, it comes down to the materials, where you have your product made, speed and many other smaller factors.

Costing and pricing is a crucial stage for the success of your product. Below are a few factors which you should take into consideration when pricing the development of your product:-

  1. How many units will you make

    Generally, the more units you manufacture, the lower the unit cost is in larger quantities.

  2. Where it is manufactured

    It is common to find products that are manufactured overseas. This is a common practice in manufacturing as it is generally cheaper to manufacture products in place such as China.

  3. Packaging

    Depending on the level and complexity of packaging this can affect the cost of your product per unit. Having too much packaging could be costly and frowned upon by a modern and more eco conscious market. – You can read more on packaging here >

  4. Transport and unit weight and size

    The weight and size of your product will affect the unit cost of your product.

  5. Other languages

    If you are intending on creating a product that will be sold globally, you may wish to consider having translations added to the retail box. It can be inexpensive for translations to be created and worth considering as it will open up a much larger audience to your product.

  6. Barcodes

    If you are intending to sell your product to high-street retailers you will need a product Barcode. I wasn’t involved in the process of creating product barcodes in the past, but as far as I am aware it is relatively cheap.

  7. Instructions

    Large retailers will expect instructions as a basic requirement for your product if it something like a piece of electrical equipment, a gadget, a game, a tool and items with moving parts. Instructions can be made cheaply, but they need to be made ‘properly’.

  8. Other Admin and legal areas

    Your product may need testing for chemicals and toxic substances to meet with trading standards. These requirements differ from country to country and isn’t something I can advise on. I can only mention that you should be aware of it is best to seek professional advise.

* it should also be noted that Brexit ‘may’ have an effect on goods being imported and exported in and out the EU.

Marketing Your Product – A very important step

This step should not be scrimped on but is often is. It is a waste of time and money putting all of your efforts into creating a product that the world cannot see. Don’t rely on blind faith and hope that consumers looking to buy a product will stumble of yours. You will need to be proactive and there are actions you can take with a short or non-existent budget.

Invest your time, energy and planning into some good marketing and if you cant invest money, research low-cost or free marketing ideas.

But remember, free is rarely free. Time is still a cost also and if you can avoid doing it all yourself I would advise looking for help.


Shout out Marketing
Shout out Marketing

The marketing of your product can cover a large area; from the branding to the packaging to the website. 1 idea for marketing your product could be to consider crowdfunding – if this fits your business model.

A method for getting your product out there

a) Make a good product
b) Create awesome packaging
c) Present the whole package.

Show your cool packaging to a buyer and let the large retailer do the heavy promotional lifting and display your product. I have seen this method work time and time again but you need to master your pitch.

Other Notes on creating your product

There isn’t a guarantee your product will succeed the first time.

I feel this should be added, not every single product you develop or make will rip it into success. Although, I hope that this article may guide you and help you steer clear of any pitfalls in the early stages.

I think many inventors make many products and prototypes before they blow it out of the water. Eventually, they find that eureka! And so will you if you if you have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude. I have written about the success of this party game >

IF you found this article helpful free to link to, share or show friend.

‘Do Not’ for developing a product.

– Don’t rely solely on your gut when creating a product. Try to do some research and understand your target demographic

– Developing products for the tech market can be volatile – especially if you are making products which are accessories for a model of (whichever product) Creating something for the latest release lasts as long as that model does. You either have to move quickly or end up with a warehouse full of products you cant sell.

– Don t assume that customers only look at pictures on the packaging, they do read the details on the back of the packaging, and if something is a little bit off – they will email you to let you know.

* Minimum Viable Product Quick Answer : What does it mean?

If your manager or boss has just mentioned the term MVP this stands for ‘minimum viable product’. A minimum viable product is just that, a product that is still worthy of being sold but is stripped back to the bare essentials.

E.g a car with 5 wheels, bike rack, a rearview camera, fine leather interior, sky television etc

MVP version = 4 wheels, plastic interior, simple functional car (Save money in other words)
That is the end of the post for How to make a product for your business. I have tried to share some of my past experiences and how they can be useful for you.

I hope this post was useful to you and give you insights on how to make a product for your business. This is all based on past experience which I have shared. if you feel that this was helpful please share!

Thank you for reading “How to make a product for your business”

Maybe you’d like to read: How to create a game in steps >
Or Develop packaging or how to design a gaming app

If you have any questions feel free to (opens in a new tab)”>contact me through my website >