24 Must-Know Rules of Proper Email Marketing Etiquette

By Jacky Chou
9 Min Read
By Jacky Chou
9 Min Read

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25 Must Know Rules of Proper Email Marketing Etiquette

You are trying to design a legitimate email for your marketing campaign, but there is so much to consider and you may be feeling lost and all over the place. We are here with all the rules of proper email marketing etiquette to skyrocket your email marketing career.

Email etiquette is a set of guidelines to help you communicate appropriately, either socially or formally to your email list during your marketing campaign. These rules are not meant to limit you but expand your experience in reaching out to and retaining customers for your products and services, or for your email marketing client.

Email Marketing Etiquette Tips

Email Marketing Etiquette Tips
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1) Ask for Permissions

If you are planning to constantly be sending an email to a potential client, the right thing to do is to get their permission to receive your email content. Proper etiquette requires you to use a double opt-in, which asks the user if they are sure about subscribing to your email marketing list.

Double opt-in options work for you by keeping fake emails at bay. Furthermore, when a recipient is sure about getting your emails, your click-through rates potentially go higher.

2) Use Direct and Clear Subject Lines

Your subject line is perhaps the most important part of your email as it mostly dictates whether your email will get a click or not. The last thing you want to do is have misleading subject lines, which is the gravest mistake you can commit. Remember, a misleading subject line can pass as fraudulent as they try to trick users. A strong subject line is a great first impression, and it shows your proficiency in your field of marketing and email campaigns.

3) Check Your Links and Images

Check your attachments which may include links and images for any mistakes and compatibility issues. Remember, broken links look as bad as spelling mistakes do, and are indicators of incompetence. Check your images to ensure they fit on mobile devices. Remember, your email remains the first point of contact with most of your potential users, and working links will lead them to the appropriate channels.

4) Use Proper Greetings

A greeting is the first place you demonstrate your appropriateness in an email. If you respectfully greet the recipient, they feel respected and regarded. Avoid using greetings that apply to a sub-cultural context but stick to standard “Hellos” and “Hi’s”.

After the greeting, introduce yourself. This section should be as brief as possible. You can use the recipient’s formal title like “Mr”, “Miss” or “Mrs” when sending an email if you have the information to keep a respectful tone.

5) Don’t Email Confidential or Private Information

Don't Email Confidential or Private Information
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Personal information is in high demand by most companies, and you should take a lot of care when handling such. Use blind carbon copy where appropriate to keep the client’s information private and secure when writing emails.

This is an important rule to keep you from getting sued by customers whose information is illegally shared. This is true with your company or client seeking email marketing services. Keep any company-sensitive information safe at all costs.

6) Use Proper Spelling and Grammar

Anyone would be turned off by bad grammar in a marketing email, and most consider poor grammar as a red flag. Use proper pronunciation, an active voice, little or no sentence fragments, and zero spelling mistakes or other grammatical errors. You can find the best grammar-checking software to keep you on the right track with your language proficiency.

Avoid excessive or unfamiliar email abbreviations as they may be unfamiliar to certain users. Furthermore, use exclamation marks sparingly, as most people tend to use too many of them to emphasize subject lines.

7) Maintain a Professional Tone

You may be dealing with people from different backgrounds, ages, gender, sex, religion, and more, and using professional language in your marketing emails is the best way to stay appropriate for everyone. Professional emails should either be categorized as casual or official/formal and then from that point, a marketer can use consistent language.

Your tone matters here, and you need to avoid being rude at all costs. Since you are dealing with a vastly diverse audience, it is easy to unintentionally be offensive. We encourage the use of positive and friendly language and avoid the use of negative words.

Be careful when using sarcasm, jokes, showing excitement, irony, or wordplay since your reader can not see your body language. Using certain phrases can get different interpretations from different readers, and it is not worth the risk. To reduce this risk, you can opt to use an emoji alongside a phrase that can potentially be misinterpreted. However, we advise against the use of emoji.

8) Include a Professional Sign-Off

How you close your email messages is just as important as how you open them. While most people end at the call-to-action button, it is important to sign off professionally. You can use terms like;

  • Thank you
  • Respectfully
  • Regards
  • Sincerely, etc.

9) Pay Attention to Spam Complaints

 Pay Attention to Spam Complaints
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First, you need to avoid spam emails by keeping off spam-trigger words and links. However, once there is a spam complaint, you need to respond by stopping the spam email. If you keep sending the email, you risk losing the client for good.

10) Make Emails Mobile Friendly

Close to 50% of emails today are opened using the mobile phone. Therefore, you have to keep your emails suitable for mobile usage, especially when using images. A clear subject line should work well for both mobile and pc users, with a maximum of five words in the subject line, preferably three. Precise subject lines are great for mobile usage as most notifications happen on the notification bar, where the user should get the information they need at a glance.

11) Proofread Your Emails

Proofreading ensures your email recipients will not run into spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, poor language use, and other mistakes, such as broken links, which you can catch by reading through your email over and over.

The best time to proofread your email is not immediately after you just created it. Take a break from it, maybe for half a day, and come back to the email with “fresh eyes”.

You can send yourself emails to see if any errors occur on the recipient’s end. The errors you can catch may include broken links and poor design. Part of email etiquette is to keep spam emails to a minimum, and emailing yourself is a sure way to catch spam emails.

12) Get a Second Opinion

A second opinion is the best way to see the potential your email holds. In a case where you can not get a second opinion, you can run an AB email test to see which of your email templates are getting better results. Getting a second opinion is good for keeping your emails professional and appropriate.

13) Apologize If You Have To

Mistakes do happen and are bound to happen because we are human beings. In such instances, whatever action you take should be preceded by an apology. Whether you have made a refund, retracted an email, resent a package, or changed dates, ensure you have a clearly worded apology.

14) Avoid No-Reply Emails

Avoid No-Reply Emails
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A no-reply email immediately sets a barrier between you and the recipients, making your marketing emails less effective. If you have to use a no-reply email, then try and have a contact detail the client can use to contact you directly. Furthermore, you can have a call-to-action banner to give recipients a way forward.

15) Avoid Emojis

Today, you can create a whole sentence using just emojis. Emojis and GIFs have made communication more efficient and interactive by showing facial expressions. However, in formal instances, emojis are not so welcome. You can use an emoji if the recipient has one in their reply. If the email is casual and you are sure about the audience, an emoji can go a long way in making the email warm and more welcoming.

Since marketing campaigns target a lot of diverse people, it is better to avoid emojis.

16) Use a Professional Email Address

Before you send out an email, your email address needs to be professional. Avoid emails with numbers in them as those look like email service provider-generated and inauthentic. Avoid using personal names, addresses, years, or symbols as part of your email address, as they go against professional email address name design.

17) Include an Obvious Unsubscribe Option

Your recipients should be able to opt-out any time they want to. It is your responsibility to make it as easy for them as possible. Most companies hide the unsubscribe link by making it tiny and invisible. Hiding the unsubscribe link will lead to inactive subscribers who consider your emails as spam. Furthermore, the cost of sending emails to inactive subscribers is quite high. Double-check to see if the unsubscribe button is functional.

18) Sign the Email as a Real Human Being

Your email signature should be as personal as possible, complete with contact information and a sign-off. You can make the signature better by acknowledging the recipient by name. While we have automation for such actions, readers can always tell the difference, and it is a little off-putting to see that the response was not from a human being but from a bot.

19) Avoid Over-Automation

Avoid Over-Automation
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People value connection and human experience from other humans and not a bot. Automation risks making the recipient feel as though they are not important enough to get attended to by a human. It is all about the ego sometimes, and the user ego is what you might be dealing with in most cases when marketing.

We advise using automation when sending out reminders and emails, but not responses, especially the ones that pop up immediately after a recipient responds to an email. If an immediate response has to be the case, let the user know that they will be attended to in person by a human.

20) Be Mindful of Email Size

Unless you are writing a blog post, keep the email as short as possible. The reader should get the intention of your email by simply glancing at the subject line. The email body should be a compliment to the subject line and not a repetition of the same.

If you have a lot to say, you can use bullet points to get your message across. Other than brevity, bullet points ensure clarity in your email.

21) Do Not Share Client Information Without Consent

If you share client information without consent, you will definitely get sued. Keep business emails professional by acting professionally.

22) Use CC and BCC Appropriately

Knowing when to use a CC and a BCC is important. A CC works well when you are sending a no-response email but intend to keep your recipient in a loop for receiving your emails. A BCC, on the other hand, keeps the client’s information private and secure during emailing.

23) Follow Brand Guidelines for Fonts and Colours

Staying true to a brand will make business better as recipients will be familiar with the brand colours. Your call-to-action banner should be in the brand theme colour too. When using colours and fonts, keep in mind that there are users who might benefit more from CSS emails rather than HTML, which includes colours, fonts, large files, and images.

24) Make Good of Your Promise

If a recipient has subscribed for a weekly mail, email etiquette rules demand that you keep your promise by sending a weekly email. Keeping your word is a sign of competence and can build trust that may increase your company’s website traffic. Email segmentation is helpful in being consistent with your messaging, appropriateness, and keeping track of who and when to email when dealing with multiple email clients.

To better understand your clients, you can run a mini-survey by including simple questionnaires in your emails to check your readers’ preferences and know the best time to send them emails.

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing Etiquette

Frequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing EtiquetteFrequently Asked Questions About Email Marketing Etiquette
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a) What are the five steps of email marketing etiquette?

There are a lot of email etiquette tips to keep your marketing channels active like the ones we have mentioned above. However, there are some worth paying more attention to, and they include;

  • Clear and precise call to action that is not misleading
  • Professional tone
  • Short and simple messaging with a clear call-to-action
  • Timely replies and consistent engagement
  • Human connection and signature

There are many other things to keep in mind when designing marketing campaigns, and we have provided the must-do ones in the article above.

b) What are the four important elements of email marketing etiquette?

The email you are sending out for marketing can be segmented into four general parts, namely;

  1. The subject line, which is the first thing a recipient interacts with.
  2. The salutation, which is how you respectfully greet the reader.
  3. The email body, which contains your email content and pitch.
  4. Ending with a call-to-action button and a respectful sign-off.

c) What are the ten dos and don’ts of using email?

Here are some do’s and don’ts for your next email marketing campaign;


  • Keep the subject line professional and precise
  • Master your tone
  • Know and segment your audience
  • Proofread and do AB testing
  • Be precise


  • Don’t be inconsistent
  • Don’t overuse exclamation points at all costs
  • Don’t say everything in the email
  • Don’t be inappropriate and emotional
  • Don’t pile up your inbox.

Final Thoughts

Proper etiquette is essential for your email marketing campaign because it ensures clarity, prevents misunderstanding, reduces liability issues, increases efficiency, and minimizes errors. In this article, we have explored all the ways to make your email etiquette stand out. The more you practice those tips, the better you will be when interacting with your email list.

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