Email Marketing Best Practices


What are the current trends around email marketing?


Everyone loves to feel special. When we feel seen, and spoken to in a way that is not only personal but helpful, we remember that moment. This is exactly what a good email should do; it should cause the recipient to feel valued, emotionally connected, and delighted. 

To do this, personalization, timing, and relevance are the trifecta of successful email marketing. An email is only as good as how useful it is to the consumer; for instance, if a consumer doesn't feel comfortable taking in-person cooking classes or doesn't have time to make time-intensive meals, a wellness company could send an offer for an exclusive or discounted virtual cooking class for fast meals to this consumer. These emails, of course, can be tailored to more specific demographics within a broader target.

Tim Thies, senior business development manager at RRD Marketing Solutions, stated that "96 percent of consumers have received mistargeted information or promotions from a marketer." To stop sending emails that aren't relevant to consumers, geotargeting, using consumer-generated content, and zero-party data can help. 

For instance, zero-party data is privacy-compliant and" takes all of the guesswork out of customers' needs, interests, preferences, and favorites." This data can be captured from interactive emails, and according to Thies, "79 percent of customers are willing to share their data when they get value in return."

In addition, Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE), a family-owned, themed entertainment company operating several theme parks and tourist attractions across the United States, uses geolocation strategies to appeal to different demographics.

For instance, one market for Dollywood, an amusement park partly owned by Dolly Parton, are people who live within 100 miles of the park and can book a trip easily. However, the company's other demographic are people who live 300 miles away, which requires more planning and lead time. In conjunction with using user-generated content at amusement park locations, the company is providing "a genuine presentation of its services," which ultimately feels more authentic and personal to the consumer.

Below are resources for best practices, tools, examples, and analytics for email marketing.

Best Practices and Trends

  • Email Marketing 101: Audience Building and Email Content. AdRoll, December 2021.
    Ambitious, direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands recognize the importance of email marketing — and why wouldn't they? According to Statista, a leader in market and consumer data, it's projected that there will be 4.3 billion email users by 2023.

    To put that into perspective, this population represents more than half of the world — an audience looking to learn, connect, and consume. So, how does one get started constructing a successful email marketing campaign?

    This guide explains how to build your audience by finding the right people through segmentation. It then discusses constructing emails, adding content, and paying heed to deliverability and policy compliance. See also Part Two of their Email Marketing 101 series, which focuses on Campaign Launches and Maximizing Performance.

  • Industry Pulse Survey: The Role of Email in Identity Post Third-Party Cookies. ANA/LiveIntent, December 2021.
    We've seen the impact of the pandemic on consumer behavior and lifestyles. And although the changes may not be permanent, they will undoubtedly remain as the status quo for the foreseeable future. Now, with changes to consumer privacy, tracking, and retargeting underway, publishers and advertisers will need to continue to adapt.

    In March of 2021, LiveIntent surveyed more than 200 senior marketing and publishing executives from small to mid-sized companies, with newsletters ranging from 10,000 to over 1 million subscribers. They examined what these marketing and publishing professionals have learned during the pandemic, its impact on their business, and how they'll leverage the email address in the face of continued uncertainty as it pertains to identity resolution.
  • Email Marketing Compliance Strategy. ANA, October 2021.
    The email compliance area is rapidly growing, and constantly connecting people to businesses in new and valuable ways every day. As such, email marketers need to keep abreast of the changes, challenges, and best practices, especially with privacy and data protection regulations globally. To help, the ANA EEC took a high-level look at global, legal, and regulatory requirements and boiled them down to a 10-step guided-compliance checklist to assist as you implement new campaigns as well as auditing your existing campaigns.

  • Email Marketing Execution: Don't Just Get in Any Inbox, Get in the Right Inbox. ANA/Claritas, October 2021.
    In this episode of The Why Behind The Buy (now The Marketing Insider), host Monique Ruiz talks email marketing best practices with Claritas' Jeff Bickel and discusses email marketing wins with Mark King of Conversion Alliance and Bob Smolik of Tribune Publishing.

  • Great Tips to Advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Your Email Marketing Campaigns. ANA, May 2021.
    During ANA's 2021 Email Evolution Conference, Shani Nestingen of Target and Anne Tomlin of Emails Y'all offered advice for honoring diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through emails, offering a variety of best practices. These included steps to take for better accessibility, copy, language, and imagery.

  • The New Rules for Email Marketing: Combining Privacy and Personalization. ANA, May 2021.
    OneTrust PreferenceChoice, a firm that helps automate the process of consent-collection, joined ANA's 2021 Email Evolution Conference and offered guidance on how marketers should approach the process of soliciting consent for data collection and email messaging. This issue is becoming increasingly critical for marketers. According to OneTrust, in 2020 only 10 percent of the world's population was covered by privacy regulations; however, by 2023 this figure is likely to balloon to 65 percent.

  • Interactive Emails and Zero-Party Data. ANA, May 2021.
    Personalization efforts within email campaigns will be largely fueled in the future by zero-party data, the information that subscribers explicitly and intentionally provide to a brand. Tim Thies from RRD discussed how email marketers can take advantage of zero-party data while also using interactive emails to deliver outstanding customer experiences. Also from RRD, see: How to Avoid Email Fatigue: Four Steps to Determine the Cost of Over-Contacting Customers.

Metrics and Analytics

  • A Guide to Email Marketing Metrics. ANA/Optizmo, March 2020.
    A key to producing successful campaigns in any channel is the ability to track performance and use that information to optimize future initiatives. Email campaigns produce a wealth of performance data that marketers can use to determine the campaign's effectiveness and identify ways to continuously improve future return on investment. This guide explores some of the key metrics that email marketers have at their disposal when planning, executing, and measuring campaign performance.


  • Fire Up Your Email Program: Automation, Strategy, Creative. ANA, August 2021.
    Central Park Conservancy shared how its marketing team and agency partner revamped their email program using new messaging and design, doing a deep dive on deliverability, and implementing marketing automation. The learnings presented here will provide plenty of ideas and tips for you to implement into your own email marketing.

  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: Email Edition, The State of Email Marketing. ANA, June 2020.
    Home Depot and SparkPost shared examples of how different companies are supporting their customers amid the COVID-19 pandemic by appealing to their complex hierarchy of psychological needs. From basic, innate needs like safety to fostering a sense of community, brands can apply Maslow's framework to deliver email communications that drive real impact.

  • How Herschend Family Entertainment Engages Subscribers Through Email. ANA, June 2020.
    Herschend Family Entertainment is a family-owned, themed entertainment company operating several theme parks and tourist attractions across the United States. The company focuses on bringing families closer together, serving nearly 13 million people annually through various theme parks, water parks, concerts, sports exhibitions, and aquariums. Its variety of attractions include Dollywood, the Harlem Globetrotters, Silver Dollar City, and Splash Island. Much of HFE's success can be attributed to its email marketing strategy, leveraging personalization and segmentation to captivate subscribers and drive results.

  • CIBC: Emails that Fit Your Life. ANA, March 2020.
    Dynamically developed emails allowed Canadian financial institution CIBC to deliver deeply personalized messages at scale to its 11 million customers. With data and technology, the bank could trigger emails featuring content that was a reflection of the customer's relationship with the bank. Whether the recipient was a student looking into credit card options or newlyweds researching mortgages, the email content resonated.

Webinars and Video

  • Looking Beyond the Open: Building a Resilient Email Strategy in the Age of Consumer Privacy. ANA, October 2021.
    Privacy changes are nothing new to email marketing, and Apple's most recent Mail Privacy Protection changes are a continuation. These changes have effects beyond compliance and deliverability as it has a broader impact on strategy and measurement. In this webinar, speakers discussed the Apple-specific changes and then moved into the bigger question: Is it possible to future proof for upcoming privacy changes, and if so where to start?

  • Do This, Not That: Email Marketing Tips That Work. ANA, June 2021.
    Forget what you think you know about email marketing and gain a better understanding on how prospects notice, process and respond to your marketing messages. In this session, Jay Schwedelson, President and CEO of Worldata and Founder of, guides you through the latest email best practices to cut through the noise and ensure your emails are making an impact. He focuses on how to increase open rates with a few easy tweaks, how to get more responses on email offers, and how you can improve email marketing ROI. From how to craft the best performing subject lines to creating interactive designs, this session will take a deep dive into what's proven to drive strong direct marketing results via email right NOW.

  • Up Your Email Marketing Game Through Testing and Optimization. ANA, June 2021.
    Since the early days of web pages, CRO (conversion rate optimization) has been the holy grail of digital marketing success. What's one of the biggest site traffic drivers? That's right, email marketing! So if your email isn't optimized for high open, click-through, and audience engagement, your downstream metrics (and ecommerce revenue) will pay the price. In this webinar, Karen Talavera, founder of Synchronicity Marketing and EEC Vice Chair is joined by other strategy experts for a breakdown of testing best practices and an approach to email marketing optimization. Learn the payoff of different tactics, how to avoid rookie mistakes, and see how actual brands are innovating and succeeding with optimization.

  • Five Foundational Emails and How to Make them More Effective. ANA, December 2020.
    Today's email subscribers require relevance. They want unique marketing moments and experiences tailored to their needs. To deliver this, senders need to make personal connections powered by smarter email. In this session, walk through the steps for boosting the effectiveness of five different kinds of emails: welcome, promotional, company communications, transactional, and behavioral triggers. Hear from Lakesha Holloway about the foundational emails at Atrium Health and how they make personal connections with their subscribers.


  • 11 of the Best Email Marketing Templates. Influencer Marketing Hub, December 2021.
    This curates a list of 11 of the best online sources where you can find free email templates that you can use for your campaigns. Check out these sources and select the ones whose design aesthetics match with your brand's aesthetics. Or, you can simply pick any template that you like and customize it per your brand's guidelines.

  • Email Marketing ROI Calculator. ANA/Demand Metric.
    This calculates results for email marketing campaigns. Develop benchmarks for Open Rate, Click-Thru Rate, Click-to-Open (CTOR), Conversion Rate (Leads), Conversion Rate (Sales), Cost/Lead, Cost/Sale, and compare with historical averages across all campaign types.

  • Email Marketing Maturity Model. ANA/Demand Metric.
    This Email Marketing Maturity Model was designed to help organizations with a roadmap for improving their Email Marketing capabilities. It provides four stages of organizational maturity.

  • Creating Email Marketing Lists. ANA/Demand Metric.
    Having a solid list of contacts is one of the most important factors in determining the success or failure of an email marketing campaign. Read this guide to learn about permission-based marketing, models of acquisition, types of lists, and best practices.

  • Email Marketing System RFP. ANA/Demand Metric.
    This RFP can help you design a Advocacy and Loyalty Platform Request for Proposal (RFP). This template includes the following sections: company information, statement of work, proposal submission procedure, scope of work and business requirements, vendor information, and estimated budget and resources required. See also the Email Marketing Vendor Evaluation and Email Marketing Vendors Matrix Tools.

The Marketing Knowledge Center actively connects ANA members to the resources they need to be successful. You can visit the ANA website to engage with the MKC in three ways.

  • Explore content to access best practices, case studies, and marketing tools. Our proprietary content includes Event Recaps, which share actionable insights from conference and committee presentations.
  • Connect with our Ask the Expert team in real time for customized answers to your specific marketing challenges.
  • Participate in conversations with the Marketer’s Edge research program to create solutions to the current issues facing marketers.

Submit a request to Ask the Expert here.


"Email Marketing Best Practices." ANA, 2022.