About this guide

At nearly 200 pages long, Econsultancy's Email Marketing Best Practice Guide contains everything you need to know about this channel, whether you work for an in-house client team, independently or for an agency.

Built on the foundations of our original renowned report, this document will help beginners and experts alike to understand, implement and execute email strategies to maximise return on investment in this complex channel. It has been created with the help of globally-esteemed email practitioners, in order to provide front-line insight and give you the edge in your email marketing activity.

We’ve created this guide so you can use it to either review your existing email strategy or to help create a comprehensive email marketing strategy from scratch. We’ve also included a multitude of practical tips you can apply to individual campaigns to help maximize results.

Importantly, we’ve structured it to cover all aspects of email marketing necessary to maximize effectiveness. So rather than purely focusing on creative as many books do, we discuss approaches to segmentationtargetingcommunications strategy and testing which are ultimately much more important to a successful campaign.

There are nine key aspects of an organization’s email marketing capability implementation that must be managed for a successful project, covering both effectiveness and efficiency factors:


  • Aims and goal setting
  • Segmentation and targeting
  • Communications strategy
  • Creative and copywriting
  • Testing and optimization


  • List quality
  • Legal compliance
  • Email deliverability
  • Email templates and renderability

Key features of this best practice guide

  • Comprehensive: covers all aspects needed for success in one place but also referencing other in-depth resources.
  • Accessible: it is designed to help readers navigate to and assimilate relevant content.
  • In-depth: topics are covered in sufficient depth to successfully implement suggestions.
  • Practical: explanations about how to implement techniques and describe success factors that can be applied straightaway.
  • Improvement-focused: explanations about how to revise existing approaches through evaluation of current approach, refining strategy and implementing improvements.
  • Cutting edge: the latest best practice advice is incorporated to help you get the most from your email activity.

Contributors and reviewers

This guide has been put together and updated by Dave Littlechild, who has been at the cutting edge of email marketing for the past decade, with the aid of an expert team of contributors and reviewers ranging from clients, agencies, consultants and email service providers to ensure the recommendations reflect current best practice. They have kindly contributed their time and effort in producing this guide.

Contributors to the report include:

  • Gretchen Schieman, Managing Director, L5 Direct
  • Mia Papanicolaou, COO, Striata
  • Jordie van Rijn, Email Marketing Consultant, EmailMonday
  • Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus
  • Randy Levy, Director of Business Development, eDataSource
  • Damian Alexeev, Email Campaign Manager, Adorama
  • Karen Talavera, President, Synchronicity Marketing
  • Peter Girard, Corporate Communications, Return Path
  • Tink Taylor, Founder and COO, dotMailer
  • Tim Watson, Founder and Consultant, Zettasphere
  • Mark Power, CEO and Founder, Concep

Table of contents

  1. Introduction to Our Guides
    1. About Econsultancy
    2. About the lead author
    3. Expert reviewers
  2. How is This Guide Structured?
    1. Email marketing effectiveness factors
    2. Email marketing efficiency factors
    3. Features of this guide
  3. Introduction: Smarter Email Marketing
    1. Email: the unsung hero of digital marketing
    2. Strategic benefits of email marketing
    3. Email marketing challenges
    4. Email marketing options
  4. Effectiveness 1: Aims and Goal Setting
    1. Measuring email campaign effectiveness
      1. Activity and engagement goals
      2. Value goals
      3. Benchmarking capabilities
      4. Auditing and benchmarking email programme effectiveness
  5. Effectiveness 2: Segmentation and Targeting
    1. Layering segmentation approaches
  6. Effectiveness 3: Communications Strategy
    1. Event triggers and automation
    2. Social media integration
    3. Newsletter communications strategy
    4. Managing the ‘emotionally unsubscribed’
  7. Effectiveness 4: Creative and Copywriting
    1. Copywriting for email
    2. Email layout and creative
  8. Effectiveness 5: Testing and Optimization
  9. Efficiency 1: List Quality
  10. Efficiency 2: Legal Compliance – Privacy and Data Protection Law
  11. Efficiency 3: Email Deliverability
    1. Spam filter checks based on email characteristics
    2. Spam filter checks based on sender reputation
    3. Best practice in email deliverability management
    4. The issue of ‘Graymail’
  12. Efficiency 4: Email Templates and Renderability
    1. Design and rendering for mobile
    2. Responsive email design
  13. Appendix
    1. Glossary
    2. Email marketing creative best practice checklist
    3. Model for evaluating email marketing capability
    4. Diagnostic questions used to assess email marketing capabilities
    5. Email marketing resources

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free sample is available for those who want more detail about what is in the report.


  • Pdf SAMPLE: Email Marketing Best Practice Guide (750 KB PDF)
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