Start here: 12 resources for a beginning email marketer

Orientation for a new email marketer typically consists of trial by fire and sheer, utter bedlam. There is so much to know about running a successful email campaign and so little time to know it. It’s a miracle more people don’t end up blasting cat pictures and chain letters accidentally on purpose.

Where does one even begin to learn about email marketing?

The following 12 resources are as good a place as any to start. Having been in the wilderness of email marketing before, I sure could have used a Google Map like this. Hope you find it helpful.

Design and Build Email Newsletters Without Losing Your Mind (and Soul) – Smashing Magazine (01/2010)

Start here. Everything Smashing Magazine writes is thorough and top-notch quality, and this guide is no different. The article covers everything important about email marketing, from best practices to the CAN-SPAM rules and all the in between. Specific details might be wearing a little thin three years after it was first published, but the gist is still gold.

email guides

Handy Field Guides – Campaign Monitor

Bookmark Campaign Monitor. Like, right now! Their collection of field guides—currently featuring nine guides, and constantly expanding—is immerse. Campaign Monitor tackles each of email marketing’s big questions, and they do so with a level of completeness you feel should cost actual money. (They do have email software, if you’re interested.)

Email Marketing (overview) – Copyblogger

Email Marketing Strategies that Work – Copyblogger

These two links from Copyblogger are a stellar introduction to what email marketing is all about. Their page of strategies comes as two pieces of audio, so you can learn all about email marketing in your car or at the gym. America, amirite?

The Email Marketing Report Card – Unbounce (01/2013)

Unbounce makes its living helping people convert customers, so their advice on email marketing runs right along those lines. This post provides an overview of what goes into a successful email campaign, and it is part of a full week of email content, which is linked to at the top of the article.

email week

I can vouch for Monday through Friday being excellent.

How to Write the Perfect Outreach Email: The 9-Step Script for Emailing Busy People – Sparring Mind (10/2012)

Research-based articles like this are invaluable when it comes to applying theories about email marketing to actual email campaigns. Here’s a sample:

When deciding whether to read or delete an email, our brains go through this common evaluation process:

Who is emailing me (and is this spam)?

What do they want?

How long will this take?

How to Grow Your Email List to 5 Digits and Beyond – KISS Metrics (03/2013)

This article covers some important factors in getting people signed up to your emails. You will learn everything you ever wanted to learn about email opt-in forms.


The Most (and Least) Effective Keywords in Email Subject Lines – Marketing Profs (07/2013)

Email subject lines could be their own industry, that’s how much time people put into them. Marketing Profs has an up-to-date overview of what works best. (Requires a free Marketing Profs account to read.)

Subject Lines, Preheaders, and Headers – Exact Target Cafe

A quicker, shorter read is this collection of Tweets, curated by the fine folks at Litmus. Lots of good advice here, including:

Mobile Email Compatibility Guide: What Works Where? – Litmus (07/2013)

You will quickly find out that mobile email is super important. Litmus is one of the best resources for mobile email news, and this guide to mobile compatibility will tell you where not to waste time designing for mobile.


When is it best to send an email? – Send Smarter on Google+

Shameless plug, but check out this Google+ post of ours, recapping a tl;dr report from Experian on email marketing statistics.

Batch and Blast Revisited – Listrak (04/2013)

Batch and blast is the term for sending email to your entire list of subscribers (as opposed to targeted emails that are sent to a select segment). If you have read all the previous links above, this post from Listrak make you feel like you’ve arrived. It’s really interesting if you know what they’re talking about.