Email Marketing 101: Best Practices, KPIs, and Building Your List - Champ Internet Solutions
Get Started

Interested in working together?

Get Started


Email Marketing 101: Best Practices, KPIs, and Building Your List

by Kavya Sebastian

The average full-time worker receives 120 business emails a day (as in, not including personal emails), per McKinsey analysis. That means when you are trying to slide into your customers’ inboxes, you have to remember that it is at least 120 emails harder to stand out from the crowd if you’re the one sending emails and newsletters.

For us here at Champ, we tell all our clients that when it comes to all things email marketing, you should keep the golden rule in mind.

The Golden Rule of Email Marketing:

This isn’t just about you, or your company. It’s about your customer.


As with many other areas of marketing, the most important piece of email marketing strategy is your audience. View your subscriber’s inbox as their ‘house’ where you have been invited. You’ve got to be well-mannered and charming to stick around.

Email Marketing Best Practices

Here are some email best practices to keep in mind to help you be the ever-so-popular houseguest of your customers’ inboxes:

Get permission.

First and foremost, you need permission – and no, that’s not a recommendation!

The United States Federal Trade Commission legally requires this under the CAN-SPAM Act, which establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to opt out of emails, and spells out tough penalties for violations. Similar laws are established in other countries as well.

This email rule doesn’t discriminate. No matter where you are based, you must have at least one of two types of permission in order to send emails to your customers: implied permission or express permission.

Implied permission is what you have with your customer besties, the ones that have an existing relationship with your business. This could include customers who have purchased from you, donated to you, or are active users of your website, social media, or general community.

Express permission is granted when an individual specifically gives you permission to send them email campaigns. This happens when they enter their email address in a subscribe form on your website or submit their details in-store to sign up for your newsletter.

In other words, you have to respect the power of your consumers to decide whether or not they want to hear from you. Violating this may not only cause trouble in paradise between you and your ideal customers, but it may result in communication restrictions placed on your business.

Know your audience.

Getting to know your audience is key to building successful email campaigns. Understanding them helps create content that they will actually engage with. Everything from location, age, and occupation can affect the way you communicate.

For instance, what stage of life are they in? This may inform the type of content they find most valuable. What does their day look like? This will let you know when they have a free moment to scroll through their inbox.

Knowing this type of information will allow you to better personalize your content using behavioral and demographic details. In fact, emails with personalized content are 26% more likely to be opened than those without personalized content. More advanced tactics make use of marketing automation to find out what a subscriber may like, what pages they visit, and so on to more effectively target their stage in the buyer’s journey.

If you are a retail store, this could look like examining your consumers’ past purchases as a whole instead of simply looking at the most recent purchase. If your customer was buying a gift for someone else or had a one-time need, marketing towards only one purchase could cost you your engagement.

Email Marketing Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Before diving into the basics of email marketing and writing good newsletters for your business, it’s important to start with your goal. Email marketing is great for a number of specific goals, such as building relationships, boosting brand awareness, promoting your content, generating leads, marketing your products or services, nurturing leads, and more.

Equally important is understanding how to measure your email marketing efforts to reach these goals.

Here are some the most important KPIs you need to know to measure your success:

Open Rates

An open rate describes how many people opened your email out of how many inboxes the email was sent to. This is based on an invisible tracking pixel that loads when someone clicks on your message.

This metric tells you about how engaged your audience is with your business. If your open rate is low, it typically means you have unengaged subscribers that are no longer interested in your content. On the other hand, a high open rate indicates that customers are happy to hear from you and are compelled by your subject lines, and want to engage with the kind of content you provide.

Click-Through Rates (CTR)

A click-through rate, or CTR, tells you how many people clicked on a link (if any) in your email.

A low CTR means that your message is either not targeted enough, or simply not getting through. A high CTR shows that people want to further engage with your content, products, or services (this is what we’re striving for).


The unsubscribe rate tells you how many people have clicked the “unsubscribe” button at the bottom of your email.

If your unsubscribe rate is high in comparison to your opt-in rate, then you need to focus on building value and matching your audience’s expectations.

This is a critical metric as it can tell you a lot about what your customers like and don’t like. For instance, if you see that many people are leaving after a specific autoresponder email, re-work that email! If 10 people unsubscribe after your 3rd sale campaign in a row, try providing more valuable content and taking a break from obvious marketing emails.

Building Your Email List

By now, you are probably asking yourself “How the heck do I find those engaged customers to send emails to?”. The truth is, it’s easier than you think!

Email lists should always be derived organically. If your business hosts live or virtual events, has a blog, or sells products, you have an opportunity to collect your audience’s email contacts. Ultimately, the idea is to offer value and then deliver on it.

For instance, you could create an email pop-up on your website to invite new visitors to sign up for your newsletter and receive exclusive offers and updates. If they love your product or service, why wouldn’t they want discounts on it?

Another example is by providing your audience with incentives, such as free downloads or discount codes. If you are an e-commerce brand selling food-related products, this might look like a recipe ebook or grocery list template. If you are a hair salon, it could be an opportunity to be the first to know about promotions or a lookbook of the season’s latest hairstyle trends.

These incentives or freebies are often called “lead magnets” since they attract leads, or potential customers, to your list. By offering these, you can get an idea of what type of content your audience is interested in receiving from you.

When they sign up for that recipe booklet, you know they want to see more recipes. This can inform the content you include in your newsletters (as well as other channels, such as social media or blogs).

Here are some other ideas of things you can offer your customers to get them to sign up for your newsletter:

  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Workbooks
  • Worksheets
  • EBooks
  • Case Studies
  • Videos
  • Tutorials / Trainings
  • Email Course
  • Quiz Results
  • Resource List

Need Help Building Your Email List?

Now you know how to find your footing, build your email list, and measure your email marketing efforts! Learn more about the ins and outs of writing and designing emails and the best time to send your emails in our FREE ebook Email Marketing Essential That Every Business Needs to Know.

To level up your email marketing campaigns, talk to our team at Champ today.