It’s sometimes hard for a marketing manager to move into email marketing management, going into it head down can sometimes even cause a melt down on their first campaign.

Doing email marketing is special, you have a lot of tools available but at the same time you are dealing with a very outdated technology. Here is my top 6 things an email marketing manager should know.

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Supporting 20 email clients is not going to be easy

You are having a hard time getting your website glitches fixed on internet explorer 8?

Now imagine that on top of web browsers like chrome, firefox & IE, you need to support each of those on Gmail, hotmail, yahoo & then you need to test on outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, apple mail. Having responsive design? alright add IOS & android to the mix.

Yup that makes for a lot of testing & that’s no easy testing unless you have something like litmus, & even then. Litmus provides you with a screenshot of the different email clients but you have no way to inspect that code, that makes for a lot of back & forth, a lot of waiting in between tests & a lot of frustration.

Coding email templates is an art (& design too)

Thinking of giving your superb new design to your web developer intern, be careful. Coding emails is not like coding a website, you need to employ a lot of techniques (using table over divs being one of the most important) to make your design work.

Just to give you an idea, here are some important guidelines:

  • Use tables over divs like in 1996.
  • Background images do not work on outlook 2007,2010,2013 (unless you do some VML voodoo)
  • You must inline all your css directly on the html tags
  • Don’t ask about flash (no flash)
  • Don’t ask about javascript (no javascript)
  • It’s possible to use simple responsive design
  • You can use gifs, you can kinda use video.
  • CSS support is a mess, if you are going to ask a dev if you can do this & that why don’t you refer yourself to campaign monitor css chart before (because that’s what your dev is going to look at anyway)

More information:
The Foundations of Coding HTML Email
Email Design Guideline

If your devs do not deliver quality, use a third party

Integrating emails sucks, I get it. You need to test on 20 email clients, that’s a given you are going to have some small discrepancies between platforms & it is going to take an enormous amount of stackoverflow time to fix them all. If you see your developers can’t deliver good quality go AWOL.

There is a lot of third party companies that will do it for you & they know every tidbits about email templating. I will name 2 companies here that I know deliver good quality from my time at CakeMail, Email Monk & Mail Bakery. Look around, compare prices, there is a ton of them.

Shop your email marketing platform

Campaign monitor, Mailchimp, CakeMail, MadMini, GetResponse, you get it, there is also a ton of them. Don’t read reviews, test them. Most have a free tier & pricing are generally similar, if you have a big email list you can deal your price too, don’t be afraid to try.

Excited about a/b split testing? why don’t you start by testing that on your subject, sender name & sent time.

Thinking about optimizing your campaign? Don’t start with changing your call to action button from blue to red, it’s not only one of the most costly change, it is probably one of the least profitable. If your clients do not open your campaign there is nothing to test.

Your subject line directly affects how many people will see your campaign, try changing the keywords to get people attention.


  • Short & long subject lines,
  • Adding numbers – 6 reasons why you will love our chocolate & 10% off
  • Personalize with name or city – Mike how did your like your experience shopping at Walmart Edmonton?

Your sender name can also have a huge impact on your open rate. First avoid the noreply@ approach, this is a big teller that your email is just marketing content. It is also generally agreed that a combination of personal & corporate name is the way the go, exemple: Cedric Dugas, CakeMail.

Your sending time will also affect your open rate. Your campaign is received at the same time that those 10 other marketing campaign? Big chances it’s not going to be opened. Also please choose a platform where your email can be sent separately by timezone over a 24 hours period. Meaning if you schedule it to be launched at 4am, it must be 4am everywhere in the world.

* Side note, Mailchimp offer a feature that optimize your sending time by itself & they are pretty good at it.

Do your homework. You’re not the first doing a/b split test on a email marketing campaign.

There is a ton of articles & papers on email marketing optimizations, put your house in order before going to war.