» Inside the Inbox: The #1 Rule of Email Marketing

This post was written by Matt Byrd, WeddingWire’s Email Marketing Specialist. WeddingWire was recently recognized by the Email Institute as one of the best brands for email marketing, alongside companies such as Amazon, J.Crew and Starbucks.


The #1 rule of email marketing is… that there is no #1 rule! Many resources try to suggest that there are finite rules and guidelines for email marketing. Common ones include things like “Don’t use FREE in the subject line!” or “Don’t have subject lines longer than 50 characters.”

Take a quick glance through your own inbox, and you will realize that those “rules” are outdated. The word “FREE” might have sent your email to the spam folder two or three years ago, but that isn’t necessarily the case anymore. Many new, complex factors affect how your email marketing performs beyond black-and-white rules about content and subject lines.

And 50 characters? Check out this subject line from popular online retailer Rue La La…it’s 177 characters!

“Vera Bradley, Charles David, Sweet Pea, Earnest Sewn, For the Table: Eco-Friendly Wood & Bamboo, Hello, July: The Month of Heritage, Honora, & The Baby Gifts They’ll Go Gaga For”

You might also hear things like “Don’t send emails on the weekends!” or “Don’t send emails after 5pm!” Again, factors like this are completely dependent on your audience. What works for you might be completely different from what works for another Pro. The only way you can find out what the best days are for your clients is to test – and test often!

As an example, you segment your database into three equal parts, and send an identical email to each group on three different days but at the same time. It’s important that only one factor change – so make sure it’s the same email at the same time, just on a different day. Otherwise, one of the other changes might also affect the results of the test. You won’t know if it was just the send day that had an effect, or one of your other variables.

Repeat the test a couple of times to ensure that the results are consistent. On the flip side, you could send the same email on the same day, but at different times. Maybe your customers open emails more at 2pm instead of 10am. …There’s only one way to find out: get testing!