6 Tips for Effective Email Marketing… from a Box Office Hit

Even if you aren’t familiar with the hit movie “Jerry Maguire,” you’re probably familiar with famous quotes from the comedy. Oddly, several of these quotes serve as great tips for creating effective email marketing campaigns. Or maybe I’m just odd for thinking they do. Either way…

Tips for Effective Email Marketing

“You had me at hello.”

If you’re a romantic at heart, this is probably the line from the film you remember most fondly. Certainly, words matter in all forms of marketing. But with email campaigns, the words in your subject line may matter a bit more. If recipients don’t like what you have to say from the beginning, they won’t open your email and ultimately fall in love with your offer.

Your email fights for attention in your recipient’s inbox. Don’t be afraid to try new things to get noticed. But do be cognizant of your audience. For some audiences, humorous, controversial, or shocking subject lines may work. For others, intriguing, personalized subject lines are best. A/B test different subject lines to gauge what’s most effective for your audience.

“Keep it brief… It’s estimated that subject lines with 50 characters or less result in 12% higher open rates and 75% higher click-through rates than emails with longer subject lines.” – Walker Sands Communications

“That’s more than a dress. That’s an Audrey Hepburn movie.”

What’s the proper word length for an email? While there has been some noteworthy research done on the ideal length of a sales email, the answer is still one of those annoyingly vague ones: just enough. Your email should provide as much information as necessary to entice readers to click through to your landing page or accept your offer, but not so much that it seems like you’re trying to be all things to all people.

You don’t have to touch on every single benefit. Pick the top ones and stick to those. Focus on the most relevant information and review your content with a critical eye, removing any unnecessary words or sentences.

“Data suggests the ideal length of an email is between 50 and 125 words. Emails this length had a response rate above 50%. A similar study found emails with approximately 20 lines of text, or about 200 words, had the highest click-through rates. When in doubt, keep emails short and under 200 words.” – Mike Renahan, writing for HubSpot

Think you have more to say than a concise email allows? Consider linking to an LP where you offer content that goes deeper into your product or service for those who want to know more, but feature your lead form at the top for those who don’t. Alternatively, you could create an email cadence, delivering campaign messages over a certain period of time that highlight different key benefits.

Track which benefits resonate most. Chances are, the “most important” things to say about your offer can be narrowed down more than you think.

Show me the money quote from the movie Jerry Maguire

“Show me the money!”

What’s most relevant to your audience? When you have accurate and robust customer data, you learn what’s important to your audience. You discover what motivates them. And, if you’re listening, they tell you – or show you by their actions – what they need.

Does your ideal customer spend time reading reviews before making a purchase? Perhaps your emails can highlight your average user rating from credible review sites. Is price usually the deciding factor when they make purchases? A promotional offer or a special discount for subscribers to your newsletter may help. Does your ideal customer consider you a thought leader in your industry? Include a content offer or links to your blog that your audience will find useful.

Remember that your company, products, audiences, and even industry may change over time. The trick is to stay relevant.

“Marketing relevance relies on self-examination and reinvention… Continuously test what resonates with your prospects and clients. Use what works best, then retest. There’s no stopping point – you must evolve as your client base does. If you remain relevant, you’ll be rewarded with loyal, engaged clients.” – Active Marketing

Jerry Maguire movie quote: You are hanging on by a very thin thread

“You are hanging on by a very thin thread… and I dig that about you!”

Assume that attention spans will be low and write and structure your emails accordingly. Shoot for emails that make it easy for readers to scan, but still get the gist of what you’re trying to say.

Effective ways to focus your reader’s attention on key messaging include using a list of bullet points or formatting certain words, dates, or phrases in bold to guide the eye to the most important elements.

Sometimes a particular image can tell a story better than words. If that’s the case with your product or service, consider using the image as the hero at the top of your email or highlighting it in some other way. Check out this great guide to using hero images.

“The hero image is usually your first ‘real’ impression; someone was compelled enough to open the email or web page to see what you have to offer. It’s a blind date—appearances are everything!” – Mary Lister, writing for Wordstream

Help me, help you - email marketing tips

“Help me… help you.”

Of course, the most important thing you want readers to see is what you want them to do. Make it perfectly clear to your readers what action you want them to take. Should they call you or reply to your email, click through to a landing page and fill out a form, sign up for a demo, download a content offer, visit your website to learn more? No email campaign is complete without an effective, clear call to action.

“You complete me.”

After all this effort to create the most effective email marketing campaign, the last thing you want to do is miss these critical steps that help you complete your digital strategy and maximize ROI on every campaign.

More Tips for Effective Email Marketing

Getting email marketing right can be a challenge. And there are probably days when you would describe your efforts the way Maguire described promoting his client: “It is an up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege that I will never fully tell you about.” But, hopefully, the tips for effective email marketing in this article and throughout our blog, as well as the industry’s best solutions will make it easier!


Photos: Movieclips/YouTube

minute read

Popular stories



BriteVerify email verification ensures that an email address actually exists in real-time


The #1 global data quality tool used by thousands of Salesforce admins


Insights and deliverability guidance from the only all-in-one email marketing solution

GridBuddy Cloud

Transform how you interact with your data through the versatility of grids.

Return Path

World-class deliverability applications to optimize email marketing programs

Trust Assessments

A revolutionary new solution for assessing Salesforce data quality


Validity for Email

Increase inbox placement and maximize subscriber reach with clean and actionable data

Validity for Data Management

Simplify data management with solutions that improve data quality and increase CRM adoption

Validity for Sales Productivity

Give your sales team back hours per day with tools designed to increase productivity and mitigate pipeline risks in real-time