You've Got an Email List: Now What?

Content From: HIV.govPublished: January 23, 20184 min read


phone with email alert on screen
Last week we covered how to get started with email marketing. Today we will review 2018 email marketing best practices. 

“The way people use emails continues to change, and with it, the most effective strategies for reaching your audience and nudging them to open the email,” said Jessica Holli, Digital Specialist at “Once you’ve mastered your email marketing, try experimenting with new strategies to increase your open rates and click through rates.”

We’ve rounded up four new strategies and tactics to try this year. So, let’s get into it!

Personalization of emails based on subscriber preferences, life stage, and behaviors can ensure that you’re delivering relevant content to your subscribers and make your email marketing seem more human. In addition to personalizing emails based on past behavior, experts predictExit Disclaimer email personalization will be focused on what’s next for the user.  

In practice: try segmenting your audience based on what you know about them: are they health professionals who have attended your meetings or events in the past? Are they patients who need specific information based on what phase of life they’re in? Instead of blasting generic emails to your entire subscription list, try segmenting your lists and crafting tailored emails.

Targeted and Triggered Automation
In some ways, this is similar to personalization because this feature is based on your subscriber’s behaviorExit Disclaimer. Depending on your email platform and website, you can set up automatic, triggered emails to be sent when your subscriber takes an action. For example, after someone checks in to your event, you could send a triggered email to thank them for attending.

In practice: at, we’ve designed an automatic welcome email. When someone subscribes to our emails, they receive a thank-you note that also directs them to our social media channels, the health services locator tool, and reminds them to tailor their subscription settings. We know that when someone subscribes, they’re interested in our content, and by sending an automatic email in that moment we can take advantage of their interest by providing them with additional information.

Interactive emails, also known as mailable micrositesExit Disclaimer, push your email content beyond a classic email by allowing your subscribers to interact with the email from your inbox. Interactive emailsExit Disclaimer include clickable photo galleries, sign up forms, animated GIFs, and surveys. These features aim to increase subscriber action by reducing barriers.

In practice: figure out what actions you want your audience to take as a result of receiving the email. Do you want them to make an appointment, register for an event, or just learn something new? Once you make this decision you can begin to identify interactive features that can help you accomplish your goal. For example, including a widget to allow your subscriber to make an appointment in the email could increase the likelihood that they’ll make an appointment!

Sticky Content
We’re not talking about peanut butter. Sticky contentExit Disclaimer refers to informational content that communicates your goals while also addressing your subscriber’s lifestyle. Examples include gift guides, related news, and tips and tricks. This content can help prevent your subscribers from opting out or unsubscribing from your emails because you’re sending them content that goes beyond just sharing your organization’s message.

In practice: cultivate your subscribers by creating lifestyle content they would want to read. This could include an interactive quiz about HIV basic information or a roundup of blog posts or articles on HIV that your audience might have missed.

Do you have any questions about email marketing? We’re here to help! Sign up for our Virtual Office Hours, where a member of our team will answer any questions you might have. You can also subscribe to’s emails so you’ll never miss a blog post or announcement. We recently switched our email platform, so if you’ve previously subscribed to our emails but haven’t received any emails this week, double check your subscription and add to your address book.