E-mail Marketing for Manufacturers: Do’s and Don’ts for an Effective Strategy

Since many people spend a decent amount of time managing their own e-mail inboxes, whether company or personal, it’s easy to think that creating and managing an e-mail marketing strategy should be simple. 

Collect an e-mail address, add it to a list, send a group message. Right? 

Well … sort of. But there’s more to it than that — especially if you want it to work for your company. 

There are many best practices in e-mail marketing to be aware of to ensure that you are 1) following standards of the industry and 2) maximizing your efforts for higher open rates, click throughs and conversions.  

For example, simply collecting an e-mail and adding it to a list is not allowed by third-party e-mail tools (such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, ActiveCampaign and others – more on this later). Anyone you add to your list must have subscribed, opted in or agreed to be e-mailed by you before becoming a part of that list.  

To get your manufacturing company on the right track toward an effective marketing campaign, here is a quick list of e-mail marketing Do’s and Don’ts.  

The Don’t List 

  • Don’t add people to your subscriber list without getting permission. Third-party e-mail service providers will require that you agree to having permission from anyone you e-mail through their platforms as part of privacy and personal data agreements. Beyond legalities, when you start e-mailing someone who hasn’t given you permission, they are less likely to be interested in your message and more likely to report you as spam. When your account is reported as spam, it can eventually cause deliverability issues in general to anyone on your list. (Read more: The Importance of Permission on Mailchimp). If you start with getting permission, you’ll have people on your list who want to open your messages and therefore become more likely to convert, anyway.  

  • Don’t send group e-mails from your e-mail service provider, such as your Outlook or Gmail inbox. Doing so is not a way around the permission rule, because that’s truly a matter of privacy law (check out the CanSPAM Act for more). Plus, these tools are really meant for individual, personal conversations and not advertising campaigns. Even when your e-mail marketing strategy is focused on adding value (a best practice) over selling your products, it is still advertising at the end of the day. Spend some time researching third-party tools to find the best option for your business (We’ve already mentioned some: MailChimp, Constant Contact and ActiveCampaign).  

  • Don’t make it impossible to unsubscribe. Don’t be afraid of that little button at the bottom of your e-mail message that lets people opt out. If you’re sending genuinely useful content – they won’t want to, anyway. And, if they do want to opt-out for whatever reason and can’t find a way – people often simply mark these messages as spam, which as we already said can lead to deliverability issues. 

  • Don't appear overly promotional. If you only send sell sheets, deals, promotions and so forth — people will stop listening. Yes, you can sell within your e-mail marketing campaigns and use specific calls-to-action to convert your readers … but people don’t want to feel constantly under pressure. They should learn something from you, feel like your content added value to their lives or company and so forth. You can add value and sell at the same time, we promise. 

The Do List 

  • Do create an opt-in strategy to get permission from people to be on your list. For example, create longform content that people would be willing to trade an e-mail address to download; OR structure a giveaway relevant to your products for people to option in. The point is, leverage an incentive to drive subscriptions to your list, and build a list of people who care about your company. 

  • Do include useful content in your e-mail. This does require putting a bit of effort into your content: brainstorm ideas about topics and information your customers would want to read. Whether this is interesting industry reports or trends, thought leadership content, employee engagement ideas and so forth. Think of the things your customers are dealing with outside of the products you sell and provide quality tools that build your relationship. 

  • Do drive traffic to your website. Those wonderful content ideas you came up with for your useful newsletter? They should be hosted as blogs on your website. Posting the entire message into your e-mail campaign doesn’t help you drive closer to conversions. You want people to open the newsletter, find something that seems useful, and click to your website.  

  • Do review analytics reports and relevant data. This isn’t a 5-minute process. When your company is putting energy into every step of this process, you should be sure to understand what is working and what isn’t. Third-party e-mail tools provide internal dashboards (another reason to use a platform like this) with analytics related to open rates, click throughs and other data relevant to that platform. Review these to understand which content topics and subject lines are most effective, and adjust your strategy as you move forward to cater to your readers.  

  • Do spend time on your subject lines. It’s OK to spend a good deal of time creating a short, catchy subject line before scheduling your e-mail to send. This is often the last step in the process after everything is put together, and it can feel tempting to type something quick and ship it out the door – but it is important to consider from past campaigns and other best practices which types of subject lines are working best. Think about the e-mails that you tend to open, and check out these 19 tips on subject lines from Hubspot.  


We can help you implement these best practices at your company.

Contact us today for a free consult and mention this post. 


Kaylie Smith