The keys to any successful email marketing campaign are the content and the subject line. Your subject line needs to be enticing so that your targeted audience open the email and then your content has to be engaging to get them to do what you want, whether it is buy your products or engage your services.

Here are some tips to ensure your marketing email gets read and acted upon.

Begin with writing the content of your email first as this will then drive your subject line, making sure it gets the message across first time. You’ll only get one chance!

The content and design of your email should reflect your brand and the message you are trying to get across.

Email newsletters, for instance, can have a busier and more content-rich layout than simple offers, such as an email announcing a sale or discount, which should be much simpler and focus solely on the message. Either way, always make sure you have consistent branding as this is how your market will recognise who the email is from and put more trust in it.

The copy for the body of your email should be focused and specific – stick to your message and try to keep it as brief as possible. Nobody wants to read a rambling email that wanders off topic.

Also vital to success is making the email easy to read AND act upon. Therefore put all the vital information – links, dates of sales, call to action, locations and the like – at the top of your email and avoid using images only as some people have email services that block image downloads. Also consider the size of the font for ease of reading and the size of the email itself – if it takes too long to open, you’ll lose your audience.

Designers need to consider their use of colour as well. The organisation’s logo and colour schemes should be used, but it may be necessary to alter them slightly for readability. If a company’s colours are predominantly black or dark blue this can’t be used as the email’s background as it would be too difficult to read. Consider instead using lighter shades of blue with black as an accent.

Once you have the body of your email sorted you can move on to what many consider to be the most vital part of any email marketing campaign – the subject line.

Start by ensuring it is clear who the email is from – if your name or company is recognised the recipient is far more likely to open the email. Include your company name in the subject line. This also helps to brand your company and build trust with your audience.

Only a few words of the subject line will appear in your recipient's reading pane so keep it under a total of 50 characters. This usually means about 5 to 8 words. Remember to keep the most important words first!

Avoiding your email being judged as SPAM is vital. To do this you need to steer clear of using words ‘spammy’ words in your subject line, such as ‘sale’, ‘advertisement’ and ‘free’.

High-quality original content takes forever to create. And professional copywriters charge a fortune! Test several subject lines by splitting your email marketing list into two or three groups and sending them a different one. This way you will be able to learn which type of subject line works best and improve what you do.

Finally, measure the success of your campaigns by tracking data such as open rates, click-through rates and the number of emails that bounce back. There is software you can use to do this or consider contracting an email marketing company to assist you.

Remember, the more you do and the more you learn will increase the success of your marketing campaigns over time.