Email may seem like Twitter’s older, less attractive sister. Yet surprisingly, it remains one of the most cost-effective channels for marketing departments all around the world. While it might not be as hip as viral marketing, an email campaign can quickly hit a huge audience and produce amazing results — when done right. Here are five email marketing tips for small businesses to help you become an email marketing pro.

1. Content is king

What’s the goal of the email you’re sending? Is it a product release, promotion or company announcement? You want to keep your content engaging, interesting and newsworthy, so don’t send out an email unless you’ve got a story to tell. Avoid being super salesy, especially in your subject line — instead, tell recipients exactly what to expect when they open the email. Write copy with your readers in mind to keep the tone friendly and personal.

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2. Stop mass mailing

It’s unbelievable how many times we’ve received a promotional email talking about summer when we’re located on the other side of the world, in the middle of winter. Make sure that you segment your mailing list as much as possible and only send relevant, highly targeted email messages to your subscriber base. Break down your contacts by location, industry or product purchased. Always keep your emails relevant and timely.

3. Design it right

Make sure your eye-catching email design renders correctly in all popular email applications. Design for your audience by including images that pop. Break up your content as much as possible with headings, subheadings and bullet points. Be sure to check out Peter Vukovic’s tips on “How to make killer email designs” from our Designer Blog.

4. Include one clear CTA

Keep your email as short and concise as possible. Include a single, clear call to action (CTA). Make sure your CTA is as high as possible on the page and displays above the fold. By doing so, you’ll ensure that your recipients click your prominent CTA and land on your designated landing page. Don’t let recipients be distracted by less important links!

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5. Go mobile

It’s extremely important to make sure that your email designs are responsive and display correctly on all popular mobile devices. Always think about how your message will be delivered to those on smartphone or tablets. Most popular email marketing applications like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor include testing tools so you can quickly and easily see how your email displays on a portable device. Remember to test every single time and adjust the design to meet recipients on the go.

Do you need an eye-catching email design for your next campaign? Check out some active email design contests on 99designs. You can also launch your own email design contest today and put these email marketing tips to work!