Create a Mailing Schedule

Once you have decided to use email as a communication tool develop a mailing schedule and stick with it. Recipients will be more opt to open and actively engage with your emails if they know when to expect your mailings. There is nothing worse than emails sent at random intervals. Be consistent. Your recipients will appreciate this and reward you by opening your message.

Create a Mailing Schedule for Event-based Emails

Respect your audience by establishing a mailing schedule specifically for your events that coordinates with your overall mailing schedule. This will ensure you are not inundating your audience with countless emails over and over again. An example of an event mailing schedule would be:

  • 1st Email: 30 days out (save the date with option to register)
  • 2nd Email: Two weeks in advance (registration)
  • 3rd Email: Week of (Schedule, location details, late registration)
  • 4th Email: Thank you! (thank you for attending – provide your feedback, you could survey higher level events as well)

All of these emails should include links to all of your upcoming events online so the user can explore them at their leisure.

Create a Catchy Subject Line

Some might argue this is the most important part of an email. Make the subject line short, to the point and engaging. This is important because the subject line determines whether an email is deemed interesting enough to open. So, get creative. Stay away from using spammy words in your subject lines and never use ALL CAPS or ridiculous **Attention** type language in your subject lines. Not only will you increase your chances of landing your email in the dreaded “junk” or “spam” folder, you will increase the chances of your users marking you as spam or unsubscribing from your emails.

Create Concise Content

You don’t have to send a novel to get your point across. If your email is too long, you run the risk of your readers deleting it all together. Keep it short and scannable. Write quick one to two sentence paragraphs that summarize your story or event then link to the story or event online to learn more. This approach also allows you to gauge your users interest in your stories or events through tracking your click-through rate (CTR).

Format Your Content

Create a professional header that is branded and clean. WSU’s Creative Services department can help. When it comes to the content of your emails it is best to use text paired with images or graphics. Never use a graphic with your text embedded it. You increase your chances of being marked as spam and you make it difficult for your audience to read your message. This is because email providers do not download images by default. So stay away from all image emails. When you do use an image, use detailed alt text that defines what the image is for the user.

Avoid Using “Spammy” Words

Include a Way to Read Online:

Include a link to read the email online in the event a recipient is unable to download the entire message or runs into missing content.

Allow Recipients to Unsubscribe

Always include a way for recipients to unsubscribe from future messages from you. Give them the opportunity to manage their preferences rather than just unsubscribing.

Segment Your Audience

One of the best ways to upset your audience, and get marked as spam, is to send a lot of emails. Avoid this by segmenting your audience for each email. In your database pull lists of only users that would be interested in your email at that particular point in time. If you are ever in the position of sending two emails on the same day, or even same week, make sure you two separate lists that do not have any user overlap.

Test Your Emails

Always test your email before you send it. Send it to several different users in your office and view it on multiple devices. You want to ensure the format looks great and that all your links are working.


Use the tools that you have access to, track your links, open rate, CTR, marked as spam rate for each email you send to get a sense of how engaged your audience is with your emails. This helps you to identify what types of events/stories resonate best with your audience. Use this information to create similar ones in the future.