Each time a prospect gives your company their personal email address, a contract is formed between you and them. Their role in the contract is to invite you to send them your content. In return, your role is to deliver valuable content they'll appreciate. Any time you send them content that's rushed or shoddy, you're not keeping your end of the deal. But by delivering email marketing that's useful and appreciated by your market, your company is building loyalty, trust, and ultimately sales.

For effective email campaigns that will make your readers glad they opted in to your content, consider these five important best practices.

1. Promote, Promote, Promote

The best email campaign in the world (if such a thing could actually be measured) would be 100% useless without a solid email list. Many businesses go only as far as placing an opt-in form on their website. That's a decent start, but you should also consider effective calls to action that encourage people to sign up. Your list should be advertised like any other product or service. You'll want to let your leads know how signing up for your content is going to benefit them. You should draw attention to that signup form with some creative copy on your homepage. Keep in mind that you're focusing on quality over quantity. You want people on that list who actually are excited to receive the content you send. Also, you'll want to promote your opt-in email content via your social media.

2. Remember, Quality Content is King

The importance of quality content is hardly a secret. Unfortunately, however, quality is lacking in many email campaigns (and many other places on the internet, for that matter.) Businesses are not just creators of products and services anymore. They are also creators and publishers of videos, blogs, newsletters, infographics, and anything else their audience finds useful or entertaining.

In your email marketing, create content that you're passionate and knowledgeable about. Ask yourself, "Will this video or blog post give our audience useful information that they wouldn't have learned before now? Will writing about the weird and bizarre be helpful or harmful?"

3. Name Names to Personalize Your Emails

Did you know that every day, the average person is subjected to over 120 emails? Clearly, you need to cut through the clutter and be seen through all of the information overload out there. If you don't, you can hardly expect your audience to choose your messages and ignore those of your competitors.

Yes, the advice to personalize your email marketing is common. But the reason you hear it all the time is that it's effective. One of the simplest ways to personalize your emails and gain the attention of your audience is to mention the first name of your recipients within the email. There are other ways to personalize your email messages, of course, but starting with the inclusion of names is one of the most effective tactics."

4. Don't Neglect Responsive Web Design

Responsive design refers to the ability to easily read emails and landing pages on a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers. Smartphones and tablets represent a huge percentage of all email interactions. "Our reliance on mobile devices means email must be mobile friendly," says Bob Fabbio of eRelevance, a marketing automation service. "The majority of people who have problems accessing an email, landing page or website never return to it in the future, which makes responsive design an essential component of any effective email campaign." Just remember, however, that responsive email design is a wasted effort if your emails link to a not-so-responsive landing page.

5. Keep Landing Pages Specialized

An email is obviously not the end of the line. Rather, it should be a beginning step toward conversion. Does your marketing message lead the reader to a generalized homepage that doesn't have anything to do with the email's content? If so, it probably won't be effective at lead conversion. Your emails should link to specialized pages featuring a product. Keep the goal of conversion in mind!

Your email campaigns, if done right, can be effective workhorses in your marketing efforts. So take them seriously. With a little thought and effort, they can build relationships with customers and make your business stand out from competitors.