Email marketing is a nuanced discipline, with more than 300,000 potential renderings for each email, making it vital to consider numerous factors that can affect how your emails appear to your subscribers when they land in their inboxes.
So, what should diligent email marketers include on their pre-send checklists?
In this blog post, we delve into the what and why of email campaign checklists, outline the six crucial phases involved in sending a flawless email, and provide a comprehensive list of 29 common and critical checkpoints, all conveniently in one place.
Read on to discover:
- What exactly is an email checklist?
- The significance of checking your emails before dispatching them.
- The six essential phases for ensuring a perfect email campaign.
- How to access Litmus’ Ultimate Email Marketing Checklist.
The Ultimate Email Marketing Pre-Send Checklist
We’ve gathered 29 of the most common and critical checkpoints in one place to empower you to send your emails with confidence, backed by our expert guidance at every step.
What Is an Email Checklist?
An email checklist serves as a pre-send review of items to ensure a smooth email campaign. It acts as a reminder and an aid to minimize errors. The primary purpose of an email campaign checklist is straightforward: to help marketers steer clear of common blunders. A well-structured checklist encompasses essential components that require scrutiny and consideration in an email.
Why Should You Verify Your Emails Before Sending?
Have you ever received an email only to discover that:
- A link is malfunctioning?
- Images fail to load?
- Personalization is incorrect?
These email mishaps merely scratch the surface of potential issues that can arise. Given that email client updates occur approximately every 1.2 days, numerous factors can affect the precise display of your email.
Flawed emails can lead to a subpar subscriber experience, jeopardise your brand’s reputation, and significantly hinder email performance. Thus, it’s imperative to preemptively address these issues. By dedicating time to review your email campaigns against a checklist, you can reduce the risk of common mistakes.
Let’s explore the six phases you should examine before launching your email marketing campaigns.
Phase #1: Planning and Strategy
Before diving into email production, it’s essential to define your goals and audience. This involves answering key questions:
- What is the primary objective of your campaign?
- How will you measure its success?
- Who is your target audience or segment?
Let’s break down each of these components.
Determine the Goal of Your Campaign
The initial step, and one that should never be bypassed, is setting the goal of your campaign. During the planning phase, inquire about the campaign’s purpose. Is it designed to educate your audience, boost sign-ups, or re-engage subscribers?
Some goal examples include:
- Customer re-engagement
Define How You’ll Measure Success
Next, outline how you will gauge success, often referred to as Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These could encompass:
- Click-through rate (CTR)
- Unsubscribe rate
- Bounce rate
- Deliverability rate or inbox placement rate
- Subscriber lifetime value (LTV)
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Email list size or growth rate
- Conversion rate (CVR)
- Email read rate/read time
- Spam complaint rate
- Revenue per email (RPE)
- Revenue per subscriber (RPS)
- Churn rate
- Subscriber acquisition cost
- Email production time
Segment Your Audience for Maximum Impact
Following this, you must define your target audience. Segmentation can be based on prospects vs. customers, geolocation, engagement activity, and more. Ensure that all suppression or exclusion email lists have been correctly applied.
Phase #2: Craft Your Content
After strategizing your email plan, it’s time to create the email’s content. This phase encompasses email copy, email design, and email development. Consider:
- Personalization: How will you deliver relevant content to your subscribers?
- Calls-to-Action (CTAs): Are they compelling and persuasive?
- Subject Line, Sender Name, and Preview Text: Do they collaboratively encourage subscribers to open your email?
Your subject line, sender name, and preview text should collaborate seamlessly. Think of your preview text as a complementary element to your subject line. Craft subject lines and preview text that complement each other and make sense when read together.
Phase #3: Enhance Your Inbox View
The inbox view is the initial impression your subscribers get of your brand or business in their inbox. This view encompasses:
- Subject line
- “From” name and address
- Preview text
- Reply-to address (i.e., not email@example.com)
- Verified sender logo via Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), if configured
Since it’s among the first things your subscribers notice, it’s essential to make a favorable impression. Pay attention to the following specifics:
- Employ a recognizable and consistent “from” name and address.
- Confirm that your reply-to address is friendly and active (i.e., not firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Optimize your preview text using our preview text technique for instances where the copy is too lengthy or brief.
Phase #4: Optimise Your Email Design
Well-crafted emails are pivotal for engaging your audience and achieving desired results. Double-check the following to ensure that your emails are visually appealing, actionable, and optimised:
- Verify that your email displays correctly across mobile, desktop, and webmail environments.
- Ensure your plain-text version is visually appealing and features functional links.
- Incorporate retina images to prevent blurry visuals.
- Test dynamic content and personalization, ensuring that fallbacks are in place.
- Confirm that no images are broken, and ALT text is appropriately employed.
- Conduct Dark Mode testing to ensure that your colours remain consistent.
- Ensure that merge tags function as intended and have suitable fallbacks.
- Check your email’s loading time, aiming for two to three seconds or less.
- Keep the email file size under 102 KB to avoid Gmail truncation.
- Guarantee that your email is accessible to screen readers and individuals with visual impairments.
Phase #5: Prepare Your Insights
To analyse your email campaign’s performance, you must verify that your insights are correctly configured. Ensure the following:
- Check that your links are functional and appropriately tracked (e.g., UTM parameters, if applicable).
- Embed an analytics code into your campaign and activate it.
Phase #6: Email Deliverability
Email deliverability is centred around ensuring your emails reach subscribers’ inboxes and avoid being marked as spam. Consider these checkpoints:
- Verify that your subscribers have provided explicit opt-in consent.
- Abide by the relevant spam laws according to the countries and regions where your subscribers reside.
- Include company contact information, such as a physical mailing address, to bypass spam filters.
- Scrutinise your content for spelling and grammar errors.
- Include a functional unsubscribe link.
- Assess the reputation of your IP addresses and domain names.
- Run a Spam Filter Test to confirm the presence of email authentication records.