Email Marketing Checklist: 18 Things to Check Before You Hit 'Send'

Ever rushed through your marketing email, quickly hit ‘send’, and then only realized that you sent out the wrong link to your entire mailing list?

Yup, it happens to all of us.

Those seemingly small parts of your email campaign can make a huge impact if you get them wrong (and we already know how easy they are to miss!).

Silly mistakes in email marketing could ruin your entire campaign. Any obvious mistakes are simply embarrassing, and they will affect the receiver’s perception of your company. Not to mention they can prevent your email from achieving its goal.

Luckily, avoiding these critical email marketing mistakes is seriously easy, you just need to know what to look out for. We’ve made this easy for you, by laying out 18 of the most important things to take note of in our marketing email checklist.

Remember this complete 18 point email marketing checklist before you send an email, and you won’t ever risk sending out mistakes again.

via GIPHY


Always Test Your Email Content First

Before we get into your email marketing checklist, you need to remember to always test your emails first. Wishpond’s email marketing tool gives you the option to send out a test email to your own inbox first so that you can go over all the content before your subscribers do.

This way you get to see what the email looks like before your mailing list gets it. This is a great chance to go over your email marketing checklist properly.

You can test out of all your links, make sure that the content is right, check that the subject line reads well and that the images all look good. Never overlook this step in email marketing.

test email

As long as you test your email campaign, you should be able to identify any issues before you schedule an email for your subscribers. This is one of the reasons why having the right email marketing automation software is critical for your marketing strategy.

However, let’s try to avoid those issues before you even include them in your test email.

Follow the email marketing checklist below, and you’ll be producing completely error-free email campaigns in no time.


1. Are You Sending the Email to the Right List?

First and foremost, you need to make sure that your email will be hitting the right inboxes. Each email needs to have a clear goal that helps you align the right messaging to the right people.

Your customers and leads are all at different stages of your marketing funnel or buying journey. Your business strategy might also target more than one target audience. Because of this, you can’t just send out the same messages to all of your contacts. Not every email applies to each person.

This is why organizing your leads to segment your mailing list is such an important strategy. You have to have a good leads database to understand your customers and their activities. This will help you to segment your email lists to make sure the right people get the right content each time.

When you segment your lists, you improve the success of your campaigns. You also decrease the risk of unsubscriptions or your emails getting deleted straight away.

Trade Coffee email

When it comes to email lists, your audience can be broken down into two main groups. These are existing customers/clients, and customers/clients that you want to acquire.

Sending an email to existing customers is a little bit easier because they have already chosen to support your company. This audience likes your products and will be more open and trusting towards your email content.

Sending out emails for customer acquisitions is a little bit more tricky. You want to get them to become a subscriber to your email list, so add in easy subscribe and unsubscribe options.

When sending an email to potential new customers or clients, make sure that your email content offers them clear value. Subject lines are also incredibly important for your open rates here.




Why are you sending out the email campaign in the first place? Probably because you’re trying to get your leads to click on a specific link.

Possibly the biggest mistake that any marketer can make is to send out an email with a broken link. All of your email marketing efforts will be wasted, and it creates a bad image for your business.

A critical part of your email marketing checklist is to manually check every single link before you even think of sending out your email campaign. Make sure the right page loads, and there are no errors popping up. Fix any broken links before moving forward with your email.

email


3. Start With a Personalized Greeting That Works

We know the importance of personalization in email marketing, but this is only true if you can get it done properly.

Let’s say you make a mistake with the greeting, and your customer receives an email starting with “Hi {first name}”. This looks terrible for your business. There’s a good chance they won’t read any further.

This goes for any dynamic tags. If you’re using dynamic tags, double-check that they are all functioning properly.

So, make sure that you get the greeting right before you send emails. Test the email, check your mailing list, and make sure your personalization works. A personalized greeting makes the customer feel special, but errors with personalization just look unprofessional.

Duolingo greeting


We mentioned broken links, but forgotten links are another common mishap when it comes to marketing emails. This happens when you apply an image or button to your email as a call-to-action, but the link that it’s supposed to take you to isn’t there.

If you need to link something in your email, make sure that it is indeed linked. Check any:

  • Call to action (CTA) buttons
  • Images that act as buttons
  • Anchor text
  • Social media share or follow buttons

This may seem like an obvious point for your email marketing checklist, but forgotten links in an email campaign are an easy mistake to make.


5. Offer Clear Value

Besides just checking to see that your email content makes sense, you need to ensure that you’re offering complete value to the person receiving the email. Any successful email marketing campaign offers something of value to help users and clients. This could be a tip, a link to a helpful guide, a coupon code, or some form of helpful CTA. Remember this on your email checklist.

The value that you offer needs to be aligned with a clear goal for your business. Are you trying to motivate a fast impulse buy? Are you looking to get more free demos booked? Provide something to help complete that action.

If your email campaigns are to grow your mailing list, a great way to offer value in your email marketing is to run a referral campaign giveaway. This allows you to offer the email subscriber value through a contest, while you get to increase your mailing list and gather more email leads.

referral contest

Even if the person reading your email campaign doesn’t complete the action you want them to, letting them know that you offer real value will keep them interested in your newsletters, keeping your open rate up. If there’s no value offered in your email, your subscribers will start to opt-out quickly.


6. Manage the People Who Have Opted Out

If your subscribers do unsubscribe (which they will - don’t panic), then make sure they are removed from receiving your newsletter. Once a subscriber wants to unsubscribe, don’t keep them on board with the hopes of winning back their interest. They’ve requested to be removed from your mailing list, so make sure that they are removed.

If you keep on emailing these contacts, they will just continue to lose interest in your brand. This will only remove you even further from your audience.

This is one of the best practices to keep your email list interested. If you send emails to people viewing the email as spam, you will not create much value for your email marketing campaign.

So, make sure you check your sign-up list as part of your email marketing checklist and remove any audience members who dont want to be there.


7. Check Your Grammar

This is such an obvious step in your email marketing checklist, but it’s so important. Spelling plays a big role in marketing. No matter what type of content you’re publishing, if it has grammatical errors, your business is going to lose respect. So always proofread, and proofread carefully.

Spelling errors are also really easy to avoid. Just use a good free spell checker, and double-check any phrases you’re unsure of. If there are any particularly skilled people on your team when it comes to grammar, ask them to proofread your email content before sending it out.

This is easy to avoid, but if you get it wrong, a spelling mistake will be really embarrassing for your business.

email


8. Optimize Your Subject Lines

You need to make sure that your email stands out before anyone has even clicked on it. For this reason, your email campaign needs a strong subject line.

Crafting a powerful subject line is no easy task. Just remember to keep your subject line human. Try your best to avoid sounding over sales-y or robotic.

You also need to create excitement for your audience in your subject lines. Your audience wants to read a real email crafted by a real human, so write a subject line that sounds conversational.

Pay attention to the length of your subject line too. If subject lines are too long, they could get cut off. Get it brief and to the point. Try to intrigue your subscribers, inspiring them to find out more.

When it comes to your email marketing checklist, subject lines are critical for determining open rates.

email subject line


9. Who Sent the Email?

On the topic of making sure your email campaign sounds human, always check that you’ve actually sent the email as a real person.

Sign off any email marketing messages with the name of an actual person who works at your company. This is way more inviting, and it will certainly help your subscribers to connect with the message of your email and to personalize your business.

You could take this further by including a profile picture and inviting the subscribers to respond to the email and get in touch with you. This easy example adds a lot to personalizing your email marketing campaign.

email greeting


10. Optimize Your Images and Design

Dont let blurry images or bad formatting ruin your email. Beyond the written content, the visual aspects of your email marketing make a big difference.

Pay attention to how your images look in your email. They shouldn’t be pixellated or squashed. They should also be associated with alt text, and display exactly how you want them to. Alt text will help if your images don’t render.

The formatting of your email also makes a big difference. Go over how everything looks, and look at all of the visual elements as part of your email checklist. Is there too much white space? Are your bulleted lists showing properly? If anything seems off, change it before you send it.

Finally, pay attention to the colors used in your email campaign. Sometimes, background colors might not render for all recipients. Try not to use white text over dark backgrounds for this reason. Always make sure that the text displays clearly - your email should never be difficult to read.

email design


11. Make Your Links Trackable

A major part of email marketing is being able to understand how your email marketing campaign is performing and to know exactly what causes certain actions. This is why you need to make sure that all of your links are traceable.

Traceable links let you review your email marketing performance and see which emails caused which actions. This allows you to optimize any future email campaign for better results.

Before sending out any content to your email list, check that all links included are correct and traceable. Tracking is essential for long-term marketing success, and it’s a vital part of your email marketing checklist.


12. Include a Clear CTA

Does your email campaign have one clear goal? Is this goal linked to one clear CTA? This should be the case.

Don’t overcomplicate your emails by trying to push more than one action. Keep things concise and clear. Otherwise, you will confuse the person reading the email. This will affect the outcome of your campaign, and it could cause confusion and affect your open rates.

So, before you send your email, understand the goal of the mail and make sure that your CTA is aligned with it.

email CTA


13. Create the Right Balance in Your Content

Yes, your email is trying to sell something or push your leads to take an action. This doesn’t mean your email content should sound like a sales pitch. Instead, focus on striking the right balance between being a salesperson and being informative and interesting to the customer.

If you just offer information when sending emails, then your email won’t serve a specific purpose for your marketing strategy. If you promote too heavily though, you’re going to chase away your current users and subscribers.

So, when reviewing your checklist, make sure you send relevant and interesting content. Monitor what type of content you’re sending, and see which past examples worked well. This will help you to refine your message with each email.

email content


14. Optimize the Preview Text

The preview text is a short snippet from your email text that gets displayed in the inbox next to your email’s subject line. Many marketers forget about this short bit of text, but it offers another opportunity for you to grab attention and boost your open rates.

Depending on the email client, you’ve only got up to around 140 characters in the preview (generally less). Make the most of those text characters and dont waste them. This seems small, but the right preview text could determine whether your email is clicked or not.

email preview text


15. Are You A/B Testing?

A/B testing should definitely be added to your checklist. This is one of the best practices when it comes to optimizing your content to increase the success of your campaigns.

A/B testing is when you schedule two variations of the same email. The testing process lets you see which email performed best so that you can use elements of that in future campaigns. For example, you could change the CTA in each email. The CTA that got the most clicks is the version you can use when sending future emails. This process can create incredibly useful data to help boost your open rate.


16. Monitor Your Email Length

When you create an email, always pay attention to its length. It’s so easy to just type away and send out way too much information. Your users and subscribers don’t have time to read long emails. When sending emails, keep them short and to the point. Include relevant content without overdoing it.

You could use data from any previous testing to find an example of the right length that works best. Then just make sure to create every email with this best length in mind. It’s simple, and it can help to keep your open rate up and get more users taking the desired action.


17. Do You Sound Spam-y?

One of the big problems marketers face is their emails being marked as spam instead of reaching the targeted inbox.

There are various reasons you might be marked as spam, but these will fall under two main categories. Either your subscribers send your emails to spam, or the email domains view you as spam.

There are many ways to avoid being seen as spam, but here is a quick and easy spam checklist to help you reach your subscriber’s inbox:

  • Don’t use too many exclamation marks
  • Don’t add attachments, rather use links
  • Be more conversational and less promotional
  • Create subject lines that match the content of your email
  • Don’t use too much colored text

spam


18. Check Your Timing

Finally, when your email is ready to send, you need to send it at the right time. You’ve gone through the effort of crafting the perfect marketing email, so dont send it out when nobody’s going to open it.

Before you click send, make sure that the email is scheduled for the optimal time. You can use your marketing automation tool to set the time advance for far easier marketing.

Make sure you choose a time that you know performs well for your newsletters. Just take a look at the performance data of your previous emails to try to find an example of a relevant time that brings in the best results.



Conclusion

Email marketing is one of the easiest ways to boost your sales - as long as it’s done properly. You also get an amazing return on investment for successful email marketing campaigns. However, the challenge that many businesses face is getting it right.

We all make last-minute mishaps in our emails because we’re all human, but we can easily avoid these mistakes by knowing how to look out for them. Start by referring to this free 18 point email marketing checklist before you send out an email. Your campaigns will be far more powerful.

With the right email marketing tool and checklist, you will soon see an improvement in your complete campaign results.


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Written by Tom

Tom is a marketing content writer at Wishpond. If he’s not creating content, you can find him playing with his dogs, reading a recipe book, or drinking strong coffee.