Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to grow a blog, website, or online business. In fact, if you focus on getting more email subscribers your website will be insulated against Google algorithm changes and fussy social media trends that put you at risk.
But having a big list isn’t enough.
There’s simply no point in having tens of thousands of subscribers if no one opens the emails, or actions the content inside of those emails.
Today’s post is a simple checklist that you can follow before you send out an email or email newsletter to your list to ensure you get the most out of the exercise.
Hope it helps.
A simple checklist to ensure an effective email campaign
It’s such a waste to put all that work into getting email subscribers only to find that they unsubscribe or don’t open because you’ve made a little mistake somewhere. Here’s some things to make sure you check before you send:
- Is your subject line short, attention-grabbing, and open-worthy?
The subject line can make or break a campaign. Short lines often work best, and it needs to get attention and trigger an open without being caught up in a spam filter. Think: questions, scarcity, curiosity, and no-fuss.
- Does your email pass spam tests?
Sites like this one allow you to test whether your email is likely to head to someone’s spam folder. Make sure your email subject line and contents don’t contain risky words (like SALE!) or phrases.
- Does it look okay on mobile and tablets?
Some rich-text emails wrap things strangely and can cause display issues in mobiles and tablets. Make sure you test various devices and ensure the preview looks good as well as the main email itself.
- Is there a call to action?
What do you want your subscribers to do once they’ve opened and read your email? Have a clear and simple call to action that is easy to do but also easily explained. Don’t confuse people with more than one idea per email.
- Do your links work?
Have you tested all of your links to ensure that they go to the right place?
- Are your paragraphs an appropriate length?
Plain and rich-text emails will display paragraphs differently so make sure it’s a readable length and make sure you decide in advance where the breaks and spacing will be. People don’t like reading long chunks of text in either horizontal or vertical layouts.
- Have you segmented and selected the right audience?
Have you created some meaningful segments for your list? Is this email going out to the correct list and/or correct segment of that list? Make sure all the settings are double checked before hitting the send button. There’s no point sending an email to someone who doesn’t want to see it and might unsubscribe or mark it as spam.
- Are you sending it at the best possible time?
Each niche and industry will have an ideal time for sending out newsletters. This can have a lot to do with reader expectations, but also aiming for East Coast US time at around 9am to 11am when people are at their desk can have good results. Many people say that Monday and Wednesday is good for email campaigns but some other data is totally different.
- Have you sent a test email?
Make sure you send several test emails to check formatting, links, spelling, grammar, etc. and ensure everything looks good.
- Are your images appropriately sized, placed and cropped?
If you’re using images in your mail out make sure they are the right size and format, not blurry, and have the appropriate links when clicked. Also make sure you have the rights to use the image before sending.
- Is it worth split testing this message?
Most email companies will allow you to split test your campaigns before you send to ensure you get the best results. If it’s a big campaign you might want to test different titles, links, copy, etc. to see if one performs better than the other. If something gets good results then you can use that for the major part of the list.
- Is any website you’re linking to experiencing downtime?
This is more common than you think. Before you send out a big email, make sure your website and any website that you link to is online. For example, there’s no point sending out a big affiliate campaign offer if their website is slow or down. Use this site to check.
- Does the email suit your brand and your subscribers’ expectations?
Remember that subscribers are generally hooked up to several mailing lists and as such they have certain expectations about what you can send them. Make sure each campaign suits your brand’s messaging and is inline with what you told them you’d be sending when they first signed up.
- Can you add any instantly actionable value?
If you can add quick value to your email newsletters you will find that people become more likely to open them. A simple tip that a subscriber can use instantly will help you increase opens over time as you become perceived as being more useful. Pat Flynn used to to do this (can’t find the post) and I do it for my first few follow up emails.
- Do you have anything untrustworthy in the email?
Thankfully, people are getting wiser when it comes to email scams. But that also means that some subscribers might be too vigilant. Do you have any potentially untrustworthy-looking elements? For example, sometimes tracking URLs used in links can look suspect and dissuade people from clicking.
- Is someone from your website going to be online?
I always try to send my emails when I know I can be online for at least an hour or two. That way I can chat with people in the comments section, answer questions on social media, and address any issues that might pop up with sudden bursts of traffic.
Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive checklist and, over time, you’ll pick up so many little small things that you’ll need to be across before you send out your campaigns.
Can you help improve this email checklist?
This is my own little checklist but I’d love to know if you think I’ve missed anything important. What do you do before you send out an email to your list? If you’ve got something to contribute please leave a comment below and let us know.
Top image: © Sentavio