Email Checklist: Use This BEFORE You Hit Send
You’re sitting at your desk, glossing your eyes over every detail. Reading and re-reading the words. Silently at first. Then aloud. Then one more time aloud — just to make sure.
You want to close your eyes, hit send and get it over with. But you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve missed something. It seems fine. But fine isn’t good enough:
The email must be perfect. Sound familiar?
Here’s a helpful list of simple questions you’ll want to ask yourself before you hit that send button!
Is Your Subject Line Up to Snuff?
This is the first thing your recipients see. Your email could have the answers to all of the questions in the universe. But, if you have a mediocre subject line, they’ll probably never get to find out.
35% of email recipients decide if they’ll open an email based on the subject line alone. So what’s a bad subject line? One that fails to get opens. It’s your job to make sure people care about what’s inside.
Here’s how NOT to write a subject line:
- Most email clients can display 50 characters or less. Make yours even longer so it cuts off before it’s finished. This makes your email seem way more important. – WRONG
- Entice recipients with a promise of value that your content doesn’t fulfill. Who doesn’t like getting bamboozled every now and again? – WRONG
- Consider leaving out any indication of what’s inside. People love opening mystery emails. – WRONG
Who’s Sending The Email?
Imagine someone telling you they know how to increase your revenue by 300% in 7 days. Amazing, right? Now imagine that person is wearing a sleeveless button-up shirt, one sock, and no pants.
Even if the information is valuable — where it’s coming from matters.
Spam is a reality of email marketing. People don’t like spam… YOU don’t like spam! People are hesitant to open emails that might be spam.
The world’s greatest subject line will do little to help opens if it’s sent from email@example.com. But, the sender doesn’t need to be this suspicious to impact open rates.
Avoid using generic addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Instead, opt for a personalized email addresses and using your own name instead of your business name. A/B testing has shown this to positively impact open and click through rates.
How’s Your Preheader Text?
Preheader text is the final element reader’s use to pre-screen their emails. The preheader text displays alongside the subject line. It’s another means of communicating the value of your email.
Email clients generate preheader text based on the first few lines of your body content. Keep an eye out for what preheader text has been generated.
Don’t have things like your “view in browser” or your unsubscribe link at the top of your email. You may end up with a situation like this:Though not a (complete) disaster, it can be a wasted opportunity to garner higher engagement.
Do You Have Bad Speling and Badder Grammar?
Pet peeve? Or campaign destroyer?
In a perfect world, it would be the latter. But, we all make mistakes. Even so, when it comes to marketing materials — spelling and grammar matter (matters?)
Failing to check body copy can lead to hilarious emails like this:
It might give your readers a good laugh but it won’t help your bottom line.
Bad spelling and bad grammar hurt your credibility. Who wants to do business with an organization that doesn’t know their “your” from “you’re” or their “there” from “they’re”.
Proofread your emails. Use an online editing tool like Grammarly for that extra layer of protection!
Is Your Personalization Impersonal?
Marketing automation has enabled us to write personalized, mass-market emails. Once an oxymoron. Now a reality.
The first thing to check is if your email is personalized at all. If it’s not, then your emails will look like unsolicited ads.
Personalization can occur in the subject line, preheader text, and body of the email. A report on email marketing found including a person’s name in the subject line improved open rates. It helps to build rapport with your recipient.
Another common oversight is including personalization tags for recipients whose information you lack..
You have a first name personalization tag in the subject line. But, you don’t have the recipient’s first name in your database. So it will look like this in their inbox:
Hi [firstname], did you know that personalization is the key to boosting open rates?
Sending an email like this makes it look like spam. Just because you sent an email to thousands of people doesn’t mean it should read like you did.
Are Your Images Ugly?
A survey found that 65% of respondents prefer emails that contain mostly images. The images you choose to use matter.
For example, take a look at these two emails:
We process images 60,000 times faster than simple text. A bad image is going to tell your recipient 60,000 times faster not to click through your email.
Emails with well-designed and relevant images have seen a 42% higher clickthrough rate. So don’t use an image of twelve giraffes for an email about space travel.
Also, don’t get carried away with the number of images you include either. The same survey found that as the number of images increases, the clickthrough rate decreases. Can you guess why?
It looks like spam.
What Happens When You Click On Things?
Nothing worse than a low CTR because your links don’t even work… OR don’t send your readers to the right place. Before you hit send, test all the buttons, hyperlinked text and CTA’s. Make sure they work and direct to the right pages.
You should also make sure you’re tracking which emails are driving traffic to your landing pages. And don’t forget about social media. Make sure all your social media buttons work!
In a nutshell: Click everything and make sure it goes where it’s supposed to go.
How Will People See Your Email?
Desktop or Mobile?
45% of email opens occur on mobile, 36% on desktops and 18% on webmail clients.
Your email needs to be mobile responsive. This means it adjusts to the device it’s viewed on. Your email marketing tool will have mobile responsiveness as an integrated design feature.
What email client will they use?
Apple iPhones, iPads, Google Android and Gmail account for 75% of email opens. Before sending an email, you can use a tool like Litmus to see how it looks in these different clients.
Even if you have the major four covered, do you want to risk a quarter of your list receiving blank emails because you didn’t test beforehand?
Are You Selling Something Legitimate?
If you aren’t, you will inevitably come up against:
The CAN-SPAM Act:
- It’s a list of rules governing commercial emails.
- It gives everyone the right to opt-out of your emails.
- It lays down heavy penalties for those in violation.
So before hitting send, how do you make sure you won’t incur these penalties?
That means you need to:
- Be clear about who your email is coming from and what it’s about. Don’t be misleading.
- Always include a visible unsubscribe link in your email. Be as prompt as possible with unsubscribing those who wish to do so.
- Choose a reputable email service provider like Sendlane!
- And even if you comply with these laws, 21% of opt-in emails still never make it to the inbox. To improve email deliverability, avoid these like the plague:
- USING ALL CAPS or exclamation points!!!!!
- Including spam trigger words
- Sending to recipients who have bounced multiple times in the past
- Embedding forms in your emails
- Including attachments
Are Your Workflows & Autoresponders In Check?
Automation is an amazing tool for email marketers — when it works.
If you’re setting up a sequence of emails, be sure to check all the trigger conditions, which lists they are connected to and be sure your messages are going out in the order you intended!
Is This The Right Time To Hit Send?
It’s important to make sure that the new campaign doesn’t conflict with any of your other campaigns. Flooding an inbox is the quickest way to get people to hit that unsubscribe button.
Check your email calendar and decide when would be the best time to hit send. You should also schedule emails at times when your recipients are most likely to open them.
Test to see when works best with your specific audience.
Or even better:
Let Sendlane’s optimized timing feature do the hard work for you by tracking the habits of every single one of your subscribers. Then, based on that data, automatically schedule your emails to be sent at the optimal times based on each individual subscriber. Like magic — but actually, science.
The Perfect Email
Everyone stresses over hitting the send button. Because once it’s sent, you can’t take it back. But… let’s face it, we all make mistakes. If you do find a mistake, the best you can do is send a follow-up apology email.
Of course… we’d rather avoid that if we can help it! So remember…
Test, test, and test again.
Go through and ask yourself all 11 questions. When you’re happy with the answers — test one more time for good measure.
That’s how you write a perfect email. That’s how you hit send with confidence! Ready to get started? Sign up for your FREE Sendlane account!