Easy Checklist: 4 Things Every Marketing Email Needs


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email marketing checklist
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Do you send marketing emails regularly? Here’s the easy checklist to help you make sure everything’s just right before you hit Send.

When you email your friend, it seems so easy. There’s the “to” where you put the recipient’s email address, the subject, and the body. You click send and that’s it, right? Maybe you copy someone or add an attachment, but it’s become second nature.

However, marketing emails can be less forgiving and should be crafted with more care and attention to detail. If you want your cold and marketing emails to succeed, you’ve got your work cut out for you, but don’t worry. Here are the four things every email needs to succeed.

Every marketing email needs a good subject line

The subject line is the first thing your subscribers will see, and we know how important a first impression is. There are times when coming up with a subject line is easy and other times it requires some pondering. Whether it’s a flash of brilliance or it took some thinking, you should consider your choice carefully.

“One of the first questions to ask: does this subject line make me want to open the email? If you aren’t sure, it could probably use some work,” says ZeroBounce COO Brian Minick.

“Just remember, the content of your email should reflect the subject. Nothing will annoy a subscriber like an email that doesn’t deliver what you say is inside. It’s like bait and switch advertising,” adds Minick.

It’s also important that your subject line in particular (and your whole email) doesn’t include spammy words or excessive exclamation marks. Moreover, most people will first see your email on their phone, so keep it limited to 50 characters or less.

Every email needs an unsubscribe button

You may be thinking that an unsubscribe button is good to have, but is it essential? Yes. You definitely want an easy way for people who lose interest in your emails to stop receiving them. If you don’t have an unsubscribe button, you’re going to get spam complaints. So, it’s a good idea to make it visible.

Having an unsubscribe button is also stated by the law. In the US, for example, the CAN-SPAM law requires you to include an easy way to opt-out. Canada has the CASL and Europe enforces the GDPR. Like most legislation, there are shades of gray. Long story short? You could find yourself in trouble if you don’t allow your audience a way to opt-out.

If people start to mark you as spam because there’s no unsubscribe link, your sender reputation will take a hit. The sender reputation is a score on how you are perceived by Internet service providers (ISPs). It doesn’t take much for this to take its toll, so be sure to play it smart. This means allowing people to get off the list immediately.

Every email needs good content

There are certain things that only you can determine, like the length of your emails and how often your subscribers will get them. Maybe not all of your subscribers will receive the same frequency of emails. Will your emails be bright and colorful or more simplistic?

It can be helpful to have an attitude of curiosity. A little experimentation can do wonders. You should get to know your subscribers, but all audiences share a need for emails with good content.

How do you define good content? I would say the test you want to pass is: “does this provide value?” If you’re not providing any real value, that means you’re just sending an email to send one. Remember that your readers are busy and probably get a lot of emails. If you don’t deliver, they have lots of other options. Value can mean anything from giving them a deal, informing them of a new offering, or providing useful information.

The better content of your emails, the more engagement and ROI you will get. If your emails have good content, a worthwhile exercise is to ask yourself how to improve.

It also pays to ask questions. This means inviting your readers to reply to your questions. Having a newsletter that does not allow responses sends a bad message. Your customers should be able to get in touch with you easily and in as many ways as possible.

Every email needs to look good

Have you ever seen a brand email that was a bit wonky? Maybe the image didn’t show up, the alignment of the text was off or it didn’t render well. It made a bad impression, didn’t it?

The appearance of your email is almost as important as its functions. Of course, if you click on a link it should work. But also, test every email to see how it looks on not just a computer screen, but also on mobile devices. Having someone look at your emails and provide honest feedback can be invaluable. As can be using dedicated email testing tools. They can help point out things the naked eye can’t see, so you can fix them before you hit Send.

One thing that you don’t want to do is bombard your subscribers with tons of images in the same email. “Pay attention to the text per image ratio and ensure you have enough copy to support your visual assets,” said Josh Brown, Digital Marketing Consultant at Helpjuice. “You want your images and text to flow together well. The design of your email should complement your branding’s color palette,” Brown adds. If it seems out of step with your company’s image, your readers will notice.

One more thing—every email needs quality subscribers

If you pay attention to these four things, you’ll have a leg up. But does that promise success? Not if you send emails to contacts that don’t exist or aren’t interested. Your emails will do much better if you grow your subscribers list by having people sign up and using double opt-in. Buying lists or adding emails you’ve been saving forever is not wise.

If you’ve grown your email database and have interested subscribers, you should also be diligent about validating their contacts. A good email validation service identifies troublesome or invalid email addresses. Keeping them off of your list is the best way to improve your deliverability and boost your clicks. Just remember, good emails need a good list.

Liviu Tanase
Liviu Tanase is the founder and CEO of email validation, deliverability, and email finding company ZeroBounce. As a serial entrepreneur, he founded five companies and has participated in three exits creating quadruple-digit returns. Liviu writes about digital marketing and technology, focusing on email communication. His goal is to help make email marketing work for your business.


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