Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to grow your business. Since most people check email as much as 20X a day, there’s no doubt that email campaigns are a smart marketing tactic. They’ll improve engagement with subscribers, expose your content to a broader audience, and even insulate you from Google algorithm changes and social media trends. With most people checking our email as much as 20X a day, ignoring email marketing seems like a bad idea.
But none of that matters if you’re not sending engaging emails that are opened and read every time. A big list you’ve won’t save you from lousy email campaigns. You can send as many emails as you want, but if they’re not meaningful to your list, they do you no good.
Here’s a 10-point checklist that’ll ensure you’re sending effective emails to your list that’ll get read, boost your click-through rates, and make your emails the one your subscribers look forward to every time.
A Checklist For Better Email Newsletter Campaigns
You put so much effort into attracting people to your website and getting them to subscribe to your newsletter. It’d be a shame to have them unsubscribe shortly afterward, or for your emails to get caught in spam filters, so they never see them.
Check these 10 things before you send your email newsletter to enjoy more success with every campaign.
1. Is your subject line short, attention-grabbing, and open-worthy?
Your subject line is a critical part of your email campaign. Short ones work best as they’re fully shown in preview by nearly all email clients, both on computers and mobile devices. It needs to grab people’s attention, so they’re compelled to open it. Use questions and words that indicate scarcity and invoke curiosity.
2. Are your paragraphs too long?
Emails should be easy on the eyes and easy to read. Make sure your sentences are short, and paragraphs are a readable length. Space out your content in a way that’s pleasing to the eye on both computers and mobile devices. It’s hard to read long chunks of text on any sized screen, so cut them ruthlessly.
3. Did you include a call-to-action?
A call-to-action (CTA) is what you want your subscribers to do once they’ve opened and read your email. The CTA should be clear and straightforward to understand, but also easily explained. Stick to one action per email.
4. Did you test the email and all the links?
Send yourself a few test emails to see how it looks and works on various devices. Review the formatting, spelling, grammar, subject line length, etc. and ensure it’s all correct. Click each link to ensure they work and that they go where you expect them to.
5. Did you check for any untrustworthy info in the email?
Because of the amount of spam we get today, people are more vigilant about their inboxes. They know what an email scam looks like and are less likely to open your email if it looks like one. Review your email’s content to see if you have any potentially untrustworthy-looking elements, like a tracking URL or affiliate link. Those can sometimes look suspicious and dissuade people from clicking or opening your email.
6. Does your email pass spam tests?
Your email also has to get past the spam filter, so test it to make sure it isn’t marked as spam. Sites like Mail-Tester.com will verify your email to see if it’s likely to head to a spam folder. Many email marketing software also includes spam checks, so look for one in your favorite software. Review your email subject line and content to change words at risk of being marked as spam, like “sale!”, “100% free,” or “exclusive deal.”
7. How does it look on mobile devices?
With over 61% of all email opens occurring on mobile devices and 35% of all business professionals using their mobile devices to check email, it makes sense to test your email campaign for mobile responsiveness. Email clients and operating systems can have a significant effect on how your emails look on mobile, so you must test it on various devices before sending it. Don’t forget to check both the email preview and the email itself in different email clients, such as Gmail for iOS and Android, iOS Mail, Outlook for iOS and Android, etc.
8. Have you segmented your list?
Email segments can help you get better open and click rates for your email campaigns because it’s targeted information for a receptive audience. Check that the email is going to the correct list if you have multiple and that it’s going to the correct segment. Be sure to match the content of the email to the segment since you run the risk of people unsubscribing if they’re not interested. Or worse, they mark it as spam.
9. Does the email match your brand and your subscribers’ expectations?
Most people subscribe to multiple lists because they’re looking for specific content from each one. They’re expecting you to send particular information and may be surprised and unhappy if you start sending content that doesn’t match their expectations. Make sure each email campaign is in line with what you told them you’d be sending when they subscribed and that it’s in line with your brand messaging.
10. Are you sending the email at the best possible time for your audience?
Finally, verify that you’re sending your email campaign at the best possible time for your subscribers. The sweet spot of timing will depend on your market, niche, and audience. For example, if your audience is mainly business people, sending it during office hours is best, but if it’s for video game enthusiasts, after 10 p.m. on weekends might work better.
Stephanie Baiocchi, IMPACT’s director of community and events, noted the “malicious brilliance” of American pizza joints in a company blog post. “(They) send out coupons and other promotional coupons right around 4:15 in the afternoon, just when you’re starting to think about dinner,” she said.
You may need to tweak the timing of your campaigns based on experience, so pay attention to the timing of your open and click-through rates on each campaign. You can pivot as needed after each one to find that perfect time.
Check each of these 10 things in your next email newsletter campaign to ensure you’re sending out emails that are getting opened and read. Email marketing is still a powerful tool in a marketer’s toolbox, so make sure yours is the best it can be.