How To Flight Check Your Marketing Email
Sending out a marketing email can be a cinch with tools like MailChimp or HubSpot. (There are more—those are just the tools we use most frequently at Nectafy.) In just about every single email marketing software out there, there’s about a million templates to choose from, plus step-by-step instructions or a workflow that’ll guide you through the process—all you really have to do is drop your content in where you want it and press send.
But the ride can get pretty bumpy when you’ve sent something and you suddenly see that you’ve forgotten to replace the dummy text somewhere, or that you sent your campaign to the wrong list. Oops.
Once emails are delivered, there’s no going back. And the lack of an undo button makes it crucial for you to get it right the first time. So, here’s a quick checklist of things to ask yourself to help you make sure that you aren’t filled with regret after pressing “send.”
1. Have I replaced or removed the dummy text from the teaser section of the email template?
Most email inboxes will provide a “preview” of your email for the recipient—it’s normally listed underneath or beside the email’s subject line. Those few words of preview text are taken from the very first block of text it can find within the email. So, in many marketing email templates, there’s a “teaser section,” specifically placed in so that you can enter and control that preview text in your reader’s inbox—which is fantastic, considering that area is prime real estate. It’s the second line (after the subject line) that your readers will see!
The bad part about it is, that section is easy to overlook when you’re creating the email. (Mainly because it’s kind of tiny.) If you accidentally leave dummy text in there, unfortunately, that’s what the reader will see in both the preview text in their inbox and when they open their email up in the upper left-hand corner. It’ll say something like this:
And when that happens, it comes across like you didn’t know what you were doing, or worse—it’ll come across as careless. So, make sure you come up with a good one-liner to put in that space before you press send. Or, if all else fails, remove it completely.
2. Is “View this email in your browser” listed after some actual teaser content?
Within many email software templates, the line “View this email in your browser” is provided, in case your recipient’s email client “can’t handle” certain elements of your email. First and foremost, if you’re creating emails that are too fancy and complicated to look good in any email client, you need to simplify. (See check point #5.)
However, if you’d like to leave that line in there just in case, for the same reasons we listed in our first check point, it’s a good idea to pay attention to where it is in relation to your other text. If it’s listed before anything else, it’s going to show up in that preview/teaser section in your reader’s inbox. And that’s almost (not quite, but almost) as bad as check point #1—leaving the dummy text in there.
It’s mainly a waste of space! Like I mentioned above, that teaser area is prime real estate. It’s the second line of text your reader will encounter after the subject line, so don’t waste it with some boring line about opening the email in your browser. That’s just not exciting or click-worthy at all.
3. Did I create the subject line that I meant to?
Does your email marketing software have a for-your-eyes-only “Name Your Campaign” section and a “Subject Line” section? If you do have both options and they’re listed close together, be sure to double check that you didn’t accidentally switch them around. Imagine your recipients getting an email entitled “spring sale email” when you were meaning to title it, “Our Biggest Sale Of The Year! 30% Off All Spring Items.” Ouch.
4. Am I sending to the right list?
If you have more than one list you’re sending to, especially if they’re very specific groups of customers, it’s worth it to triple check that the list you’re sending to is the right one. An email unintended for a certain recipient may cause them to unsubscribe, and once they do that, there’s no getting them back on that list.
5. Did I edit this email down as much as possible?
You only have a few short seconds to get your readers’ attention once they click through, so read back through the content you’ve put in the email. Could you say what you’re trying to say in 50 words instead of 150? Is that image helpful, or is it a distraction? Does this fancy template organize your email into skimmable, easy-to-digest sections, or do you need to ditch it for something simpler? You should try to make your email as simple and as quick to read as possible, because what you really want are the clicks on the call to action. And your email should take the reader through the simplest route possible to get there.
6. Is the email mobile-device friendly?
Lots of software now makes it easy to preview what your email will look like on a mobile device. This is so important, because as of January 2014, stats say 49% of email is now opened on a mobile device. You want to make sure your email shows up correctly and doesn’t make the user scroll all over in every direction to be able to actually read it.
Even if you don’t have this preview option in your software, you can still send a test email to yourself and check it on your own smartphone or tablet. And that brings us to our last check point…
7. Always, always send a test email, preferably to a “perfectionist” and/or an editor (often one and the same person).
You should always send a test email to both yourself and someone who can proof it for you before sending—preferably someone detail-oriented. Maybe even a couple of people. It’s incredibly important to have well-written and edited material (for more on that, see Why You Shouldn’t Put Hiring A Writer On The Backburner). So, it’s always best to have multiple eyes on something before it’s sent out to the world. Once you’ve been staring at your email for so long, it’s hard to catch your own mistakes.
8. You’re ready for takeoff!
After you’ve asked yourself all these questions, you’re ready to launch! Completing this checklist will give you the peace of mind you need to press “send.”
What else do you do before you send a marketing email out? Let us know in a comment below.