Is your email marketing campaign REALLY good to go?
One of the things I love most about email marketing is that with a single click of a button you can reach millions of people. Of course, on the flip side, one of the things that scares me the most about email marketing is that with a single click of a button you can reach millions of people!
Yesterday I received an email from a vendor apologizing for an error in a previous communication. This got me thinking… was the mistake bad enough to warrant sending an email drawing attention to it? And could more thorough preparation have avoided the error?
In my opinion, paying extra attention to thoroughly preparing your email campaign could avoid having to send that apology email.
When talking about testing an email before going live, you most likely think about checking spelling and grammar and clicking on all the links to make sure that they are working. While this traditional testing is undoubtedly important, it is a very small part of the full preparation process, which is much more complex and starts long before a client gives the thumbs up on their email campaign.
Preparation begins right in the beginning and does not end until you click the ‘send’ button.
Things to do before you start ‘traditional’ testing
Before you even start with design and content, it’s vital to take the following factors into consideration to ensure successful delivery:
- Email Authentication – have SPF, DKIM and DMARC been set up and is the email going to reach the intended recipient?
- Whitelisting – has a good sender score been verified and has whitelisting been completed?
- From and reply addresses – are these functional and are they being monitored correctly?
- Subscription management – all marketing emails need to have a working unsubscribe option. Make sure the process has been tested and that the database is updated based on the unsubscribes.
Now that you have checked your setup, you can start putting the email together. Consider the following:
Does the email meet the client brief and will it achieve the campaign goal? Being able to answer this question is a good way to test if the client brief has been understood. Determine whether the content generated is correct, the copy is the right length, the images help with the message you want to convey and that the email speaks to the intended audience.
Does the UX of the campaign and design of the email aid in achieving the overall goal? Whilst the design of an email is often the place you can have the most fun with, you need to ensure you are designing according to the client’s corporate identity. Also consider how the content will flow and always try to make the email easy to read.
Do the subject lines and preheaders stand out and complement the campaign? Make sure the subject line conveys the theme and goal of the email. The preheader should enhance the subject line. You want to make an impact in the inbox, so don’t be scared to break the rules.
Now the traditional testing starts
Once you have designed and coded the template, the copy has been approved and images purchased, traditional testing can begin. Make sure to test the following before pressing play and reaching those millions of people.
- From and reply name and addresses – remember people are more likely to open an email from someone they know
- Subject line and preheader – these can be A/B tested to determine which results in the most engagement
- Substitutions – make sure any data fields that you are pulling through to personalize the email are working correctly
- Grammar and spelling – double check the copy and call to actions
- Links – Make sure all links are working and that they direct readers to the correct location. Test that all links are tracked, so that accurate engagement reports and analysis can be gathered post campaign
- Data accuracy – Test to ensure that the right customer is receiving the right email and that all data substitutions are pulling through correctly onto the email template.
It’s easy to take some of the email marketing campaign preparation steps for granted as they aren’t seen as part of traditional testing processes. However, omitting these steps may result in having to send the dreaded ‘apology email’!
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