Basic email marketing checklist

If you’re anything like the Mail Blaze team, you LOVE checklists. We’re a little bit obsessed with list making and ensuring that we have step-by-step resources to reference to ensure we get through all the work we need to do. Of course, there’s a lot of other things that keep us on track like our backend platforms and development project management tools, but lists help us to individually accomplish tasks that are broken up neatly and efficiently. Plus, psychologically there’s something super soothing about ticking things off a list as it helps you feel confident and secure in your outputs.

To save you some time, we’ve put together a basic email marketing checklist that you can give your team to follow whenever they need to send any kind of email campaign.

Know your why

The first thing you need to check when you are sending out an email to your audience is why you want to send out a campaign. Do you have something valuable to say or are you just wanting to send for the sake of sending? Knowing your why means knowing what value you are looking to communicate and knowing that you are sending out something relevant to your audience.

Next you’ll want to ensure you’ve clearly defined the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for the campaign. This involves identifying the metrics you are going to use to establish whether or not the campaign has been a success. If you’re unsure about how to define these KPI’s, you can use past campaigns to create performance indicators to measure against.

Check the following things:

  • Set a clear measurable goal. For example: I am sending a campaign with a survey to get customer feedback
  • What are the metrics that will dictate whether the campaign is successful or not?

Get to know your audience

To enable you to complete the first step on this email marketing checklist, you also need to look at who you should send your relevant campaign info to. Look at who in your audience is best placed to receive the information you want to send through your campaign. In essence, you want to look at the information you have about your subscribers to segment and define a target audience list for your campaign. If for example you want to get information about a product that is designed to be used by females, you might want to create a list that only contains people who have indicated that they are female.

Check the following things:

  • Who on my list should be receiving this email?

Make that inbox shine

There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to making the inbox shine, but the 3 we’ll be focusing on for this checklist is: Campaign From Name Campaign Reply-to address The subject line

An often overlooked element of email campaigns is your From Name. This is really important as it’s one of the first elements that your subscriber sees when they receive your campaigns. A good From Name is usually a real person’s name as it helps your subscriber connect with your business.

Another element to help your inbox shine is your reply-to address. Ideally you don’t want to use a no-reply email address as this does not open up feedback from your subscribers and you want them to engage with you.

One of the main reasons why people don’t open up email campaigns is because the campaign subject line doesn’t draw them in. One of our main tips here at Mail Blaze is to actually start with your subject line as a focus point when you are busy creating your campaign. This helps you keep the subject line focused, but also helps you to not just see your subject line as an afterthought. If you want to learn more about subject lines you can refer to some of our articles about subject lines listed below:

Increase your open rates with subject line formulas

8 of the best and worst subject lines

Create a winning subject line

Check the following things:

  • Ideally your From Name should be from a real person.
  • Use a real functioning email address as your reply-to address.
  • Subject line optimization is crucial to your email campaign success.

It’s all about the value of your content

Content is one of the most crucial parts of your campaign. You need to create valuable, enticing content that your subscribers will enjoy. Most of our clients have a few templates that they have created for their business based on their business needs. When you’re creating your campaigns it’s easy to make a mistake and forget to fill a content block or even update the content in the block when using a template, which is why it’s something we always check for before we hit send on any campaigns.

Our platform does not allow people to send out campaigns without having an unsubscribe link, but that doesn’t mean we don’t see a few sneaky customers trying to hide it. Hiding your unsubscribe link in your campaign by making it small or using a faint colour so it’s not clearly visible leads to a bad user experience but can also affect the deliverability of your campaign.

Ever received an email with typos and lots of spelling errors? What did you think? Many things may have gone through your mind, but mostly you probably had a moment where you wondered whether the email you were receiving was actually from the business the email said it was from. Typos and grammar errors happen (even big brands get it wrong) but you should try to avoid it as much as possible. If you’re in a small team with no dedicated copywriter you should try and get any of your other team members to proofread your text and see that the email flows.

When you’re setting up your email campaign, you’re trying to drive action from your subscribers. It could be something simple like getting feedback or getting them to buy a certain product from your business. Calls to action are crucial to get people to take the next step. When you’re creating your campaigns you need to include strong calls to action to ensure that people know exactly what you want them to do next.

In terms of your content, the last thing you want to check is that your content is something that will resonate with your audience.

To summarise, check the following things:

  • You’ve replaced all the content blocks from your email template with your own content.
  • Your unsubscribe link is clearly visible.
  • You’ve proofread your email and there aren’t any grammar or spelling errors.
  • Clear strong calls to action are present (these need to align with your campaign objectives).
  • Your content is strongly geared towards your audience - it’s all about what’s in it for them.

Design - it’s not just about a pretty email

A lot of email marketers focus on the design of their emails, but sometimes it’s more important to choose function over form. That’s why we always recommend that our clients review their designs on desktop and mobile and even do comprehensive checks in different email clients (Gmail, Outlook, Thunderbird,etc). Doing these tests will allow you to make adjustments to get your design as close as you can to your idea.

When you are using images in your email, you should always use Alt text. Alt text is descriptive text you can add to your email images to ensure that a reader can understand what the image depicts, even if for some reason they can’t see the image.

Part of a functioning and effective design is ensuring that you add whatever additional tracking you may need. If you use UTM tags for example, you want to make sure that you include these in your campaign where needed.

If you want to ensure that you have an email campaign that stands out, keep the hierarchy of your information in mind. This means that you need to make sure that your most important information is at the top of your emailer and that the least important information is at the bottom.

Check the following things:

  • Your design looks great on desktop and mobile, but also in different email clients.
  • You’ve included descriptive alt text
  • All your links and images are working and displaying properly
  • You’ve added any additional tracking that you need
  • A good image to text ratio is present
  • Your content is sorted in a hierarchy (with the most important info at the top)
  • All your testing has gone according to plan

Signed, sealed delivered

Before you hit send, you’ll want to just do a general common sense check. Make sure that the list you are sending to is fully opted in. DO NOT send to non-opted in subscribers.

You can now hit send! Once your campaign has been sent don’t panic and start worrying about your stats. We recommend that you only start actively reviewing your campaign after 72hours from when you send it. We recommend this as this allows your subscriber base enough time to read your campaign so you are able to effectively measure how your email campaign has performed.

Check the following things:

  • You are only sending to opted-in subscribers
  • You are not measuring campaigns in the first 72 hours from send.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our article going through the basic email marketing checklist you can use before you send out your campaigns. If you want to start using this checklist in your business you can download and print it out below.

Download and print our checklist here


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