The Before-You-Send (Marketing) Email Checklist

Marketing Email Checklist

  • Follow this checklist to send polished, engaging marketing emails each and every time.

    And, if you do just one thing, make sure to send yourself a test email (the highlighted step, below).

    Consider using a person's name.

    Convey urgency, pique their curiosity, use an actionable verb and personalize it with the reader's name. 67% of emails are read on mobile phones, so keep it short -- ideally less than 40 characters.

    PRO TIP: Be specific about the content in the email, using numbers where possible. For example, "Join 750 others at [Name of Event]". Make your people feel special and valued with subject lines like: "My gift to you", "You're invited!", "Private invite."

    Preview text shows up right next to the email subject line and provides recipients with a glimpse into the content of the email. Keep preview text short, describe the benefit of reading the email and include verbs towards the beginning.

    Be consistent with messaging and don't repeat content that is in your subject line. For example, if your subject line is "3 Key Secrets to a Flawless Event," your preview text could be "Wow your guests with an event they won't forget!"

    The days of complicated layouts with sidebars and three or four articles are over. Simpler is better: a few paragraphs and a call to action are all you need. Try testing with and without images to see what your audience responds to using an A/B test (see below).

    Your subject line should accurately reflect the contents of the email. Misleading the reader can result in unsubscribes.
    The reader should know what to do after reading your email. Use a button that is at least 44 x 44 pixels with a plain text link (that is, not an image). Larger buttons are easier to tap on mobile phones.
    Every email isn't for everyone. Segment your email list by the actions they've taken on your website, which forms they've filled out, the industries that they're in, or their personal preferences. Make sure your email goes to the people that want to read it.
    Test one of three things: content, design, or timing. Test one of these at a time for clear results, test a large enough group for the best results and, unless you're testing timing, test at the same time of day.

    If you do only one thing, make sure to send yourself a test email and look at it both on your computer and on your phone. You're busy but mistakes in your emails undermine your credibility.

    PRO TIP: Have another set of eyes (your significant other, maybe?) read through it for you to catch anything you might have overlooked.

    Consider the time and day your email is sent and the context of the content. For example, if your email is a list of the best local spots for happy hour, you may want to send your email around 4:30pm when everyone is itching to leave work.

    Great job! You did it!