Have you ever felt your stomach drop after an email goes out and you realize you made a mistake? I think you would be hard pressed to find someone in the business world who has not had this experience. From missed subject lines, to incorrect send lists and broken links, there are countless ways to send out emails with errors.
How can we avoid making these types of mistakes? First and foremost, we can develop comprehensive quality control (QC) checklists and new quality assurance (QA) processes. We can also aim to be more detail oriented and force ourselves to take the extra five minutes to test and double check everything. I personally like to have a few quick hitting items to check off the list before I schedule anything.
Here are five pre-flight checks I recommend addressing before scheduling a campaign:
1. Update the text version of your email
While text version emails may not be the marketer's dream, these are crucial for your overall email deliverability and customer experience. Some individuals simply read the text-only versions of emails. Additionally, SPAM filters may red flag emails without text versions. This being said, it is important to always check the text option within the email editor and make sure that content reads and looks as you would like it to. Add any line breaks where you see fit and ensure that the unsubscribe language has been transferred over.
QUICK TIP: Links are not automatically tracked in text only emails. Add double brackets around any links to enable tracking. For example, the following structure should be used: [[www.editme.com/page.html]]
2. Check the pre-header text of the email
If you clone from a recent email, it is likely that the new email will contain pre-header text from the cloned email. Reminder: pre-header text is different than the subject line and if not set, email services will grab the first available line of text. Given that pre-header text is often the first piece of content that someone will see, it is vital that this is populated with meaningful text instead of “View in Web Browser”.
3. Click on each link of the email and ensure that each page loads properly
Take the time to ensure all links work as expected. I prefer to click each link in a new tab and check each link one by one. If you are using UTM parameters, it may helpful to paste each link into an Excel document. This will give you a good visual on all the relevant links and allow you to break the links into several columns if needed. I recommend using the text to column functionality based on "&" symbols between each UTM parameter. In addition to webpage links, make sure that any email addresses are formatted with the “mailto:” prefix.
5. Test tokens with a live record
When testing a live sample with any tokens, it is helpful to choose an existing lead from your database. I recommend creating a test record that you can reference consistently. Make sure that this record contains any necessary data points, such as State, Country, Company, First Name, Last Name, that you may be looking to reference within the tokens in the email. I recommend adding several team members to this test sample send and asking for a quick check. It is easy to miss details when you are the only person working on a program.
Bonus: Utilize Additional Quality Assurance Resources
Some of our favorites include:
While all these tips are helpful gut checks, I also recommend refining your QC checklist and overall QA process. Step by step documentation can be extremely helpful for program builds and training new and existing team members. These tools will dramatically improve your accuracy, consistency and overall efficiency. Here is a handy infographic you can save as a reference for your next email send!
About the Author
Natalie applies her passion for improving systems and processes by ensuring client programs are successfully executed with meticulous attention to detail. She is a systematic thinker and enjoys designing ways to optimize processes and prove the impact of client marketing efforts. Her production team values her leadership and her team approach to everything she tackles. She grew up Nordic ski racing, enjoys fly fishing, trail-running and her favorite animal in the world is the narwal. She hopes to travel to Baffin Island and observe the illusive and majestic narwal in their natural habitat.More Content by Natalie Flowers