Email Marketing Checklist: 8 Things Every Email Needs Before Hitting SEND

Me have email addresses. Me make email list. Me send same stuff everyone. Me sell sell sell. Me make money.

The caveman approach to email marketing is why most email marketing campaigns annoy the crap out of people. And fail.

Just throw as much “stuff” as possible against the cave wall and see what sticks. Say it, spray it and hope for the best.

But that’s a terrible email marketing strategy. Effective email marketing is about communication that’s personal and relevant. What do you want to communicate? What kind of content is best-suited for certain segments of your email list? When and how often should you email?

What’s the right balance between helping and selling?

Nine times out of 10, you should be sending useful, helpful content before you try to sell something.

Once you get all of these details squared away, you can start working on the actual email. Run through this checklist for every email before hitting “send.”

1) One Main Topic

Keep it simple, stupid.

That principle was introduced by the U.S. Navy in 1960 and it still applies to just about everything today.

Every email should have one main purpose. Instead of trying to stuff more into your email, think about what you can remove. This improves clarity.

Email should be filet mignon, not an overstuffed sausage.

This doesn’t mean you can’t include a secondary message or promotion in your email, but make sure it’s visually clear what the priority is…you don’t want your readers to be overwhelmed the moment they lay eyes on your email.

2) Click-Worthy Subject Line

Once you’ve drilled down to one main topic, you need a subject line that tells the recipient, in the simplest of terms, why that topic is worth their time.

Whether you want to drive home a compelling offer or preview some helpful information, your first goal is to get them to click. That’s it.

So make sure your subject line is catchy and enticing, but also clear. While the goal is to get your subscribers to open the email, there’s no sense in misleading them. An open is worth nothing if the reader isn’t actually interested in the content provided.

3) Responsiveness

Today, most people are reading email on their smartphones. If you don’t optimize for mobile, do you really think people will waste time pinching, zooming and rotating just to make your email readable?

Hitting the delete button is much easier. And a more likely result.

Responsive email is just like a responsive website. It should respond to the needs of the reader by automatically adapting to the size of the screen.

4) Design and Visuals

Most people want to overdesign their emails, which muddies the user experience

Keep the design simple and clean. Make sure the text is big enough to read.

More often than not, a white background with minimalist design elements and visuals are your email’s best friends.

5) Images

Use as few images as possible. Some email platforms will automatically strike out any images, so you should make sure your email will still work without them.

Only use images if they’ll enhance the user experience and make people more likely to click.

6) Succinct Content

Your email isn’t a blog post or a newsletter. The email is supposed to get them to click through to your blog post or newsletter – or landing page, or wherever else your content lives.

Provide a summary or a teaser that gets people to your website, where they can consume your content in its entirety.

7) Segmentation

When you use segmentation, it means you know something about the people on your email list. That’s why you segment your list and tailor your message in the first place.

Are you sending to VIP-level customers or people who have never made a purchase? These are two very different groups.

How did you acquire their email address? Facebook? A form on your website? A contest or promotion?

Tweak your message for each segment, or develop completely unique emails.

8) Split Testing

Any marketer who claims to know exactly what approach will work best with every segment of your email list is feeding you a line of BS.

Testing makes email marketing more effective. Period.

For your largest segments, consider sending multiple emails and see which approach performs best. You can test different subject lines, messaging and calls-to-action until you come up with the best formula.


Need help developing your email marketing strategy?

Get in touch with us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.