We made a mistake in an email. We were so excited about our 500th blog post, that in our haste to share it with you, we failed to check what was to be a link to the blog page on our website. Shortly after we hit ‘send,’ someone replied and said, “Your link doesn’t work!” Doh!
Mistakes are going to happen. They happen to the biggest of brands. To help ensure we don’t make any (fewer,) we regrouped and put together our “Before You Hit Send Check-list.” Because we’re of the sharing nature, here it is.
The ‘From’ name
The ‘From’ name identifies you to your subscribers. It should be recognizable. How they refer to you – first name, company’s name, even the product or service a customer has signed up for. If your readers don’t know who the email is from, there is little chance they will open the email.
The reply email
Will you open an email from ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ or ‘AnnHart@business.com’? The second one of course. You trust it more. Make sure the ‘from’ name matches the one in your email address; your readers expect it to be linked to a similar email address.
But don’t make it a “ghost account”…
Ability to reply
From time to time, subscribers will click ‘reply’ to marketing messages. Assure you can access the email account that serves as the reply-to address for your email communications and check it regularly. They may report a change in email address, a trouble with your website, or that they want to place an order!
Just as important as the From name, the Subject Line is the first impression of your brand. Keep it short and concise. First two words are the most important. Instruct the recipient as to the content of the message, to generate interest but don’t mislead them.
A preheader is short summary text that follows the subject line of an email. Surprisingly underutilized in email campaigns, preheaders appear under the subject line in the preview pane of the email client. Do not repeat words or phrases from the subject line. Instead use text which gives the reader insight into what your email contains. Hint: mention a discount coupon or a sale on your website.
The last thing you want a subscriber to see is “Hi FirstName!” If using personalization in the subject line or body of an email, review and test the data to ensure it is being pulled in correctly. Send a couple of test emails intentionally to your team. Use default values when data is missing, i.e. “Valued Customer”.
Call to action
Every email should have a direct and simple call to action (unless the goal is branding or providing information.) The CTA should allow the customer to click from any advice.
Too many CTAs
Do you want a subscriber to download your white paper or watch the demo video? Subscribe to your blog or follow you on social media? Too many CTAs will confuse the reader reducing clicks and drive less action.
Make sure all graphics load on all devices. Images may be slow to load or may not load at all depending on the host.
With 66% of emails being read on a mobile device, be sure your email is mobile friendly. Use a mobile friendly template and review how it will look before hitting send.
Do you segment your emails based on purchase or demographics? Make sure the offer or message is appropriate. You don’t want to send an email about dog supplies to cat owners.
Even established brands make mistakes. Shutterfly once sent an email to its entire list congratulating them on their newborn children – including people that didn’t have any kids.
Links that work and track
If you have a lot of links in an email, it can be easy to miss one. Check, double check, triple check that that every link is correct and functional. Similarly, check that all tracking parameters in the links are updated, correct, and firing.
Click to call
Most consumers open emails on their smartphones. Make sure your emails have a clear click-to-call button.
Length of an email
Remember, 66% of readers are checking email on their phone. No one wants to swipe through a long email. Similarly, if there are too many images in your email, it may not load correctly or take too long.
Accidentally sending a test mail
We have suggested sending test emails to proof content, images, spelling, and grammar, etc. Just be sure not to send it out to your entire subscriber base! The online retailer Fab accidently sent out a test mail titled, “[TEST] PM Tracking Test”, to their entire customer base. The picture of a cat in an inbox was confusing.
Spelling and Grammar
Check. Double check and proofread your emails multiple times. Ask others to take a read too.
Don’t let common mistakes scare you. A lot can go wrong when drafting an email, but all these mistakes can be easily avoided. Once you start looking for these common errors, you’ll see your results and business improve!