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Does the thought of hitting send on your next email marketing campaign leave your hands sweaty? The thought of emails hitting your subscribers’ inboxes only to realize there was a major mistake in it can do that to you. But sending an email doesn’t have to be nerve-racking if you check these seven things first.

Edit for the basics

Whether you’re a copy editing master or constantly looking up how to spell the same words, you need to read your email several times for possible grammar, spelling, and typo mistakes. Studies have shown that consumers view emails with errors as unprofessional and the brands as less trustworthy, and you don’t want to fall into either of those categories.

Apps like Grammarly, ProWritingAid, and Ginger can be installed to your internet browser for free and will alert you to any errors in your text. Also, ask a team member to look over the text as well. Even the most seasoned editor can miss a mistake after looking at it for too long.

Ensure the design is legible

Your email might be technically perfect, but if subscribers have trouble reading it, none of that matters. The colors you use in the background and for your text play a large role in the legibility of your email. Colors that are too similar or too light might make the text difficult to read. The text should be able to be seen with or without the background color, which means steering clear of white text.

The font choice should also be clear. There’s no need to get fancy with the font selection. Keep it easy to read and true to the brand.

Broken or forgotten links

There are few things worse than a subscriber clicking your CTA only for it not to work. So, you need to make sure your links take them to the right page and that the page is live. 

Just as important as ensuring the included links work is having the links there in the first place. Did you want the reader to be able to click your main image to go to your landing page? If so, you better make sure it includes a link. That also includes your social media icons.

Review dynamic elements

One of the top mistakes brands make with email marketing campaigns comes via their dynamic elements. Personalization like including the customer’s name can be great, but if it’s done wrong, it can really harm the relationship with the subscriber.

For example, if your email service provider uses the merge tag “FNAME” to insert the subscriber’s first name but you put in “FIRSTNAME”, your contacts are going to receive a message that says, “Hi FIRSTNAME!” That’s not a good look. Sending yourself a test email, which we will cover later, is a great way to catch errors like this one.

You might not have the first name for every subscriber on your list, so it’s also important to create a default value that will appear in the event you don’t have their name. For example, if your default value is “Valued Customer,” the email will address them, “Hi Valued Customer!” Change the value to fit your brand’s voice.

Include an Unsubscribe button

No one likes losing an email subscriber, but having them unsubscribe on their own is better than some of the alternatives. That’s why it’s important to make sure you include an Unsubscribe button or link at the bottom of your email. Most of the time, these are added to the email footer. 

Having the link helps protect your email deliverability because they can simply click a link to stop receiving emails from your brand, instead of reporting the message as spam. Including an Unsubscribe link is also required by many spam laws, so don’t forget it.

Remove unwanted links

From emails to texts, iOS devices sometimes turn text into blue links — like with phone numbers, dates, and addresses. That can be helpful sometimes if you want your customer to be able to click a number to call you, for example. But other times, it might be more of an unneeded eyesore, especially if you have a background color that makes the blue text hard to read.

You can spot these links when you view a test email on an iOS device and then decide if you want to remove them. To keep the text from being turned into a link, you can try reformatting the text so that it isn’t recognized by iOS devices or using merge tags or different styles.

Send a test email

The best way to ensure all of these campaign components are working properly is to send yourself and team members a test email. That allows you to see exactly what your subscribers will view when they receive your email. Here are a few things to do once you receive the test email:

  • Make sure the “From” name, subject line, and preview text include no errors and are displayed the way you intended.
  • Click all of the links and CTAs to make sure they aren’t broken and display the correct pages — including social media icons.
  • Hover over images to see if the correct alt text appears, which is important because not all users allow for images to load.
  • Make sure all images load and don’t cause formatting issues.

Beyond re-reading the text and checking the images and links, you should also view the test email on both a desktop and mobile device (and a variety of device types, if possible). 

The email needs to be optimized for mobile: 81 percent of consumers check email on their smartphones and 74 percent check on their desktops/laptops. Besides shortening the subject line so it’s all visible on a smaller device, it’s also important to remember things like keeping your CTA above the fold (so they don’t have to scroll) and to use mobile responsive templates.

Take email marketing campaign to next level

The more campaigns you send, the more natural it will become to follow this checklist. Once you cut out the possible missteps, you put the focus on your campaign and engagement efforts — which is where all of the good stuff happens.

Lauren Dowdle is an award-winning writer based in Birmingham, Alabama. She writes about marketing trends, best practices, local features, and the landscape industry for a variety of companies and magazines.

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