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Emails are one of the most profitable marketing channels out there in terms of ROI. Despite the enormous number of emails sent and received, they still make a massive impact on customers’ purchasing decisions. As a result, everyone is trying their hand at email marketing – some with more success than others.
In order to make email marketing work for you, there are a few things you need to check before launching a campaign. Instead of relying on pure luck and enthusiastic recipients, make sure to go through this checklist the next time you send an email.
One of the first things that a recipient sees when opening an email is who sent it. Of course, it’s not rocket science to use the name of someone from your company, but you have to pay attention to a few more details.
First, ensure that the “from name” field matches the name in your email address. For example, you don’t want to send an email from “John Doe” with the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com.
Second, take a good look at your email signature and make sure that it matches your sender name as well.
These are small details, but they add up to create the final impression of your email.
Sometimes, you send out emails that you would like to receive replies to. However, you might not want the recipients to reply directly to the sender.
For example, you designed a campaign to be sent from the email of the founder, firstname.lastname@example.org. You want the recipients to reply, so you include a reply-to address in the appropriate field. In this case, you include email@example.com so that everyone who replies to the message will actually send an email to customer support instead of the founder.
Before your campaign goes live, make sure to include a relevant reply-to email if you’re expecting replies from your audience.
Moreover, it’s best not to use a no-reply address for your campaigns. Doing so sends a signal to your recipients not to engage with your emails, and that’s the last thing you want. Any reply or comment that you receive should be more than welcome.
Imagine creating an amazing email for hours, sending it out to your audience of thousands, and seeing that the majority of recipients never even opened it. There may be a few reasons for that, and one of the most common is the preheader text.
This is the text that appears next to the subject line when previewing an email in your inbox. These few words, along with the sender name and subject line, influence whether recipients will decide to open an email or not, especially on mobiles.
The preheader text is a string of about 80-100 automatically generated characters that are pulled from the first few words you write in an email, unless edited manually. Make sure to carefully consider what kind of preheader text you use if not the automatic choice, because it will have a massive impact on your open rates.
For a good resource on editing preheader text in HTML, check out this article.
When it comes to email personalization, the best way to do it effortlessly is dynamic tags. By using them, you can pull information from your database to make your emails look more authentic.
However, it’s super easy to make a mistake with them and turn a potentially successful email into a complete disaster. For example, you could start your email with “Hey [FIRST NAME]”, but for some reason the dynamic tags don’t work. As a result, your entire mailing list receives an email addressing them as FIRST NAME. Not a good look.
If you use dynamic tags, make sure to check they work before sending any emails.
One of the worst feelings in the world is seeing your emails being opened and read, yet the click-through rate is just horrible. The first place to check is your links, as there is a good chance that the ones you included in your email are either broken or lead to the wrong pages.
Manually check each link that you add to the message before your email goes out, especially if they direct to landing or product pages. It’s a small mistake that can have a massive effect on your sales.
Have you ever received an unwanted email and you had no idea where it came from? Your first instinct may be to send it to the spam folder. If it happens again then you’ll want to unsubscribe, but you can’t find a button to do so anywhere.
When you send out emails, you must give the recipients the option to unsubscribe. In terms of hurting your sender reputation, an unsubscribe button is harmless compared to a large number of people sending your email to spam.
Moreover, it’s actually illegal in many countries to not have a way to opt out of your emails. According to the CAN-SPAM Act, you must provide recipients a way to unsubscribe or else you can face legal consequences. In some countries, it is legal to not include such an option if you want – just make sure you check the local laws first.
We’ve created and managed thousands of campaigns over the years. But the truth is, no one knows immediately how recipients will react to an email before it’s sent. That’s why even the most experienced marketers test their emails before sending.
We recommend using mail-tester.com. This tool generates a short-term email address to which you can send an email you want to test. Based on their algorithms, the tool will give you a spam score (X out of 10) and suggestions for how to improve your email to help it reach more inboxes.
You might send only one email, but the reality is that your audience will use a variety of different devices to open it. They include laptops, tablets, phones, desktop computers, you name it. On top of that, apps such as Gmail have different ways to view emails, including dark mode, which presents an additional challenge for marketers.
Before your campaign goes live, make sure to run it through a tool like Litmus. This way you’ll be able to see what it looks like on different devices and in different viewing modes, which is a crucial step if you want to make sure that each segment of your audience receives emails that look great to them.
Before any emails go out, you should ensure that your address is properly authenticated. By this, we mean the following:
At the very least, you need to take care of your SPF and DKIM authentication, while also adding DMARC is highly recommended. When you use a piece of software such as Coresender, SPF and DKIM are taken care of from the get-go so you have less to worry about. Once our software takes care of SPF and DKIM and you set up DMARC properly, your emails are sure to reach the right inbox every time.
Once you take a look at the metrics for your emails, you’ll see how many of them bounce. It’s inevitable for some to, but you want to avoid hard bounces because they will have a major negative impact on your sender reputation. Your internet service provider may even block you altogether if your emails keep getting hard bounces.
For every company, their email lists are precious and each address took hard work, time, and money to acquire. However, email addresses that get hard bounces are best removed from your lists because they may do some harm to your reputation and overall metrics.
When you use Coresender, we put all of your hard bounces on a suppression list. Then, when a campaign goes out, no emails will be sent to these addresses but they will still be kept in your database. That way, we protect your sender reputation. If something changes in the future, you can easily remove each address from the suppression list.
The best way to create better emails in the future is to know if your emails get opened at all. For this reason, it’s best to use dedicated software such as Coresender to get an overview of your open rates for each campaign that you create.
Finally, you’ll want to know which emails get results. Having great open rates is nice, but it’s even better if readers click through in your emails, visit your landing/product pages, and ultimately make purchases.
Even though it may sound complex, going through this entire checklist is a 10-minute job at most. Given how profitable email marketing is, 10 minutes spent on checking your emails before you send them is time well spent. Not only will you appear more professional in front of your audience, but your emails will actually get opened and read, thus resulting in more conversions.