Silly mistakes happen – more easily than you might think. After all, we may be savvy marketers, but we’re still only human. So how can you prevent those silly mistakes from bleeding into your email campaigns?
Here’s a check-list you can refer to before hitting the “send” button on your next marketing email campaign:
1. Broken Links
One of marketers’ biggest nightmares, is realizing after clicking ‘send’ that your email’s main call-to-action contained a broken link. What a waste, right? Especially when lead generation is the goal of an email send.
That’s why we’re emphasizing how important it is to check to make sure your links are working. Click the links – actually click on them. Every single one. Does the (right) page load? Do you get a 404 error? Un-break any broken link you find.
2. Forgotten Links
A close second to the dreaded broken link is the forgotten one. The most common (and regrettable) instance of the forgotten link is when you’re using an image to serve as a call-to-action (CTA) button. Double check to make sure everything that’s supposed to be linked is indeed linked. This includes anchor text, CTAs, social media follow/sharing icons, and images.
3. Broken Social Media Sharing Buttons
Always be sure to try out the sharing buttons in your test send as an extra sanity check.
4. Spelling/Grammatical Errors
Spelling and grammar do matter in marketing. Send your test email to the biggest grammar geek you have on your team to alert you to any slip-ups, and always be sure to spell-check!
5. Distorted Images
How do your images look? Are they stretched or squished? Pixelated? Overwhelmingly large? When they don’t render, did you remember to associate alt text with them? Check to make sure your images are displaying the way you want them to, and if not, adjust accordingly.
6. Wonky Formatting
When you view the email in an inbox, make sure the formatting looks the way you intended it to. Is there a line bleeding onto the next because you forgot to add an extra space? If you used bullets, are they displaying properly? If things are looking wonky, fix those formatting issues before you send the email to your true list.
7. Colour Issues
Is the font colour you’re using, clear and easy to read? Are blocks of background colour making it difficult to read the text you’ve layered on top? Also keep in mind that, while blocks of colour can add a pretty design element to your email, you should beware the following scenario: Say you decided to create your entire email — or just a section — with a dark gray background. To make the text readable, you selected white as your font colour. Now what happens when your recipient’s email client doesn’t render that background colour (yes, it can happen)? Invisible text!
Lesson: the visibility of your email’s copy should never depend on the background colour of your email.
8. Sender Name
Does it look like your email was sent by a human, not a robot? In other words, what moniker are you using for your sender name — your company name (robot), or the name of someone at your company (human)?
9. Functioning Dynamic Tags
If you’re using any dynamic tags (e.g. [FIRSTNAME], etc.), check to make sure they’re functioning properly and pulling in the correct information. And if you’re using dynamic tags, make sure the list you’re using is clean , and only use tags that everyone on your list has information for.
10. Fulfilled CAN-SPAM Requirements
You don’t want that email send to get you into legal trouble, now do you? If you’re sending any commercial email, you should be aware of and know how to comply with the requirements enforced by the CAN-SPAM Act, which establishes rules for commercial messages.
Specifically, each email you send must include your valid physical mailing address. Furthermore, check that you’re not using misleading, deceptive, or falsified information in your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” subject line, and routing information. Lastly, in each email you send, you must also include a clear and obvious way for recipients to unsubscribe from all email communication from you. So if there is no opt-out link in your email, you could get into big trouble.
11. Accessibility Across Devices, Browsers, and Email Clients
The best way to understand how different browsers, email clients, and devices (mobile or desktop) interpret your email is to see for yourself! To save yourself the trouble of testing every single email send to every single option, test a few options once across the most popular devices, browsers, and email clients, and then create a template to use for each email you send using the winning version.
What else would you add to this email marketing pre-send test checklist?