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Conquer Send Button Anxiety With the Ultimate Email QA Checklist

By: Luella Delano
Updated: July 20, 2023
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An email quality assurance checklist—or email QA checklist—may not sound like the most exciting thing you’ve heard of. But if you’ve ever experienced send button anxiety, you can understand how having a checklist to refer to before launching an email campaign can save your bacon.

As marketers, we’ve all experienced that heart-pounding moment when our mouse lingers over the “send” button, about to unleash an email upon countless inboxes. Then the tantalizing uncertainty sets in. Did we miss a typo? Did we neglect a crucial link? It’s no wonder send button anxiety has become a recognized term in the digital age.

Whether you’re sending a high-stakes email, training a new colleague, or (cringe) recovering from an email fiasco, you need an email QA checklist. Join us as we examine email campaign checklists, essential checkpoints, and pivotal steps for achieving flawless emails.

What Is This Email QA Checklist, Anyway?

Have you ever opened an email and encountered broken links? Images that refused to load? Or perhaps, gasp, your name was fudged due to a gross personalization error? How tacky!

These frustrating mishaps barely scratch the surface of potential email blunders. With email client updates occurring approximately every 1.2 days, a myriad of factors can disrupt your meticulously planned message.

Broken emails not only dampen the subscriber experience but also pose a threat to your brand reputation and the overall performance of your emails. That’s precisely why it’s so important to proactively address these issues using an email QA checklist. By dedicating time to reviewing your email campaigns based on a comprehensive docket, you can mitigate the risk of common errors and ensure an improved subscriber experience.

To put it simply, an email QA checklist catalogs all vital components to a marketing message that should be carefully reviewed before sending, taking into account the essential aspects of a well-crafted email.

What Should Be on an Email QA Checklist?

The items to include on your email QA checklist depend partially on your writing style, your email service provider, and the nature of the product you’re marketing. However, at minimum, include the aspects of campaign purpose and strategy, content preparation, and the message build.

Campaign Purpose and Strategy

With this in mind, start building your email QA checklist by getting a clear understanding of your mission. Begin by answering the following questions:

  • What are your campaign goals?
  • How will you measure success?
  • Who is your target audience?

Determine Campaign Goals

When starting your campaign, the first and most deciding step is to clearly define its objective. So take the time to ask yourself what goals you want to achieve. Is it to educate your audience, attract sign-ups, or re-engage with your subscribers?

To clarify, here are some ideas:

  • Provide valuable educational content
  • Encourage new sign-ups
  • Generate referrals
  • Facilitate purchases
  • Prompt registrations
  • Reconnect with existing customers

Decide How to Measure Success

Determining how you’ll measure success will help you create an email QA checklist that checks not only your typos, but also whether you’re on target with your goals. Your success indicators are also known as key performance indicators (KPIs). Accordingly, these metrics will help you gauge the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts. To demonstrate, here are some examples:

Click-through rate (CTR)

Percentage of people who clicked a link or call-to-action in your emails

Unsubscribe rate

Number of subscribers who opt out of your email list

Bounce rate

Percentage of emails that were undelivered or returned

Deliverability rate or inbox placement rate

Percentage of emails that successfully reach the recipients’ inboxes

Subscriber lifetime value (LTV)

Total revenue generated by a subscriber during their engagement

Return on investment (ROI)

Ratio of the profit or revenue generated compared to the cost of your email marketing campaign

Email list size or growth rate

Number of subscribers on your email list or the rate at which your list is growing

Conversion rate (CVR)

Percentage of recipients who did something you wanted them to do, such as making a purchase or filling out a form after clicking on a link in your email

Email read rate/read time

Percentage of recipients who opened and read your emails, or the average time spent reading an email

Spam complaint rate

Number of recipients who marked your email as spam

Revenue per email (RPE)

Average revenue generated by each email sent

Revenue per subscriber (RPS)

Average revenue generated by each subscriber

Churn rate

Rate at which subscribers unsubscribe or stop engaging with your emails

Subscriber acquisition cost

Cost associated with acquiring new subscribers

Email production time

Amount of time it takes to create and send out an email

 

Segment Your Audience

To achieve optimal results, it’s important to segment your audience effectively. Start by defining your target audience, taking into account prospects, customers, geolocation, and engagement activity. Additionally, make sure to apply any necessary suppression or exclusion lists to streamline your email communication strategy.

Content Preparation

Once you’ve established your plan and email strategy, it’s time to craft the perfect email. This crucial phase involves honing your email copy, designing it with finesse, and developing it to perfection. Consider the following points:

  • Personalization: How can you wow your subscribers with relevant content tailored just for them?
  • Calls-to-action (CTAs): Are your CTAs powerful and irresistible, pushing your recipients to take action?
  • Subject line, sender name, and preview text: Do these elements collaborate seamlessly to entice subscribers to open your email?

Remember, your subject line, sender name, and preview text all work as a cohesive unit. So think of your preview text as an enchanting extension of your subject line. Create subject lines and preview text that harmonize and captivate when read together. Also, avoid reiterating your sender name in your subject line or preview text. Undeniably, these can all be important elements to add to your own email QA checklist.

Optimized Subscriber Experience

When subscribers receive emails from your brand or business, it’s important to create a positive impression right from the start. Take a look at what your inbox view includes:

  • Subject line that catches attention
  • “From” name and address that are recognizable and consistent
  • Engaging preview text
  • Friendly and active reply-to address—avoid using donotreply@brand.com
  • Verified sender logo with Brand Indicators for Message Identification (BIMI), if available

After all, the inbox view is one of the first things subscribers see, so you’ve got to make it count. You can make some specific checks to ensure originality:

  • Use a distinct “from” name and address that’s the same every time
  • Confirm that your reply-to address is welcoming and responsive—again, not donotreply@yourbrandname.com
  • Modify your preview text when your copy is too short, too long, or too heavy

Optimized Design

Certainly, crafting engaging emails is crucial for captivating your audience and achieving desired outcomes. To this end, add the following steps to your email QA checklist to ensure your emails are aesthetically pleasing, actionable, and optimized:

  • Verify compatibility across mobile, desktop, and webmail platforms to ensure flawless rendering
  • Enhance the visual appeal and functionality of the plain-text version by incorporating captivating links
  • Elevate the visual experience by utilizing high-resolution retina images that load seamlessly
  • Test the effectiveness of dynamic content and personalization, ensuring fallback options are in place
  • Double-check image integrity and ensure appropriate alt text is provided
  • Verify compatibility with Dark Mode to prevent color inversion issues
  • Confirm the efficacy of merge tags and establish fallback options
  • Optimize the load time to maximize responsiveness, aiming for under two or three seconds
  • Ensure the email file size remains under 102 KB to avoid truncation by Gmail
  • Guarantee accessibility for individuals using screen readers or individuals with visual impairments

Active Insights to Add to Your Email QA Checklist

To unleash the true potential of your data, it’s critical to set up your analytics systems correctly and verify the following essential steps:

  • Double-check the functionality and precise tracking of your links. (Don’t forget those handy UTM parameters, if they apply!)
  • Arm your campaign with an analytics code, ensuring its activation for accurate and actionable data

Extra Deliverability Measures

Ensuring successful email delivery is crucial for reaching your subscribers’ inboxes and avoiding spam filters. Specifically, here are some key considerations to keep in mind:

  • Establish explicit opt-in from your subscribers to maintain a trustworthy relationship
  • Familiarize yourself with the spam laws applicable to your subscribers’ locations, as regulations may differ across countries and regions
  • Provide complete contact information, including a physical mailing address, to enhance credibility and prevent emails from being flagged as spam
  • Double-check your content for any spelling or grammar errors to maintain a professional appearance
  • Include a simple and functional unsubscribe link to respect your subscribers’ preferences
  • Evaluate the reputation of your IP addresses and domain names to ensure your emails are well-received
  • Conduct a thorough Spam Filter Test to verify the proper authentication records are in place for your emails

Don’t Feel Like Making Your Own Email QA Checklist?

Today, we have a special gift for you: our very own email QA checklist for creating exceptional emails. As a valuable member of our audience, we’re delighted to present it to you for free.

After all, emailing your list is more than just clicking “send.” There’s a whole process involved before hitting that button, and even the most careful people make mistakes. With our pre-send checklist, you can minimize errors and ensure a remarkable experience for your subscribers.

Before you wrap up your own checklist, take a moment to reflect on your enjoyment with this task. If it’s not something you truly relish, consider scheduling an appointment with Email Broadcast. Outsourcing this central function to a team of experts might be just the solution you’ve been seeking.

Finally, download our free, one-of-a-kind checklist to keep all these crucial checkpoints at your fingertips.

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