A Checklist for Email Execution

We’ve all been rambling on lately about the future of email—what does it mean, how will it look, etc. Those are all phenomenal topics to discuss in boardrooms and at a bar, but there are just times when you need to talk about how to best deal with the realities of the here and now. What happens when you have to execute an email?

One of my friends recently had to oversee the execution of an email for the first time. He asked a lot of questions about what he needed to watch out for. After I threw a barrage of answers at him, he stopped and said, “OK, before I strangle you, which of these do I actually need to care about?” Out of those questions, we came up with the following checklist of the must-haves for an email deployment:

1. An opt-in list. Wherever you have your list stored, make sure you have access to the original source of permission.

2. The “from” name you want to use.

3. The “reply to” email address that someone will check (or, if you are a company that cannot check these messages for security reasons—ex. pharmacy companies—a strong disclaimer that replies will not be read).

4. A really good subject line—not something catchy, but something that creates trust and interest in opening the email.

5. Links that work inside the content even if images are blocked. Yes, yes, you need to worry about the content, the layout and the coding, but as an absolute must-have, make sure the links work.

6. An opt-out link with a mailing address.

7. A strong reporting system on the backend to track bounces, opens and clicks.

You wouldn’t believe how many of us out there still allow emails to go out without one or more of these items. Sometimes the basics are just really good to revisit.

—Jeanniey Mullen

2 thoughts on “A Checklist for Email Execution

  1. "…Which ones do [you] actually need to care about?" All of them, really.

    Reason: The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts.

    The interesting thing about having a successful/legitimate email process (aside from just about *everything*) is that [just about] anyone/company can do it (this is for all those who are overwhelmed with the challenge) – it’s just a matter of the following necessities:

    – Establish a flexible, "breathing? email process and keeping it in place. Why "flexible/breathing"? Because what works (opens, deliverability, etc.) and what are "standards" today can change – without notice. (What … you didn’t get that memo?")

    – Understand the negative impact of an ill-executed email campaign or a lack of an email process; i.e., ??don??t let this happen to you?.

    – Stay "plugged in". Get involved (think EEC). Keep in touch with the reputable resources available on emarketing and emailing.

    There are so many other important things. ‘Hoping that others will chime in.

  2. Absolutely. For "sometimes", read "always"? I worry that all the (legitimate) high level discussion of late might serve to confuse people outside the industry core even more. Especially since most are still trying to grasp these basics. So a great post and reminder!

Comments are closed.