This blog post was originally published on 08/23/2017 and was updated on 03/01/2022

Preparing for Launch: The Ultimate Email Campaign Checklist

Preparing for Take Off..

When an email marketing campaign is done correctly, it can show huge positive impact on a business’ bottom line. I like to look at the preparation for them similar to the process of a space shuttle launch, like a ticking countdown clock until you press “send”.

When it comes to sending an email to thousands of customers or subscribers, I think anyone would skip a heartbeat at the process. We had our Email Marketing Manager, Jenna let us know the stress-inducing tasks she experiences daily. There are so many things to review before fully completing your email campaign so I’ve put together a handy email campaign checklist you can use before pressing send on your next campaign.

T-43 Hours and Counting

When crafting your email marketing to-do list, you want to ensure you’ve properly cleaned and categorized your list before concentrating on the message.

Optimize Your Email Lists

The first step to a successful list is cleaning the house — time to weed out all those who haven’t given the opt-in, the unsubscribed and the undeliverable.

Are you using the right list for your email campaign? After you’ve primed your list, separate your users by goal to identify who should receive which communication. Sending to the wrong email list could result in many unhappy customers. Once you’ve got that in check, review your list to ensure that it’s segmented correctly. This way you can focus on personalization to increase engagement. Use the customer data that you already have to dig deep into your customer’s interests as if you were emailing them individually.

Avoid spamming your users. As of July 1 2017, important CASL changes came into effect. If you aren’t familiar with the CASL changes and deadline, you can review the details here. Aside from that, make sure that your unsubscribe button is clearly visible. Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes, they aren’t all bad.

Develop Your Content

The next step on a thorough checklist for email marketing is determining the goal of your communication and crafting a matching message. Your emails should include:

  •  Subject Lines: Subject lines set the tone and personality of a particular email. Posing a question? Providing valuable or relevant how-to information? Or making a big announcement? Whichever the option, make sure your subject line reflects the intent and tone of the overall email.
  • Email Copy: You want to create email copy that is relevant and to the point. Keep your subscribers curious and eager to read more. Ask yourself, is this email copy aligned with my goal for this specific email campaign?
  • CTA: Ideally, include just one unmistakable CTA that’s easy to find and execute and tells the user what action they’re taking. Each word of your copy should lead to this ultimate goal.

Lay Out Your Message

Use the fundamentals of good design to determine your email’s visual structure. Balance blocks of texts with graphics and white space to enhance aesthetic appeal. When using visuals, every element you include should draw the reader’s attention to your CTA. Some professionals recommend using an inverted triangle structure for best results with your CTA at the triangle’s point.

Lay Out Your Message

Ensure your design meets tests for dark mode compatibility and responsiveness. That way, you’ll keep the interest of those using mobile devices and those who prefer dark mode for a more comfortable reading experience.

Define Success Measurements and Add Your Tracking

After you’ve created and organized your content, the next step on your email marketing checklist is determining what quantifies a valuable effort. How are you going to measure the success of the email campaign? Consider these 2 points:

  • Deliverability: We know a thing or two about email deliverability. It can be confusing, and we get a lot of questions on the topic. The bottom line is that you need to ensure that not only is your email being sent, but that it is also making it to the inbox. Check out our 10 Steps to Better Email Deliverability guide for more help on this.
  • Click through rates/open rates: Do you have an effective call-to-action? Is there a sense of urgency to open your email? You should set a goal based on the size of your company, and how many email campaigns you send per month. Check out this benchmark report from HubSpot to see how your emails should be performing.

If desired, this is also the time to add URL parameters for tracking user behavior. You can shorten URLs with long tracking info by creating branded links to improve deliverability.

T-9 Minutes and Counting

Your time is running out but you still have a couple more things on your email checklist template to review. DON’T be tempted by the send button just yet.

Proofread to Perfection

review your spelling and grammar with a fresh set of eyes.

BE sure to check over the following aspects thoroughly:

  • Time/Date: I know what you’re thinking, the most obvious thing on the list? Well, it’s important to consider the broad calendar of email blasts, and double-check that there’s no overlap in email campaigns. Have you forgotten some important national or world day that is taking place at the same time? Is this showing up in international inboxes at a weird time?
  • Spelling and Grammar: More than anything else, you’ve probably looked at this email for several hours prior to scheduling it. Step away from your computer, and go back and review your spelling and grammar with a fresh set of eyes. It’s not a bad idea to ask a coworker (or two) to review the copy as well.
  • Legalities: Have you included your unsubscribe link and contact information as required in certain markets? Are there any updates to complete to that information? Does the unsubscribe work?

Preview and Test

Test these following aspects to maximize your user experience:

  • Links: Working links are effective links, so take the time to test link function and ensure they go to the relevant landing pages. As you visit your landing pages, scope them out from the reader’s perspective. Does the messaging match the email? Are visual brand cues aligned?
  • Social media icons: Use your email to boost engagement across other channels. Check the social media icons you add to ensure they point to the correct accounts on the correct platforms.
  • Responsiveness: Use the preview tools available in your email design application and look at them across all device types before sending to ensure content appears correctly across all platforms. Some experts recommend sending test emails to your team to gauge how they look once they hit your inbox.

Bring the Team Into the Fold

Bring the Team Into the Fold

Whether you’re running a product promotion or gearing up for new software-as-a-service (SaaS) subscribers, everyone needs to know. You’ll want to loop in the sales and production teams for product promotions. SaaS users may need technical assistance, so it’s wise to ensure your customer support team is aware and ready to meet the challenge.

Booster Ignition and Liftoff (T-0)

And…. you’re ready to go! We have a ton of other tips on how to keep your email campaigns in tip-top shape for launch. So don’t be afraid of pressing “send” on that email campaign, just use this checklist as a reference whenever you get stuck.

email campaign checklist

What tips did we miss? Feel free add your own tips to our email campaign checklist in a comment below, or Tweet us.


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