Even if your plan is to hire a company to handle it for you, conducting an email audit can seem overwhelming! Where do I even start? What should I be looking for? The questions can stop many from getting started. To streamline the process and help you get started, we have created a light checklist to get organized and highlight actions for you to take.
Available as a one page here, below we walk you through the steps and discuss why each is important to your audit.
Deliverability + Branding – Are your emails reaching your subscribers and do they follow acceptable email practices?
- Is the mailing CAN-SPAM Compliant? CAN-SPAM is the law that governs commercial email communication. It protects your subscribers and outlines the penalties and fines for non-compliance.
- Is there a visible unsubscribe link? FeedBlitz covers this for you!
- A physical address? We take care of this part, too!
- Does the brand appear as the sender’s name? This lets the reader know your blog or business is sending the email. It’s the “from” in the address blocks.
- Is the logo highly visible and clear? We recommend having it in the header of your email.
- Is the subject line appropriate for the intent of the publisher? Best practices insist on staying away from click-bait when crafting your emails. This can also have an effect on whether you land in the SPAM folder or not. Do not over-punctuate for effect and avoid repeating words like Free, Deal, or Act Now.
- Does the sending time match your audience? When are your readers going to read your email? Are you sending short pieces perfect for skimming in the afternoon carpool line or should your recipient settle in with a cup of coffee for an in-depth read?
- Does the content in the mailing match publisher goals? When a reader subscribes to your list, they are entering an agreement allowing you access to their inbox. Do your best to stick with content that follows this agreement.
- Are there multiple calls to the same action in the mailing? Have clear, tasteful calls to action to increase chances of your readers doing what you want.
- Do you have links to and content from your social channels? Your mailings can drive growth to your social channels and platforms by simply having links, or the content itself, available in the email.
Metrics and Reporting – The Average Open rate is approximately 20% for non-deal focused sites, 13% for deal sites. If you are not meeting these benchmarks, a close look at the cause for the low open rate is required.
- Do you notice any recurring bumps or dips in subscriptions, open rates or clicks? Examine content the sent at that time as well as frequency. These results can and should impact future content creation.
- What are the most common unsubscription reasons?
- Does your mailing frequency match what was promised in the offer? Did you promise to only mail weekly but find yourself sending 3-4 emails a week? Possibly edit your sending to schedule to match your promised mailing frequency.
- Too many mailings? Offer a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly mailing option for those who would prefer less frequent email.
- Has your content type changed? It’s OK to gradually change the conversation, but if you want to go completely off topic, it may be best to offer a separate mailing for those who are interested. If you write on many topics, try offering category based lists to allow your subscribers to choose the content they are most interested in.
- In your mailing, is the Call to Action clear and well placed? Simple and direct is best when it comes to crafting clear Calls to Action.
- Have you tested different subject lines, templates and call to action placements? A/B testing is great to see what your readers respond to most. Pick one item and test it for a few weeks, whether it be the Call to Action placement or various subject line styles. This will help you craft more effective, engaging emails for your readers.
- Are the social links in your mailing correct, live and active? You would be surprised at how easy it is (and how often it happens!) for social links to be incorrect. Take the time to double check and ensure links are going to the correct profiles.
- Do you have correct, active subscription forms in the three main places? When’s the last time you tested your subscription process? You cannot convert readers into subscribers with broken forms.
- Sidebar – Pop up – Post Footer
- Do subscribers complete the subscription process? You may need to check with your email service provider to see the correct number of pending emails vs those who have confirmed.
- Is your incentive offer too aggressive? If there is there a more than 50% drop between submission and activation, your incentive offer may be too aggressive, leading subscribers to give an email address with no intent to confirm.
- Is your activation email too cluttered with other information and links? Keep this email clean with the clear goal of clicking the one link to confirm the reader’s subscription.
This checklist is a simplified overview of an email audit. Its intent is to help you get started and take stock of the health and effectiveness of your current email campaigns. Print it out and schedule time to begin working through the sections, make notes of your additional thoughts and ideas along the way.
Trust us – your list and your site will thank you for your due-diligence!
Now that you have taken the time to clean up your email marketing, we’ll shift our focus to using your email marketing to generate income. We think you’re really going to enjoy this series starting next week. Stay tuned!
In need of an email audit but not sure where to get started? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, chat, check out our Help Forum, or give us a call at 1.877.692.5489. Our Support and Sales Desk is available Monday – Friday from 9 am to 5 pm EST.
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