A good email campaign is tested over and over until everything works perfectly. There are so many components to a campaign. It is very easy to miss something that could drastically affect your deliverability, the subscriber experience or your brand\’s reputation. Below is a check list that I would highly recommend you print out and use for each campaign. Make sure to always send out a real campaign to a small test group where you can have multiple eyeballs for feedback.

check   Does your domain pass all forms of authentication?
check   Domain Keys
check   SP
check   Sender ID
check   DKIM

check    Are you using the correct \”from address\” that is set up for authentication?

check    Are your \”from\”and \”reply-to\” addresses valid and can you receive the replies?

check    Is your IP address on any blacklists? Use a free tool like dnsstuff.com or ask your email service provider to run your IP address across more blacklists.

check    How does your email look in the major email programs like Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail and AOL? You can use a campaign preview tool like returnpath.com to view your campaign and ensure it was designed properly for the lowest common denominator email clients. Most email service providers (including mobileStorm) whitelabel this service and make it available to their customer on a per campaign basis.

check    What is your inbox delivery percentage with the top ISPs? You can use a mailbox monitoring tool like returnpath.com provides to find out which ISPs allowed your mail into the inbox, junked it, or blocked it completely. Most email service providers (including mobileStorm) whitelabel this service and make it available to their customer on a per campaign basis.

check    Are your personalization tokens working correctly?

check    Do you have alternative text set up correctly for tokens where you might not have everyone\’s data?

check    If you are using dynamic content, is it working correctly?

check    Is your mail server clock set to the correct time?

check    Does your campaign have a good text to image ratio?

check    Was your email designed with the correct web fonts?

check    Was your email designed for 800×600?

check    Are you using inline style tags and not CSS?

check    What does your email campaign look like on Blackberry or other smart phones? Good article on that here.

check    Has your copy been proofread multiple times?

check    Does your email contain spammy words like \”Free\” \”50% off\” \”Bonus\” and \”Winner\”?

check    Do all of your links work and direct your subscribers to the right web page, and is your reporting tool capturing the clicks?

check    Have you tested your unsubscribe link? Always do this!

check    If you are using clickstream tracking, is the reporting working correctly?

check    Have you added your physical mailing address, which is a CAN-SPAM requirement?

check    Have you provided a link to let subscribers view the message online?

check    Do you have a notice to have subscribers add your from address to their safe sender list, also known as a whitelist reminder notice?

Once you have completed your checklist, it is always smart to do A/B testing. For example, if you have a database of 1,000 send 100 people \”Campaign A\” that would have one subject line and possible call to action. Repeat this process to the next 100 people with a different subject line and call to action, which would be \”Campaign B.\” Compare the results between the 2 campaigns and send the remaining 800 subscribers the message that performed better.

Did we leave any steps out that you use as part of your email campaign checklist? If so, please share them in the comments below and we will update the list.


Jared Reitzin
Small Business Advice