Don’t Hit Send Yet!

Check it Twice...As we’ve talked about before, there’s not a whole lot in email marketing that makes you feel worse than taking a lot of time crafting the perfect message, sending it and then realizing that:

  • you didn’t include the right link
  • you forgot to make that last change to your subject
  • you put the wrong personalization in

While you send your messages exactly as you want them most of the time, you’ve no doubt had that “whoops!” moment at least once or twice.

So how do you avoid having it again?

Check it Twice...As we’ve talked about before, there’s not a whole lot in email marketing that makes you feel worse than taking a lot of time crafting the perfect message, sending it and then realizing that:

  • you didn’t include the right link
  • you forgot to make that last change to your subject
  • you put the wrong personalization in

While you send your messages exactly as you want them most of the time, you’ve no doubt had that “whoops!” moment at least once or twice.


So how do you avoid having it again?

Check Your Work

I was reminded of the need for a “pre-send checklist” in my travels around the blogosphere today.

There are a handful of checks that you should perform prior to sending a message that will help you to minimize your risk of repeating any of the most common gaffes that email marketers make.

Above the Fold gives a list of eight checks you should perform. Let’s take a look at them and talk about:

  • What We Take Care Of For You
  • What You Can Do

It’s an extensive list, so let’s focus on the the first four items.

1. Send to the Right List

The first thing to make sure of when you create a message is to make sure that you’re going to be sending it to the right list.

  • We put your list name in bold green text near the beginning of each page of your account to remind you:You just have to remember to check that and make sure that you’re creating the message in the list you want.If you’re not in the right list, change lists using the dropdown menu on the right side of your page.

2. Make Sure the “From” Address Works

Your subscribers may have questions about your message or business after you send to them. Also, some people may reply to the message to request that you unsubscribe them (even though you have an unsubscribe link in the message).

In order to address those questions and requests, you need to be able to receive them.

The “From” address you specify in AWeber will automatically be used as your “Reply-To” address. This can be seen/edited at the bottom of your “List Settings” page.

Click To See Full Size
  • We check to make sure you have specified a valid address.
  • You should make sure the address specified there is an appropriate one, where you can receive and address your subscribers’ questions and requests.

3. Make the Subject Line Short, Accurate and Compelling

In order to get people to engage with your message, you first need to get them to open it!

  • Keep Your Subject Line Short.This helps ensure that the whole subject will be viewable in the recipient’s inbox, so that they’re more likely to open the message.
  • Relate Your Subject to Your Message Body.It’s OK to pique your subscribers’ interest, but do so without deceiving (besides being one of the provisions of CAN-SPAM, this is just common sense).
  • Grab Readers’ Attention.Your message is competing with countless others to be opened and read – find what piques your subscribers’ interest and use that to your advantage.

4. Include a Link to Read the Message Outside of Email

I don’t personally think this is totally necessary; however, it does offer two big pluses:

  • You drive subscribers back to your site
  • You provide an alternative for people who prefer to read your content online

This is a particularly good idea if you have a lot of content in your message. Since for most people their browser lets them view more of your message at once than their email program, you’ll reduce the amount of scrolling needed to read the entire message. Plus, you’re letting people consume your content in the manner they prefer.

  • Publish Your Message Content Online
  • Link to the Online Version Near the Top of your Message

Do You Do These Things?

Do you use a checklist like this? If so, do you write it down?

I strongly recommend the use of written checklists that you go over religiously before sending a message. The few times I’ve failed to use my written checklist, I’ve almost always forgotten at least one step and forgotten to make a needed change to my message.

8 Comments

  1. Gary

    5/22/2007 4:53 pm

    For newsletters in particuarly a link to read your email outside of your message, ie back on your site can be important for another reason in that you are providing more valuable content for your site. You should also be publishing it online if your email newsletter is generally in html format so that your plain text version has a link for readers to view the “pretty” version online also.

  2. David Pankhurst

    5/22/2007 7:25 pm

    Appreciate tip #4 – on online copy is good for search engines as well!

  3. Ricki Steigerwald

    5/23/2007 8:53 am

    Another thing to check is the date of the newsletter.

    I use an outside program to create my newsletters. I copy the previous newsletter and update it. The date is an easy one to overlook.

  4. Brad Young

    5/24/2007 6:29 pm

    I think everyone has that occasional mishap when it comes to email. Great advice on tips to do before you load it or send it. With these things here we can avoid that “Oh my gosh did I just send that?” Thanks for the advice and tips to help stay straight.

  5. Mubita

    5/25/2007 12:52 pm

    I would like to know what some of you guys open rates are. My newsletter is doing OK but I think it could do better. Ironically, one of the most opened newsletters lately for me had a subjet, "Happy World Women’s Day". I still do not get it.

    Does anyone out there have any tips on the most engaging subject lines?

    Also what is the average open rate persentage wise?

    Thanks in anticipation.

  6. Justin Premick

    5/25/2007 2:44 pm

    Mubita,

    Open rates will vary based on a lot of things.

    For example, the "age" of your subscribers (how long they’ve been on your list) tends to have an inverse correlation with your open rate… people who subscribed more recently are usually more interested than "older" subscribers.

    We posted some open rate stats a while back, with some commentary that you may find helpful:

    https://www.aweber.com/blog/email-marketing/open-rates-by-list-size.htm

  7. Chibueze

    5/26/2007 7:15 am

    This is a very good tip to use.

    Some times, I just think it is better to have a blog or forum on your site so that you can as well add the newsletter on the forum/blog as you rightly said, this will drive traffic to the site.

    Thank you for the tip

  8. Even Seth Godin Makes Email Mistakes - Email Marketing Tips on the AWeber Blog

    4/29/2008 10:28 am

    […] A good way to make sure we don’t miss the forest for the trees is to use a quality pre-send checklist. […]