Test dispatches in email marketing are made by default. Every mailing is put to the acid test before the actual dispatch, to avoid typing errors, broken links or something similar. Probably every email marketer is familiar to this kind of quality assurance. But is checking the test-mailing sufficient to guarantee the quality of your newsletters?

Email marketing quality assurance starts already when concepting and roughly planning your newsletters and it doesn’t stop when the newsletter is set up for dispatch. We have therefore compiled a checklist to ensure that this works out. The checklist takes all fields and aspects into account, so you won’t overlook a thing.

Conception & planning

  • Use a contentplan to determine the exact contents, that convey your message. Make sure to only create content, that is relevant to your target group.
  • Unlike the contentplan, your editorial plan lists when a newsletter containing a certain topic is sent out. The editorial plan makes you keep the overview over upcomming topics and gives you the chance to dip early into a single newsletter. Keep checking if the topics still fit your marketing concept and target your marketing concept.
  • Set up a detailled briefing for every single newsletter. Take into account all persons involved and instruct designers as well as programmers, editors etc about their respective task.
  • Despite briefing and contentplanning: question every single newsletter. Does it contain added value? Is the message you want to convey given? Are the planned contents relevant to the respective subscribers? If necesary match the content of your newsletter to your subscribers‘ fields of interest.

Editorial work

  • Is your newsletter structured? If your newsletter for example contains several articles, you might want to provide a content list.
  • Above-the-fold: are the top 600px of your newsletter especially appealing? Write first things first.
  • Are your articles phrased sententiously?
  • Contains your newsletter links?
  • Contains your newsletter call-to-actions?
  • Is your subject line concise and informs about the newsletter’s content? Mind the length of the subject line.
  • Avoid spam-like characteristics. Completely capitalized words, a lot of exclamation marks or a too sensationally wording can lead to spam classification.
  • Have all images alternative text attributes?
  • Is social media sharing or recommendation possible?

Design & display

  • Review your templates regularely: Are they still up-to-date and comply with the current CI / CD?
  • Pay attention to contrasts and (web-enabled) fonts, so that readability is ensured.
  • Restrict to only a few fonts in your newsletter. Too many different fonts appear agitated.
  • Use a font size of at least 10 pt.
  • What does the newsletter look like without any graphics? Some users need to confirm the loading of images before they get to see an image. Check if your message is also conveyed without any graphics.
  • Code your newsletter display in HTML. A lot of email programms don’t read CSS.
  • Is there an alternative online-version of your newsletter?
  • What about the display of your newsletter on mobile devices?
  • Is there an unsubscribe link?
  • Is there an imprint or a link to it?

Data & Technology

  • Create a simple opt-in process to gain new addresses, of course in accordance with legal requirements.
  • Is it guarantueed that really every single subscriber has given his double opt-in?
  • Do you allow your subscribers to have a look at and modify their data? You can do so by, for example, offering a link to their profile page.
  • Is it easily possible to unsubscribe?
  • Do you make use of professional bounce-management?
  • Is there a blacklist?
  • Does the dispatch from an static IP-address work? Dynamic IP-addresses can lead to spam classification.
  • What’s your sender address? If it’s not meaningful your subscribers might quickly delete your newsletter before even opening it.

Test dispatch

  • Who releases your newsletter at what point in your test dispatch workflow? Are all releases present? Remember to make two persons check.
  • Send the newsletter to a testing mailing list in advance.
  • Check your newsletter in every current email client and programm. Is everything displayed correctly?
  • Check the newsletter design on mobile devices.
  • Check every single link.
  • Check the personal address or rather the personalization.
  • Does the alternative address work well?
  • When setting the actual dispatch after the approved test dispatch: Is the correct list of recipients selected? Is the optimal dispatch time set?

Analysis & Optimization

  • Analyze your newsletter after dispatch. Evaluate (un-)subscriptions, opening rates, click rates, the amount of recommendation. Track the developement of the amount of subscriptions. Use those valuable insights for future newsletters.
  • Check the link tracking parameters in your newsletter: Do they function?
  • Evaluate un- and subscriptions.
  • Make A/B-tests and make use of testing in email marketing.
  • Test different dispatch times.
  • Take the knowledge earned into account when planning, so to speak in your editorial and content plans.

Don’t just check your newsletters over and over again to obtain a complete and perfect email marketing, consider also your systemmails like un- and subscriptionmails or transactional messages. Because you can take advantage of those emails for your email marketing.