Email Pre-Flight Checklist – Prepare Before Send

There is always an uneasy feeling right before you hit send on an email campaign. Whether you are speeding away trying to keep up with other campaigns or just had to deliver breaking news, using a pre-flight checklist can help you avoid mistakes.

I have gone through some growing pains adjusting to the speed and variety of communications. First, I found an excellent spreadsheet on the Eloqua Topliners message boards.

Ouch

The initial spreadsheet worked well for quite a while but as our business processes changed, our pre-flight checklist needed updating.

I suggest building a pre-flight checklist that is custom to your processes but here are a few things that will make a great addition to any list.

Email

From Name, Email Address and Reply-To

There are many resources that suggest not to use noreply.

At the Timberwolves & Lynx, we fansfirst [at] teamname.com . Most of our communications are sent under this alias that goes to a shared mailbox within our fan experience staff. (There is most likely a better way of managing our fanmail via Zendesk or maybe HelpScout any suggestions are more than welcome!)

Our From name is our Team Name, Account Representative Name or someone from our Executive Staff.

Subject Line and Body Copy

Spellcheck, Spellcheck, Spellcheck!

I’ve goofed before and it’s not fun.

Some ESPs don’t have spellcheck functionality built into the Subject Line area. A great way to get around this is to use a browser extension. I use After The Deadline as a backup.

Links

Make sure all your links are working! Nothing is worse than setting everything up and receiving an email like this:

Ouch

Ouch.

Personalization

If you’re utilizing personalization in your emails (and you should!), make sure you have default defaults setup properly and your information is up to date.

Analytics

Depending on how many platforms you use to track your emails. Ensure that your tracking scripts are in place and ready to rock. I use Zurb’s Inliner to help append Google Analytics UTM Tags before sends.

More Details

Depending on your business process, there are most likely more options you need to go through to ensure campaign success.

  • Who is this going to?

Your distribution list should be scrubbed and tested for invalid or duplicate addresses before send. Make sure all stakeholders agree on who should be receiving the communication

  • Event Management

Many of our emails are event invitations. I need to make sure that all the details of the event are finalized and that all the event organizers are on the same page before I hit send. This again might depend on your process but an end to end list can save headaches later on.

What are your steps?

I’ve put together more details and a sample checklist on Google Docs. I’d love to hear thoughts, additions or anything you think is necessary to ensure campaign success.

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