Email Campaign Success Guide & Checklist

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By Sarah Miller    10/12/2021

Typos, bad links, broken images — oh my! You can't 'un-send' an email but you can ensure that future emails shine in the inbox.

Avoid common and sometimes embarrassing mistakes with our easy-to-use Email Campaign Success Guide & Checklist that will help you send your next email campaign with confidence!

Many checklists are solely focused on the sales aspects of email campaigns but our guide will help you send any type of email campaign:

  • HR / Employee Engagement
  • Nonprofits / Fundraising
  • Marketing & Sales

Whether you're sending email campaigns to employees, thank you's to people who support your organization, or emails focused on getting or retaining customers – our email campaign guide & checklist will help ensure your success.

We've covered all the bases – from start to finish – to help you achieve your email campaign goals and get results.

20 Important Things to Check before you Send

While every organization has their own detailed checklists (like using specific logos, fonts and colors or including a privacy policy), our email campaign guide & checklist gives you the most common, critical checks to proof before you send your next email campaign.

Don't make the most common email campaign mistakes!

Guide & Checklist PDF Download



Successful email campaigns start with a clear plan. Be sure to check the following items off your list.

1. Define your email campaign goal: Whether you're sending a birthday email to employees, are promoting an event or are driving a customer towards a purchase, your goal should be clearly defined in a sentence or two.

2. Create email copy that supports your campaign goal: Keep your email copy short & remove content that does not support the goal. Your audience should be able to skim your content and know immediately what it is you are trying to communicate. If your email is actionable, the call to action (CTA) should immediately be clear.

3. Choose your Email List - Decide if A/B Testing: Select the contacts that are appropriate for the email content you are sending. If your email contains a CTA, then you may also want to do A/B testing where you to send two variations of the same email to small samplings of your overall email list. The email that achieves the best open rate and response to your CTA can then be sent to the rest of your email list.

4. Clean & Update your Email List(s): Every time you send an email campaign, you receive valuable feedback such as bounce-backs for bad email addresses and unsubscribes.

It is important to clean your email list because Internet service providers (ISP's) monitor the number of bounced emails from a sender which can affect your email sending reputation.



An email's design is essential to ensuring you have engaged your audience. Your email should be easy to read with well-organized content; and if your email is actionable, it should have a clear "call to action."

5. Design your email so it's visually balanced – easy to skim: Check for consistent fonts, colors and lots of white space to make the email easy on the eyes. Use bolds, bullets and dividers judiciously. If there's a "call-to-action" (CTA), it should be clear to readers skimming the email.

6. If using an email template: Replace default text, logo placeholders and links: It's essential to scan your email to make sure your email template has been changed to your new content. It also reminds you to review your content for readability.

7. Spellcheck and proofread text: By proofreading, you not only catch typos but you ensure that you are communicating your message in as few words as possible while continuing to maintain readability and engaging your audience.

8. Add 'alternative' image text & links if actionable: Use imagery that supports your message and check the text to image ratio to ensure the email communicates your message if someone has images set to not display. Add 'alternative' image text to communicate what the image is about and let the reader know if the image is clickable.

9. Include email personalization: Personalize your email with the person's name and ensure your email content is what they are expecting to receive from you. Sending content people asked for will make it less likely that they will unsubscribe from your email list or report the email as SPAM.

10. If email is actionable - check design for a clear "call to action" (CTA): Consider the CTA link position, color and text. The links in your email should attract attention by being easy to read and it should stand out to the eye when skimming the email's content. Using a button instead of linked text can offer a very clear call to action but it depends on how many links are in your email. A good exercise is to ask a friend to skim your email for 30 seconds and have them tell you what the email is about.

11. Include footer with contact information, social icons, street address & unsubscribe link: What you include in your email footer has a lot to do with your audience and the purpose of the email. A birthday email campaign to employees will be very different than a birthday email sent to customers. Update any links as necessary and make sure you are conforming to applicable email laws.

12. Preview email & test links including CTA: Previewing your email will help you determine if you need final adjustments plus it ensures that your links are going to the right destination – an event sign up form, a survey response form, a product page etc.



The following steps will help ensure that your email message stands out in people's inboxes and gets opened.

13. Create an intriguing & short subject line: Get your reader's attention with a short subject line. The first 50 characters (which is about 4-6 words) needs to communicate why they should open the email. Check for typos and readability.

14. Create preheader text that encourages readers to open the email: Your preheader text is your second chance to entice someone to open your email. It also gives you more space to communicate your message and get creative. Check for readability and typos.

Email campaign subject line and preheader text can encourage opening the email.

15. Send to self or approval group – check display in the email inbox & on devices: Sending an email to yourself will help you see how your subject line, preheader text and email content displays in the email inbox in various email programs and on devices like mobile phones, iPads etc. Make adjustments and finalize your email.

16. Send or schedule for the optimal day/time: Choose the date and time to send your email and then send it at that time or schedule it to be sent. Your optimal day/time might be based on past open behavior or by testing a new day of the week and/or time of the day to see if you get a better open rate. If you are just starting to send email campaigns, you can research statistics for your industry but then use your own statistics to determine the best time. For example: we discovered that sending our email newsletter on Wednesdays at 1pm resulted in the best open rate and you won't see that day/time on anyone's 'best list' for open rates.



How well did your email campaign perform? Statistics help you see who engaged with your content and who didn't so you can plan next steps.

17. Schedule to view your open rate stats in 24-48 hours after sending: It's important to check your open rate stats so you can take notes on what worked and what didn't so you can better plan your next email campaign.

18. Engage further with 'openers': CorpNote's tracking enables you to see who viewed your email, when and how many times. This information helps you plan how you will continue the conversation with the people who viewed your message the most.

19. Resend to 'non-openers': Your email might not be received for a variety of reasons. This is your 2nd chance to reach the inbox. You can try resending on a different day/time or you can review and change your email content if you think it might have been blocked by SPAM filters. Pay attention to the result so you can better plan your next send.

Consider resending an email campaign to non-openers.

20. Check combined open rate stats of the original and the resend: Looking at the overall open rate for your email campaign may help you identify a better day/time to send your next email campaign. If you changed your subject line, preheader text and/or email content on the resend, your resend open rate might help you plan how to approach your next email campaign.

By following this checklist for each email campaign you send, you will gain insight into your contacts behavior so you can continually fine tune your email strategy. Feel free to use our handy checklist on the last page of our Guide & Checklist PDF Download.

If you need help with your email campaign strategy, schedule a demo or give us a call. We are always happy to help!

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Related Topics: Email Campaigns
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