How an Automated Pre-Send Checklist Helps the Whole Email Team
Strategy, copywriting, design, development, list segmentation – a lot goes into launching a new email marketing campaign. Experienced marketers know that thorough email testing before you hit send can save the day. But sometimes, the email team is in such a hurry to move forward and so excited to see results, people skip important steps in the pre-deployment process. An automated pre-send checklist helps your team … Continued
Strategy, copywriting, design, development, list segmentation – a lot goes into launching a new email marketing campaign. Experienced marketers know that thorough email testing before you hit send can save the day.
But sometimes, the email team is in such a hurry to move forward and so excited to see results, people skip important steps in the pre-deployment process. An automated pre-send checklist helps your team thoroughly test every campaign, ensuring costly mistakes won’t slip through the cracks.
It’s easy to think of automation as some sort of inhuman robotic program or artificial intelligence that’s coming for our jobs. Well, you never know to be honest. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Sometimes automation brings teams together, streamlining processes so that we are more efficient and effective. That’s what an automated pre-deployment checklist like Campaign Precheck does for email teams.
Email checklists: Manual vs. Automated
It’s almost time to hit send. Where’s your email checklist? What if it’s just a process document sitting somewhere in the cloud, or a print-out that the email team is supposed to hang in their workspaces? Are you sure that your written email checklist is actually being used?
One eye-opening finding from that survey was the fact that, out of the 52% of teams that have a documented email checklist, only 43% use a state-of-the-art platform like Email on Acid’s Campaign Precheck, while the remaining 57% test emails manually.
What is your current process for email pre-deployment testing?
The vast majority of teams with manual pre-deployment email checklists rely on the practice of sending test emails to colleagues who open and review them on different clients, devices, and browsers to make sure everything looks okay.
If that sounds a bit lacking in efficiency and accuracy to you … you’re not wrong.
Manual email testing relies on human beings to do everything right every time. As much as you may trust your colleagues, it’s not realistic to expect perfection. People have bad days, are forgetful, get distracted, and make mistakes.
It also seems that the more people you add to the equation, the more likely it is that email mistakes will occur. Our Email Errors survey found that email team size is correlated to a higher number of mistakes. Teams of six to 10 were much less likely to report a mistake-free 12 months than smaller teams. The numbers weren’t quite as bad for teams of 11 or more, but those extra-large teams were also the ones most likely to be using state-of-the-art pre-deployment testing tools.
How many error emails has your team sent in the past 12 months?
It’s not hard to understand why this happens. There could be too many cooks in the kitchen making too many last-minute adjustments. Or, team members may ignore potential problems, assuming someone else will take care of it or that it’s someone else on the team’s responsibility.
A big benefit of an automated pre-send checklist is that it creates a consistent, repeatable process that teams of any size can use to test every email campaign. Machines and software only make mistakes when people program them incorrectly.
An automated pre-send checklist doesn’t do all the work for the email team. Rather, it keeps pre-deployment testing on track while empowering your team to do even more. With the pre-deployment process streamlined, and “send button anxiety” eliminated, marketing specialists, designers, and developers can focus on strategy, creativity, and innovation.
How email teams use an automated pre-send checklist
In our special report Email Marketing and the Next Normal, we covered all the ways our jobs and lives changed because of the global pandemic as well as other events of 2020. Those changes include the way email teams work together.
Let’s take the imaginary email marketing team pictured above as an example.
They used to gather around a laptop during pre-deployment testing to check out the latest email before it launched. But now, everyone is working remotely from home offices. Since they aren’t in the same building anymore, the process for reviewing and improving new templates or promotional campaigns is different, and sometimes a bit more challenging.
Thankfully, this isn’t just any stock photo of an email marketing team. This is a stock photo of an email marketing team that uses Campaign Precheck. Here’s how it works:
The Email Marketing Specialist
This ambitious email marketing specialist came up with an exciting concept for a holiday-themed promotional campaign. He’s done the audience research, worked with copywriters and designers, picked subject lines to split test, and it’s almost time to launch.
But first, he’ll use an automated pre-send checklist to make sure everything is ready to go.
End-to-end content checks in the Email on Acid testing platform let him optimize inbox display, run a final check for spelling errors and profanities, validate the URLs for every link, and even catch issues with deliverability or accessibility.
As he walks through Campaign Precheck’s automated process, he’ll be prompted to make changes and sees visual cues tracking his progress through the checklist.
While using the automated pre-send checklist, this marketer realized he forgot to take advantage of pre-header text to support his subject lines. If there are other issues that he’s unable to handle, he can pass them along to the right team member.
The Graphic Designer
Let’s say our marketing specialist also notices some problems he needs a graphic designer to address.
There are some color contrast issues that are impacting email accessibility and a couple of graphics are too large, which could affect load time and negatively impact subscriber engagement as a result.
So, the email marketing specialist pings the designer and requests some compressed or resized graphics. Campaign Precheck also called out accessibility adjustments, which ensure the email is ADA compliant. The designer quickly makes updates, and the pre-deployment process keeps trucking.
The Email Developer
After making final tweaks to design, copy, and inbox display, the pre-send process moves to the email developer.
She’s pretty sure her code is rock-solid as usual, but you never know how some email clients will render HTML. Thankfully, this developer can trust Email on Acid’s email previews, which provide screenshots revealing how her code renders on more than 90 different clients and devices.
The developer uses the platform’s Email Editor to make real-time code changes without bouncing back and forth between the ESP and the testing tool. She can also preview the email as many times as needed. Email on Acid offers unlimited testing on every one of our plans.
The Sr. Email Marketing Manager
Finally, the email team shares previews and test results with the boss. They message the Sr. Email Marketer with shareable links that send her straight to the specific email client previews they need her to check out.
If there’s something she doesn’t like about how the email looks in Outlook, she may offer some advice. If there’s a problem with Thunderbird, she may tell her developer not to worry about it, since that’s a tiny segment of the list.
Beyond the benefits of the automated pre-send checklist, managers can also take advantage of Email on Acid’s team management features. This gives our Sr. Emai Marketing manager the ability to create custom user roles, control access to specific folders, and more!
Deliver email perfection with an automated pre-send checklist
An automated pre-send checklist has many other key advantages for email teams. That includes saving you time, reducing stress, and taking on many of the challenges of the ever-changing email marketing world.
Ultimately, the most important reason to invest in pre-send email testing is your subscribers. They’ve given you permission to reach out to them through a very personal channel – their email inboxes. They deserve the best email experience possible.
Email on Acid offers the world's most comprehensive and flexible automated email pre-deployment platform. Developers, marketers, and enterprise organizations deliver email perfection, achieve efficiencies, improve marketing ROI, and protect brand reputation. Co-founded in 2009 by industry thought leader John Thies, Email on Acid was born out of a desire to make email marketing better for everyone.