The quote, ‘precaution is better than cure’ doesn’t only apply to humans, you need to take care of your email’s health too.
Email audit, just like routine body checkups, is a process of thoroughly examining your email marketing processes. Email Audit is a very broad term comprising many aspects such as:
- Email template design
- Email copy
- Email campaign management
- Measuring the engagement metrics
- Optimizing the opt-in and landing page checkpoints
- Analyzing your email service provider (ESP) capabilities
- Email deliverability and sender reputation
- Email list segmentation and list hygiene
- Email automation, and more
The points mentioned above are just an outline of how deeply-rooted this process is! When email marketing is capable of achieving an ROI of 42:1, you, as a marketer, need to be nothing but efficient while crafting your email marketing campaigns. Only the best ones weave the fruitful crops, and an email strategy that is not fully optimized may leave you dry. Today, we are going to help you with a step-wise guide to conduct an effective email audit. Let’s get started…
Now when we talk about email audit, the process consists of an in-depth assessment of your prevailing email marketing practices. It includes analyzing the existing email workflows, email lists, content, design, and most prominently, campaign performance.
To segregate this broad term into two parts, we would bifurcate email audit into email template audit, and email marketing audit. Looking at all the components of these two bifurcated aspects will help you fine-tune your loose chords (if any). Let’s start with steps…
The email design audit itself is a lengthy but super important one. Whether your choice is a free email template from your ESP or a custom made email template, your need to consider the following aspects in order to assess the design performance.
- Email Layout: Based on your past campaigns, learn about different layouts that have worked for you in the past. While auditing, check and incorporate the latest design trends. Is the visual hierarchy doing enough justice to your images? Straight, zig-zag, grids, or any other layout?
- Size: Are your templates responsive on all email clients, across all devices? Do you need a resizing for mobile layouts or more?
- Type: Are the fonts used in sync with your brand persona? Is the overall look and feel of the layout affected by the fall-back fonts used?
- Copy: Check whether the components like email subject line, preheader text, body content, footer icons, and the text-to-image ratio are optimized for user engagement. What should be the length of the subject line? Is using emojis working for you?
- Graphics: Do you need to change the images? Will incorporating GIFs make a difference? Assess the email loading time, retina-friendliness, and pixels.
- Readability: Evaluate the salutations, personalization tags, and layout that enhance the readability.
- Interactive: Are the sent emails able to generate the desired ROI? How user-friendly and interactive the overall user experience is?
- CTA Buttons: Do the button placements need revisions? Are they appealing enough, size, text, and color-wise?
- Unsubscribe Option: Is the link prominent and actionable for the users to click? Are the sent emails following the CAN-SPAM or other anti-spam guidelines?
- Footer: Are the footer components optimally placed? Do social icons, email signature, or other elements used need improvement to increase engagement?
Once the design part is sorted, shift to yet another salient review process. Measuring your campaign performance will help you understand whether your marketing efforts are helping you achieve the set goals or not.
For this audit, choose three of your email campaigns with high, medium, and low engagement rate. Now start comparing them to identify the pitfalls. Identify the components that work for you such as sending cadence, frequency, CTA buttons, email subject line, template design, ESP, automation, and other email workflows.
Other than that, learn and compare the important engagement metrics like email open rates, click-through-rates, and most importantly conversion rates.
You can use email audit tools for the same. The majority of the ESPs come with a built-in analytics feature to measure the important metrics. Prepare an email audit checklist if you plan on conducting an internal audit. You can also take help from Google Analytics or consult an external email audit service provider who can help you with an impartial and detailed email audit report.
While you measure your email design and campaign structure, don’t forget to take ESP into consideration. A huge part of your email marketing depends on your service providers. The paid and even non-paid versions of many ESPs come with a lot of useful features. A great example of how helpful an ESP can be is the types of customizable email template library it offers. When you browse through free Mailchimp email templates, you will find templates for almost all the occasions and kinds of campaigns you want to design. Salesforce Marketing Cloud also provides great email automation features.
Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself while you evaluate your current ESP:
- Does your current ESP help you reduce the manual work by offering extensive email automation service?
- How effectively can you measure the campaign performance on your ESP?
- Are the ESP features valuable and sufficient for all your customers’ lifecycle stages?
- Is it cost-effective as compared to other providers in the market?
- What kind of customer support they provide?
- Will your existing ESP or plan support your growth in the long run? Is it scalable enough?
- Do you refrain from changing to a new ESP due to migration hassle or is it really good?
You might be able to tick all the above-mentioned audit checklist boxes, but if your email doesn’t reach the user inbox, then consider the efforts gone in vain. Email infrastructure plays a vital role in email deliverability, and at regular intervals, you should examine the following components:
- IP reputation
- Domain Name Service (DNS) record
- Email links
- DMARC or Authentication
There’s not a single aspect in an email audit that you can consider as less important. All the four steps mentioned above are like the pillars to an effective and result-generating email marketing campaign. Follow them to spot any shortcomings available in your emails. Once you know where the problems lie, remedies are just a solution away!