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News Nine Questions to Ask Before Hitting ‘Send’

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Your email campaign is almost ready to go – you have a targeted audience and your images and text are in the email template. But, before you hit Send, take a minute to ask yourself these nine questions:

Preview Text: What is the preview text for the email?

Well-written preview text captures the essence of your email and encourages people to open it. It’s almost as important as the subject line so it’s often called the “second subject line.”

Before hitting Send, make sure your preview text has the right text to grab your recipients’ interest.

Here’s an example from my Gmail inbox:

example of preview text from Gmail

Images:  If images are turned off, is essential information still visible?

Ensure that all essential information is in live text rather than embedded in images. Some email clients, including Outlook and Yahoo, disable images by default. So, your main message remains hidden until the user downloads images.

Is the alternative text in each image descriptive enough?

Check that your images contain descriptive alt text: text that appears in the image container if images are disabled. Alt text describes the image to users and is read by screen readers and other types of text-to-speech software.

Before hitting Send, double check to see that all essential information is in the email text and that images are adequately described.

Links:  How many links are in the email and does each serve a clear purpose?

Your emails should contain as few links as possible. Before hitting Send, review each link and determine its need to be included. There is no magic number for how many links to include – a newsletter-style email generally has more links than a promotional email, for example. In either case, minimize the number of links to avoid clutter and confusion.

Readability:  Is the email easy to read?

Before hitting Send, look at the font type, size, and color in your email. Is the font large and easily readable? Is there a clear hierarchy in your email to make it easy for people to scan? Is there enough contrast between the font color and the background color?
Also, notice the use of white space in your email (the space between paragraphs and lines of text, the margins of your email, etc.). Having enough white space is crucial for readability.

Unsubscribe:  Is the unsubscribe link large, easily visible, and easy to click on?

You would rather someone unsubscribe from your email than mark it as spam. Ideally, your unsubscribe button is at the very bottom of your email with a lot of whitespace around it. Don’t hide it in the middle of footer text.

Before you hit Send, make sure Unsubscribe is easy to locate and click on.

Here is a simple example:

example of a good unsubscribe button

Message:  What is the message of the email? Is it clear what you want the user to do?

Before you hit Send, read your email out loud to determine if it’s written in a conversational tone that’s easy to understand and whether your readers will get the message you are trying to convey. As an added bonus, reading the email aloud can also help you find missed typos.

Rendering:  Does your email look good on mobile and on the top email clients your customers use?

To find the top email clients your contacts use, check the ‘Top Domains’ report in Watson. Send test emails to yourself to check rendering for these top email clients. Or, talk to your account manager about the Email Insights tool in Watson. It lets you check rendering across 30+ email clients, tablets, and mobile devices.

Before you hit Send, make sure your email will render properly across multiple devices and email tools.

Success:  How will you determine the success of this email?

Everyone determines success differently. Before you hit Send, know which metric you will use to gauge success.

As a general guideline, if it’s a promotional email, revenue numbers in Insight will be the main metric you use to gauge success. If it’s a non-promotional email, such as a newsletter, open rates, click-through rates, replies, and website traffic are key metrics to look at.

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Tyler Maynard
VP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research

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Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions

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