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The Strategic Checklist for Email Success

The Strategic Checklist for Email Success

The key to email success is developing, reviewing and refining a comprehensive strategy. We have defined a checklist of strategic imperatives based on our experience in working with some of the world’s leading organizations to develop and deliver successful email initiatives.

Use this checklist as the cornerstone of your email efforts. If you can address each of these areas with detail and certainty, your email campaigns will most likely be effective and rewarding to you and your audiences.

Brand Affinity

In this age of information overload, people create perceptions of organizations in a split second, and expectations are driven higher with each touch-point. Every aspect of your email marketing campaigns needs to be audited against your brand personality.

Strategies for ensuring your brand is represented and strengthened through your email campaigns.

Message Design: Are your messages accurately reflecting your brand? The design and appearance of your email messages create a lasting impression to your audience.

Relevant Content: Does the content and the tone of the message you communicate through your email campaigns complement and strengthen your core brand messages?

Landing Pages: Can you and do you control the branding of your landing pages and the destinations to which you are sending responders?

Opt-in Processes: Do your opt-in pages and processes accurately present your brand? Remember, first impressions count, and opt-in pages often set impressions and expectations.

Welcome Messages: Do your welcome messages accurately present your brand? Just like opt-in pages, first impressions count, and welcome messages often set impressions and expectations.

Strategic Partners: Can you and are you aligning yourself with valuable partners in order to expand your reach? Try to identify other organizations that can help.


Remember breaking an audience into distinct, more manageable segments that are likely to behave in a similar manner has long been a fundamental principle of marketing.

Email provides for some incredible segmentation power, as well as the ability to truly take advantage of small audience segments that might otherwise be too costly to communicate with.

Segmentation strategies to help you better target, communicate with and create actionable items for various groups within your lists.

Demographics: Are you using every piece of data you have on a person to its fullest? Beyond first name, state, or other basic data, what opportunities can be uncovered by focusing on demographic segmenting?

ClickStream Activity: Are you segmenting based on what a person does after they click on a link? Web site activity can often provide some great segmentation opportunities.

Conversion/Purchase Activity: Can you segment lists based on purchase or conversion history? Try to integrate any conversion data into your segmentation processes. Remember, conversions don’t always need to be purchases.

Gathering Additional Information: Do you have strategies for gathering more data about each of your recipients? After you gain credibility, try asking for a few small bits of information within your email messages.

Email Activity: Are you utilizing email activity to segment? Try segmenting on email opening, click-throughs or repeating behaviors.

Variable Content: Are you providing different segments with different content? Variable content will provide more relevancy and stronger actionable items.

Polling/Survey: Are you taking short polls or surveys with your email recipients? Quick polls often get good responses and let your recipients interact with you.


There are so many changing areas of technical and marketing compliance for which you need to revisit your email initiatives and audit them for compliance.

Compliance strategies that will ensure you are ahead of the curve on legal and best practice issues.

CAN-SPAM: Are you aware of CAN-SPAM regulations and confident you have all of the pieces in place?

Sender ID and SPF Records: Have you published SenderID and SPF records and tested them?

Unsubscribe Processes: Are you confident your unsubscribe processes are consistent, accurate and immediate?

Bounce Management: Are you confident your bounce processes are consistent, accurate and immediate?

Privacy Policy: Have you reviewed your privacy policy for accuracy?


Email marketing creates many specific data points that can be used to gain insight. Understanding what you are capturing and putting that data to its best use can result in continuous success and provide knowledge about your audiences.

Strategies for utilizing metrics to gain insight and drive further success.

ClickStream: Can you and are you looking “beyond the click” at metrics within your Web site or email click destinations? Oftentimes, considerable insight can be gained when you can see where a recipient went after they clicked on a link in an email.

Conversions: Can you and are you looking “beyond the click” at conversions within your Web site or email click destinations? Conversions could be actual purchases, contact forms, or anything that is a “valuable action” for your organization.

The Basics (opens, clicks): Can you look at open patterns and click- through details? Are you comparing messages?

Long-term Trends: Can you and are you looking at message “cycles” over longer periods of time? Often, looking at longer-term trends can give you a different perspective than looking at specific and individual message results.


Because of the immediacy of email data, testing should become an integral part of your email efforts. Knowing what to test, how to test it and what to glean from the results will make your email initiatives perform to their fullest. Consider strategies for gaining insight and optimizing performance of email messages and campaigns. Email is a perfect medium for testing many aspects and gaining results quickly and accurately.

Subject Line: Do you test your subject lines for optimal open rates and activity? Oftentimes, specific variations of subject lines clearly outperform others.

Creative: Do you test different styles of messages with various offers and graphic treatments?

Content: Do you test messages with different content and content types to gain insight on what your recipients are responding to?

Landing Pages: Do you create and direct your audience to different landing pages and review what destinations performed the best? Creatively testing where the click takes them and what that looks and acts like can give you considerable insight.

Segmentation: Can you and do you segment your audiences in creative ways and review any differences in performance or behaviors? Creative segmentation often leads to breakthrough communications.


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