A Complete Step-by-Step Guide to an Email Audit:
What It Is and Why You Need It
A lot of marketers struggle with their email marketing audit. They’re unsure what to send in emails, when to send them, and how often they should be sent. We’ve put together a step-by-step guide on auditing your emails and ensuring you’re still reaching the people who want to hear from you.
It’s not enough for your emails just to be sent anymore; they need to contain content that is compelling and offers something of value for them even to receive a second glance. The days of “please buy our product” are over; if you don’t have an offer to help people improve their lives or business, then there’s no reason anyone would open your email or click through any links.
That is why it’s time to take a deep dive into your email marketing. This blog post will guide you through the steps required to set up an email audit for your own company. We’re here to help you learn how much of your email list is inactive, what campaigns are performing well, which ones need some improvement, and how to make the most out of your email marketing.
Ready? Let’s go!
What Is an Email Audit?
An email audit can be defined as a document that provides an in-depth analysis of the “health” of your current email marketing campaign within a specified time frame. The purpose of conducting a successful email audit is to define your business goals clearly and make important decisions based on data collected. It also provides marketers with deep analytics to help them create better campaigns.
What Is the Purpose of Auditing Your Emails?
Email marketing audits have become an essential process for ensuring successful strategies. An email audit can identify problems and errors in a campaign and the strengths of your company’s overall performance, giving you the chance to fix issues and improve future results.
An email audit is a great way to get your digital house in order. It helps you determine if everything is up and running smoothly, such as whether your emails are engaging your customers. You can then use this information to make any necessary changes to prevent future issues. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Content Creation, Email Marketing Campaigns, and Email Templates
Creating Top-Notch Content
Your email marketing strategy is a delicate balance between creating content and seeing it through to completion. It’s important to understand your workflow, including how emails are created from the concept through realization. At this stage of our audit process, we should look into the following points:
- Concept creation: After considering the desired tone of voice for your email campaign, you may want to consider who will be crafting it and how long they need. A simple design can take an hour, but fundamental campaigns will require more resources, staff, and time if many parts need particular care or attention before being finalized.
- “From” field: The sender’s email address should be specified in the “From” field. Include your company domain so that users know who is sending them an email.
- The subject line and preheader: The subject line is your chance to stand out from the crowd. Make it personalized, keep it within 60 to 70 characters, and link it to the preheader so that they know what you’re sending about without having read through their entire inbox.
- Email Structure: To make sure your email is professional, it should consist of three blocks: a header with the company logo or menu bar, a body that outlines key offers, and a footer with contact information, an unsubscribe button, and clickable icons for your social media handles.
- Call To Action: A call-to-action button is the best way to get your message across. No more than two CTAs are needed, and they should urge customers to take targeted actions like purchasing or subscribing to emails.
- Images: Attention to detail is important, especially when it comes to images. The alt text should always be visible in case the actual image does not load properly. Images need to be .png files with less than 200 KB of size, so they load faster in your email — make sure you use this format correctly for the best results.
Check the Effectiveness of Your Email Marketing Campaigns
To get a sense of what campaigns are working for your company, it’s important to take note not just of successful ones but also those that did poorly.
Individually: When you’re a solo email marketer, you may already keep track of which campaigns you delivered over the year and how well they succeeded.
Company: If you work for a bigger organization like EmailSoldiers, and various teams send emails from the same MAP, you can track which business-as-usual (BAU) campaigns were sent. For instance, EmailSoldiers sent out BAU campaigns and kept track of who received them and how they performed. Moreover, you should note the outcomes — and the winner, if the campaigns were part of an A/B test. Another useful tool for checking the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign is using UTM tags.
Include the following columns in your spreadsheet:
- The name of the email campaign
- The deployment date (or dates)
- A list of segments or targets
- A/B test of the subject line (if required)
- The total emails delivered
- High bounce rate
- Low bounce rate
- Exceptional open rate
- Unique click-through rate
- The ratio of clicks to opens
- The rate of unsubscribes
- The rate of conversion (if required)
This is a report on your email campaigns, including automated ones for the whole year. Depending on how many metrics you want in this email marketing audit, you can decide which columns to include and remove. With 12 months worth of data from each campaign, it’s easy to see which ones were more successful than others.
Create Accurate Email Templates
No matter how good your campaign template is, it will only work if every key design element has been accounted for. This includes putting in place all necessary parts like an object or footer with relevant information, verifying everything from the sender’s name, designing a CTA button, making sure there are no spelling mistakes, and more.
When analyzing a template, it is important to check these nine elements:
- Sender’s name: Your email’s sender name must be clear to tell recipients who sent the message. They are more likely to report junk mail or spam if they believe it came from someone with an unclear address.
- Subject: The length of your subject line should be short. It should be clear and concise with no spam words.
- Preheader: The preheader is the first thing that comes before your main header. It should not only provide helpful information but also alert senders when their emails are opened.
- Title: To ensure your title is effective, it should catch the eye and tell people what they are about to read. It needs to be simple yet creative so that there’s no confusion on where the content will take them next.
- Email Body: To get the best results, ensure your email is mobile-friendly and not too long. Check that all of its copy fits correctly with what you want to say and that there are no typos. It should also have a good style in line with branding.
- Logo: Make sure your branding is visible. When a user clicks on the logo, they should be directed directly to your website.
- CTA: Ensure there’s a CTA button and that it’s prominently displayed. Additionally, make sure the CTA buttons are in HTML to avoid any issues with their presentation.
- Media: Ensure the images are attractive, have alt text, and are not too large.
2. Infrastructure, Segmentation, and Lists
In this step of the email marketing audit, you will check the email infrastructure structure, segmentation, and lists. Again, this helps you make strategic decisions about creating new content for other groups or targeting existing members with other email campaigns.
Check the Settings in the Infrastructure of the Email
The technical side of your email is what we’ll be focusing on for this step. Take a look at the infrastructure and make sure everything’s in order:
1. IP Reputation: This is the estimated behavior quality shown by an IP address. There are so many ways of finding an IP address’ reputation. You can get spam complaint reports from ISPs. Microsoft Smart Network Data Services will show subscribers’ feedback on the emails they receive.
Sender score calculators and blacklist checking tools are also available for this purpose, such as SenderScore.org.
2. Links: Ensure all links are active.
3. DNS: Double-check the DNS to make sure it is correct.
4. Authentication: Ensure your emails are DKIM-verified and check that your SPF records and DMARC settings are correct. Emails are spoofed to present the content within them from some other source or containing information for another topic. To protect from this, DKIM verification is essential. E.g., Gmail uses default verification.
You can check the DKIM standard here and set it accordingly.
For added security on your emails, set up the SPF and DMARC as well.
5. Security: By taking a proactive approach and incorporating email security in your company’s information technology policy, you will be able to maintain compliance with federal mandates, ensure the security of sensitive data, information is transferred safely, and quality for your mailing list is maintained. This way, when it comes time for an audit, you will be able to prove that all essential safeguards are in place. An email security audit will ensure that your organization is managing its risk appropriately through the use of multi-factor authentication, encryption, and compliance with industry standards.
Are the Segmentation and Lists Effective?
Now is a great time to consider whether you need more lists if the currently available ones aren’t enough. You can also plan what will happen with these segments once they’ve been tested, and make sure everything goes smoothly before rolling out an additional batch. Ask yourself:
- Which one is the main segment? The marketing program you use can be split into different segments, but it’s important to know the main focus.
- What are the performance metrics for each segment?
- What improvements can you bring about?
- Are new segments needed?
3. Database, Engagement, Deliverability, and Privacy
How Has the Database Changed Over a Specific Timeframe?
You can use a marketing automation database, a marketing automation platform, or an email service provider for this step. Check the following factors:
- Total unique contacts
- Total marketable contacts
- Total emailed contacts (marketable) in the last 3, 6, and 12 months
- Total marketable contacts with zero activity in the last 3, 6, and 12 months
- Total emails delivered
- Total new contacts
- Total contacts reduced
What Are the Engagement Metrics?
Listening to the pulse of your contacts is an important part of building a contact base. This will allow for better insights into their level of interest in certain campaigns, which can be used as feedback or input when designing future communication initiatives. It may also provide insight about any inactive clusters within this group — if it turns out that some emails have never been responded to because the recipient wasn’t interested at all (or not enough), then reactivating them could make sense.
Are Deliverability and Privacy Measures in Place?
Having your contacts miss emails is the equivalent of losing potential sales. Deliverability analytics should be an essential best practice in any successful email marketing audit.
To stay in compliance, it is necessary to verify that your email campaigns don’t violate privacy regulations. Check each update and make sure the acquisition process for users and profiles is 100% compliant with all laws.
4. Improvement Plan
Email auditing is not the easiest thing to keep up with, but it’s worth all of your time and effort. To improve your email practices, make these changes depending on what needs improving:
1. Prepare for A/B testing by creating new hypotheses about how different subject lines, content, or sender names will affect user behavior.
2. Test variant subject lines.
3. Search for technical errors and change the email infrastructure if required.
Tools You Might Need
Have a look at the following tools you can use for your email audit:
1. Email Service Provider: This tool will help you create email marketing campaigns — for instance, Gmail, ProtonMail, Outlook, etc.
2. Google Analytics: Google Analytics is a great way to track the success of your email campaigns. The tool allows you to measure users’ journeys after they arrive at your website from an email. So, make sure that when creating links in those messages, you also include UTM tracking codes for added insight on whether people are clicking through with any traffic going directly onto your site.
3. PowerPoint and PDF — two of the most popular presentation formats to present your email marketing audit. The use of this format ensures that every aspect is given attention, from report design through graphics, making it easier for presenters and observers alike.
4. Pabbly Email Marketing: The service provides email monitoring services, including a marketing automation feature.
The Last Word
Email auditing is the process of checking email content for accuracy, usability, and optimal performance. Here are a few key points if you want to take a more hands-on approach with email auditing:
- Get organized before starting your email audit.
- Determine which metrics you will be measuring.
- Write down benchmark goals.
- Engage in regular reporting.
- Perform periodic analysis of results.
- Make sure your email marketing audit is compliant with spam laws and other such regulations.
- Ensuring that the email platform’s coding and architecture are up to par.
- Checking the performance of the content against goals.
- Checking for proper data management so that emails aren’t sent to people who have opted out.
In conclusion, email auditing is a great way to improve your email marketing strategy. It is important to look past the numbers and focus on the content, infrastructure, and click-through rates.
Reviewing these factors will help you determine what is working for your email campaign and what needs improvement. If you find that something is not performing well, it’s time to make some changes. You have to remember that email marketing should be a continuous process because conditions are always changing.
If you follow this guide for email auditing, you’re sure to see an increase in your email marketing strategy’s effectiveness. Furthermore, after completing this article on email audits, hopefully, you’ll have increased confidence in your abilities as an email marketer or business professional!