[This post has been updated on 3rd June, 2022]
“The only thing worse than being blind is having a sight but no vision” – Helen Keller
That’s exactly the case with email marketing practiced without any audit.
It is interesting to know that approximately 74% of client-side marketers consider email as an ‘excellent’ or ‘good’ marketing channel. Carrying out an ‘email marketing audit’ helps you to measure the performance of your email marketing strategy and make the most of it.
So many marketers overlook this approach thinking that it is not worth their time and money. However, the fact is that email audit can enlighten the marketers about the shortcomings in their strategy and help them make the necessary amendments.
Importance of Conducting Email Marketing Audit – It helps you bring a vision
An email marketing audit can come to your rescue if you are facing any challenges or if you want to rediscover new opportunities with your email campaigns. It paves new avenues for you to try and test. Businesses usually prefer a quarterly email audit approach. However, if the number of emails that make up your strategy is too low, you can consider a half-yearly approach for the audit.
It is debatable whether you should perform an internal audit or an external audit. But, an external audit is more beneficial in the following aspects:
- You can receive impartial inputs from an expert professional.
- An external audit considers the latest trends and gives the organization a direction or vision to invest in.
- Trivial things go unnoticed when audited internally.
Let’s take a simple example. It is advisable to use live text instead of slicing fonts in email. This could seem an unimportant fact, but it goes a long way in enhancing the subscriber experience.
- When new legal policies are rolled out, an audit can let you recognize how and to what extent you need to modify your strategy. Remember GDPR implemented on 25th May 2018? If you are not yet sure if your emails are GDPR-compliant, an audit can figure it out for you.
By running an email campaign audit, you can take important decisions like upgrading to a new email service provider, improving deliverability or changing the day/time of send. Moreover, it allows you to have an exhaustive understanding of what’s working for your emails and what isn’t. Through the conclusions derived from the email audit reports, you can improve your business outcome by revising the key elements of your email marketing strategy.
Factors included in Email Audit
Many clients who approach agencies for email audit are not sure of the parameters included in it.
Email Uplers is an full service email markeging agency which provides extensive email audit, some of the criteria that they keep in mind are shared below:
- What is the current trend in the email industry?
They go through the emails and share the elements that are most relevant for that particular industry, based on the latest trends. This information is more likely to bring good results for the clients.
Let’s say, for one of the clients, typography is working better than plain fonts like Times New Roman. They should design emails keeping this fact in mind.
- What kind of CTAs contribute to the better performance of the email campaigns?
The audit experts have a close look at the kind of CTAs that drive subscribers to visit the website.
It could be rounded buttons, CTAs using first person narratives, a specific color in the CTA text, etc.
- Does the email design instill trust?
Even a glimpse of the email should build credibility and instill trust in the minds of the subscriber.
The audit helps in verifying whether the brand guidelines are being met.
Foundation Stones of Email Audit
The most frequently asked question regarding email audit is this- How do we gauge the email marketing performance?
So, here’s a sneak peek into the same.
A subscriber list is the most important part of email marketing. The first concern is to determine whether the email list is organically built or purchased. Purchased lists seldom perform well on the charts of email metrics as you do not have explicit consent to send them any marketing email communication. It is, therefore, advisable to have a prominently placed sign up form on your website or promote informative downloadable resources as gated content to get more subscribers.
Pro-tip: Carry out regular email list cleaning to maintain proper list hygiene and enhance deliverability.
Email marketing does not work if your email does not reach the right set of people. An audit checks the email list and ensures that it has been segmented based on the right criteria. Taking into account the industry and type of business, it can suggest the best segmentation parameters that would work for you.
For example: If you are a retail store owner, you should segment on the basis of age, sex, and geographic location. This will give you a better chance of conversion through personalization by creating more relevant ‘promotional’ emails.
Here’s a real-life example to inspire you.
Formaggio Kitchen has a long signup form, but it is the perfect example to enable smart segmentation.
I received this email because I expressed my interest to receive regular updates on weekly dinner menus. This implies that they have added me in that particular mailing list.
Sender name and email address
Have a trustworthy name and email address as the email sender. Rather than sending an email with an unrecognizable name and a no reply email address, it is always better to have your brand name as the sender name with the email address ‘email@example.com’ or ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
No reply email addresses evoke the feeling that the sender is least interesting in hearing from the subscriber and that certainly impacts the email performance.
Check out the example below
Subject lines and preheader text
If your emails are not bringing the desired open rates or if the email opens are consistently below average, the main suspect is bad subject lines. An email audit carefully analyzes the subject lines by exporting the email campaign reports and deduces the findings based on the subject line best practices.
Another culprit for low open rates is the absence of pre-header text. Marketers often send emails with the preheader text – ‘View this email in browser’. That is certainly a waste of content space. Based on this information, the audit experts share their recommendations in different stages according to the priority of their execution.
Uncommon Goods does a good job at drafting concise subject lines with interesting preheader text – “Did you get your Father’s Day gift yet?”
Subject line: Morning, sunshine!
Pro-tip: Personalization and emojis in subject lines are the growing trends that email enthusiasts look forward to seeing in the future emails, not to forget a preheader text that elaborates the subject line.
Your click-through rates rely on your email content. It is, undoubtedly, the age of visual marketing but RELEVANT CONTENT combined with appealing visuals is what your subscribers look for. An audit considers the top performing email campaigns of the concerned brand to ascertain what kind of email copy resonates the best with the target audience.
In most of the cases, a succinct copy that delivers value to the reader along with some visuals (only if needed) is the safest bet.
Airbnb sets a good example of enticing copy supported by related visuals.
Design of the email
The expert professionals have a sharp eye for spam triggers and designing flaws. They are enlisted below.
- Unnecessarily flashy emails
- Non-adherence to branding guidelines
- Skewed text to image ratio
- No alt text for the images
- Too large email size
- Missing unsubscribe button
- Inaccessible emails
- Some coding pitfalls that lead to rendering issues in some email clients
Your email design should be attractive, but you should not underestimate the importance of creating responsive emails to cater to mobile users. Having designed 60,000+ templates, Email Uplers has an extensive experience in sharing the best insights as per the industry standards.
Pro-tip: Your CTA placement and design matters a lot when it comes to driving high click-through rate and conversions.
Let’s be practical and honest. There cannot be a ‘best’ time to send emails. It is a subjective concept. Past performance and industry average help to determine an appropriate (we are not using the word ‘best’) send time that can get you better open rates and click-throughs.
Pro-tip: A/B testing can come in handy to eliminate any uncertainty about what will work the best for your email campaigns.
Many email marketers follow the approach of ‘batch and blast’ emails five days a week. That is one of the most damaging email marketing practices. Inform the subscriber right at the outset (in the welcome email or during the time of signup) when can they expect an email from you, or maintain a consistent email sending schedule.
For example: If you send out an email every Friday at 9 PM, your subscribers are surely going to appreciate the consistent marketing strategy that you follow.
An email audit helps you find answers to questions like:
- How many of your emails are landing in the inbox of your subscribers?
- What is the IP being used to send an email?
- How good is the delivery rate of your campaigns?
Wrapping It Up
Your email audit will guide you through the roadmap to creating better emails. Be it building the email list (acquisition stage), setting up well-designed email campaigns (nurture stage), or optimizing your emails for unmatched results (grow stage), Email Uplers can take care of it all.
It all depends on whether you have the time and resources to run an audit or not.
The bottom line is doing an audit is crucial and you can think of approaching external audit experts to help you out.
A detailed email audit can cost you $499.
…BUT you can test it for free >>