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Complete Your 2021 Email Audit In 4 Easy Steps Now


One of the most important parts of starting a new year, new job, or even a new quarter is to conduct an email audit as an email marketer. It refers to a full assessment of previous (and ongoing) email marketing efforts using various KPIs and determines what’s being done, what isn’t, and how to execute campaigns better. It is an extensive process that helps understand email effectiveness, ROI, engagement, deliverability, and brand association. Conducting an email audit gives insights and answers specific questions that will help you get the most out of your campaigns. 70% of marketers fail in measuring their ROIs, and that’s not a good sign for the highest-rated marketing channel.

(Image Credits)

This is a step-by-step guide to conducting an email audit using time-tested methods from email developers, certified automation experts, and CMOs. Read on to learn more.

#1 Compile And Compare All Email Metrics 

The first step towards the right destination is knowing the right direction. Start with gathering all of the email metrics like open rate, CTR, email list growth rate, conversion rate per email/campaign, churn rate, bounce rate, unsubscription rate, and forwarding rate. You may also evaluate your IP reputation using a complaint rate and any possible blacklisting.

Also, check out your deliverability rate and ensure that your anti spam measures like SPF, DKIM, DMARC, and DNS are set correctly. This might require specialized tools or outside help, but compiling all of these records will help you develop a big picture of  your efforts and the results you are getting out of the emails you send out. While the benchmarks for each of these metrics change from industry to industry, you can use tentative figures as a starting point. For example, a 20% open rate is considered decent while a 15.11% conversion rate is fair.

#2 Review Email Content Creation, Automation Workflows, And Their Parameters

Next, you need to understand whether your email automation is up to date. This includes your personalization, segmentation factors and current audience segments, and list hygiene. The other aspects include sent time and mailing frequency. Apart from these factors, you also need to analyze the transactional email workflows. Email content creation includes the subject line optimization, usage of images, HTML email templates used, mobile optimization, font selection, color palettes, and branded elements. I also recommend cross-checking email addresses and recipient names to remove any duplication, as many people subscribe to mailing lists from more than one email address.

While analyzing your email content, you should also pay attention to preheader text. It should be around 40 characters long and complement your subject lines. If your organization isn’t conducting A/B Split tests, you may conduct them for all aspects of your email content like subject lines, preheader text, and content block curation. CTAs are another aspect that make a huge impact on your emails’ overall performance, so make sure to include them in the split tests as well. 

A sample checklist that you can refer for auditing your emails is given below:

Sender Identity Executive/Team Name
Company domain is used
Subject Line Length is between 40-60 characters
Avoids duplication, personalized
Does not use spammy language
Preheader text present
Preheader text length 35-40 characters
Headline Relevant headline used above email body
The headline describes purpose of sending the message satisfactorily
Email Body Compelling and engaging copy
Includes distinguishable content blocks
Use of proper email fonts and contrast with the email template background
Use of active voice
Focuses on features, advantages, and benefits
CTA Button CTA button is placed at accessible location
The email limits the outbound links (all roads lead to Rome)
Persuasive CTA copy used
Multimedia Features user-generated content to increase social proof
Rich Multimedia doesn’t increase email code weight beyond limits
Alt text is embedded
Branding Elements All brand elements including logo, typefaces, and color palettes are used
Brand elements are consistent with the email color scheme, dark mode email template
Footer Unsubscribe button is clearly visible
Social icons and contact details are clickable, properly visible

Divide the checking process among multiple team members so you can analyze each campaign type–even if their primary function isn’t email marketing. Getting a fresh set of eyes on copy, image, usability and layout can be impactful for revamping email campaigns. 

#3 Analyze Email Templates for Key Goals

Analyze your top-performing emails based on CTR, conversions, and open rate. Identify your biggest successes and build future campaigns based on what works and what doesn’t. A general best practice is to maintain an 80:20 image vs. text ratio (or even less text if possible). This can be tricky for ecommerce stores since they often have a wealth of information to pack in their messages. Thus, it is easier to miss on such points.

Another thing you should look out for in email template analysis is whether all your templates are 600 px wide or not. That’s the ideal width for mobile optimization. Also, keep the email weight on the lower end, with 102kb being the maximum. Gmail clips off any message heavier than 102kb. 

Ensure that all of your emails follow accessibility best practices, including the placement of alt text. Lay enough emphasis on refining the development process since minor shortcomings like skipping alt text will leave your subscribers confused as online stores display multiple products in most of their emails. If you send an email similar to the one below and it faces renderability issues, not having alt text can also lower your future open rates while confusing readers.

One of the important parts of email template design is placing the unsubscribe option in a properly visible position. All of these parameters play important roles in your email template’s technicalities.

One of the more overlooked aspects that should be included in your marketing emails is user-generated content. By embedding social proof directly within the email, viewers don’t have to search for authentic content that helps them imagine their experience with your products. Displaying user-generated content on marketing channels can increase online conversions 2-4x, and gives your emails a personalized touch.

Alo Yoga spotlights Kendall Jenner wearing the brand’s apparel alongside a shoppable UGC gallery of customers sharing their Alo looks on social media. 

#4 Prepare An Improvisation Plan For Your Email Marketing Strategy

Once you go through all of these factors, you can build an improvisation plan. This can be in the form of checklists and guidelines for various team members, including email developers, QA testers, copywriters, automation experts, and email marketing managers. Keep a tab of all metrics and guidelines, as auditing your email marketing operations multiple times over a period reduces any rush at the last moment. 

The aspects that you should be most concerned with as a direct-to-consumer ecommerce marketer should be average emails before a lead converts into a paying client, average life time value of clients, and engagement metrics. Based on your findings, you can make a roadmap for:

  • Email Workflow Automation Improvement Plan
  • Behavioral Targeting
  • Feasibility Of Long Term Use Of Existing ESP 
  • Third-Party Integrations
  • Custom Analytics Dashboards
  • Email Metrics To Be Achieved At The End Of Improvement Period

If you are facing severe problems or backlogs on certain aspects, you can include them as high priority tasks and seek feedback more frequently. I also suggest getting a second opinion from some of your most engaged subscribers known to you personally or through targeted emails. This valuable feedback may disclose potential improvements or mistakes  that would otherwise escape your attention despite all the hard work.

Summing Up

We have looked at the most important parts of running an email audit in 4 steps, but you should remain flexible while conducting one. Every business follows a unique branding strategy and each audience has diverse expectations. You should follow these tips and see what works for you in the longer run. Email audit insights are extremely helpful in understanding what impacts your ROI and how to set priorities. We hope you found this blog on email audits helpful! 

Author Bio: Kevin George is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the largest Email Templates production company which specializes in custom email templates and converting PSD to email templates. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz, and breathes ‘email marketing’. He is a brand magician who loves to engage and share insights with fellow marketers.

Special thanks to our friends at Pixlee for their insights on this topic.
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