Email Marketing Mistakes to Check and Avoid Checklist


There are a ton more mistakes you can do with your entire email marketing program… but this infographic focuses on the most common mistakes we make before clicking send. We’ve added a few of our own recommendations here before you ever even start building your first email.

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Deliverability Checks

Before we begin, are we set up for failure or success? You should absolutely ensure that you configure your email marketing infrastructure properly.

  1. Dedicated IP – don’t let your deliverability be destroyed by a bad sender on the same IP network of your email service. If you’re sending millions of emails, you want to order a dedicated IP address with your email service provider (ESP).
  2. Inbox Placement – Email platforms will report on how many emails are delivered… but don’t distinguish if the email is sent to the inbox or routed to the junk folder. You must use an inbox monitoring solution to verify your emails aren’t just being delivered to a junk folder, they’re making the inbox.
  3. Deliverability – don’t leave a good email service for a bad one and destroy your deliverability.
  4. Blacklists – make sure your IP address isn’t on a sender blacklist, or else you may get poor deliverability or inbox placement.
  5. Domain – send from and maintain a good email domain so you can build your reputation (along with your IP).
  6. SPF – Sender Policy Framework configuration is a must so ISPs can ISPs can authenticate and will receive your emails.
  7. DKIM – DomainKeys Identified Mail lets an organization take responsibility for a message that is in transit.
  8. DMARC – DMARC is a proven authentication model for ISPs to ensure that your email isn’t a phishing email and that it’s sent from an authorized source.
  9. Feedback Loops – make sure you have feedback implemented so that information from the ISP can be reported back to your ESP for improved email deliverability.

Subscription Checks

Subscriber management is an essential component of a healthy email marketing program.

  1. Permission – don’t get yourself in trouble with ISPs. Ask for permission to email.
  2. Preferences – provide and set expectations on frequency for your subscribers.
  3. Inactives – remove inactive subscribers to reduce unsubscribe complaints and lack of engagement.
  4. Frequency – don’t turn up the frequency so high that your subscribers leave.
  5. Segmentation – have you double-checked the counts and accuracy of your segmentation?

Content Checks

This is where the money is but many companies make some disastrous content mistakes.

  1. Boring subject lines – if you want someone to open, give them a reason! Check out ActiveCampaign’s Subject Line Generator for help.
  2. Proofing – did you proofread your text for grammar and spelling issues? How about the tone of voice?
  3. Strong CTAs – make your Calls-to-Action stand out on mobile or desktop!
  4. FNAME – if you don’t have names for all your subscribers, don’t use a substitution string in your email! Some email service providers offer scripting where you can use a salutation if the first name isn’t available.
  5. Merge Fields – test all your data before sending otherwise mapping and dynamic content will embarrass you.
  6. Backgrounds – test backgrounds across email clients… many don’t use them.
  7. Buttons – use images as buttons so that your buttons look great across all email clients.
  8. Internationalization – are you using the proper language settings and symbols for your subscribers?
  9. Typography – utilize fonts with a fall-back for devices and clients that don’t support them.
  10. Social – do you have links to your social media accounts so people can friend and follow?

Design Checks

  1. Snippet – test the email to see if your first few lines in an email preview are compelling. You can even code the first few lines so they show up on the email client but aren’t visible when viewing your email.
  2. Alt – utilize compelling alternative text with every image.
  3. SSL – ensure your images are hosted via a secure site and accessible externally. We work with several organizations who block images… and when they send an email, their own company can’t even view the images. You’ll want to at least whitelist your image domain internally.
  4. Test – test subject lines, links, CTAs, personalization, authentication, and variations.
  5. Unsubscribes – small fonts and obscured Unsubscribes make me avoid ever doing business with you.
  6. Accordions – incorporate accordions for long, sectioned emails to look great mobile.
  7. Retina – utilize high-resolution images optimized for retina displays that modern Apple devices use.
  8. Responsive – make sure your email looks great on mobile and tablet devices. You may want to add wearables, soon!

Email Send Checks

The mechanics of the email and how it functions when it gets to your subscriber’s inbox can impact your credibility as well as your click-through and conversion rates.

  1. From Address – use a recognizable ‘From Address’
  2. Reply To Address – why use noreply@ when there are opportunities to connect and sell?
  3. Trigger Logically – make sure your drip campaigns are executed logically.
  4. Links – did you test all the links in the email before sending to all subscribers?
  5. Landing Pages – build high conversion landing pages with few form fields.
  6. Reporting – capture stats, analyze them, and improve your email marketing efforts.
  7. Compliance – do you have all the necessary information for full legal compliance in your footer?
  8. Campaign Tracking – do all of your links have analytics campaign tracking appended to them? Many email service providers integrate this automatically.

Download Email Monks’ Quick Review Checklist

If you’re having deliverability issues, don’t hesitate to contact Highbridge. We assist our clients with their deliverability, email design, email inbox placement, and campaign management.



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