Here’s the Ultimate Free Email Newsletter Checklist

BONUS: SAVE YOUR BACON WITH THIS FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER CHECKLIST!
free email newsletter checklist

Ever wished for a free email newsletter checklist? I know I hadn’t. I used to zero in in every single detail there was. Every time.

Until I started packing for my first trip to the US. (What?) Wait for it, I’ll get there.

I was in a packing frenzy, having watched every single video tutorial on How-to-roll-wrap-and-fit-your-entire-life-into-one-sock.

The feeling was not unfamiliar. 

You know, the stress of leaving something behind, something that was intended to fly out with the rest of your stuff, something that had been washed, dried, ironed to crisp, folded, matched – only to be left behind?

Fast forward to the free email newsletter checklist here.

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Email marketers know this feeling a little too well.

We will go through conception stage, to draft, copy, edit, re-write, feedback,  edit, {n times}, feedback, before we finally launch a campaign.

You see, when the email you are crafting reaches a few thousands of subscribers you need to make it count, not make mistakes.

That’s how our email marketing pre-launch checklist was born.

Today we are sharing the email newsletter checklist we swear by, with you.

But consider yourselves warned; everything about this list is over the top.

Here’s an actual representation of what the Moosend team looks like when designing the next campaign:

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(I officially declare this as “Zach Galifianakis” Appreciation Day.)

My team and I are perfectly aware that, when designing campaigns, we are reaching new heights of absurdity every day. Because we are trying out new tools all the time, testing new segment parameters, monitoring behavioral data that inform our Product team’s projects, and so on. These are increasing the likelihood of making a mistake. And as our mailing lists grow, we realize that despite our best efforts, we’re still human after all.  So, you may ask, why invest in email marketing?

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It’s funny to talk about the things that can go wrong, because there is a chance to discourage newcomers. A lot of attention to detail is required to design a newsletter campaign. So, unless you have detail-oriented people on your team, scrutinizing every single aspect of the newsletter, you must keep this free email newsletter checklist next to your mouse pad.

Why should we keep doing this despite the possibility of making a mistake, again? Because we are confident, collected, and composed.

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All with a little extra help from our list.

So, in our ongoing quest to foresee your needs, we are sharing our own newsletter pre-launch checklist.

Here is my team’s ultimate Fear-Of-Missing-Out (FOMO) list for email marketing campaigns:

 

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First things first: Setup stage

There’a lot going on in s marketer’s mind moments before they press “Send” on their newsletter campaigns. To minimize the potential of making a mistake that reflects right back to your brand, here’s a few steps to nail the setup stage:

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Build up your content

Are you designing your campaign from scratch or are you duplicating a previous one? If you are starting from scratch, then look out for typos, coherence, and cohesion. If you are working with a duplicate, check that you have duly updated all 3 major aspects of your email body: 1) title, 2) content, 3) images.

Spelling and punctuation play an important role in every published document and online newsletter campaigns are no exception.

Before you shoot out an email, make sure your spelling is on point and your punctuation is correct. You probably know by now the difference these two often overlooked components make in the intended impact on readers. To run a quick and thorough spell check you can copy paste the email body to an email client that would automatically perform that action for you. Another common tactic in the business industry is to read the text word-for-word, only backwards.

With regard to punctuation, we would recommend that you try to apply “,” (commas) to add “breaths” and pauses for your readers. Last, rely on full stops and remember to break paragraphs to avoid getting your readers’ minds all cluttered up!

 

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Craft your subject line

Again, especially in the case of a duplicated campaign, checking the subject line is essential. Slips of the hand are almost as common as slips of the tongue, plus you can test the effectiveness of your ideas and make sure you don’t lose face while you’re at it. Beyond that, with regard to subject lines, a digital marketer who is performance-oriented should regularly track the progress of their A/B test campaigns. And, since you are only as good as your last performance, here’s our free Subject Line Success tool, Refine. Refine helps you predict the success of your subject line(s). It also compares your score with the rest of the industry you are in, and gives you actionable recommendations for your subject line to improve your open rates.

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Personalize your campaign

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With regard to personalization, the single-click personalization tag is foolproof to use. So that you don’t have to learn it the hard way, it is wise to add a fall-back option for those users/subscribers who either have not set up their settings right or haven’t filled in the respective custom field. (Wondering how to do that? Take a quick scan at this help article here.)

Work your A/B Testing magic

As you probably know by now, A/B testing can occur on two levels of an email campaign: on subject line level, and content level. This means that when A/B testing, we either look for what generates higher open rates (subject line A/B testing) or what gives us higher click-through potential (content A/B testing). Since we get to pick the percentage of our list participating in the A/B test, as well as the time during which this lasts- now, we must exercise our hyper-check processes to ensure that everything is on schedule.

Choose your sender wisely

What is the voice of this newsletter? Which audience (segment) are you addressing? These questions will help you determine what the appropriate sender is from your list of senders. For those of you who have set up multiple senders on your Moosend account, it is important to match more personable emails with the actual sender (e.g. “Ine from Moosend”) rather than “Moosend Newsletter”).

Should there be a no-reply address?

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Spoiler alert: you shouldn’t, because you’re blocking traffic.

Sending from a no-reply or unmonitored email address is not considered a marketing tactic.

The point of having a “reply-to” address is for your subscribers to know:

a) who is reaching out to them, and

b) that this is not a monologue, but a conversation.

This will help elicit higher user engagement. That’s why it would only be a polite way to establish communication with your audience by allowing them to reply back to you.

Remember to toggle between senders, depending on the content of the campaign each time. For example, we use “Moosend Newsletter” and “Ine from Moosend” in different occasions.

Get moving: Set your lists right

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Are you battling with the next step? Really, it is easy. Decide who you are reaching out to.

Send to the right lists / right segments

We can’t stress this enough: You can’t be all things to all people. So, before you design your campaign, determine who you will be addressing. Ensure you are sending the right campaign to the right lists and the right segments. (Don’t have any segments? Then you are sending email blasts. See how this is damaging your deliverability score.) Pick out one of your lists or even segment a specific audience out. For example, you could send an email campaign to those who didn’t open last week’s special offer newsletter. Whatever you do, design and copy with a defined audience in mind.

Always update your lists

Another consideration -quite important one, really- is to update your lists. For some users, this is an automated procedure and lists are updated on the reg. Other users choose to export their lists and import them to their Moosend account every once in a while. Whichever group of users you find yourself in, you cannot afford to overlook this crucial step!

Subscribers Opt-In

As you proceed with your list settigns, check that your contacts are opted-in. On Moosend, you can set your every list to single, double, or soft double opt-in. This is an one-off process, in most cases.

Get fancy: Add the deets and style them

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Consider adding a title inside

Different from a subject line in that a title can complement the meaning or bear stand-alone meaning, it is important to see whether your title fulfills its purpose. Send a test email, experience the message for yourself and make changes accordingly.

Check your buttons

Are your buttons connected to the proper link? If you duplicated the campaign, triple-check whether any of the old links got left behind. If you are half as OCD as we are, check the corner radius of every button to be equal to that of the rest.

Links and UTMs

Again, check the links to be on point and make sure that you have UTMs for every link. You’ll have the opportunity to test these in a little while.

Are your alt-tags in place?

Alt-tags are alternative texts which show in an image in an email. Use alt-tags proactively for the event that an email client blocks your images out. This way, even if your image does not appear, there will be a “fall-back” text in its place, informing the recipient what that placeholder stands for.

Add an Unsubscribe button

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It’s all fun and puns until someone unsubscribes. As a matter of fact, the Unsubscribe button is not a link we add manually any more. We have made “Unsubscribe” part of our Clone Block footer. You see, with all these design considerations, occasionally some things might fall through the racks. This is how we came up with the idea of requesting Clone blocks from our deliverability team. What is a Clone Block? A fully customizable block that we simply drag and drop to the bottom of our email design. Simply set up this block so that you don’t have to design the same sections time and again.

Oh, and what if you forget the Unsubscribe button in your clone block for footer design? Our Product team saw that coming so they rolled out an Editor feature that notifies you that your design is an Unsubscribe link short, and automatically adds one to it.

Are your images and GIFs the right size?

When you drag and drop images to Editor, you can choose between Natural Size and Full width. If your image or GIF is smaller in width, chances are it will stretch in your newsletter design.

So, check all images and GIFs with both modes and choose the one that looks best.

Your designer could be one candidate for this role, but it’s always good to have more people check out the same content.

Your social share/follow buttons need you

Your social media share and follow buttons could also be part of your Clone block (footer) as are ours. In case they aren’t, it is important to make sure they are always there and that the links work. And remember you can choose from a variety of styles so don’t mind spending a few more minutes to create that immaculate email!

Update your contact details

Don’t mean to come out as show-offs, but we have one less thing to worry about. See, this is part of our Clone block footer as well! So, we don’t really check this part for accuracy. In case you haven’t set up your Clone Block yet, you should make sure your contact details are up-to-date and no typos appear.

Are you mobile and tablet-friendly?

What will your newsletter design look like on mobile or tablet? If you chose an email design from our Template Library, then skip reading this because everything there is mobile responsive. When designing your email from scratch, simply check the box “Cascade all blocks for responsiveness”. Top it all off with the ultimate check; send a test campaign to various mobile devices.

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Get it right: Test it out

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Take your email out for a spin

We first send a test email (through our Send Test feature) to all members of our team. We submit feedback and then it is time for our test campaign!

The moment of truth: Send a test campaign

As soon as you are done checking the test email, it’s time to send a test campaign. Set up a “Marketing test list” and send your test campaign to major email client mailboxes. This time, you will receive the campaign in your inbox so you can view it as one of your subscribers of that list!

Get it off the ground: Those final touches

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Scheduled campaigns and Time zone

Schedule a campaign for any place in the world, and make sure it gets there at the right time! With our time zone setting, you simply select the time zone your campaign should belong to and set it up accordingly! This feature on our Campaign Editor is particularly handy, especially if you are an agency managing multiple accounts on behalf of your clients.

Announce campaigns

Get the word out; notify your social media networks that your latest newsletter is out there. Craft a benefit-oriented message to share with your audience and engage more people!

Get ahead aka “This is insanity, Max!”

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Set a reminder (for your scheduled campaign)

Ok, this is the “Twilight Zone” Checklist bit, where we set a reminder on our phones to check the scheduled campaign once again before it goes off. We know.

Look for image typos

Unfortunately, there is no spellchecker for images. Until there is, we will be obsessing over virtually invisible typos or slips of the hand before we hit that little blue button!

Are you on the list?

If, despite it all, a typo or other mistake still appears, make sure your email is on the list. This way, you’ll find out quickly and can set up a follow-up email or can craft a quick reply message.

Hit the Send button

That’s all! Now you’re all sharp and cool!

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Any questions? Remember, if you need anything:

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