Create a pre-send checklist

Business Benefits

Ensure you send the right email to the right audience, mistake-free.

Walk through the current email workflow to understand the steps, current QA actions, and problem areas.

Review your team’s current workflow to spot places where mistakes can happen. The most common marketing mistakes, according to a survey by Data Box, are sending:

  • An email with a broken link.
  • The entirely wrong email.
  • Emails to the wrong list or forgetting to include list suppression.
  • Emails with a call to action to a landing page with broken elements.
  • An email that immediately overwhelms support or sales teams because it was not communicated to them ahead of time.

Look at pre-list checklist examples to provide a starting point for your company-specific list.

Every brand should have a different pre-send checklist because of their different goals for email, industry standards, and perspectives. For example, a company that sends medical information may have a much more extensive section about ensuring the email goes to the right person, while a brand that uses email templates may be more concerned about template display issues.

Ask your co-workers if they have their own pre-send checklists, or look at examples online. A pre-send checklist from Vision6 includes checkboxes for the details, email, tests, recipients, and send. A checklist from Pardot focuses more on previewing the email on different platforms, creating text and HTML formats, and running spam checks.

Draft your pre-send checklist that includes specific actions to perform and characteristics to check for.

Some common actions and categories to include:

  • Correct spelling and grammar in subject line and body.
  • All links open to the right place.
  • All images have alt-text.
  • Email has a call to action.
  • Personalization displaying correctly.
  • Unsubscribe button included.
  • Passed spam check.
  • Send test email to yourself.
  • Send test email to specified co-workers.
  • Preview text displays correctly in inbox.
  • Email looks right in different display sizes.
  • Email template displays properly with inputted backups in place.
  • Correct audience list selected.
  • Correct send time and date.

Add resources and notes on where to find each piece of information.

For example, if you add a step that involves checking grammar, include a link to Grammarly or another grammar-check tool. Other resources may include a spam tester like Mail Tester, a link to your company style guide, and a blacklist checker like Site Checker.

Include a note about where or how to find certain answers, like how to view alt-text for images or where in your email marketing software to test different display modes.

Assign the task of performing the pre-send checklist to one specific person.

This should typically be a person involved in email marketing, to ensure it gets done with consistency. The person who creates the list can also be the assigned checker, but they should have team input before assigning the role to themselves.

Your pre-send checklist will likely include a step requiring approval from someone else before hitting send. Assign this role as well.

Test out the checklist draft by going through the process with a test email and make adjustments if needed.

The person assigned the consistent pre-send checklist role should perform this test to see if it has enough clarity and information. Make adjustments to the list if there are missing steps or unclear phrasing.

Get the list approved by the person or people who oversee your company’s email campaigns.

If email privacy, legality, or security are important concerns for your company or industry, you may need approval from a legal team or your CEO before signing off on the pre-send checklist. Show them and ask for feedback, especially on the specific sections relevant to their concerns, like checking the audience segment or spam testing. For other companies, approval from the head of marketing may be enough.

The executive who approves your list may also request to always get their approval before sending certain emails. If they do, add this to the pre-send checklist.

Last edited by @hesh_fekry 2023-11-14T15:30:50Z