You need to clear a path using the sharp edges of an audit to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. Over time, your email marketing strategy can turn into a forest of statistics.
Using this checklist, you can systematically remove the weed and uncover some valuable insights along the way. At a glance, an email marketing audit may seem overwhelming.
Keep these two points in mind:
- There are relatively few steps and tasks involved in an audit.
- Audits are not something you should do alone – gathering data, analyzing it, and implementing it should be a collaborative effort that you coordinate.
The following email audit process covers all the bases in a quick-fire four-step process. Take these steps one at a time, methodically, and you’ll be done in no time.
Organize your email audit
Plan your email marketing audit before you begin. Yes, it isn’t a lovely combination, but it clarifies the process and prevents it from becoming entangled and overly complicated.
Planning your audit involves the following steps:
- Select your audit: An email audit can take on a variety of shapes and forms depending on your industry and needs. Make sure you choose an audit that addresses the area you want to focus on: Email marketing performance (which we’re discussing here), email deliverability, email design, email automation, email compliance, email code, or email accessibility.
- Reach out to collaborators: No marketer lives in a vacuum. For better results, we must collaborate with experts. Find experts in design, content marketing, marketing analysis, or sales.
- Use the right tools: Email service providers (ESPs), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs), email testing tools, and website analytics tools can all provide valuable insight, but too many points of data can result in inconsistent conclusions. Choosing the right tools for your email audit means choosing a single “source of truth.
- Set clear audit objectives: Identify the objectives of your audit. Why are you conducting this audit? Do you have higher-level business objectives? Is email a tool to help you achieve those objectives?
- Select the right metrics to track: Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to determine the email metrics that will help you define the success of your strategy.
- Collect data on a spreadsheet: Create a spreadsheet with columns for “campaign name,” “email metrics,” and “notes.”. In case you have too much data, you may want to make duplicate tabs for transactional emails, promotional emails, email newsletters, and behavioral emails.
To avoid getting lost in all the data, you must plan your audit properly. After you complete this step, it’s time to start taking action.
Conduct your audit
It’s time to get down to business. An audit consists of data, comparison, and revelation. Anomalies will be identified as data points that differ significantly from other observations. Before you do that, it’s time to put on your headphones and listen to an album or podcast:
- The first step is to open your chosen tool’s stats dashboard (ESP, CRM, CPD, etc.) and use the filter to find your metric. After that, you must save your data as CSV.
- Fill out your spreadsheet: Once you have all the raw data, copy and paste the metrics you selected into the relevant columns.
- Rank your metrics ascending and descending and highlight the best and worst metrics by color.
- Identify areas for improvement: By now, you should have some highlighted cells. Look at the relative quantity of highlighted cells to determine your worst-performing emails.
- Show that not all is gloom and doom! You should also emphasize particularly successful emails in your report – we want to uncover and celebrate the winning ingredients.
In comparison to future audits, now that we have identified emails for analysis, don’t miss the chance to compare the combined metrics of your email program.
Analyze problematic emails
Why are these emails underperforming? Let’s find out. Investigate these emails with these questions in your detective hat:
- How well does the email display in the inbox? It could leave a bad first impression. You can find clues by looking at the subject line, preheader, and “from” name. Subscribers want consistency, clarity, and engaging content.
- How do subscribers respond to your emails? In an email body, many things can go wrong: design, calls to action, copy, topics, and links. Look at your click map for clues and follow the user’s journey. Finding a consensus might require consulting designers, marketers, or UX experts.
- Are you able to view the email properly? You may not realize that your messages are being displayed incorrectly somewhere and look unprofessional because each mailbox provider renders emails differently. Check how your campaigns look across devices and operating systems using email testing software, then run problematic emails past a developer to debug any code errors.
- Do these emails meet your KPIs? The answer to this question should be either yes or no. It may be worth reevaluating the effectiveness of the series altogether if enough emails fail to achieve KPIs.
Because everyone’s email strategy differs, you need to define your own set of questions to reflect your audit’s goals and the type of emails (transactional, newsletter, etc.) you are analyzing. A performance audit of the email should ask the following questions:
- When subscribers open the email, what should they do?
- And if they don’t, why not?
Almost there! While you may want to book a getaway at this point, the audit results won’t help anyone sitting on a spreadsheet. Taking these steps will ensure that your email marketing campaign has a lasting impact:
- Prepare a report: Make a slide show or a PDF with all your observations, feedback, and notes for your email team, marketing department, and stakeholders to see. Report flow example: What isn’t working? > Metrics > The Reason > How to Fix It.
- Streamline improvements by collaborating with your team. Assignments, instructions, and deadlines can be tracked with project management software.
- Run an A/B test on a small sample size before rolling out changes in bulk. Changing too much at once can cause problems that are difficult to pinpoint. Apply your changes slowly and strategically.