A Small Business Email Marketing Checklist

By Janine Popick

As business owners, we strive to make our business succeed and grow. We vow to do things better, more efficiently and, perhaps, even to try something new. Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to communicate with your customers, and I’ve compiled a simple checklist with 13 tips to help you make your emails the best they can be. Ready to engage your customers?

How to Improve Your Email Marketing

1. Links

Use links to lead your readers to more content on your website, blog or social media networks like Facebook and Twitter. Link your readers to the most direct path of information.

2. Images

Images break up text, add visual interest, and make your email easy-to-read. Always include alt text (see below).

3. Alt Text

This is text that appears when a recipient’s email program blocks images. It gives the reader more information about the image, even though he can’t see the picture. Gmail recently announced it no longer blocks images by default, but other email systems still do, so using alt text remains a best practice.

4. Buttons

Use call-to-action buttons in your emails to increase click-through, engagement and sales.

5. Social Sharing Buttons

Include social sharing buttons so that your subscribers can share your message with their social networks.

6. Social Media

Make it easy for your readers to find you on social media by including social media icons that link to any social networks your business uses.

7. Table of Contents

Use a table of contents (TOC) to let readers see what content your longer emails and newsletters contain. Anchor link the TOC text to jump your readers directly to the content that interests them.

8. Scan-ability

Make your email content easy to scan by using bullets, short chunks of copy (generally three lines or less), headlines and subheads.

9. Length

Rather than try to squeeze everything into your email, include links to direct readers to your website, a blog post or a landing page that has more information.

10. Call-to-Action (CTA)

Tell your readers what you want them to do. Use call-to-actions that are clear and concise; at the same time, don’t confuse your readers with too many in one email. Use action verbs such as “Read More,” “Learn More,” “Buy Now” and/or “Sign Up Today.”

11. Proofread and Test

Before you hit the final “send” button, send a test email to yourself and click every link to ensure it goes where it should. Read the message word by word (including the subject line and preheader) to check for typos.

12. Share

After you’ve sent your email, share it on your company’s social media profiles. This expands the reach of your message and increases the chances that people will see and engage with it.

13. Reporting

Once your email newsletter goes out, look over your reporting to glean any insights. How many people opened your email? What links did people click on the most? What can you change in your next campaign to improve your engagement?

Use these email marketing tips today and in the future to get better results with your email campaigns. I’d love to hear about your results in the comments below.

Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse, a provider of self-service email, social and event marketing solutions for small businesses. Connect with her on Twitter at @janinepopick.

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