Email Audit: what it is, and how it works

16 February 2021Reading time: 4 min.

Have you ever wondered how your emails are doing? Good marketers should ask themselves this question every now and then. The Email Marketing Audit lets you tap into this. You can pinpoint your campaign’s weak spots to boost performance.

If you think you have excellent campaigns that perform, then here’s the question: “Are data confirming it?” A periodic checkup called an email audit ensures that your emails are always on track.

Today, we’ll dive into:

  • what an email audit is and why it’s important to integrate it into your workflow;
  • how to prepare it
  • what types of email audits you need to do for a complete campaign checkup; and
  • what to do at the end of the analysis to solve any problems that came up and improve future performance.

The email audit: what it is and what it’s for

An Email Marketing Audit is a working methodology. Its overall objective is to verify the effectiveness of Email Marketing processes and strategies. In particular, the email audit allows for:

  • testing the performance of email campaigns;
  • identifying problems and errors to be solved; 
  • grasping strategic weaknesses and learning how to fix them
  • improving future performance based on the audit’s findings; and
  • guaranteeing a periodic campaign checkup.

This makes it a fundamental process in understanding if you’re putting successful strategies into practice. It is also key in identifying the corrective actions needed to improve their effectiveness

How to prepare an audit

The email audit process requires method, precision, and planning to ensure reliable results.

This is why planning a series of preliminary activities before performing an email audit is key in an effective analysis:

  • establish the type of audit to be conducted; 
  • plan the frequency of the analyses based on your team’s resources to be allocated to the activity, the effort required, and the degree of need;
  • define the email sample to be analyzed based on which campaigns have encountered more issues or have recorded lower performance; and 
  • make a to-do list that also includes elements, flows, and criticalities to be examined more carefully. 

6 types of email audits for a complete checkup 

There are many types of audits for testing the effectiveness of your emails, given the breadth of their marketing boundaries. 

We’ve selected the 6 main audits which, in our opinion, can provide complete and satisfactory campaign monitoring.

1. Acquisition process  

An acquisition audit lets you verify that your emails contain all the elements so that a new potential contact can register easily, avoiding setbacks or overly long and complex registration processes

Subscription buttons, confirmation times, and single and double opt-in methods—these are some factors that you’ll need to analyze in this type of audit. 

Find out how to create a complete and effective onboarding flow for your email channel

2. Unsubscribe process

Improving the unsubscribe process is a best practice. Its benefits are measured in terms of transparency, reputation, and deliverability.

If a user has a hard time finding the unsubscribe button, then they’ll flag the message as spam/junk mail. This leads to unpleasant consequences for the delivery of your emails and for your reputation as a sender.

Check out the 6 fundamental best practices to correctly manage recipients’ unsubscriptions!

3. Email templates

A further indispensable audit checks that everything within your campaign template works correctly and that all the fundamental elements are present. This covers every key aspect, such as the object, the footer, the sender’s name, the CTA, etc. 

To be exact, you’ll need to check these 9 elements when analyzing your template:

  • Sender’s name: the sender must be clear to the recipient so that they don’t report your email as spam or junk mail. 
  • Subject: make sure it has the right length and that it’s clear, specific, personalized, and free of spam words. 
  • Pre-header: check that the header provides the user with additional, helpful information, and that it alerts the sender when the email is opened.
  • Title: ensure this is present, clear and noticeable, and that it communicates the message’s goal in a few characters. 
  • Body of the email: check that it’s not too long and is mobile friendly. Make sure the copy is correct, there are no typos, the message is effective, and the style is in line with your branding. 
  • Call to action: ensure there’s a CTA button, and that it’s clearly visible and in a strategic spot. Also check that the CTA buttons are bulletproof, i.e., in HTML to avoid any image visualization issue with the mail clients. 
  • Pictures and videos: your embedded images and videos must function correctly, have an alt text, be visible on any device, and not be too heavy. 
  • Branding: the company logo should be visible. Make sure that clicking on it directs the user to your website. 
  • Footer: your email must close with an unsubscribe button, your social media icons, your contact details, a permission reminder (i.e. the section of the footer that answers “Why am I receiving this email?”), and the privacy policy. 

This information needs to be visible with correct links. Your template must include the correct versions of these 9 elements. Verify that it can also be viewed on a mobile device. 

4. Deliverability 

A recent Return Path study shows that, worldwide, around a fifth of emails sent don’t make it to the inbox.

If your contacts miss your emails, then they can’t check out the offers and news meant for them. Any email that doesn’t reach your inbox is indeed a potential lost sale.

This means that analyzing the deliverability of your campaigns is an essential best practice for any successful Email Marketing strategy. 

Discover how MailUp can help boost your deliverability!

For your audit to be effective, you need a thorough analysis of all the factors that influence deliverability:

  • the sender’s reputation and ability to be recognized;
  • the message’s relevance for the recipient;
  • the presence of spam words;
  • HTML code failures;
  • sending to wrong addresses;
  • excessive weight of the email;
  • a high number of spam reports; and
  • choosing non-professional sending platform.

Discover 5 steps in the MailUp guide to boost your deliverability 

5. Engagement

Understanding the level of interest that your campaigns generate among your database contacts is useful in determining if your communications spark interaction and facilitate conversions. Further, an engagement audit may reveal any inactive clusters within your contact database. Try to awaken these with the right reactivation campaign. 

This kind of audit is pretty viable because engagement is a tangible and analyzable metric. Additionally, the functionalities of the MailUp Statistics area will provide you with engagement data and graphics. These will help you get exact and deep analyses. 

6. Privacy

It’s extremely important to verify that your email campaigns comply with privacy regulations. Check each regulation update and verify that your acquisition and profiling processes are 100% compliant. 

Concluding actions 

You will need to develop a series of conclusive actions to close an email audit and ensure the effectiveness of your analyses:

  • analyze the results and give an overall score to the audit performed;
  • define the right corrective actions for each problem that has emerged;
  • establish a corrective action plan; and
  • compare the performance of the audits carried out to understand if the performance of your campaigns is improving.

Conclusions

If you’ve never perform an email audit, what are you waiting for? Start now!  

This article was written by

Paola Bergamini

Paola Bergamini

I was born in 1993 in Como and I escaped from this little town to study in Milan, where I graduated in 2017 in philosophy. I've always been interested in marketing and communication and I love writing and reading. As Content Editor at MailUp, I try to keep up to date with Email and Digital Marketing news, in order to share trends, theories and tools about this constantly evolving sector.

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