Conducting A Multi-Point Inspection On Your Email Program

Holiday Emails

Stock image used with permission of Shutterstock.

I like lists. Okay, that’s not quite true. I LOVE lists. Growing up, one of my favorite book series was The Book of Lists. So it’s no surprise then that when it comes to email marketing, I seek out opportunities to use them.

One great combination of marketing and lists takes place at any car service center. Through an offering often called a “multi-point inspection,” the auto shop conducts a laundry list of maintenance checks as a diagnostic tool to see if anything needs attention.

Similarly, a good email marketing program deserves this kind of check-up on a regular basis. This comprehensive review is designed to ensure everything is working properly, identify areas where tuning is required, and determine if there are opportunities to upgrade select aspects of the program.

While this should be customized for your vertical (e.g., retail, B2B, etc.) and your business (“yes” is not the correct answer to the questions below in all cases), consider this a starting point for a check-up on your email program.

1. Strategy

These are high-level questions designed to evaluate the overall health of your email marketing strategy.

  • Is there an engagement plan in place that maps specific initiatives to your goals, against a calendar? (Note that this isn’t a mailing calendar — it’s how you are moving your program forward with a 6+ month view into projects.)
  • Are customer segments used to guide email marketing?
  • Is there coordination across channels to supplement/complement email?
    • Social
    • Mobile
    • Search
    • Display
    • Direct mail
  • Is lifecycle messaging used(sending messages based upon the customer journey)?
  • Are key triggers/automated campaigns in place?
    • Abandoned cart
    • Browse abandonment
    • Back in stock reminder
    • Replenishment
    • Loyalty (birthday/first purchase anniversary/etc.)
    • Dormancy mitigation based on (fading) engagement with the email program
    • Reactivation based on (lack of) engagement with the email program
    • Post-purchase survey
    • Reminders to any of the above where appropriate

2. Optimization

These questions are designed to evaluate areas of the program that are often ripe for fine-tuning.

  • Welcome experience (onboarding)
    • Is the message timely?
    • Does the welcome message differ based upon what you know about the subscriber (e.g., subscribers get different messaging if they’ve purchased from you in the past)?
    • Is there a multi-touch orientation experience in place?
    • Is the “from” line recognizable and appropriate?
    • Is there appropriate cross-promotional content in place to take advantage of subscribers who are open to building a relationship with your brand (e.g., social push, mobile opt-in, etc.)?
  • Creative
    • Is the design optimized for mobile rendering?
    • Is the design optimized for preview panes?
    • Is the design optimized for image blocking?
    • Are messages designed to be scanned quickly?
    • Is the CTA clear?
    • Are re-usable templates used?
    • If templates are used, are they built in a way to support dynamic content?
  • Subject Lines
    • Are keywords/search terms (site and Web) used to inform subject lines?
    • Are subject lines a part of the creative process or more of an after-thought?
  • Post-purchase
    • Is the message timely?
    • Is it multi-wave (if appropriate)?
    • Is there content to drive ratings and reviews?
    • Is there content to drive social sharing?
    • Is cross-sell/up-sell content included?
    • Is a repeat purchase strategy in place?
  • Landing pages
    • Are they mobile optimized?
    • Are they relevant to the CTA that drove the person there?
    • Is the number of clicks required to convert as few as possible?
    • Are there distractions that could inhibit conversion?
    • Is the page bounce rate higher than your average?
  • Testing
    • Is an always-on testing program in place?
    • Is a key test findings library maintained?
    • Are key learnings shared broadly throughout the organization?

3. Reporting

These questions are designed to review key aspects of program performance tracking.

  • Data
    • Is data from all relevant sources included in order to track performance through the final conversion event?
    • Is data compiled in order to provide insights into attribution questions related to the performance of the email channel?
  • Performance
    • Are all appropriate metrics tracked?
    • Is the performance of all programs (ad hoc campaigns and automated series) tracked and reviewed on a regular basis?
    • Is performance by source tracked and monitored?

4. Acquisition

These questions are designed to evaluate the capture of email addresses throughout your touch-point ecosystem.

  • Site capture dimensions
    • Highly visible?
    • High degree of clarity?
    • Is there a value proposition?
    • Is the landing page optimized for an “in-market” individual?
  • Cross-channel acquisition opportunities
    • Is email sign-up offered on Facebook?
    • Is email sign-up promoted on other social channels?
    • Is it captured offline? (e.g., call center, at POS, etc.)
    • Are volume / quality trends tracked by source over time?
    • Are you aware of all the touch points at which email addresses are captured? Or do you just think you know?

5. Deliverability

These questions are related to deliverability trends and requirements.

  • Compliance
  • Monitoring and planning
    • Do you monitor inbox deliverability on a regular basis?
    • Do you have a plan in place to address deliverability issues should they arise (especially at the worst possible time)?

Lists are only as good as your use of them. That means taking the time to conduct the multi-point inspection, reviewing the diagnosis and taking corrective action where the review shows shortfalls.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column


About The Author: has been in the digital marketing space since 1997 when he started at one of the first email marketing companies in the marketplace -- Mercury Mail. He's been addicted to email marketing ever since working on both the product and consulting sides of the fence. Currently Clint serves as the Senior Director of Digital Strategy at Responsys where he helps inform and impact client's digital interactions with their customers.

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