Scratch-it Checklist

How to Create an Email Marketing Checklist

Email marketing is as simple as writing up a few paragraphs and clicking send, right?

Not quite.

In fact, you’d be surprised to find out how many moving parts go into a successful email marketing campaign. But, to keep things simple, we can break an email marketing checklist down into four main sections:

  • Planning
  • Message
  • Final Checks
  • Data and Testing

When these sections are combined into one checklist, you’ll be able to have a more cohesive campaign that will eliminate common errors and let your brand focus on what’s important, sending dazzling emails that get your readers to open and click.

Let’s take a look.


In the first stage, you want to have your email marketing campaign fully fleshed out. This goes beyond just a single email. It extends to what the series will look like, what actions are the readers being driven towards, and the general feel of the content.

Here, you’re also going to want to think about what happens when a reader performs an action. Will they be segmented onto a new list? Also, consider what follow up emails will be sent as the campaign winds down, as well as the timing of those emails.

Much of this planning stage can be hashed out by creating an internal document that highlights your particular brand’s approach to email marketing. That could include things like data points that must be mentioned, company approved tone, and what kind of action you want your customers to take.


Here’s the heart of the process, and this is why the planning stage is important. Brands that are successful with their email marketing send out messages that cover a few important core best practices:

  • They are cohesive
  • They stay on message
  • They interest and engage the audience
  • They have a call to action

Without any of these components, your campaign could be sunk before it’s even begun. This is why messaging is incredibly important.

Work to have your emails flow in a story arc that not only drives readers to click within each individual email, but also moves them along the entire campaign to your desired ending.

The messaging also includes the overall design of your emails too. Make sure your company logo is prominently displayed, social media share buttons are there, and that the emails are responsive so they can be read on mobile devices.

Final Checks

Raise your hand if you’ve accidentally sent the wrong email to a friend, or clicked reply all when you should have just hit reply and got yourself caught in a bit of a snafu? Now imagine doing that to a list of 500,000.

Yea, I don’t want to image that either! That’s where the final checks portion of your checklist comes into play.

This includes all the “boring” but incredibly important stuff like:

  • Proof reading the email to make sure nothing is spelled wrong or there are any grammar errors
  • Checking the tone to make sure everything sounds like you want it to sound
  • Clicking through any links you have, to see that they work properly and lead readers to the right place (this goes for any linked images as well)
  • Reviewing tags to remove a “Hey {First_Name!},” from going out to half your list
  • Making sure the email is actually going to the right people, especially if you have multiple segments or lists
  • Sending a test copy to yourself and checking it not only on your desktop or laptop, but also on mobile devices to ensure it looks good

Add these simple steps to your checklist and you’ll dramatically reduce the potential for embarrassing errors to occur.

Data and Testing

Smart marketers know that once the campaign is over that doesn’t mean it’s actually over. Nope, that’s when you can start taking a deep dive into the data your campaign produces and come up with enhancements or changes for the next round.

Of course, you should pay attention to the basics like open rates and click through rates, but don’t let it end there. Track who unsubscribes, who opens and clicks, who replies to the emails, who hasn’t opened a single email in the series, and who has opened every email.

You can get quite a bit of information on how your list responds to your campaign with this data. And, once you have a baseline of information set, then with the next campaign you can tweak headlines, message, links, images, anything to test the results head to head.

Use these four sections as the basis for your email marketing checklist and get it in place before you send out your next campaign.

Liz Froment

Liz is a marketing content writer for the Scratch-it team. She loves learning and writing about email marketing. You can find her tweeting about it and a lot more at @lfroment.