Your campaign’s email list is its most important digital asset and that makes campaign emails your most critical digital communication with supporters. Unlike a website or social media post you can edit later, emails can’t be unsent. You have to get them right the first time.
To make sure that happens, I check for a few key items in every campaign email I send. I’ve sent thousands of emails over the years and I still check them every single time. Read on for the most important aspects to check plus a free email download checklist.
Subject Line & Sender Name
Your subject line and sender name are the two most important parts of an email. In fact, these are the only parts that most subscribers read and they’re the only info a supporter uses to determine whether or not to open your email.
Your subject line can’t be an afterthought when you’re writing your email – I always write subject lines first – so make sure you check it for spelling before hitting send. Another thing to be aware of is that different email clients truncate subject lines to certain lengths. If your subject line is in jeopardy of being too long (which is fine) just make sure Gmail or Apple Mail don’t abbreviate your subject line to say something you don’t want it to.
Also, if you’re using emoji, make sure the subject line is still legible if the supporter’s email client doesn’t display them properly.
Calls to Action
The call to action is the whole reason you’re sending the email in the first place, so pay extra attention to this part of your email copy. It should be free from typos, of course, but also make sure it appears within the first scroll of your email, that it stands out from the rest of the copy, and is repeated multiple times.
The calls to action don’t matter if their link doesn’t work. Send yourself a test email and click on every single link. You don’t know which one a support might click, so they all have to work.
Does the link go to the right page? If it’s a donation link, is the amount pre-selected to the amount they clicked on? Do you have your UTM tracking codes in place to measure results?
The landing page – the link you’re sending supporters to – is where the crucial conversion (typically a donation) usually happens. Confirm that the landing page has copy that is relevant to the call to action, that it loads quickly, and appears correctly on a mobile device. These are three areas that could cause you to lose a conversion.
Your email needs to have a disclaimer. Building that into the email template is the easiest way to ensure it’s always present. The only people who care that you have a disclaimer in your email are your lawyers and your opponents but you will hear from them if you screw up. Don’t waste valuable capital within your campaign on an avoidable mistake like this.
These are the key items you should check on for every single email you send from your campaign – there are NO exceptions. Eventually, you’ll internalize this list, but in the meantime, here’s a list you can print off and copy for each email you’re preparing to send.