Email is a powerful marketing tool. But if your emails are losing momentum—or perhaps never gained momentum in the first place—it can significantly limit the impact of your campaigns.
But other than measuring a few metrics—open rate, click-through, and the like—how can you determine whether your email marketing strategy is working for you? If said rates are dwindling, how can you pinpoint where you’re going wrong?
It could be time for an email marketing audit.
Here, we’ll explore how an audit could benefit your campaigns and the steps to conduct one.
What is an Email Marketing Audit?
An email audit takes an in-depth look at your email marketing activities, evaluating each aspect of your strategy.
This process lets you see what is and isn’t working, so you can identify where to improve or whether you need to pivot in a new direction entirely. This information can then be funnelled down so you can allocate your budget and other resources more effectively.
If your business needs help hitting its marketing objectives or optimizing ROI, an audit could be the secret ingredient to turning things around.
Why Conduct an Email Marketing Audit?
Most of us get regular health check-ups to ensure our well-being. Likewise, our cars undergo servicing to stay ahead of maintenance issues. So it makes sense to regularly review our email marketing strategies to ensure they’re in top-notch shape too!
Let’s look at a few benefits of conducting an audit:
- Revealing performance issues: An audit could reveal surprising issues, from deliverability and rendering to broken links and accessibility.
- Enhancing content relevance: One of the most common pitfalls in email marketing is sending generic content to the entire subscriber list. An audit reveals how well your content aligns with different audience segments to help you craft content that resonates more deeply, at the discretion of the copywriter.
- Optimizing the user experience: Your email might have the most compelling content, but if it’s not easily readable or the images take forever to load, readers will likely move on. Audits evaluate various devices’ design, layout, and overall user experience to ensure your message isn’t just heard but also enjoyed.
- Staying on top of trends: The world of digital marketing is ever-evolving. Techniques that resonated with audiences yesterday might need to be tweaked to be more effective today. For example, if you’re conducting an informational email series called What is call center management? you may find that text-based emails no longer cut it, but interactive emails that incorporate GIFs and video tutorials generate more engagement.
- Maintaining a competitive edge: The online landscape means countless businesses are vying for people’s attention, so staying ahead means constantly adapting and evolving.
- Allocating resources: Global email marketing revenue is projected to reach nearly 11 billion by the end of 2023. So there’s no shortage of opportunity. By identifying which campaigns yield the highest ROI, you ensure your resources—time and money—are deployed effectively so you can maximize profits.
Image Sourced from Statista
3 Signs Your Business Needs an Audit
The first step towards optimization is recognizing that your email marketing strategy needs fine-tuning. While there are numerous indicators, some are more telling than others. If you’re experiencing the following, it could be time to evaluate your methods.
- Declining Engagement Rates
Declining engagement rates can be due to various reasons: your content might be completely irrelevant or your subscribers’ preferences may have changed. It could also be down to specific industry trends or best practices. For example, if you oversee digital marketing for law firms, schools, or healthcare services, you must adapt your messaging to appeal to your distinct customer base.
- Low Conversion Rates
Engagement is one thing, but if your emails aren’t driving desired actions, it’s a cause for concern. A diminishing conversion rate might hint at misaligned calls to action, outdated offers, or technical issues like broken links.
- Subscriber Feedback
Listening to direct feedback can offer insights that quantitative metrics might miss. If you’re receiving complaints about irrelevant content, too many emails, or broken elements, it’s a red flag.
How to Conduct an Email Audit
Evaluating your entire email process may sound daunting. But by breaking the process down into actionable steps, it’ll be much more straightforward.
When or how often you conduct an audit will depend on your time and resources. But try to conduct an audit at least once a year or when introducing a new strategy. For instance, you wouldn’t send in another business partnership proposal to a client who didn’t convert the first time without finding out why they ignored you the first time.
If resources permit, you could also conduct monthly reviews just to keep an eye on potential problems and opportunities.
One tip before we begin. Maintaining a clutter-free inbox is essential for effective email marketing. Regularly curate and mass delete emails that are no longer relevant or effective to ensure a clean and efficient email workspace.
So let’s dive into the process.
Determine Your Objectives
First, identify your primary goals. Whether you’re aiming to uplift the overall performance of campaigns or pinpoint specific issues that are hindering your win-back conversion rates, having clear objectives help to set the tone.
Screenshot Sourced from Ponderlily customer win-back email
Choose the Right Metrics
It’s not just about gathering data; it’s about collecting the right data. Depending on your goals, you must select metrics that resonate. For instance, if conversions are your primary concern, prioritize click-through rates.
Remember, open rates aren’t the sole determinants of success. Factors like click-through or conversion rates can be more telling. Other metrics to consider include unsubscribe rates, list growth, devices used, and spam complaints.
Compile the Data
After selecting the KPIs you want to measure, compile the data in a spreadsheet or using an online tool. Include information such as the email name and date, subject line, list, number of emails sent, and essential metrics, including click-to-open, conversion, and unsubscribe rates. This makes it easier to compare and make observations.
Keep in mind that different email campaigns will have different measures of success, whether they’re abandoned cart emails or informational newsletters. So it’s worth segmenting emails and campaigns into different categories, such as onboarding, transactional, promotional, and reengagement—after all, you can’t compare apples and oranges.
Screenshot Sourced from COAT Paint abandoned cart customer email
Dive into the User Experience
It’s one thing to analyze KPIs, but there’s nothing like experiencing emails as your subscribers would. Is the layout intuitive? Is the branding consistent with your website? Does the preheader text appear correctly?
Take time to evaluate the content and design, including the visuals, copy, and accessibility.
Your email’s content is your brand’s voice. Coupled with CTAs, content plays a pivotal role in conversions. So ensure everything is clear, well designed, and strategically placed to positively influence outcomes.
Does each individual email target the right demographic and user base? Does your content resonate with the target audience?
For example, if you’re sending out a series of promotional emails about remote support tools, this stage of the audit might help you understand whether your messaging is relevant to audiences or if you’re targeting the right people. Perhaps your messaging is too vague and you need to separate future campaigns to target businesses and consumers separately.
Additionally, using a user-friendly Email Editor can make it easier to create visually appealing and engaging email content.
During this stage, you might also:
- Assess your email workflow: Understand the journey your emails create for recipients. They should seamlessly guide them down the sales funnel. If every campaign looks the same, it’s time for a rethink. Adapting based on feedback can lead to more personalized and effective workflows.
- Conduct an infrastructure check: This is the backbone of your email campaigns. Elements like IP addresses, DNS records, and MTAs should be optimized. Even subtle changes like tweaking the sender’s name can flag campaigns.
- Evaluate design responsiveness: This is critical in an age where many users access emails on mobile devices. Ensure your content displays correctly on various devices and email providers.
- Address the health of your email list: Weeding out inactive subscribers ensures your list is segmented effectively so you can optimize campaign relevancy and ROI. You may also want to freshen up your list—an outdated one can drain resources without yielding results.
- Evaluate subject lines: The gateway to your email content. If these aren’t enticing, even the best content goes unread. Innovate and test different approaches to keep your audience intrigued.
- Tweak email send frequency: The frequency and timing of emails can make a stark difference in engagement levels. Consider altering your email schedule if you are still waiting for the desired results.
- Analyze results: As well as considering the user journey and experience, you want to understand whether each email achieved its intended purpose. For example, does your cross-promotion tactic in onboarding emails result in increased sales? Do your monthly newsletters drive traffic to the website? Do your win-back emails help to reduce churn?
Conducting an email marketing audit is just the beginning. The real challenge lies in translating the insights into actionable strategies.
Once you’ve identified areas of improvement, the next step is to make a plan of action. This means redefining your content strategy to be more aligned with audience preferences or leveraging email marketing tools to better understand user interactions across different devices.
An audit provides a snapshot of your email marketing efforts at a particular time. But the digital landscape is ever-evolving. Post-audit, it’s crucial to set up regular monitoring mechanisms. This ensures you’re not just maintaining the standards identified in the audit but continuously improving. As a marketer, you can do this through the use of automation and templates such as online marketing reports.
Screenshot Sourced from agencyanalytics.com
Overall, auditing your email marketing efforts is a pivotal exercise that can set you on the path to enhanced campaign performance. By diving deep into the various facets of your emails, an audit can offer actionable insights that light the way.
The benefits of an email marketing audit are clear. Boosting engagement and conversions for individual emails and broader campaigns is only the beginning.
By evaluating your process, you can reveal interesting—sometimes even surprising—bits of information that will help you generate new leads, reduce churn, and improve your email marketing ROI.
Even if your business exceeds average industry metrics, there’s always room for improvement. Conducting an email audit gives you the tools and knowledge you need to deliv