Part of the allure of automated, triggered emails is that you create them once. Then they send on demand from the time you turn them on until you turn them off. Just like Ron Popeil’s as-seen-on-TV rotisserie ovens, email automations truly can be “set it and forget it.”
Except there comes a point where email automations age past their shelf life. If you keep them running too long without reviewing and updating, you run the risk of sending subscribers the same message multiple times, sending subscribers outdated information or sending subscribers broken email due to changes in the technology that powers your triggers. When this happens, your automated email does more harm than good.
That’s why we recommend never turning on an automation without first setting a reminder in your calendar to review it. Make plans to audit the automation no later than three months in the future.
But Wait! There’s More! Our Automation Audit Checklist
Here’s an action plan you can put into motion when it’s time to review an automation. Use this checklist to ensure your email is still relevant and working as it should.
- Check rendering by sending a test or trigger a live send of the automated email to a variety of email clients. Be sure to include any new or updated clients – the latest iPhone or iOS operating system, for example. You can also use a rendering tool like Litmus or Email on Acid.
- Review personalization and dynamic content. Are defaults for personalized content working as they should? Is data still being pulled into your email correctly?
- Review all graphics. Are the showcased products still available? Do the graphics reflect the current season?
- Is the text of the email consistent with your current brand voice? Is all contact information current?
- If the email contains special offers, are they still available?
- Click on all links and ensure they are directing to the correct place.
- Are link extensions working correctly?
- Are “share this” links working correctly for social media?
- Review all available metrics, including open rate, click rate, conversions or transaction details, top performing links, bounces and complaints. It’s a good idea to keep these metrics in a spreadsheet where you can monitor trends over time and spot any potential problems early.
- If applicable, check on the status of split tests. Review test results and consider new or revised tests to further improve key performance indicators. If you’re not conducting a test, consider starting one. Here’s how to get started with testing.
- Review the triggers that cause your email to send. Consider the trigger you are reviewing in light of all automated email within your program. Ask yourself these questions and adjust accordingly:
- Have you added new automations in the past three months that compete with the one you are reviewing?
- Are you sending too much email?
- Should this trigger include any new exclusions to ensure subscribers are getting the most important and relevant email on any given day?