As a business owner engaging in email marketing, you must test everything — your opt-in, your purchase links, your Thank You pages, and your follow up sequences, and every piece of email marketing you send out, including every email newsletter you send out to your list.
Most business owners remember to test their newsletter before they send it out — but some don’t. I’ve been guilty of hitting “Send” by accident instead of hitting “Send Test” and the feeling is immediate dread because you know the trolls will come out from hiding and get nasty.
If you don’t test your email newsletter or email marketing blast first, be sure that you do! Sending out a weekly newsletter or an important sales solo blast with broken links, typos, and other errors can tarnish your brand and frustrate recipients.
We’ve made mistakes before in our email newsletter and in our blog, and probably will again in the future. The key is to do your best, edit and test as much as you can, and don’t stress out too much when you make a mistake. It happens to everyone at some point, so forgive yourself, and move forward. You may get some nasty emails from one or two trolls as we have, but it’s okay, they are usually the people who don’t matter anyway.
When testing your email newsletters, solo blasts, email messages, and promotional emails prior to sending, and ask yourself: When was the last time you tested your own opt-in, received your own follow up sequence, reviewed the content you’re delivering? Have you ever tested your own process? It is amazing to me just how many websites I visit when doing research that have broken opt-in boxes that don’t work, and the website owners have no idea!
That means they have just assumed their opt-in has been working! This is a BIG problem because it also means:
- They probably have no idea how long it has been broken
- They have been receiving zero opt-ins from their website and they haven’t noticed
- They clearly aren’t tracking and testing anything
- Their list isn’t growing very quickly (or at all)
Don’t ever assume that you, your virtual assistant, or your web designer set everything up correctly
Sometimes when taking a site live something very little can break the opt-in and it may happen after they’ve tested it and it worked. Also, test your email marketing opt-in periodically. When you change page names, URLs, website code, and CSS, or your change hosting, your opt-in could be affected. Also, when you make changes to your email marketing account, follow up sequences, and lists/tags, your opt-in can be affected.
Plus, as a small business owner, I’m sure you’ve noticed that over time your business shifts, evolves, and morphs a little — narrowing your niche, altering your services, shifting your focus, changing your direction, etc. When done right, your follow up sequences promote, upsell, and call attention to your products, programs, and services — some of which may have changed as your business has evolved.
When that happens, often your list building opt-in, your Thank You pages, and your follow up sequences need to be adjusted as well.
Here are some criteria for checking and testing your email marketing opt-in process:
Make Sure It Works.
Test every step of your opt-in process. Test the actual on-site opt-in and confirmation email (for double opt-ins). Test the thank you page — both the content and making sure users reach the right Thank You page. Test the follow up sequence to make sure all emails in it send correctly. Test all links in each follow up sequence email.
Make Sure It Is Visible.
Your opt-in must stand out on your website and get noticed by your visitors. If it blends in with everything else in your sidebar, or gets ignored because it’s tucked up in your header where there is just too much going on, you won’t get the opt-in results you want. Also, look at the design on your opt-in. Stay away from the boring standard grey “submit” button and use your own big, bold custom button.
Make Sure It Is Valuable.
No one will sign up or opt-in if they can’t see the value your free gift or ethical bribe delivers. Review the actual text and words you use to describe it in your website opt-in box. Is the headline interesting and compelling? Does it use keywords visitors would have used to find you via search engines (so they quickly see they are in the right place)? Is the description visual and written? Does it answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Make Sure It Is Transparent.
Your opt-in process must be trustworthy and transparent. Stay away from bait and switch tactics and sneaky promises. If you choose to offer a free gift or ethical bribe — awesome, but if visitors will also get added to your email newsletter list when they opt-in for your free gift, you MUST tell them before they opt-in in. Don’t mislead visitors with promises of a free gift and hide your newsletter from them, sneaking it in after they have already signed up — or you risk losing their trust.
Make Sure It Is Inviting.
Welcome new subscribers and community members after they have opted-in. Send them a special welcome message. Remind them what they signed up for, tell them what they can expect, outline their next steps, and invite them to continue to engage with you and your brand further.
Make Sure It Is Easy.
It needs to be super easy for consumers to opt-in and sign up. It also needs to be super easy to change or update preferences and super easy to unsubscribe. Let your community members set their own preferences and join or leave your list at any time.
Test all of your email marketing messages before you send them. If possible, send the test to another person in addition to yourself who can test the links, proofread for typos, and check for errors. They won’t be as close to the content as you are, so they will notice things you don’t.
What About You? Do you test your opt-ins, newsletter links, and email campaigns? Have you received broken messages? How does broken email campaigns affect your thoughts about a brand — or does it?
We’d love to hear your thoughts below in the comments!
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