Costly email campaign mistakes can hurt your campaign performance and your bottom-line. That’s why email review, proofing, and approvals are so important! Unfortunately, most marketing departments’ proofing and review processes are broken.
If you’re seeing any of the signs that your email proofing and review process isn’t working, then you need to go back to the drawing board. You can start by developing effective email campaign proofing strategies for success. Here are four strategies that are proven to work.
Strategy 1: Develop a Formal Email Campaign Proofing Process
Not many people hear, “Let’s create a formal process for this,” and get excited. In fact, most people probably groan when they hear about process development, but there is a reason why developing processes is so important. It’s all about efficiency, accuracy, and saving money, so your business can maximize investments and returns.
With that said, you should create a formal email campaign proofing process that every stakeholder is required to follow. No exceptions or the process will fall apart.
At a minimum, your process should include the following five stages:
1. Creative Brief Approval
First, you need to develop a single approval document that captures all information from the creative brief for stakeholders to review and sign off on. The keyword here is “single” because the easier you can make it for reviewers, the better.
This document should include all details about the campaign, such as:
- When it will be sent
- Who the target audience is
- Where the email list will be obtained from or how it will be created
- Approximate audience size
- The offer that will be promoted in the message
- Any required disclaimers
- Expiration dates if needed
Consider creating a checklist where each stakeholder initials next to each item to show they approve.
2. Copy Approval
Once the creative brief has been approved, it’s time to write the copy and get all necessary stakeholders to review, proof, and approve it. Be sure to include the legal team in this approval round!
Ideally, the copy that is approved in this step should be the final copy used in the designed email campaign with no additional edits allowed in later steps. Exceptions should only be made if there is a critical business or legal reason to do so.
Again, it’s helpful to provide a sign-off checklist that includes items to review and approve, such as:
- Subject line
- Body copy
- Link anchor text
- URLs where links will lead to
- Misspellings, typos and grammatical errors
It’s a good idea to provide reviewers with resources to help them understand what they should be looking for when they’re proofreading. The Purdue University Online Writing Lab offers lots of information, including a resource for finding common errors when proofreading.
3. Design Approval
Next, you take the approved copy, add it to your email campaign design, and send it to necessary stakeholders for review and approval. At this point, the copy has already been approved, so reviewers should be instructed to only review “design” elements, such as:
Let the reviewers know that they have one opportunity to provide feedback on the design, so they need to submit all comments now. It’s a good idea to stick to your brand guidelines in your design, so there can be no questions about color, fonts, and other style choices.
4. Final Campaign Approval
Once you’ve gathered all feedback and made required edits to the email campaign, it’s time to send it to stakeholders for a final review. Let them know this is the last time they’ll see the campaign before it’s sent.
Also, make sure reviewers understand that no edits will be made at this stage unless there are errors or a business or legal requirement. There is a reason why the word “final” is included in “final review,” and all stakeholders should understand what it means. Once you start making exceptions to the rule, the term “final” becomes meaningless.
5. Final Legal Approval
When the email campaign is final and all stakeholders have signed off on it, you may want to run it by the legal team for a final review and approval. Of course, this depends on your established business operations and procedures.
Strategy 2: Reduce Reviewers
The next strategy you should incorporate into your email campaign proofing process is to reduce the number of reviewers. Operate on a ‘need-to-know’ basis, not on an ‘everyone who may be slightly interested’ basis.
In other words, identify who the required reviewers are for each stage of the process defined in Strategy 1 above. Only accept feedback from people who are identified as reviewers for each stage. When there are too many cooks in the kitchen, there will be problems.
Strategy 3: Remove Subjectivity
Everyone has an opinion, but the marketing team, copywriters, and designers have the expertise to know what is effective in email campaign copy and design. Therefore, you have to remove subjectivity from the review process.
The easiest way to implement this strategy is to ask for finite feedback rather than open-ended feedback. Checklists are extremely helpful. In addition, set expectations up front with clear instructions at each stage of the review process, so reviewers know what they should be looking at and commenting on and what they shouldn’t.
Strategy 4: Use Tools to Collaborate, Communicate, Streamline & Automate
You can use free and affordable tools to streamline your entire email marketing campaign process, including proofing, reviews, and approvals. The more you can improve communication and collaboration, the better your process will be.
Using tools to help you create and collaborate on your editorial calendar, checklists, content creation, and testing can save you a lot of time and money in the long-term. You can also use ProofJump to streamline the full email proofing and review process.
RELATED READING: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Invest in Email QA Software
Key Takeaways about Effective Email Campaign Proofing Strategies for Success
Email campaign proofing and reviews will only be successful if you build a process that eliminates bottlenecks, subjectivity, and unnecessary reviewers. Follow the strategies in this article to get your process running smoothly, and use ProofJump to streamline and automate! Schedule a demo to see how much time, stress, and frustration ProofJump can save you.