Most email marketers share the same nightmare–it’s not getting up in front of a conference room only to discover they’re in their underwear, or even realizing that they’re in a pit full of snakes…


The real nightmare for an email marketer is sending out an email with an obvious error! We’ve all been there—after hitting send, our recipients politely (or sometimes pointedly) point out our error…something that could have been avoided!

My biggest “oops” moment was sending a webcast invitation to 70,000 people with a date in August instead of April. It could have been avoided and was a tough lesson to endure. I could have avoided that blunder by more thoroughly testing my email.

Because while email marketing mistakes are inevitable, thorough and consistent testing will catch them the majority of the time.

If you find yourself growing anxious before your next send, use this checklist to turn your email nightmares into an email marketing dream come true.

  1. Write your content before you mock up the email. I use Google Docs for this so that I can easily share with colleagues who assist in copy editing.
  2. Mock-up your email and then double check:
    -Copy – look at dates, times (make sure you don’t accidentally use MST when you really mean to use ET,) capitalization, italicization, etc.
    -Hyperlinks—do they work?
    -Your from address, reply-to address, and friendly from—do want your email sent “on behalf” of a person or your organization?
    -Subject line—errors in your subject line are the worst, so make sure you triple check this one.
  3. Send yourself a test, and check every piece of step two again. Bonus item: Look at your preheader text. Is it the copy you want your recipients to read when deciding whether or not to open your email?
  4. Double check your preheader text. It’s a sometimes overlooked component of email, but could make all the difference as far as your open rates are concerned.
  5. Look for design flaws. All email tools should provide you with a preview option (SendGrid’s Marketing Campaigns shows both desktop and mobile versions) that should display any obvious errors in your template’s code. If you want to take design testing to another level however, I highly suggest taking a look at tools like Litmus or Email on Acid. Both will show you how your email looks in major desktop and mobile mailbox providers.
  6. Get a fresh set of eyes on your email by sending a test to a colleague. A different perspective is often the key to finding a sneaky mistake that would otherwise elude you.
  7. Double check your list and segments. Does the final count make sense to you?
  8. Press send!


Though even the most seasoned email marketing veterans sometimes send campaigns with mistakes, this list should provide you with the steps to avoid that scenario most of the time!

For more tips on how to avoid mistakes, or advice on what to do if you happen to make a mistake check out our webinar, Email Marketing Mistakes that includes mishaps, damage control, and a pre-send checklist.

Ellie is SendGrid's Marketing Operations Associate. She works closely with customers to make sure that they're getting the most out of their SendGrid experience. As an email veteran, Ellie enjoys testing strategies in SendGrid's own email program, so she can bring the latest best practices to our customers. A Colorado native, you can find Ellie exploring the mountains year-round or enjoying live shows across Denver and Boulder.