What is an email marketing audit and why do you need one?

Much to the chagrin of DIY marketers, email isn’t a “set it and forget it” solution. Nor is it as simple and straightforward as you think it should be. Yes, just about anyone can create and send an email. But there’s more to email marketing than just putting some words together and hitting send. It takes a bit of strategy and a lot of behind-the-scenes work to create a successful email campaign. Doing regular audits can help you determine where things are working and where they need some help. According to LeadSift, they should also be done as a pro-active measure, before there's a problem

An email marketing audit can help bring your vision to life.

An email marketing audit looks at the key components of your campaign and helps you figure out where you can improve. It looks at the obvious things like metrics (open rates, CTR, bounces and unsubscribes), but it also looks your overall marketing process and content to identify where any problems may lie and helps to determine solutions so that you can improve your relationships with readers.

An in-depth audit analyzes several critical components of your entire campaign that can impact your email marketing results; it should evaluate these components and deliver a prioritized action plan to help you improve your marketing efforts. An in-depth analysis should be done yearly at a minimum, but mini-audits can and should be done far more frequently.

Whether you perform audits internally or externally will depend on your business, however, outsourcing your audits to a professional does have the benefit of being 100% impartial and can provide you with industry trends and insights that you may not be aware of.

You can perform a mini-audit quickly yourself to help ensure your marketing efforts aren’t in vain. Analyzing the metrics and content of three emails in your campaign can help you ensure you’re focusing your efforts in the right place.

How to Perform an Email Marketing Mini-Audit

You’ll need 3 emails:

  • Your most successful email.
  • Your least successful email.
  • A middle-ground email.

*Use the metric that makes the most sense for the purpose of the individual email and the campaign as a whole. (i.e. If your campaign and emails are informational and have no Calls to Action, CTR is irrelevant, so you’ll want to base it on Open Rate instead.)

Along with the standard metrics for each of these emails, (Open Rates, Click Through Rates, Bounce Rates), you’ll want to use this checklist to make sure it’s got the benchmarks of a great email:

9 Benchmarks of a Great Email Checklist

From Line

  • Someone’s personal name
  • Includes business/company name
  • Sent from the company/business’s domain

Eg. Jane from My Awesome Biz (jane@MyAwesomeBiz.com)

Subject Line

  • Length is between 60 – 70 characters
  • Is relevant to content
  • Includes personalization
  • Doesn’t use spammy words

Preheader/Preview Text

  • Exists
  • Provides additional context about the email subject


  • Includes personalization
  • Has short, clear text, with bullet points where appropriate
  • Focuses on what you want the reader to do (has purpose)
  • Focuses on benefits, not products/services
  • Talks TO the reader, not at them.
  • Includes at least one clear CTA


  • Used sparingly, if at all
  • Relevant to content
  • Include alt text
  • Images are compressed and optimized for email

Call(s) to Action

  • Exists
  • Is clear
  • Is a button
  • All CTAs do the same thing


  • Template design matches website
  • Includes Company/Business name and logo
  • Logo/Banner image is a clickable link to your website


  • Unsubscribe button/link is obvious and noticeable
  • Contact info is provided, including postal address
  • Social icons are clickable and accurately link to your profiles


  • Asks the recipient to whitelist the 'from' address, and provides instructions, so future emails get delivered to their inbox instead of spam/promotions
  • Includes a CTA to encourage readers to forward/share your email
  • Includes a subscription option for people who receive it via a forward
  • Incorporates tracking and reporting
  • Includes viewing options (i.e. to view in a browser or as text-only).

Want a Printable Version?

Download a printable version of this 9-Point Checklist and use it to audit as many emails as you want.

Compare the results. Note the differences in the results for each email. Your least successful email likely has significantly fewer items checked off than your most successful email, giving you an indication of what you need to focus on moving forward.

An email audit can provide the roadmap to creating a better email campaign and is crucial to your success.