Here are four audits you need to focus on this month to ensure you aren’t trapped in crisis mode when your busy season hits:
A good acquisition audit begins with fully understanding all the ways that your program acquires email addresses. If you’ve been with your company for a while, you can probably recite the sources in your sleep, but if you’ve recently inherited a program, it’s time to get deeply familiar with where your new email addresses are coming from.
There are a couple of reasons to do this. First, you want to ensure you are gathering customers in a way that won’t expose you to deliverability issues. Second, you need to visit all of these sources and sign up as if you were a customer to check how and if the experience works.
For example, see if any forms need to be trimmed down to a simpler format. When you hit submit, how long does it take for a welcome confirmation to be sent to your inbox? Was an email received at all? You’ll also want to check your database to ensure your test records were added.
This process will help you to see if any sources need to be revised and if any technical issues are out there preventing new subscribers from joining your program.
A good automated program will be periodically analyzed and optimized to keep a winning flow in production. What messages, creative, and timing are working best? Now is the time to update based on what you learn from reporting. You also want to make sure that no programs have any issues, such as a drop in counts for no reason. Brands sometimes have broken automated programs without realizing it, so don’t fall victim to ignorance on technical issues.
Ok, so this isn’t a formal security audit like the one you might do when signing on with a new ESP. This is, however, a recommendation to be in sync with your IT security team and come up with a protocol on how you can prevent the following:
Phishing/Spoofing: They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but not when a nasty online hacker is sending emails that look like they are coming from your brand to collect sensitive information from your customers. Work with a partner that can help you identify when your brand is being spoofed, so that you can do damage control and shut down any malicious behavior quickly.
Data/Technology Breaches: Because an email marketer manages and moves around a lot of data between the enterprise and technologies, it’s important to document and monitor all outbound and incoming data. Work with your ESP to fully understand who is accessing the system, and what protocol is in place to prevent a systems breach. You don’t want to be the victim of a breach and have to spend your valuable time creating apology messages to your customers as a result.
Most brands also have some form of QA process to check how campaigns render in different clients and on mobile devices. What gets overlooked too often is accessibility, which addresses the needs of those with visual, physical, cognitive and neurological disabilities.
If you want to see how your emails make the grade, prioritize an audit of your most-leveraged templates now, so you can redesign your emails this summer to meet accessibility requirements. How do you know where you need to focus? You can audit your emails with this nifty email accessibility checker.
Are there any other audits you do during the summer to prepare for the busy second half of the year? Have you made improvements as a result of an audit’s findings? If so, let me know in the comments.