5 Things to Remember Before You Hit Send

Email ChecklistOnce you send an email, it’s out there. There’s no getting it back.

So before your message to your fans and followers begins its magical journey through cyberspace and beyond, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve crossed your t’s, dotted your i’s, and not made any huge embarrassing errors that will make you look like a fool in front of all your supporters.

Here are 5 things to do before you hit that “send” button:

1. Check your spelling.

There’s really no excuse for spelling errors these days. It seems every program we use (mail clients, web browsers, word processors) has spellcheck built into it, so you might as well take advantage. It’s not like a few spelling mishaps are the end of the world, but when they’re so easy to sniff out and correct, it’s definitely worth it to hit ’em with a quick fix. Find a program with spellcheck enabled (Microsoft Word is my go-to), paste your copy in there, and scan for the underlined words. Boom.

2. Proofread once, proofread twice, then have someone else proofread.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read an email I’m planning to send, reread it three times after that, and then passed it to someone else who reads it and immediately finds a simple mistake like a missing word in a sentence, or a misused homonym. Plus, outside help—even if that means just having a friend give your copy a quick once-over—is key. It’ll give you a good idea of what someone reading your email for the first time will see and take away from it.

3. Check your links.

If you’ve got links in your email, make sure they’re working. I’ve received emails where it’s one big image encouraging me to do something (which is fine), but when I tried to click on the image, nothing happened. That’s not good. Test your links, and make absolutely sure they’re going where you want them to go and that they make sense in the scheme of your mailing.

4. Pore over your subject line.

Don’t let the subject line of your email be an afterthought. It might be the last thing you write before you send your mailing, but it’s the first thing people are going to see when they get it. Make it count. And keep in mind that a lot of people are checking mail on their phones these days, so keep it short, sweet, and to the point. And don’t forget to check your subject-line spelling, too! I always paste mine into a Word doc just to be safe.

5. Test it.

Best-case scenario: you’ve got a small list of people, all using different email programs, who are willing to receive a test version of your mailing and give you feedback. Ideally, you’d send this small blast out to these folks before you send the real thing to your list, and they’d tell you if anything looks weird in their email client of choice, and provide additional thoughts on the content and presentation.

The DIY approach: get yourself email addresses with a few of the most-used email programs (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.), send test mailings to those addresses, and see if there’s any discrepancies that need to be addressed. Email clients are fairly uniform these days, but you might be surprised at how the tiniest formatting inconsistency can make your whole mailing go wonky.

Yeah, some of this stuff is a little tedious and time-consuming, but it sure beats feeling like a dolt. And it definitely beats having to put your tail between your legs and send a second email to correct the mistakes in the first one.

Got any email tips you’d like to share? Let’s hear ’em in the comments.

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