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Email Marketing: A Diagnostic Checklist

When it comes to email marketing, there’s a lot to think about. This article is designed to get you thinking about your current operating level, so ask yourself the following diagnostic questions to see what improvements you could be making.

Your email marketing system


  • Have you implemented a system for email marketing?
  • If so, does it meet your needs and is it affordable?
  • If you are thinking of implementing a new system, have you considered:
    • your budget
    • your requirements
    • any integrations you might need
    • the level of expertise within your organisation, and therefore how advanced your system should be
    • who will look after your email marketing and how much time per month they will be able to dedicate to it

Your mailing list


  • Is your mailing list GDPR-compliant? Every person on your mailing list should have positively opted in or used a soft opt-in through a purchase path. If you’re not sure what this means, you can find more information on the ICO’s website.
  • Is it easy for the people on your mailing list to unsubscribe? Is an unsubscribe link included in every marketing email that you send?

Good practice

  • Do you have a target audience, and is this reflected in your email communications?
  • Is it easy for people to sign up to your mailing list? Is your sign-up form shared in the right places?
  • Is your audience engaging with your emails? A 20% open rate and 2% click through rate is a good starting point.
  • Do you regularly re-engage or remove low-engaging members from your mailing list?
  • Is your mailing list information stored in one place? If you store it across multiple systems (e.g. your email marketing platform, your CRM database, your box office records), how do you ensure you always have the most up-to-date information?
  • Are people able to let you know their preferences so you can send them more tailored information? If you collect this information, are you using it effectively?

Planning and sending your emails


  • Do you set an objective for each email you send? A clear and defined message for every email communication will keep your audience engaged.
  • Have you considered what value the email will bring to the people you’re sending it to?
  • Is your email design accessible to all of your users?

Good practice

  • Does your email strategy tie in with your wider organisational strategy? For many users your email communications will be the primary point of contact with your organisation, so it can be an important way to convey essential messages.
  • Do you have a content plan for your upcoming emails? Building a plan around seasonality or relevant dates for your organisation will give your strategy shape and regularity.
  • Do you segment your audience so you can send them more relevant emails?
  • Do you add merge fields to personalise your emails?


  • Have you set up any automated emails, such as a welcome email when people sign up to your mailing list?
  • If so, do you check the content regularly to ensure it is relevant and up to date?
  • Do you use dynamic content to tailor your emails to different segments of your mailing list?

Understanding how successful your emails are


  • Do you have a clear idea of your objectives for your emails, such as particular goals for open rate, click through rate and unsubscribe rate or key user actions? Do you compare these numbers to your previous sends? The differences and progressions you notice will help you determine good practice going forwards.

Good practice

  • Do you use UTM parameters in your emails to link to your Google Analytics account?
  • Have you compared your results to the objectives you set?
  • Are you incorporating learnings from your statistics into your future sends based on what you’ve observed?


  • Do you use AB testing to help you work out what engages the people on your mailing list?

What next?

This article should have helped you to gauge what level your email marketing strategy is at, with some ideas for further development . To find out more, read the articles linked below.

The Digital Culture Network is here to support you and your organisation. Our Tech Champions can provide free 1-2-1 support to all arts and cultural organisations who are in receipt of, or eligible for, Arts Council England funding. If you need help or would like to chat with us about any of the advice we have covered above, please get in touch. Sign up to our newsletter below and follow us on Twitter @ace_dcn for the latest updates.

Original article by Peggy Naumann. Reviewed on 24th February 2021.

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External Link

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