In this article, Wendy Roth outlines 8 crucial things you should check before you hit the send-button.
Are you sending to the right list?
If the email is an invitation to a select event for your top customers, double check that only they get it. Or, if you're offering a special discount, check that recent purchasers won't get the offer.
Does the "from" address work?
Even if you specify different addresses for the "reply to" address or inform recipients not to reply, it's a good idea to check to see what recipients will get if they do reply to the "from" address.
Is the subject line accurate, short and compelling?
Aim for accuracy because you're trying to engender trust with recipients (aren't you?), but also because the Can-Spam Act of 2003 requires it.
Make it short because many email clients will only show the first 6-8 words of the subject line, and you don't want to lose potential openers because the value of your message is at the end.
Make it compelling, because everyone gets a lot of email nowadays, so why should recipients open your message now, instead of later, tomorrow or whenever they get around to it?
Did you include a link to read the message outside of email?
Include a "read online" link so that no matter how bad the message looks, recipients can see how it was supposed to look.
Do all images and links work?
Sounds like a no-brainer, but with image suppression as the norm for many email clients, you might not realize the red "x" remains even when the images are enabled. Make sure you check that images and links work even outside your network.
Many ESPs offer tools that verify that the links in your message go somewhere, but they are no substitute for actually clicking on the link to ensure they not only go to a page but the right page.
If you're using clickthrough tracking, make certain that the redirect is working properly and the data is being recorded.
Did you include a working unsubscribe link?
Just because it looks like a link and like it does something doesn't mean it's getting the job done. The key here is that it has to really stop the recipient from getting more mail from you. Check the backend database if necessary to ensure the recipient status really has been changed.
And make sure the unsubscribe process gives some response indicating that it worked. If it's all unclear, subscribers might click the spam button for added reassurance.
Did you include a physical address?
Another one of those Can-Spam basics is that a physical address assures subscribers that they can contact you somehow, and it shows ISPs you know what you're doing.
Did you view the message through several different email accounts?
The trick is to view the message where your customers are. If you are principally a B2C, check AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail at a minimum. If you are B2B, check Outlook 2003/2007, Outlook Express and Lotus Notes.
Check not only the entire message with images enabled but also images disabled, and in the preview screen as well. If you don't have access to some of the readers your customers are using, there are several companies that offer inbox snapshots to help you proof your messages.