Question: How can I ensure error-free e-mail campaigns when I am faced with last-minute changes?

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Answer: There’s something about the speed and availability of e-mail that makes it easy to wait until the last minute. Besides the risk of poor recipient experience, the stakes are even higher now that regulations exist.

We know we’ll never fully escape last-minute changes, so to improve the likelihood of error-free campaigns, try the following:

  • Set your campaign calendar. Sure you can fire one off just minutes before the intended send time, but why risk it? Set up a procedure that requires campaigns to be scheduled at least one hour before delivery.
  • Establish a campaign checklist. Include everything you need to get the campaign out the door. Include list build, redirects, unsubscribe, etc. You may not fill it out for every campaign, but it can serve as a much-needed reminder when processes are rushed.
  • Check and double-check for the unsubscribes. This is the one thing that must exist in the campaign. CAN-SPAM dictates that there are few things more important than giving recipients the option to unsubscribe. If you get in the habit of inserting it first, you’re more likely to remember it.
  • Don’t skip the quality assurance (QA) process. If you don’t have a QA process, get one. If you have one, make sure you follow it every time.
  • Don’t approve until you’re ready to go. Once the campaign is approved, it takes a system administrator to erase it. Buy yourself a little time to ensure everything is OK by approving a scheduled campaign closer to campaign send time.

Remind the business partner of the possible pitfalls of sending last-minute campaigns. Ultimately, do your best to protect the channel for your organization. Because we all know who they look to first when mistakes are made.

Tricia Robinson is chief marketing officer for Atlanta-based Accucast Inc. (, a provider of e-mail marketing solutions.

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