Are your emails critical?

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By: Neil Edwards on 6th May 2014, 2 minute read

We're big advocates of email marketing here at The Marketing Eye, and like every business, we constantly have to ask ourselves if our campaigns, and those we run for our clients, are as effective as they could be.

Dave Chaffey, author of Total Email Marketing, devised the CRITICAL model as a useful checklist of questions to ask about your email campaigns.  

CRITICAL stands for:


This assesses the design of the email including its layout, use of colour and imagary, and the copy.


Arguably, the most important factor. Use the following question: “Does the offer and creative of the email meet recipients’ needs?”

Incentive (or offer)

The WIFM factor for the recipient or ‘what’s in it for me?’ What benefit does the recipient gain from clicking on the link(s) in the email?

Targeting and timing

Targeting is related to relevance. Is a single message sent to all prospects or customers on the list, or are emails with tailored creative, incentive and copy sent to different list segments?


Case Study: PrimeStox

How we helped PrimeStox treble registrations while reducing spend in just two months.

Timing refers to when the email is received – time of day, day of week, point in the month, even the year. Does it relate to any particular events? There’s also relative timing: when it’s received in conjunction with other marketing communications (this depends on the integration).


Are email campaigns part of your integrated marketing communications? Questions to ask include: Are the creative and copy consistent with my brand? Does the message reinforce other communications? Does the timing of the email campaign fit with offline communications?


This is part of the creative and refers to the structure, style and explanation of the offer together with the location of hyperlinks in the email.

Attributes (header attributes of the email)

Assess the message characteristics such as the subject line, from address, to address, date/time of receipt and format (HTML or text). These can also influence deliverability of the message if they contain the wrong structure or keywords identified as spam.

Landing page

The effectiveness of the landing page in terms of communications’ consistency and simplicity.

This easy to remember acronym serves as a useful prompt to make sure that every element of the campaign has been considered in the right amount of depth.  If you'd like to talk in more detail about the success or otherwise of your email marketing campaigns, please contact us.

The Replace Base

Case Study: The Replace Base

An online retailer of mobile device repairs and replacement parts

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Neil Edwards


Neil Edwards

Neil is a Chartered Marketer and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing with many years' experience in marketing, brand and communications.

CEO / The Marketing Eye

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