By Amanda Gagnon
Most of us glance into the mirror before stepping out the door each morning. What if there is food in our hair or our clothes are on backwards? The mirror-test saves us from potentially horrifying embarrassment.
Our emails deserve that same opportunity. Since they can’t check the mirror themselves (due to their unfortunate lack of eyeballs), we must do it for them through testing. Trust me, this is a step you do not want to skip.
You and your email marketing campaign will both be relieved if your test turns up a mistake that would have resulted in mismatched e-shoes.
Why To Test
You’ve probably had this experience: you open an email, you get interested, you click on a link, and:
You’re done. You can’t go any further, so you delete the email and move on to other important things, like checking the mirror for smudged mascara.
And you do not want that to happen with your emails.
So. Two or three minutes of clicking about in exchange for peace of mind? Good, I’m glad you agree!
Let’s look at how to keep your reputation as a flawless and stunning emailer.
Where To Test
Different email clients render HTML in different ways, so you’ll need to check for design flaws.
You want to test in at least the top few webmail providers, since you are most likely to have subscribers using them. (You may need to set up accounts if you don’t already have them, but it’s free to do so.)
If you can, you’ll also want to test in Outlook (there are several versions of Outlook – if you have Outlook 2007, test in that one first) and possibly Mac Mail and Mozilla Thunderbird.
What To Test
- In HTML messages, double check the design. Do your images display in all accounts? Do special effects show up as jargon? Do the fonts look right? Now you can see if your style is universally acceptable.
- Scan for typos. You may see mistakes you missed before while working in your account.
- Check your from line and subject line. Each email provider limits to a different number of characters, so make sure enough information is visible in the inbox.
- Click your links – every one. Our Link Checker will make sure the page is found and exists, but it’s up to you to make sure that each link actually goes to the right page where you want your readers to journey.
How To Test
After creating a message and before you queue it up, you’ll see the option to test it. Click on that “Test” link and fill out the form. If you’re using personalization in your message, this will test those fields as well.
Go through the process for every email service you’re testing in. If you see a problem, do your best to tweak until it’s fixed.
When you are assured your message is presentable, you can send it out to deliver your words far and wide.
Tell Your Story
Have you ever stopped a flawed email just in the nick of time by testing it?
Have you ever skipped testing only to regret it later?
Share your stories below!