Published on May 6th, 2013 | by Amanda Day3
Email Testing 1,2,3 – How to Get an A+
When it comes to email marketing, once you’re content with the copy and design, it’s tempting to forgo all email testing and just send it out – especially when you’re crunched for time. However, testing, editing and proofing your email on a regular basis helps to ensure a successful campaign. Here are some easy-to-implement email testing tips that’ll take your email campaigns from average to ace in no time flat.
Email Testing for Accuracy
Once you’ve added images and links to your draft email, you need to send out a test email. Send one to yourself as well as a few coworkers or eagle eyed friends to proofread and click your links, as it can be easy to miss something when you’ve been looking at it for a while. When you get the test, do a quick check of the following:
- Is the subject line attention-grabbing and typo free?
- Do the images render correctly?
- Is there alternative text for images? (Most email clients block images by default, however the alt text will appear)
- Do your links go to the right places?
- Is your font easy to read and consistent throughout the email?
- Are there any typos in the content?
- Is there a clear call-to-action (or calls-to-action)?
Testing Email Clients
Because emails consist of HTML code, each email client has its own rules that determine how your email will look in a recipient’s inbox. Outlook, Apple Mail, Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail are all commonly used email clients that you may want to test. We recommend sending a test email to a few of these email clients to ensure your bases are covered. If you want to test multiple email clients at once, you can try Email on Acid, which is a tool that allows you to preview your email to see how it looks.
When testing your email, be sure to preview the way your email appears without images, as many email clients render or display an email without images by default (Gmail is a good example of this.) By using alternative text (alt text) in your images, you’ll ensure the message isn’t lost even without the images. If your email uses large images from Photoshop or a similar tool, keep in mind that the text inside these images will not appear when your image doesn’t.
Email Testing on Mobile Devices
A recent study by Litmus indicates that the email clients with the largest market share are Apple iPhone (23%), Outlook (17%), and Apple iPad (11%). Yep, mobile is hot. According to another study by by Knotice, 41% of emails sent in the second half of 2012 were viewed on mobile devices. (This was an increase of 14% from the year before.). So whenever you test your email, it’s a good idea to also view it on mobile devices if have them available.
Here are a few things to consider when testing on a mobile device:
- Is the font large enough to read?
- Do the images work on the small screen? Very large images or too many can cause issues on mobile devices.
- Are the links large enough and spaced out enough for someone to click on? (It’s very helpful to use buttons to make it easier for mobile users to click.)
- Does the email load properly? Sometimes if your email is too large, it’ll require the mobile user to download the remaining portion.
Keep in mind, any extra time required by the recipient can be a deterrent to act on your call-to-action.
You may or may not be aware that emails can render differently across the different web browsers. It’s a good idea to view your email in the most popular web browsers – Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Each browser has its own set of rules that govern the appearance of your email, so you may not be able to get identical results, but you can at least be sure the email looks pretty similar in all three of these browsers. BrowserStack is a great tool for testing how your email looks in different browsers quickly.
Some things to check for:
- Is the background color the same in all browsers?
- Do the images show up properly?
- Is the font color and size consistent?
- Are the column widths the same or similar?
- Is the overall appearance clean and legible?
As you can see, there are many facets to testing your email before sending! One important thing is not to get too bogged down by wanting the email to look exactly the same in every email client or on every browser. Most importantly, focus on the message being easy-to-read with clear calls-to-action.
What’s the first thing you test in your email?
© 2013, Amanda Day. All rights reserved.