Email testing and why it’s important?
Email is one of the easiest and most effective ways of marketing your product or service. However, with a host of different email clients on offer such as Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo, this means that your emails will be rendered differently across various clients. Which is why email testing is so important to maintain a strong brand image, stay ahead of the competition and not lose out on any valuable subscribers.
How’s your email looking?
Standard practice when you create an email campaign from whichever email platform you use is before sending out to your subscriber list you will send a test email to your own inbox to review and to make sure everything looks good before setting your campaign to live. This is good practice, but it is not the best practice. As you will notice once you send out your campaign you begin to receive messages from recipients to say their email went to their spam folder, or that the email they received “doesn’t look right”. That is because not all your subscribers are using the same email client as you, which means that the test email that looked perfect in your Gmail inbox, that same email can look chaotic in your colleagues Yahoo inbox. This is why email testing is so important as a bad email can damage brand image and lose out on valuable business.
What to test?
1. Email body rendering
As previously outlined the same email can look different across all of the various email clients and at the very least the email should be tested across these different email clients. This can be done manually, which would be quite time consuming and cumbersome, but there are a range of helpful tools available which can make this process a lot quicker and easier, checking both .html and text contents. Examples of these tools are; Email on Acid, Litmus and Email Inspector.
2. Image rendering
Similar to the email body, images can look different across the various email clients and need to be tested. Some email clients go as far as blocking images from going through, as well as some who filter these emails straight into the spam folder, which is why this should be tested across the various email clients to ensure images are appearing correctly and to safeguard performance.
It is also important to view your tests in mobile view as not only does mobile have the highest open rate across devices (according to Campaign Monitor benchmark report 2021) but mobile view is displayed differently compared to web clients. The email testing tools mentioned above have the ability to preview emails in mobile version as well as desktop.
4. Subject lines testing
We all know subject lines are important to catch the attention of your subscribers and get those open rates. But subject lines are also important because they influence where your email ultimately ends up, whether it be an inbox or the spam folder. So, testing the same subject line to a varied test group is also key.
5. Sender profile
In this digital age, online security is of key importance and people are far more conscious of their online activities, making them weary of opening emails from strange and suspicious sender profiles. That is why it is important to test the sender profiles “from” and “reply to” addresses, to ensure these behave correctly when delivered to various email client inboxes.
6. DKIM & SPF records
SPF and DKIM records prevent your domains from spoofing, phishing and impersonation. It is essential to verify that the correct DKIM (Domain Keys Identified Mail) and SPF (Sender Policy Framework) records have been setup, as the incoming mail server uses these to validate the email, reducing the risk of the email ending up in spam.
Sending the right email to the right demographic is key when sending email campaigns i.e., sending an email for nursing bras to men may not have the same impact as sending the same email to women of child bearing age. This is why segmenting emails and deciding on targets is good practice when it comes to email campaign testing.
8. Date & time of sending
Finally, time testing is key to know when your subscribers are most active, this not only helps with engagement rates, but also helps ensure that whatever offers you may have in your campaign does not become irrelevant or invalid to the recipient.
Email campaigns are one of the easiest and most effective ways of marketing your campaigns, when done properly! Testing and preparation are crucial before sending out any emails, that is why testing the above along with A/B testing is best practice for getting the most out of your campaigns.