7 Things To Test Before Sending An Email

Marketers pour thousands of hours into their email campaigns, writing compelling copy, nailing their calls-to-action (CTAs), and designing a beautiful email for their subscribers to open.

Their worst nightmare? That it could be completely broken in their recipient’s inbox, ruining the subscriber experience they planned and plotted so carefully.

To make sure you run the email campaign of your dreams (and not your nightmares), you must thoroughly test. Here are seven crucial elements to test before pressing “send.”


The Inbox


Subject line + Preview Text


How your email appears in the inbox is critical to getting your subscribers to open it. Without an open, there’s no way to get a conversion. According to a recent survey between Litmus and Fluent, 34% respondents indicated that the subject line was how they decided whether or not to open an email.

Making sure your readers can see your full subject line across different devices, that your preview text is contextual and makes sense, and that any dynamic content is working (such as your recipient’s first name) ensures your inbox view encourages your subscribers to open.

Using a tool like Litmus’ Subject Line Checker can help make sure you’re optimizing this critical step in the subscriber journey. Subject Line Checker previews your subject line, from name, and preview text in 15 popular clients, including emoji support.

The Body



Before each email campaign, you probably set up goals and objectives—and how to measure them. (If you need help getting started, here’s a helpful how-to.)

When defining your goals, it’s crucial to identify what action your subscribers should take, and why should they care about your message. These actions can include reading a blog post, registering for an event, or buying a product.

Taking action translates to clicking or tapping on a link in your email. Making sure there are no broken links in your email ensures that your subscribers can take the action you want them to take. In addition, making sure each link has the correct tracking parameters ensures that you and your team can see that action post-click.

In addition, watch out for blue links on iOS devices and fix them, if needed. Phone numbers, addresses, dates, and words like ‘tonight’ or ‘tomorrow’ may be turned blue and underlined in emails for iPhone and iPad, which collectively make up ~45% of overall market share. That’s a lot of opens!

While it may just be a nuisance, it can also reduce readability and accessibility, and in some cases, defeat the purpose of your message, especially if blue is in your brand palette.


Broken Images


Many clients break or block your images automatically, making it imperative to always test your images and to include fallbacks for clients that don’t display them by default. This way, you can still get your message across.

In any email you send, make sure your images are working and that you’ve replaced your placeholder images. Even if you’re using a template, email clients are notoriously fickle. Double check by testing your emails to prevent a non-optimal subscriber experience.


ALT text


On that same note, because images are so often blocked, ALT text is essential in making sure your message gets across even when images are turned off. ALT text, or alternative text, adds a text description to your image so that the text displays if the image does not render. Doing so adds a layer of accessibility to your emails, both for those whose clients don’t support images and for those using screen readers.

Just because you’re using ALT text doesn’t mean you can’t stay on-brand or make your email look pleasing to the eye. Styled ALT text incorporates your branding and can stand out in your email. Always test before sending to make sure your ALT text is appearing for blocked images and that it accurately explains the image it’s replacing.


Default Content


Many email marketers use templates to speed up their email production workflow. Since templates often contain default copy, it’s essential to double check that you haven’t left any of that content in your email before sending. Mistakes like this can be embarrassing and unprofessional—and discourage conversions.

Make sure you haven’t left any type of default copy, including lorem ipsum or “INSERT THIS HERE” in your email, especially if you tend to write your copy directly into your email editor or ESP tool.


Extras


Spelling and Grammar


Similarly, always thoroughly review your email for spelling and grammar issues. Often when we write, we re-read something so many times that we can’t tell if it’s wrong or right. Including team members in a robust editorial process can help prevent unfortunate or embarrassing typos, missed words, double words, or otherwise incorrect grammar structures that can keep your subscribers from understanding your message.

7. Dynamic Content


Lastly, take a look at your dynamic content to make sure it’s working. No one wants to receive an email that says, “Hi !” It can be a huge turn off to see that kind of mistake (or worse, the wrong information included instead).

Here’s a great example from Unbounce on dealing with this gracefully (and with humor):


Don’t Worry! We’ve Got Your Back


It can be daunting to think about every single detail that goes into planning a successful email. But never fear! Take a deep breath:

  • Litmus put together a guide to dealing with email marketing mistakes, so that whenever things go wrong, you can shrug it off with grace and dignity (and learn how to apologize).
  • Or, you can download this free comprehensive checklist so you can keep track of everything you’re testing.
  • Then, run your email through Litmus Checklist, which catches all those details automatically so you don’t have to.

...and breathe out. We’ve got your back.

About the Author:

Kayla Lewkowicz hails from Hopkinton, MA, home of the Boston Marathon. When she’s not geeking out over email as Litmus’ Marketing Coordinator, she’s probably running, biking, hiking, or eating. Follow her on Twitter @kllewkow or find her tweeting for Litmus @litmusapp.