Testing: Your Most Valuable Email Marketing Tool - Part One

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Here’s the process for thoroughly checking a marketing email before it reaches your association’s stakeholders.

By Michelle Ashley

You already know the importance of testing an email campaign before you send it to your members or potential members. To maximize your chance of achieving the desired goal of your campaign, you want to make sure that the email looks as you intended and has no mistakes.Testing is somewhat of a granular process. Test one element at a time, and don’t give up too early. Start with internal testing, which essentially means reviewing your email in the following ways:1. Proofing. Review your email for spelling and grammar mistakes. Surprisingly enough, a simple comma in the right place can make a difference. Ginger Software is one of my favorite freebie tools to use for this. "She” is a better thinker than most average spell-checking applications.2. Testing links. When you send yourself a test email, be sure to click on all the links and ensure they are working properly. Replace or fix any broken links. Also, when using a link to direct the action you want the reader to do, remember to use a call-to-action such as READ MORE, CLICK HERE, etc.

3. How it looks when shared on social media sites. Test your message on social media sites by using the Social Share options yourself. Better to check it now than be embarrassed later.

4. Mobile versus webpage. Over 50 percent of all email gets opened first on a mobile device, so send yourself a test on your mobile device, or see number seven below.

5. Text vs HTML. Text versions of email are probably the most forgotten version. And although the majority of emails are viewed in HTML format, there are still a number of folks who prefer to receive text-only emails. Send yourself a text version as well. And, if you make changes to your html version, be sure to update your text version too — especially if you’re using the "create as new” option.

6. PC vs Mac. Email can display differently on different platforms, just as it can in different email clients. If you work on a PC and don’t have a Mac, find a friend that does and ask them to help you test.

7. Email clients. Use the email preview feature to view how your email will render in various email clients. It’s a much easier tool than having a test email for each client and having to manually go in and look at each one.

8. Test yourself, then test to your coworkers. Once you’ve tested the email and have ensured all is working properly, send a test to your coworkers. Proofing your own work can be problematic; getting the assistance of others can be invaluable.

Ready to send, right? Nope, not quite yet. See Part Two on the benefits of A/B Testing in next week’s Sidebar.

Michelle Ashley is a 25-year marketing and advertising veteran specializing in B2B, publishing, and nonprofit industries. She’s spent the past decade at Knowledge Marketingassisting publishing clients in email marketing best practices.

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