When you’re planning a campaign, a lot of thought goes into every word you write and your calls to action. However, it’s just as important to test your email campaigns so you know they work and you didn’t miss any critical information.
Ideally, you want to catch all those mistakes before you send a campaign so it doesn’t tank. Fortunately, there are several ways you can do this without anyone being the wiser about any errors in your first drafts.
In this article, I’m going to walk you through two methods you can use to test your email campaigns and how they work. Let’s get to testing!
Use Your Email Marketing Service’s Test and Preview Features
These days, most email marketing platforms provide you with features that enable you to preview how your emails will look when someone receives them. This is essential because not everyone uses the same email clients. More importantly, your subscribers probably use a host of different devices to access their emails. It’s up to you to ensure your emails look great across all of them.
Aside from previewing your emails, you should also be able to send test campaigns. The goal, in this case, is to ensure your emails arrive correctly, look just as you intended them to, and there are no errors in their content.
Think about the process of testing your emails as you would editing a post draft. Your first draft may be good, but there’s always room for improvement. Until you take a look at your email campaigns with a critical eye, you might miss a few glaring mistakes.
How to access these features will vary depending on which email marketing service you use. For example, Constant Contact enables you to access its Preview functionality while you’re editing new campaigns. Just click on the Preview button at the top right of the screen and a new tab will open:
Here, you can preview how your email looks like on both desktop and mobile clients:
To the right, you’ll find the option to send a test run of your campaign to any email you want. Just type in an address, add a personal note if you want to, and hit the Send Now button:
Go ahead and send a test campaign to yourself. Then, go through that email from your regular mail client and try to spot any errors you missed while editing it. If something looks wrong, return to the drawing board until you iron things out.
For bonus points, access that test email using multiple devices, just in case Constant Contact’s preview functionality missed anything.
Use an Email Previewing Service
The preview functionality most email platforms include is often good enough. However, in most cases, those services don’t enable you to test your emails using multiple clients. This is important because there are dozens of possible combinations of email clients and devices.
If you want to be more thorough when it comes to your email tests, you’ll need to use a dedicated service such as Litmus. What this platform does is take your email campaign and test it using their own computer bay. They boast over 1,000 machines with different combinations of Operating Systems (OSs) and email clients, which is more than enough to ensure your campaigns will look great in any circumstance.
As you can imagine, services like this don’t come cheap. However, Litmus offers a seven-day trial which should be enough to test all the emails you want and schedule them in advance using autoresponders.
Go ahead and sign up for a Litmus trial now. Once your account is set up, you can start a new test by either pasting your email’s HTML or sending a test message to an account Litmus will provide you:
Once you send in your email, Litmus will run a test for you using its clients. When the test is done, you’ll be able to see screenshots of how your mail looks with each client and OS:
You can click on these screenshots to get a look at them at full resolution. However, there are usually so many combinations this can be unfeasible. Instead, we recommend you scroll down the list to see if any of the screenshots Litmus took look unlike the others. If you find one, chances are it’s due to an error in the way that client displayed your email.
Depending on which client you have problems with (if any) you may want to return to your email marketing platform to edit your campaign and try using a different layout.
If you want to save your Litmus test to take a better look at your results later, you can also do that by navigating to the Share Checklist test section at the bottom of your report. There, you’ll find an option to download a zipped file including all your screenshots:
In some cases, you might not need to use an email testing service with that much firepower. Some other alternatives we recommend include Testi@ and Email on Acid. Between both of them, you get access to over 100 email client and OS combinations, which is more than enough to test any campaign thoroughly.
Every email in your campaign counts. If even one of them doesn’t display as intended for your subscribers, you might lose some of them along the way. That’s why it’s important you test every email you send out.
If you’re using an email marketing service such as Constant Contact, you can take advantage of their built-in previewing and testing features. Otherwise, there are platforms such as Litmus you can use specifically to test your emails. Also, if you want to read more about how to market your blog in general, beyond just emails, you’d do well to check out our Paid to Blog course.
Do you have any questions about how to test your email campaigns? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!