Data Analyst and Technical Consultant

Email testing and best practice

There are more ways to view an email than ever, so there is more responsibility to check how your email renders.

Email Testing

Using a tool to automate this is your best bet for getting the best result across more platforms.  My tool of choice is Litmus, a paid product, that gives you a checklist to make sure you are sending beautiful emails.  All you have to do is send a test email to your Litmus account email address to check how your email renders on over 70 platforms.

 

First impressions

  • From name – this is the first thing the eye is drawn to, not the subject line, so make it count
  • Subject line – make it clear and concise.  Emojis don’t always render well so if you’re that way inclined it’s best to leave these out here.
  • Preheader text – if you leave out these 90 characters the email client will grab the alt text of your first image, then the headline, then the copy.  Worse still, if you have a system that uses a placeholder you may end up with ‘Replace with preheader copy’, not a great first impression, especially on mobile.
  • Reply-to – make it easy to respond.  If you are using noreply@somesite.com make sure it’s clear elsewhere how recipients can get in touch.

 

Images

  • Images – check how these load on every platform and how the text-only version loads. Ticketing systems often use the text-only version or strip out images and styling so do your colleagues a favour and get it right for both versions.
  • Alt text – there is nothing worse than getting a mysterious file name when images don’t load.
  • Loading speed – with images becoming larger and better quality there is a trade-off with loading speed.  Make sure you have a good balance if images are important to your message.

 

Links

  • Tracking – check if the links are working and if you are consistent.  Having the same link with prefixes of http and https will track as two different links in most systems.
  • UTM tags – check your campaign, medium and source details are correct for your Google Analytics tracking.

 

Things that you should do offline

  • Peer review – get someone else’s eyes across the whole campaign and the logic triggering the send.  No app or software is going to be able to tell if your link is going to the wrong place.
  • Approvals – make sure you get it, and you get it in writing.
  • Stakeholder comms – if there is someone else at the other end of the reply-to email address let them know when you are sending and how many recipients its is going to.
  • Don’t scrape websites or buy lists – as well as being questionable practice these simply don’t have a good hit rate.  If you are in the B2B space you’re even more likely to have high bounce rates.  People leave companies, they list generic info@ addresses on directory sites and sometimes purchased lists simply get addresses wrong.  Only send to those who want to hear from you.

 

Read more about email marketing best practice from the Litmus blog