Email campaigns remain a cornerstone of online marketing, and the numerous statements of email being a dying communication tool have, at least thus far, proven entirely unfounded. From the most prominent brands to the smallest boutique businesses, there’s still no better way to reach an audience that has actively consented to receive promotions from you than directly in their inbox. Indeed, email still usually outperforms social media marketing in terms of sealing the deal and so warrants every bit as much time and effort as ever before.
Of course, if you’re going to the trouble of sending an email out to your audience, you must be confident it will perform. A broken email will not only lead to no sales, but it might set you back further than where you started! Therefore, it’s imperative to test emails before they reach your subscribers’ inboxes, and here’s why.
When most email marketers think of email, they tend to consider Gmail and Outlook. However, there are hundreds of ways to interpret a given email. Different webmail platforms alone account for dozens of different ways to display communications, then you’ve got all the free email services, corporate email addresses with their security features, and more.
Indeed, there are so many different viewing tools out there that it might be impossible to create an email that looks the same no matter how the recipient views it. However, it’s vital to ensure that an email looks as good as possible to as many people as possible.
Stringent email testing will ensure that an email looks equally great on desktops and mobile devices and will instill confidence that images and text will appear where you expect them to.
The call to action is perhaps the most crucial component of all in any promotional email. If you don’t have an idea of what you want someone to do upon reading it, what’s the point of sending it in the first place?
Thorough testing ensures that you can be confident that an email will perform as you expect it to. Tired eyes that designed the email in the first place can miss seemingly obvious errors, but testing tools don’t. Instead, they’ll verify that links go to where you expect them to and that the call to action is displayed prominently in the right places.
Anyone that’s ever been part of an email list will remember brands sending an ‘oops’ email when something goes wrong. It’s not a great look, and it ups the number of emails sent from your domain, which can have an impact on spam calculations.
It’s also a waste of resources. Between the time spent noticing the error, fixing it, and sending out a second email, the time it would have taken to carry out an initial test would have covered itself many times over.
If and when things go really wrong, an email designed to boost a business’s profile and increase sales can not only fail but make things even worse. Fortunately, broken emails are rarely the end of the world, especially with a damage limitation strategy in place, but it’s best to avoid them wherever possible.
A lousy email won’t necessarily land you on blocklists or indeed have any material impact on your brand’s reputation, but it can affect customer perception.
Rightly or wrongly, they might wonder how you treat your products and services or your delivery schedules if you can’t even take the time to get an email right.
Thorough testing before the fact doesn’t have to be time-consuming, but it helps to ensure that your brand always comes out ahead with every email you send.
Many businesses dream of the day they go viral. A video, picture, or tweet that people want to share with all the right reasons can lead to massive sales. For example, back in 2014, boutique clothing store Wren increased sales by 14,000% by creating ads that went viral.
Conversely, Adidas went viral with a poorly-judged email campaign around the Boston Marathon.
Testing won’t spot poor human judgment, but it will provide time to reflect on the content and point out errors that may get Twitter pointing and laughing at your business?
Most email lists don’t stagnate. It can take months to gain the first subscriber, but it’s usually onwards and upwards from there as your brand grows. Some brands grow organically, while others focus on active list building but, either way, audience numbers don’t stand still.
As such, at least one person will likely receive the email you’re working on right now as their first of hopefully many.
It’s vital to demonstrate what your brand is all about with every email. If that first impression portrays you as a business that lacks attention to detail, happily sends emails with missing images and broken personalization, or ignores data protection, that could spell the end of the road with a prospective customer.
Why would someone buy from a business they perceive as unprofessional or lazy? The chances are they wouldn’t, but if that’s the impression you give with emails, they’re unlikely to change their mind and wait around for the next one in your campaign.
We’ve focused on visuals and functionality in many of the tips in this article, but there’s one vital factor in email marketing that’s important enough to end on. A promotional email is entirely worthless if it isn’t read.
Many email testing tools rely heavily on deliverability, as it’s all about getting your message in front of the audience and encouraging them to act. If you’re doing email marketing correctly, everyone on your list has given you explicit permission to contact them with marketing communications, and they’re, therefore, at least happy to see your brand in their inbox.
However, not all email providers understand that context, and it’s easy to get flagged as spam or rejected altogether if the software says so. Testing tools take the same parameters that filters use into account and can suggest ways to bypass automated blockages.
That’s the final tip, but potentially the most important one of all, so we say again: test your marketing emails before they go out! The ten minutes you spend getting them right could save hours of repair and recovery in the future.
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