Email Testing is Essential for Successful Email Marketing
Over the years, HMA has completed thousands of multi-part email tests. So many that we can look at the code and see what will or won’t work, and we’ve learned that it’s become a science that continues to evolve as web marketing becomes increasingly technical. So if you are a marketer wondering why your email efforts are not as successful as you think they should be, this article is for you.
Our proprietary process incorporates standard practices that email marketers should use across all industries, not just hospitality. For example, today’s marketers need to know that their emails are actually delivered and rendered correctly to ensure the visibility and success of their email marketing effort.
Ensure a Successful Send
All email marketers should review the different deployment pre-check processes for every email before deployment to ensure a successful send. Over the years, we have found that the Yahoos and Gmails of the world will only tell you they are changing something in their system if it is a more significant change, like the implementation of the Gmail Promotions tab. So, while there are nuances and different steps that you can add to your process, the following are the core tenants of email testing:
Rendering Testing: Email rendering testing ensures an email displays correctly across different email clients and devices. This process involves email testing tools that simulate the email display on various email clients and mobile devices. Here you may notice some unwanted breaks in your creative. You should be testing on as many email client programs as possible because, for example, Outlook 2011 has a different rendering engine than Outlook 2013. You are going to find these nuances with quite a few desktop clients. Web-based clients (Gmail, Yahoo, and more) are more consistent than their application-based counterparts.
Spam Scoring: Spam scoring identifies potential spam triggers in an email and ensures that the email will not be blocked or sent to the spam folder. This step involves using email testing tools that analyze the content and structure of the email to identify potential issues. It is not just spam word testing but testing for many different things, such as all caps, SPF, DKIM, or DMARC records being present and aligned correctly. The average marketer knows about spam words but less about record alignment. Having your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records align to your sending domain has a much more significant impact on deliverability to the inbox.
Creative Testing: Link and image testing ensures that all links and images in the email work correctly and are not broken. This vitally important test generally involves manually clicking on all links and checking that all images display correctly. For example, imagine you have built the perfect creative to resonate with your audience, but the link to your landing page was malformed. Creative testing catches this sort of problem. The web world supports many functions that the email world does not, so make sure your developers are coding for email rather than the web. You might even test the functionality of phone numbers and email addresses included in the email.
Personalization testing: Personalization testing ensures that personalization fields, such as the recipient’s name or location, work correctly and display the correct information. This test should only be done when testing out of your ESP. Merge fields are different for each ESP, so don’t assume that the fields in your ESP will work in others.
In summary, email marketing has proven a very successful marketing channel, provided you ensure you or your email provider keep up with the ever-evolving testing requirements. The communications you send to your clients and prospects influence their trust and perceptions about your brand, so putting in the testing time to ensure that your customer accurately sees your brand will pay off.