The importance of email testing

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According to McKinsey, advanced personalisation and targeted messages make email marketing 40 times more efficient at acquiring new customers than giants like Facebook or Twitter.

This is because professional email marketing platforms let you send tailored information to the right customers at the right time to build engagement and drive sales. But sometimes small mistakes can ruin hours of hard work when you forget to test the campaign before you hit “send”.

Newsletter subscribers need only a few seconds to decide if they want to read your email or not, so let’s look at why it’s risky to not test newsletters before sending them.

1. Your campaign can be labelled spam and won’t reach subscriber inboxes

Email providers carefully monitor what kind of information are you sending in your campaigns to look for malicious practices like phishing or to see if you have skimmed recipient emails from random places on the internet. Gmail in particular is very sensitive to the degree of reader engagement with emails when evaluating whether or not it is spam.

Anti-spam filters notice even small mistakes in your email like, for example, a missing unsubscribe link! There are also certain symbols and words that will cause filters to raise a flag and potentially ban your campaigns. Avoid using “spammy” structures and formulations that use too many questions marks or exclamation marks placed together in one message.

There are other things to keep an eye on if you want to be sure to avoid spam filters. One of them is the ratio of text and pictures used in your promotional emails.

Fortunately you don’t have to know every detail about how anti-spam filters work. If you run anti-spam tests before sending your campaign you can be sure that your newsletter is properly designed and will reach its intended destination without any problems.

2. Without testing, you can’t be sure how your email will display on different devices

Technologies used by email providers are changing very fast, so you can never be sure if you newsletter will display correctly in every subscriber’s inbox the next time you send a campaign. You can start out with great pictures and graphics and then suddenly it can be blocked when the spam filter rules are changed.

DMA UK says that in 2015 about 50% of email subscribers read their messages on mobile devices, especially smartphones. This is why every email marketer has to be sure they know how their newsletter will display on smaller screens, but you can only find out by running inbox tests first.

Some marketers make the mistake of testing a template once and then using it over and over without testing it again. Tech standards change, spam filters change and the content of the template changes. Test every newsletter you put together before you send it so you can catch mistakes before thousands of your subscribers catch it for you. Disappointed and irritated subscribers will unsubscribe from your list or mark the message as spam.

Both situations will ruin your reputation as a sender and they are just a waste of your time and money invested in email marketing activities.

3. Without testing, you don’t know what appeals to the needs and wants of your subscribers

The sender name and subject line of any message are key elements that provide information that tells subscribers that the email is open is worth opening. Some people would, for example, rather open emails from a man and some of them look at the sender name before deciding if they want to open it or not.

You can never be sure which subject line will work for you. In some situations a big discount in the subject line will convert better and in others the appropriate call-to-action or intriguing question will be enough.

Even if you monitor your subscribers’ expectations regularly it’s hard to guess what will be the best fit for each campaign.

Remember that email A/B split tests can answer these questions for you. By running them you can check which from two senders or subject lines will be the most appealing to your subscribers interests. You can be sure that if you will skip this important element of sending your campaigns, you can only expect low open rates that will result in poor sales.

4. Without testing, your timing will be off

Does sending an email marketing campaign in the middle of the night make any sense? Sometimes it does, like when your subscribers typically read emails in the morning. In this situation you can be sure that your email will be first to get noticed when they check their inboxes.

But what if they would like to hear from you only on Saturdays or Mondays at 9 o’clock?

When sending email marketing campaigns you should know when the perfect time is to click “send” or when to plan your newsletters to be distributed. Running tests tells you exactly when your emails get read and when your subscribers are engaged.

Sending Time Optimizers help you pick the times at which you get the best conversion rates. It monitors your highest Open and Click-Through Rates and on this basis calculates the days and times when sending your campaign will be the most effective.

To sum up

The biggest risk for your newsletters is watching them get flagged by anti-spam filters because they contain something about them that could have been identified and removed earlier.

Not only does this ruin your current campaign, it hurts your reputation as a sender in the future. There are other small but important things you need to watch out for, like balancing graphics and text, that can all be avoided by running the appropriate tests at the right time.

Running specific tests before you decide to send your next campaign will protect you against these threats but can do a lot more to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. They will help you optimize your newsletters to maximize your email marketing efforts.

If you choose to ignore them due to a lack of time or something else, you can be sure that you are wasting the potential of your email marketing campaigns.