Email marketing is a complex business, in no small part because of the email clients themselves. Marketers spend a lot of time and money on email design, copy, and photography to sell their products or services. They want to know that their message will look exactly the way they intended it to when the big blast goes out. Email client quirks often throw a wrench in those plans. Email testing services, like our friends over at Email on Acid, ensure that your email looks perfect in every popular email client before you hit that “Send” button.
In an ideal world, every client would adhere to the same standards. You could send an email and know that it’s going to look exactly the same every time it’s opened. The truth is that each client interprets your HTML in a different way. Gmail doesn’t allow embedded CSS. Outlook.com defaults line-height to 133%. Outlook 07, 10, and 13 don’t allow background images (unless you know a little workaround). Email preview services make it their business to know all of these little quirks and help you spot the land mines before you send out your final blast.
For example, let’s say that you included the viewport metatag in your email, in an effort to control how zoomed-in it appears in mobile devices. Seems like a great idea, right? Well, on the BlackBerry your email will now display as a blank white screen. Why? Only the folks at BlackBerry know the answer to that, but a testing service can tell you that it’s going to happen. And they can let you know that before 8% of your list of 200,000 subscribers sees a blank, white email and deletes it immediately.
Yes, you can acquire some of these email clients on your own and test them, especially webmail clients like Gmail and Yahoo! But others will be harder to get ahold of, such as multiple versions of Outlook, Lotus Notes and Apple Mail. Not to mention the permutations caused by all of the devices and apps currently available for the mobile market. An email testing service can save you hours of time spent on an otherwise menial task by compiling these images simultaneously. Trying to test against SPAM filters on your own adds another layer of complexity.
What’s the point in coding the perfect email if it’s never going to reach the inbox? SPAM testing allows you to see which filters might refuse your email ahead of time. Many filters don’t offer more information than a simple pass/fail, but through trial and error one can usually hit on something they’ll accept. If your email bombs in a certain SPAM filter, like Barracuda, it could cause a huge dip in your open rate. Losing thousands of emails to a SPAM filter is like throwing money away. Prevent problems like this by signing up for an email testing service today.
Geoff Phillips is a writer, web designer, and foodie. A graduate of UC Santa Cruz, Geoff polished his writing skills working for newspapers and magazines before joining Email on Acid. When he’s not learning about CSS, he enjoys exploring the Denver restaurant scene or hiking in the foothills.