Since there are a wide variety of tools people use to read their email, it’s a good idea to test your campaign in several different environments before you send it. The two main types of applications people use to read their email include desktop applications, such as Microsoft Outlook Express, and web based email such as Hotmail and Yahoo!. Each of these environments render HTML emails differently and should be tested for every campaign you send.

Desktop Email Applications

The most common desktop email applications include Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird for the PC. On the Mac, you should be testing with Mac Mail and, depending on your target audience, Eudora. To make testing more complicated, they all come in various versions across multiple platforms. The most common problem caused by desktop applications involves the images in an email not being displayed, so it’s a good idea to check your campaign in at least a few of these applications.

Web Based Email

Many users also have email accounts through services such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Using Hotmail as an example, when you view an email it is surrounded by various parts of the Hotmail interface, such as the navigation and banner ads. Some web based email accounts will even modify your email by removing any stylesheet elements you have included, so it’s a good idea to check that your email will still be displayed appropriately despite these issues.

Here’s a great article to check out on designing your emails for these different email environments.

Testing a Campaign is easy with the Test Campaign Design tool

The quickest way to test your campaign through Campaign Monitor is by using the Test Campaign Design tool, pictured above. This feature allows you to quickly send a preview of your campaign to any email address. If you want to send your test email to a number of addresses simultaneously, just separate them by a comma.

This feature also comes in handy for sending iterations of a design to a client for approval.

  • ben

    what would be really cool is if you guys had a service where you could send a test email that would get routed to various plaforms (mac, pc, linux?), each platform would be scripted to open the email in various clients (mac mail, thunderbird, eudora, outlook…) and then a screenshot would be taken and a subsequent response email would be sent, so all someone would have to do is peruse various pics to see how universal their email was.

    cheers,
    djbchow at yahoo

  • John

    Are there other email campaign managers that send a dual-encoded email? Or, is that what you are doing too? All this testing seems like it should be null if there was a compliant standard that you were using?

  • Dave Greiner

    John, I’m not quite sure what you mean by dual encoded email (I’m presuming multipart emails – both text and HTML). Unfortunately there is no one standard way to design your emails so they display consistently across all email environments. Just like designing for the browser (only worse), different email clients will render your HTML version of your email with varying levels of success. Check out this article by Mark Wyner which discuss the best approach to this.

    Ben, we’re actually in talks with another team who is developing a system just like this right now. We’ll post more about this here when they get closer to launch.

  • Paul

    Two questions:

    1. Can we do emails in languages other than English (including those that require double-byte in the Asia-Pacific regions)?

    2. Are we able to test our emails for, and send into, a Lotus Notes environment (as many of our clients are corporates running Notes)?

    Thanks,
    Paul

  • Dave Greiner

    Hey Paul,

    1. Yep, you sure can. We allow for campaigns to be sent in any language, including Asian characters.

    2. Provided you’ve got access to a Lotus Notes installation, we make it super easy to send yourself test emails. If you don’t have Notes, you can download a free trial to run your tests.

  • SIERRA

    Go-faster

  • MURPHY

    Scarper

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