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.
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.