Quality assurance (QA) testing and troubleshooting are critical steps to ensure you’re sending on-brand, error-free emails. However, it’s also incredibly time consuming.
Nearly 54% of marketers spend an hour or more on testing and troubleshooting each email they send—and 27% want to spend less time doing so—according to our State of Email Workflows research. This can add up, especially during busy email seasons. And every minute you save on testing your campaigns can make a big difference.
That’s why Litmus created email testing tools that help you and your team streamline and automate the testing process, send better email in less time, and protect your brand reputation. Here’s how.
Establish a well-defined testing process to catch common email errors
A well-defined testing or QA process is key to identifying errors, fixing mistakes, and getting peace of mind before hitting send.
While you might have your own approach on how to quality-check your emails, there are a few crucial elements everyone should check before every send.
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Always make sure to:
- Preview your email in popular email clients and devices for rendering issues.
- Verify that subject lines, from names, and preview text are set up correctly.
- Check copy for typos and grammatical errors.
- Ensure all links work and go to their intended landing pages.
- Confirm your web analytics tracking codes work.
- Double check your ALT text to ensure your email is readable even if images don’t display.
We know that’s a lot to remember, and it can be easy to miss a step along the way. Luckily, Litmus Test automates all of this for you, leading you step by step through every critical aspect of the testing process. Spot and fix issues, approve every step that passes your quality checks, and send every email with confidence.
While we believe there are some aspects that belong in every thorough testing process, we also know that when it comes to the details, every team has their very own.
Whether you need to double check dynamic content in your message or your CEO wants to see every email before you send—a customizable Task Template gives you the ability to add those unique steps to your process. So you can establish a repeatable and reliable email testing workflow that works for your team.
And just in case the last step on your list is to share the Litmus Test results with your client (or boss), you can do so with a single click.
Streamline your email workflow with Litmus Test
Use Litmus Test to identify critical elements that affect email performance and save hours on production time.
Let’s dive into all the ways you can streamline and automate your email testing process with Litmus.
1. Say goodbye to manually testing how your email looks across multiple email clients and devices
It’s an email marketer’s nightmare: The email that looked perfect in your inbox looks broken to your subscribers (or your boss!). Email testing helps you catch rendering quirks and broken images before you hit send. But setting up test accounts for different email clients and checking each one manually for each campaign can easily take hours.
With Litmus Email Previews, this step only takes seconds.
Instead of sending your email to a whole list of test accounts—or to your coworkers’ devices—and manually checking each one, all you need to do is send it to your Litmus test address. No matter which email sending tool you use, if you can send a test message, you can get started with Litmus right away.
Imagine Litmus as your very own device testing lab, filled with over 90 popular email clients, apps, and devices—including Gmail, iPhone, and Dark Mode email views—all available to you whenever you need them. As soon as we receive your test, Litmus takes lightning-fast screenshots of your email that represent exactly what your recipients see, so you can quickly identify and fix problems with your email.
2. Make sure your subject line and preview text are good to go
Ensure a great first impression with every email by checking your subject line, from name, reply-to address, and preview text. Are they correct? Could they get truncated in an awkward way?
With Litmus, preview how this “envelope” information will look across multiple email clients in one spot. And get notified if your subject line is a bit too long or hard to understand.
3. Check for key email accessibility best practices
Making your emails accessible for all of your subscribers is important. As screen readers and voice assistants rise in popularity, you should think about how your email sounds.
With Accessibility Checks in Litmus Test, it’s easy to make accessibility optimization a part of your email workflow.
Litmus checks your email against accessible design and coding best practices—like language tags, table roles, and content hierarchy—and will highlight things that could use improvement. You can even listen to how your email sounds to a screen reader with an audio recording and transcript.
And if you don’t love how it sounds? Make the necessary edits in Litmus Builder and head back to that audio recording. Litmus Test will update the audio recording so you know exactly what your email will sound like to your subscribers that use screen readers.
4. Catch broken links before your customers do
Double checking your links is probably the most tedious (and for many, the least favorite) step in the testing process. URLs that are hidden behind hyperlinks in your copy, buttons, or images can’t be checked with just a scan of the eye.
To make sure links work and go to the right landing pages, you can send a test email to your team and ask your coworkers to click on each link. Or you can automate this step with link checking in Litmus Test.
Automated link checking makes it easy to spot broken links and lets you verify all your links are going to the right landing page in one convenient place. No more manually clicking every link in your email!
5. Keep your analytics tracking in check
You’ve got email goals to hit, but if you forget to add the right tracking links or codes? Oops.
If you’re tracking clicks with Litmus Email Analytics, Google Analytics, or your email sending platform, Litmus has your back.
Easily add tracking codes to your emails, including your links, to get advanced insights on your campaigns. And spot check that everything—UTMs, tracking codes, and all—are set up to track as they should.
6. Preview blocked images and catch missing ALT text
Catchy visuals can be a powerful driver of email performance. However, when using images in an email (especially if it’s an image-only email), things can go wrong. That’s why double checking your email’s images must be a part of your testing process.
A picture speaks a thousand words—but not if it’s a blocked image.
Due to an email client’s default setting or a subscriber’s personal preference, your images won’t be seen by some subscribers. As a result, emails can lack the ability to immediately communicate your message, or even look broken.
That’s why it’s extremely important to optimize your emails for images-off viewing.
ALT text, or alternative text, is a text description of the image that displays if the image itself does not render. And it’s one of the best ways to communicate when you can’t rely on images to do it for you.
With Litmus Test, you’ll get previews of your emails with images blocked or turned off.
And we’ll notify you if any of your images are missing ALT text—a real time-saver, especially when compared to manually checking each image tag in your email’s HTML.
7. Check your email’s file size and loading time
Another issue to check for is your email’s loading time. Too many images, images that are too big, interactive elements, and bloated email code can quickly increase your email’s file size—and the time it takes to open and load the content.
About 51% of recipients delete your email within two seconds of opening it. So an increase in loading time can quickly lead to a decrease in email performance.
In the web world, research shows that a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. And it’s likely there are similar effects in email, too. Especially when sending to a mobile audience, large email file sizes combined with slow internet connections often lead to poor reading experiences.
Unfortunately, the size of your email’s images isn’t something you can easily double check when you’re proofing your test email. You might notice a loading delay in your inbox when opening your test, but to figure out what section of your email is causing the delay, you’ll have to go back to your original files to troubleshoot the cause. Especially for emails with many images, this step can be quite a pain.
Litmus Test shows you how many images are in your email, the size of each image, and the total size of all of the images. We’ll also show you the total time it takes for all the images in your email to load. With that, you can easily spot images that might negatively impact your email’s performance, and jump straight into fixing them.
8. Spot potential spam triggers
Even the best email in the world can’t have an impact if it’s delivered to the spam folder.
That’s why pre-send spam testing is crucial. Ensuring you aren’t on any blocklists and double checking that your SPF, DKIM, and DMARC records are set up correctly is quick and easy with Litmus Spam Testing.
Get a guided check of the critical elements that impact your deliverability before sending. Instantly see whether or not your IP addresses and domain names are on any blocklists and double check your email’s authentication. And if there are any issues? We’ll give you actionable advice on how to fix them.
Automate your email testing and protect your brand reputation
Email QA testing and troubleshooting are must-haves to send on-brand, error-free emails. Every time. Let an issue slip by—and your brand reputation (and email engagement) could take a hit.
But we know email testing can be tedious and time consuming. So use Litmus Test to automatically identify critical elements that affect email performance, helping you save hours in your QA process. And keep your brand reputation intact. Phew.
Originally published on March 9, 2017, by Bettina Specht. Last updated March 30, 2021.
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