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Decision tree: Do I actually need to QA test this email? [Infographic]


Are you gearing up for your next email campaign and wondering if you should QA test that email first?

Maybe you’re using a pre-tested template, but you’ve changed things up since the last send. Or maybe, you heard some email clients might have pulled support for a feature you use.

Perhaps you know how vital it is to test every email before you send, but your boss or other stakeholders think otherwise.

Deliverability issues are often seen after it’s too late—and we know how important it is to send flawless emails to maintain your brand’s reputation. While we recommend to err on the side of caution, we created a decision tree to help you and your team come to a conclusion about QA testing emails.

Whether you’re sending an automated email or looking to avoid the spam folder, our decision tree will help you tackle every pre-send question you might come across.

Dive into the infographic below, or read the transcript at the end. (Spoiler alert… nearly all paths point to yes.)


Do I actually need to QA test this email?

Transcript: Do I actually need to QA test this email?

Gearing up for your next send and wondering if you should test that email first? Here’s a decision tree to help you decide.

The Anatomy of a Broken Email

Take a look at the most common email mistakes that will break your email and learn what you can do to prevent them by creating on-brand, error-free emails.

Download the ebook →

Question #1: Are you using a pre-tested email template?

Templates are wonderful for streamlining your email marketing workflow and maintaining a consistent style across messages, but they aren’t immune to error.

  • No, it’s a brand new email we’ve never tested. Yes, you should test that email!
  • Yes, we’ve tested it before and had no issues. Go to Question #2.

Question #2: When was the last time you tested it?

Pre-send email testing makes your email better—and is proven to drive results. Brands that use a pre-send testing checklist see a 68.3% higher ROI than those that don’t.

  • It’s been a while. Yes, you should test that email!
  • I literally just tested it 5 minutes ago. Go to Question #3.

Question #3: How did you test that email?

We’ve calculated that every email has more than 15,000 different potential renderings—and it’s impossible to cover them all by sending a few test emails to yourself and your coworkers.

  • I manually sent a test to myself and my coworkers. Go to Question #4.
  • I used an email testing tool like Litmus. You’re good to go, send that email!

Question #4: Did that test include mobile devices and Dark Mode?

Mobile ranks as the most popular reading environment, with 43.5% of emails being opened on mobile devices. And with most popular operating systems and apps now allowing users to switch to Dark Mode, it’s important to pay close attention to Dark Mode and mobile.

  • Yes, one or two…Go to Question #5.
  • No, I just sent it to my coworker…Yes, you should test that email!

Question #5: Have you changed anything in your email since the last time you tested? (Links, copy, images, etc.)

Email clients might make changes to how they render email, causing your emails to look broken. We took a look at the version histories for the 3 most popular email clients and counted 45 email client updates in just 3 months. That’s an update equivalent to every two days!

  • No, everything’s the same. Go to Question #6.
  • Yes, actually…Yes, you should test that email!

Question #6: Are you sending an automated email?

29% of brands attribute over 25% of their email marketing revenue to automated and transactional emails, according to the 2020 State of Email survey data. However, the majority of brands review them only once a year or longer. That can expose your brand to the risk of delivering broken emails to your valuable customer base.

  • No, it’s a marketing email. Go to Question #7.
  • Yes, but we reviewed them…a while ago. Yes, you should test that email!

Question #7: Does the thought of spelling errors or broken links give you shivers?

Mistakes happen, but don’t underestimate the damage they can do to your brand in the long term. Email testing can help you catch the most common mistakes, like broken links, before you send.

  • Nope, this doesn’t scare me. Go to Question #8.
  • Absolutely, this keeps me up at night! Yes, you should test that email!

Question #8: Take a close look—do all email clients support the features in your email?

Email clients can drop support for features without notice. These changes are often sprung upon email marketers who then scurry to fix broken emails resulting from unannounced changes.

  • Don’t worry, we have a fallback in place. Go to Question #9.
  • Wait, how was I supposed to know that? Yes, you should test that email!

Question #9: Do you want your emails to be delivered to the spam folder?

From blocklistings to spammy content to authentication issues—there are many issues that can cause your emails to end up in the spam folder. Pre-send spam testing helps you catch (and fix!) those issues before you hit send.

  • Definitely not. Go to Question #10.
  • What if my answer is “yes”? Yes, you should test that email!

Question #10: Do you know if your email sounds good on a screen reader?

Some people rely on voice assistants due to a temporary or permanent disability, but others use them because of convenience. Either way, pre-send accessibility testing with tools like Litmus Test helps you make sure your emails are easy-to-understand when read out loud.

  • Good question. I’m not sure. Yes, you should test that email!
  • Yes, we’ve made sure to make our email accessible. Go to Question #11.

Question #11: Does pressing the “send” or “schedule” button stress you out?

  • Not really. If it happens, it happens. Go to Question #12. 
  • Who doesn’t get stressed out by that? Yes, you should test that email!

Question #12: So you’re telling me, you can predict the future?

  • Fine, you caught me. Yes, I’ll test that email.

So, where’d you land? Did you decide to QA test your email?

Testing gives you peace of mind and ensures you don’t send broken emails, which can lead to an unsubscribe, poor brand reputation, and even loss in revenue. Using a tool like Litmus Email Previews, will enable you to see how your email looks on 90+ popular apps and devices, ensuring it looks flawless no matter where it’s opened.


Never send another broken email

Litmus makes it easy to build, test, and monitor every email for the best results—and stop those email nightmares in their tracks.

Try Litmus for free →


Originally published on September 25, 2019, by Whitney Rudeseal Peet. Last updated April 15, 2021.