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Review and test before you send

Whether you’re creating every new mailing from scratch, or using a pre-existing template, it’s still a necessity to preview, proofread, and test before every single send. In this article, we'll walk you through the tools available to help you catch potential issues before it's too late to fix them.

Review while you work

Most of the tools available to help you spot errors, or potential delivery issues, are built right into the mailing editor, pictured here:

mailing-editor.png

If you're not already working on a mailing, follow the instructions below to get started:

  1. Open the Campaigns section in your account.
  2. On the Emails page, click Create a new mailing.
  3. Choose a template option. You can start with a blank template, code your own, or pick a design from the template gallery.

Screen previews

In the mailing editor, click Preview near the top right to see how your email will look on desktop, mobile and tablet. This tool is handy for checking things like content spacing between sections, or how images look when resized. It's also a good way to spot text wrapping issues on headlines.

Review the plain text

When you create an HTML email, a plain-text version is created in the background. It's sent to contacts who have opted for plain text as their preferred format, or who can't view the HTML version — for example, someone using an Apple Watch.

It's always worthwhile checking the plain-text version, because what looks great as HTML might need adjusting for text only. Here are some tips on what to look out for.

Sometimes emails will not be accepted by the recipient's mail server on the first try. We will continue trying to deliver your email for a few hours and, if the HTML version can't be delivered, we'll try the plain text version instead.

Content proofing

There's a campaign proofing tool built into the editor that checks for spammy words or phrases that may cause the email to be sent to junk. It also checks personalization tags, if you've used any, and will let you know if the mailing size could be reduced.

If there's anything detected, you'll see a notification in the content editor. Here are a couple of common issues, and how you can fix them:

  • Mailing size — All of the content in your email (text, images, links, colors, and fonts) adds to its weight in kilobytes. Any mailing over 100K will trigger an alert. You can reduce size by:
    • Removing text or images from the email.
    • Reducing the file size of images used in your email.
    • Removing hidden formatting from content copied across from formatted documents or websites.
  • Invalid personalization tags — In most cases, it will be because the personalization tag is missing a bracket or percent sign. For example, [% member:first_name default="Friend" instead of [% member:first_name default="Friend" %] (where %] was left off the end).

You can still send a mailing that is over 100K, the alerts are just to let you know what the file size of your email is. If you can reduce the size, it's best to do so, but the system will not prevent you from sending.

Send a test email

What you see in your account, while working on a mailing, can be quite different to what ends up in the inbox. The differences can include padding and margin changes, spacing between elements, background images not showing up, font changes, CSS being ignored, and more.

It's worthwhile checking that your email is readable and visually appealing in multiple email clients. For example, you can set up free email accounts for web-based clients like AOL or Gmail and send a test to those addresses.

To test other desktop or mobile email clients, ask friends or colleagues if they use different services and devices that you can send a test to. Ask them to take a screenshot of the mailing as it appears in their inbox and send it to you.

You can use test groups to send a test email, or send one directly from the mailing editor:

  1. In the editor, click Send test at the top right.
  2. In the "To" field, enter up to 10 email addresses. Or, type the name of a test group.
  3. Follow the on-screen instructions to fill in the rest of the fields and settings, then click Send now.

When you send to a test group, the email subject line is prefaced with [TEST].

While there are many things that can prevent an email from reaching the inbox, if you're failing to receive emails sent from someone@yourdomain to someone@yourdomain, it's likely they're being blocked by your receiving mail server. You can whitelist our IPs to prevent this.

Pre-send checklist

We know first-hand what it feels like to discover an error in your mailing shortly after sending it. Since it's not possible to stop or recall a sent email after it's left our servers, we put together this checklist to help you remember all the things you should review.

  • Do all images have alternative text set, for when email recipients block images?
  • Have you checked the plain text version of the email for errors?
  • Have you sent yourself a test email, and made sure all your text links, image links and buttons lead to the correct place?
  • Is the email being sent to the correct recipients?
  • Have the sender name and email address been checked, and are they the best choice?
  • Is the reply-to address correct?
  • If you have multiple signup forms, is the correct one selected?
  • Have you done a spelling and grammar check on:
  • Have you sent a test to see if the email looks as expected in desktop and mobile clients, for Gmail, Apple Mail, Outlook, and so on?
  • Has another person checked the email for errors?
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