Testing, testing, 1-2-3…is this thing on? by Remy Bergsma @remybergsma

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In email marketing, too many times have I seen beautiful mailings let down by silly mistakes. A lost character (what’s that Z doing there on top of the mailing?), a double, missing or otherwise malformed link and also wrong or missing images. A quick scan through about fifty mailings received in a period of just ten days revealed that nearly half (!) had something wrong with them and about three were severely broken. Is nobody testing anymore these days? No budget, time, or a combination of those and more? Any idea how much potential is lost when delivering a mailing (yaay we delivered!) of lesser than best quality? A simple checklist can make the testing much more efficient, especially if you’re a frequent flyer, uhm sender.

Call off the dogs
People in email marketing or at least, the ‘guys who do those (email) campaigns’ don’t have an easy job. No planning of any value, bosses breathing down their necks, etcetera; everything is a rush job and when it isn’t they wonder what’s wrong because it all works out so well. Therefor, I ask all the people who are on those marketer’s cases: get off and let them do their job. Let them design, test, and send beautiful email campaigns like they are supposed to. When it’s 5pm and that mailing had or has to be sent today, send it tomorrow. The effect will be bigger, the quality will be better, the audience will be happier. Everybody wins!

The checklist
Now about that email marketing checklist, make sure everything is on it that’s essential for your mailing. Stuff like links (trackable!),  images, inbox fields and so on, are the basics of course. It’s possible that for your specific email campaigns things like Google Analytics, social media integration and such are necessary too, put it on the checklist. Make sure that the testing of all mailings with that checklist, however small they are, becomes an integral part of the whole process. Such a process could or should involve these main steps:

1 Outline: first steps of people, material, subjects etc. involved

2 Design, content writing, target group definition

3 Devise the whole mailing in concept

4 Checkup with no.1: did we put everything in there the way we want it in?

5 Put the mailing in proof mode: this is the moment the TESTING alarm bells go off all across the office: this is also where the checklist comes into play

6 Actual sending (this part is easy but, for some people apparently a tense moment)

7 Post-sending administration: process statistical results, reply’s, happy thoughts etc.

For anyone already applying such a process and checklist to your email marketing: good on ya mate. For anyone else who is not doing it yet: why not?

Takeaway: Don’t forget to test your email campaigns, it’s worth it!

Have you got any thing you’d add to Remy’s check list?

Meet the author:

Remy Bergsma

Remy Bergsma

Professionally trained multimedia producer turned email marketing specialist, having 4 years of experience in the Dutch email marketing business working at an ESP (Blinker). Areas of interest include email design, end user experience and campaign management. Very community and people minded. Personally sports, photography, music and movies keep me busy.

Connect with: Remy Bergsma

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  • Jim Ducharme
    April 22, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Great post Remy and I couldn’t agree more! Pressure on people handling email campaigns seems to be over the top from my experience. Add to this the number of chefs always trying to stick a spoon in the soup (most especially during the proofing process) and you have a recipe for disaster in some companies. However, often this is an issue with a corporate culture and to correct it, you need to start from the bottom and rebuild.


  • Garin
    April 22, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    I sent out a Newsletter last night, but only sent it to a portion of my newsletter list. After sending it I got feedback, both good and bad, that I will work into the next batch of emails I send out. Cool post Remy, quality is important, and testing is so important to getting a great quality Newsletter out of the gate!

  • Georgia Christian
    March 10, 2011 at 8:21 am

    Well put Remy, and as Jim mentioned above, I couldn’t agree more. Testing is such a vital part of email marketing and sending out a campaign that you are not 100% satisfied with is going to leave your subscribers (100%) dissatisfied. There is no doubt that taking the time to test each aspect of your campaign will reap higher rewards and a greater customer user experience.

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