Before you send your email campaign to your entire list, you'll definitely want to do some testing. You don't want to make any embarrassing mistakes in front of your entire recipient list, do you? Neither do we. That's why when we start up a new email series or campaign we'll spend at least an hour testing our design out before the first send. Once you've got an email template that works, and you've sent a few times to your list, testing time goes down for each subsequent campaign. But for your first few campaigns, make sure you give yourself plenty of time for testing.
Here's where we need to tell you that sending tests from the app have to be somewhat limited (blame the spammers). For all paid accounts you can send tests to 20 email addresses at a time and you can send 70 tests per campaign or 200 tests per account per day—whichever comes first. (That's usually enough for us.) For free accounts you can send to 6 email addresses at a time and you can send 12 tests per campaign and 24 tests per 24 hour period - whichever comes first. So if you're on a free account and regularly need to send more tests than we allow, you'll want to start a test list. Just create a new list, call it Test List, and import your testing email addresses. This will also help you test out merge tags, so it's kind of a good idea.
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General testing tips
- Proof your content. Don't forget to proof your content as well as test your designs! I like to read my content aloud so I don't just start skimming and miss typos. Also make sure you've gotten rid of any default template content. Sometimes people forget to change the pre-header preview content (yep, I've done that).
- Use the Link Checker. The Link Checker tool looks at the links you use in your campaign and pings the sites to make sure there's a functioning site on the other side. Find out more about the Link Checker in this article.
- Select Enter Preview Mode from the Preview and Test drop-down menu to check your design as you go along. Preview Mode will show you if any images are broken or if your general layout is working properly. It's not really designed to be the final say, so make sure you send tests out, too.
- Select the Send a Test Email option on the Preview and Test drop-down menu near the end of your design process. After your content has been added and you think you're getting close to be ready to send, select the Send a Test Email option to send a test to your own email address.
- Customize how your campaign looks when shared. Select Social Cards from the Preview and Test drop-down menu to choose a featured image and text to display when your campaign is shared on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and also in Gmail's upcoming grid view
- Don't just test to your own email account. To help us do the best job we can, we set up some email accounts just for testing. We send tests to all the popular web based email services, like Yahoo!, Hotmail and Gmail. Depending on your audience you might consider setting up AOL and Comcast accounts if possible, or set up accounts with major ISP's in your area. ( If you really want to drill it down, you can find out what email programs your readers are using!) This is where that test list you set up will come in handy. You won't have to remember all the accounts you test to if you've got a test list with all those emails added to it.
- Use the Push to MailChimp Mobile option on the Preview and Test drop-down menu to view the campaign on your mobile device. Don't forget about your iPhone, iPad, Android, and Blackberry! Most people are checking your email on their mobile devices first. Try to make sure your email looks great on mobile devices so they don't save it for later and forget about it.
- Ask for testing volunteers. We ask people on our team, other co-workers, family, and friends to look over our designs and content before we send. They usually catch links that don't work or typos or other little details that we might be glossing over. This also increases your chances that you can test on Mac and PC programs.
Testing merge tags
- In Preview Mode, select View headerinfo and then click on the View Live Merge Info button to see your merge tags in action.
- You can also test merge tags by sending your campaign to a test list. When you send tests using the Send a Test Email option from the Preview and Test drop-down menu, the merge tags aren't fully live because we're not pulling any data from your list. When you send to a live list (even if it's a test live list) we can activate the merge tags.
- Are all the images in your email working? If you used MailChimp's templates, make sure the image has uploaded properly. If you provided your own code make sure you're using absolute paths for images, meaning you need your whole image URL, not just the file location on your server. Also check to make sure that all of your images are hosted on your public web server. Password-protected sites and free image hosting are not really going to work out.
- Are all your links working properly? Click on every single one of them and use the Link Checker to make sure they are working. Remember that tracking is not activated when you use the Send a Test Email option; your links will behave differently when you use this option vs. sending to a test list.
- Is open and click tracking enabled? We enable tracking by default, but you can check your settings on Setup step of the Campaign Builder.
- Are you getting blocked by spam filters? Learn more about how spam filters think so you can create campaigns that will make it to your reader's inboxes.
More testing opportunities
- Delivery Doctor lets you test your campaign with many common spam filters and consumer ISPs, giving you insight into exactly what parts of your campaign might cause delivery issues. Delivery Doctor is included in all paid accounts.
- Inbox Inspections let you see your campaign in your subscribers' favorite email clients to help you ensure your campaign appears pixel perfect and avoids spam filters. Monthly plans include the use of 25 inspections per week. Single inspections can be purchased for $3 each on Pay As You Go and Forever Free Accounts.
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