The added value of a test campaign
You put in the effort, you determine your goals, your audience, you prepare your message, you design your template carefully. It is finally time to push the Send button.
Is there any value to a test campaign when clearly you already polished everything to perfection? Yes, there is.
“ I used this same template last week, nothing has changed since then. ”
“ We sent the email around in our team. It looked fine on my computer. ”
We hear these statements all the time and—I’ll let you in on a secret—sometimes catch ourselves saying them, too. But the truth is that every email deserves to be tested—even if you (or someone else) tested the template you’re using yesterday. Email programs and apps are not only capable of breaking your design, but also butchering links, subject lines, images, and more.
Test campaigns are very often underestimated because they require some time for the test to prove positive or negative – will your message work? But they are definitely worth it. And here is why:
Expect the unexpected updates
Email clients go through updates all the time and, generally, it is a good thing! You want them to have updates. Supporting cool design features and functionalities is what makes email marketing as effective as it is. However, do not expect a notice in advance. Therefore, a template that worked and looked perfect yesterday may not work for you today, though no fault of your own. Thankfully, we have given you a tool to mitigate the damage. A test campaign can save you lots of nerves.
Send a test to your most trusted
Adjust the test group of your test campaigns to include your employees. The purpose is twofold. First, you keep your employees informed about the latest news, they become more aware of how your business looks in front of the audiences you are reaching out to. Second, you are testing your campaigns by the most trusted people.
Make sure your links work
In your everyday communication, how many times have you clicked on the 'Send' button, and only then you noticed a typo? You cannot afford to do that with a large audience, and, especially, when the issue is in your links. Your links are your most powerful tool. Generally, you use your email marketing messages to direct the user to visit a page or perform an action. You need your links working. In the long process of creating a message, we often find we lose the focus - while we concentrate on creating an alluring design and powerful content, we leave the links empty, or as placeholders, and since issues with the links are not as obvious as they are with text or images, mistakes are easy to leave in.
Make sure your links are noticeable
It is very hard to notice a blue link on a dark background. The beloved iOS is notorious for disregarding your planned hyperlink design. With a test campaign, you can always check how your message looks on your iOS device and move on without any issues.
Avoid rendering issues
If your images or text are not displayed accurately for any reason, custom functionalities do not work, or work incorrectly, you have the chance to look further into this technical issue with your developers. Images are your strongest convincing factor to get those clicks. In an abundance of emails, a message with a beautiful and stylish vision is sure to grab the attention. When testing, pay special care that your images render correctly, and your alt content is high quality.
Proofread your dynamic content
Dynamic Content makes your messages look personalised and just very cool. With your custom labels, you can frankly do a lot. However, with freedom come some risks. Your strategy may change. For example, if you use a template with integrated conditions that no longer apply, or you no longer track in your contacts. Dynamic Content setup is not that obvious when you check your template. If you do not test, your content may stay hidden for a large portion of your audience.
Check for lack of interaction
If your CTR is not high enough in your reports, if your contacts receive your email but do not open it, or they open it, but they do not click on the links, if your surveys and forms are not filled in, there must be something wrong. Whether it is a technical issue or your call to action is not clear or attractive enough - a test campaign allows you to catch that quickly and resolve it to save yourself from failing an entire campaign because of one issue.
Evade the spam label
You can use your Message Check to spam-proof your emails to a large extent, however, you if you send your campaign to a test group, you will know if the message was ‘Marked as spam by the receiver’- this will tell you if your content is perceived as harmful or unwanted. Based on the ratios you see in your reports, you can deduce what makes your message appear that way. If there is a sufficient amount of opens it must be your content, if not – that would be your subject line.
Use the full reports
You receive just as full of a report for your test campaigns as you do for your other campaigns. You can take advantage of your link maps, analyse your ratios, learn more about the engagement of this particular campaign – what is the best time to send it, does your subject line spark enough interest, is your message being shared.
Last but not least, do not forget, you can do a preliminary test of your campaign even before sending the test campaign. Always use the Preview pane of your Message Check.
If you use it right, a test campaign can save you lots of trouble. This article only lists a handful of the possible applications. So take that additional step on the way to success. It might make it a little longer, but you are sure to reach the destination.