Email Testing: Spam, Links, and Rendering Tips

July 10, 2019
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Email Testing: Spam, Links, and Rendering Tips

When you’re building and sending out an email marketing campaign, you likely have a pre-send routine that you do before sending off your campaign. And while some checks are more obvious than others, this post provides a few additional items that you will want to check including:
  • The likelihood of your message landing in your recipient’s spam folder
  • Whether or not the links within your email are broken
  • Testing how your emails will render across various browsers and devices
Pro-tip: If you have a SendGrid account, you can access all of these testing capabilities directly within the UI of our app or try it out with a free account. Head over to your account and click ‘Test Your Email” from the settings tab within the design or code editor.

Whether or not you use SendGrid to send your email, you should still be running these same tests before each send. Read on for tips on each of the following tests and how you can automate portions of each so you can get your emails out the door faster and with fewer issues.

Something smells spammy

The consequences of landing in the spam folder are severe. Unfortunately, there’s no universal rule that defines what constitutes spam or not. Each inbox provider or organization (Spamhaus, for example) defines spam a little bit different (with the exception that all spam is unsolicited).

If your email is filtered into the spam folder, your recipients will never even see the email that you worked so hard to create (not to mention that the preceding tests aren’t particularly helpful or applicable at this point).

Email has come a long way since it’s beginnings when the vast majority of all email sent was spam. But according to Spam Laws, spam email still makes up about 45% of all email sent. It’s therefore still as critical than ever that you are testing your emails to see if they will be filtered into the spam folder.

Although there isn’t one single rule to follow that will keep your email from the spam folder, consider the following tips as fundamental for avoiding the spam folder:

How to test for spam in Marketing Campaigns

Although many ESPs provide delivery metrics after you send a campaign that will show how much of your email went to spam, how do you know the fate of your email before you press send? Beyond engagement best practices, there are other elements of an email that may trip spam filters. There are a number of spam tests you can run your email through including mail-tester or Glock Apps spam tester.

Or you can run these same tests within SendGrid’s Email Testing feature. Email Testing scans your email for spammy keywords, content, unbalanced text to image ratio, poor domain reputation, and more.

For even more tips on spam-free email campaigns, read through our deep dive blog post on how to avoid the spam folder. If you’re curious about your sender reputation in general, head over to 5 Ways To Check Your Sending Reputation. Once you’ve resolved any issues that may be causing your emails to go to spam, it’s time to move onto testing items within the body of your email. While you likely already do a proofread of your email copy (and should!), make sure you are also ensuring that all the links within your email go to the right place and aren’t broken.

There are several causes for broken links and most are unrelated to email. Someone may improperly redirect a page, take down a page, or migrate it to another URL. The reason itself doesn’t matter, but catching one from your email does.

SendGrid’s new email testing feature allows you to confirm that each link within in your email goes to the appropriate URL as well as the ability to click through in a new tab to double check the correct link path (we know you’re meticulous).

One of our marketing operations experts wrote up another great post on what else to check before you send your campaign so make sure to read up on that as well!

Rendering across devices

One of the last tests you will likely run is render testing. Rendering is going to be one of the trickier aspects you test from your email.
Achieving 100% proper rendering across all devices is going to be hard, and likely impossible.
Keep in mind that if you do happen to fix rendering on one browser or device, there is a good chance that you may have broken it in another.

We experienced this exact scenario with SendGrid’s blog digest. Our email was broken in Outlook 2012, but when we fixed it, we ended up breaking it in Gmail!

Prioritize a list of browsers and devices that are most crucial (based on your audience) so that you can make the best decision about the results of render testing.

There are a number of render testing tools available. Some of our favorite are Email on Acid and Litmus. We also recently incorporated render testing within Marketing Campaigns and you can use email testing credits to ensure that your emails render consistently for all of your recipients.

Email testing takeaways

Pushing send on an email campaign is always going to be a little nerve-wracking. But if you have a consistent pre-send checklist that incorporates spam, link, and inbox render testing, you’ve positioned yourself for a successful campaign.

There’s much more that you can do to prepare for sending an email campaign. Learn more about how the SendGrid email team prepares for sending email campaigns.

SendGrid Marketing Campaigns makes it even easier to implement these tests because you can do so right from within your email creation workflow now. Head on over to our new offering or sign up for a free account to try it out.

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