Why Testing 500+ Email Variations Is Easier than You Think

Best practices for QA and testing email at scale
Feb 07, 2019
Melanie Graham

As email marketers, we understand the importance of email testing and QA. While sometimes tedious, the extra step of testing how your email renders can save your reputation and your bottom line.

But when you’re creating highly personalized email campaigns with lots of custom data, the testing phase can seem daunting. Couple that with the hundreds of different email clients and devices a subscriber could be using, and you’ve got quite a list of variations.

Guess what, though … Testing 500+ versions of an email may not be as difficult as you think. With the right tools in place, you can knock out that QA step with ease.

Step 1: Make Sure Your Data Is Fresh

If you’re creating messages with personalized information, such as a loyalty points program, local weather, or individual shopping history, it’s important to have a data source that’s robust and up to date. Having accurate data can create a more engaging and seamless experience for your subscribers.

Ensuring you have real-time, accurate data tied in to your email program can help save you some sanity when it comes to testing your email. A tool that accesses your customer data directly (rather than waiting to map and sync the customer data) will help with this.

Step 2: Test Your Different Modules

Looking at every piece of individual data for every single subscriber will drive you insane. Instead of testing each data scenario, try focusing on one module at a time.

As we mentioned above, the first step to easy testing is making sure your data is accurate and up to date. Once you have that real-time data integrated with your ESP, you can test the individual email modules to make sure they’re functioning correctly.

Having one or two test accounts (or your personal account) in your database will be helpful for this process. In some cases, your ESP/CRM may give you the option of sending a test email using data from one of the customer accounts in your system.

Once you have a test account ready to go, test your modules one by one. If you have a localized weather module in your email, for example, try sending a couple of test emails and see if the locations on the test emails match up with the account record you have in your database.

You can do the same with your next customized module, rinse, and repeat.

Step 3: Preview Your Email with a Rendering Tool

Once you know your custom modules are pulling in the correct data, it’s time to test your design and layout. But, with countless versions of email clients and devices, your email could render thousands of different ways.

Using an email preview and QA tool can save you a boatload of time when testing your HTML. These tools can render your email code across dozens of different email clients and devices, so you can see exactly what your subscribers see. These tools may be built into your ESP, or you can find a more robust, third-party tool that can work seamlessly with your process.

In most cases, you can send your email to the third-party QA tool directly from your ESP. This saves you from having to send a test email to different accounts on different clients or running around from device to device checking how the email renders. If you’re more code inclined, you can also paste your HTML directly into the QA tool and use an email editor to make changes while you re-test.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed with Email Testing

If the process of testing your personalized email campaigns is causing you grief, take a step back and look at your data, your testing process, and the email QA tools available today. With a healthy database and module testing, you can ensure the correct custom content is reaching your subscribers. Combine that with a robust email QA tool, and you’ll be able to send emails that engage your audience and look great on every platform.

About the Author

Melanie Graham

Melanie Graham is the Content Manager at the Denver-based Email on Acid, an email testing and QA platform. She enjoys telling stories and bringing content to life in the form of blog posts, videos and podcasts. When she’s not talking content, she enjoys playing music, hiking in the Rockies, and reminiscing about her life as a full-time vagabond.