Every so often, email marketing takes a cue from its successful older brother, printed direct mail. If your marketing team were preparing a large direct mail drop, you'd be sure to review creative before it went to the printer and the printer would ask you to "pre-flight check" your piece after the first one comes off the line. Before you deploy a beautiful, sure-to-be-successful campaign, you want to be sure it looks right and will fit into mailboxes with the right amount of postage.
Email marketers can – and should! – pre-flight their email marketing campaigns, too. Before you send to your list of eager email subscribers, check over your campaign to make sure everything looks right no matter who you're sending to and will arrive successfully in the Inbox. You can send to test lists with email addresses at all the major email clients: Gmail, Yahoo!, AOL, Hotmail, Outlook, iPad and tablet versions, mobile versions, Lotus Notes (yes, some companies still use Lotus Notes). Open your email in each and be sure that the email creative renders correctly and that your message comes across loud and clear whether images are turned on or off.
United Way of Greater Kansas City uses pre-flight to see how emails look before they send.
Also, before you send, you'd better be sure your email will reach recipients. In direct mail, you double check your mailer's size and weight to be sure you have enough postage. In email marketing, you test to be sure you're getting delivered to the inbox of most of the common email clients. Again, keep a seed list handy where you can deliver an email to a faux inbox to see if it gets through at least the out-of-the-box spam filter settings of common filters like Outlook, Postini, Barracuda and more.
Or, if we can brag on our industry pals, you can work with a deliverability partner like Return Path. Return Path's Campaign Preview toolset includes Email Renderings in 24 popular inboxes and a Spam Filter Check to see if you pass the 9 most common desktop Spam filters. You can send an email to Return Path's monitored inboxes and they'll return back to you the screenshot of how your email looks, along with a pass/fail score card of spam filters. Running your email campaign through Campaign Preview makes it quick and easy to head off rendering issues or getting stuck in spam filters before you ever send. If you're not passing a Spam Filter, the Campaign Preview toolset returns a group of words with high spam weight that you can consider editing in order to get through successfully.
The emfluence Marketing Platform integrates Return Path's Campaign Preview functionality into our "Pre-Flight Check." With every send, as you send a test email to your proofers, you can send a Pre-Flight Check and spot issues before launch.
Take a tour of the Pre-Flight set up! Ask an emfluence expert for a live demo.