Quality Assurance: Best Practices in Email

Quality assurance is an essential step in the process of creating an email message. Before you send a message to your destined audience, you want to make sure you’ve worked out all the kinks and have found any and all oversights that would cause your email to be less than user-friendly.

Checking over your email may seem straightforward, but unless you are organized and thorough, you might end up missing a lot of issues that need to be corrected. To avoid having to go back through your message over and over, try following these best practices!

✓   I have reviewed email text for special character rendering and spelling—Typos aren’t exactly professional, especially when it comes to official email messages! Make sure to keep an eye out for mess-ups and any special characters that are not appearing as they should in your email.

✓   I have sent a test to an email proofing tool, and have checked all results for rendering issues—Sending your email to an email proofing tool such as Litmus or Email on Acid is a great way to see your email as it would appear in anyone’s inbox. Different email clients can be tricky to appease, and what is good for one client might not be good for another. Make sure your email looks just right for every member of your audience!

✓   I have conducted a Send Preview in Marketing Cloud—Like an email proofing tool is crucial for seeing how the email appears to others, doing a Send Preview is important for testing personalized content.

    • I have previewed personalization such as First Name substitutions—Now more than ever, consumers value a personalized experience. Confirm that your recipients’ information is loading in properly, so the message is not disjointed in any way, and if necessary, substitute a default value such as “Hi there!” in place of a missing name.
    • I have previewed dynamic elements and verified the content rendered against sample and/or live data points—Preview your email as different recipients would receive it using different combinations of data values, to be certain everything is working the way you expect. For example, if you are personalizing an image in your email based on a customer’s product preferences (shoes, women’s apparel, or men’s apparel), make sure you have previewed all the possible options.
    • I have sent a test to my inbox for each permutation of content (dynamic)—When any of your email content is dynamic, you will have to test it every which way! Use a test send to see how each version looks when it reaches your inbox.

✓   I have viewed the content with images disabled—When your email doesn’t have images, or is displaying as a Text-Only version, does it still make sense? Correct any formatting issues that could make this view hard to understand.

    • Alternate text is present for images—Alternate text provides context for emails that do not have their images enabled. Use a short label or description of the image to specify what the content is meant to display.
    • Overall ‘shape’ of the email is maintained with image widths and heights—When images and tables appear squeezed or stretched, it messes up an email’s clean look and feel. Reference any creative provided by your team to confirm that the dimensions are rendering as they should for the intended effect!

✓   I have verified that send details match my company’s brand guidelines, including sender profile, subject line, preheader, and body content —Be positive that your recipient is getting the correct content in their inbox, from a sender that they recognize and expect to see. Otherwise they might not even bother opening your email, or worse- your email could be marked as spam!

✓   I have checked that all links are functional and match the intended destinations— It’s simple: less navigating and guesswork equals more conversions! Check that links in your email are not broken, apply the correct analytics tagging (if applicable), and that they send your recipient to where you want them to go.

✓   I have logged all issues needing to be resolved—What’s the point of doing all this QA work if you don’t let your team know there are issues to resolve? Clearly log all the problems you noticed so your developers can make necessary changes. If possible, list the email client (Yahoo, Gmail, etc.), browser, and add screenshots of the issue for them to provide clarity.

Don’t forget, if your team sends you a new iteration of the email – test again. Once you have run through this checklist (and maybe with a little persistence), you should be seeing one good-looking email!

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Julia Timmerman
Julia Timmerman