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Fun with Email Messages: Hit the ‘Send’ Button With Confidence

I don’t know about you, but I find clicking the send button on an email marketing message to be a tiny bit nerve-wracking. Every. Single. Time. Despite a thorough review process, there’s always a little voice in the back of my mind asking all sorts of questions. Are there typos? Did I check all the links? Are the email lists correct?

Add mobile device responsiveness, an array of different email clients and a tight deadline to the mix, and it’s enough to make the coolest of us feel frazzled at times. Firefly is here to stop the ulcers with one little word: TEST. Set up a thorough review process and you can feel confident when clicking send, knowing that you’ve taken steps to reduce your chances of error. I invite all fellow send button freakers to chill out with the following tips:

Send Test Messages to Multiple Accounts & Multiple Screen Sizes
Email clients (like Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo and Hotmail) all render HTML a little bit differently, so it’s good times for everyone! We can’t overstate how important it is to test across a variety of email clients. Tools to facilitate email testing can be a huge time-saver. Our tech team uses Email on Acid or Litmus. If you don’t have access to a testing tool, you can get around it by setting up test accounts in popular web-based clients.

Grab a Proofreader
I never (ever) see my own mistakes – especially when it is content I’ve been working with for an extended stretch.  Ideally you’ll have a small team of two or three colleagues to review your email message. In reality, that’s not always the case. When staffing issues, sniffles or summertime vacations leave you without a proofreader, it’s important to reach out to someone—an intern, your executive director, even a friend outside of your organization—to review your message with a fresh set of eyes. Be on the lookout for mistakes that are easily overlooked while proofreading for grammar and punctuation including: telephone numbers, email addresses, subject lines, event dates, addresses and times.

Check Those Links
Seriously. While it seems like a no-brainer, folks may be tempted to skip this step… especially when your Communications Director is standing over your desk sighing heavily. Remember – you are sending an email messages to encourage users to take action—so make sure they can! Click on every single link in your email message to make sure links are working and taking readers where you want them to go. Don’t forget to check linked images and text links in your email header and footer each and every time… those HTML gremlins can show up at any point.

Conditionalize Content with Care
Nothing rattles a reader more than seeing inaccurate information about themselves in an email message. Examples include sending cat photos to dog lovers, or asking people to give a first gift when they are already a monthly donor. If you’re pulling constituent information to display or hide specific content, always send your test messages to a corresponding test record to make sure that the correct information shows up in the email message.

Do you have an email send fail to share?  Get it off your chest and into our comments!

Need a bit more info about mobile and responsive email messages – here’s a post just for you.

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