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5.16. Testing your eMessages

Updated 09.24.16

Be sure to thoroughly test each and every eMessage before sending to your live contacts.  You want to make a good impression on your recipients, and once you click that "Send" button, there's no going back if you discover a mistake.

Testing an Auto Pilot eMessage? Replicate your message for testing.  Once your Auto Pilot message has been sent (even to your "test group"), it cannot be re-sent.

How do I test my eMessages?

We found some online tools to help you test your messages - some free, some not-so-free.  Check them out.

You can always test right through NewPanda:

1. Use the handy Preview feature when creating your eMessage.  The Preview button opens a new window displaying your eMessage with "formatting" guidelines, html code, etc., removed, so you can see how it will look to your recipients.  You can see if image links will work, if your HTML code is broken, check your grammar and get an overall "feel" for what your message looks like. 

NOTE: Merge Tags will be displayed as placeholders.  Click here to learn why. 

Use the Email Preview feature to email preview messages to your live test email accounts (see Step 2 below).  When you're done previewing, click the Design button to go back to editing your eMessage.

2. Set up some test email accounts with different ESPs like AOL, Google, MSN, Yahoo, Comcast, Roadrunner and any other services you would like to test.  (We recommend AT LEAST these: AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Comcast, and MSN.)  Now send PREVIEWS of your eMessage to those Test email accounts.  Remember, eMessages "look" different when viewed through different email clients, and you want your eMessage to look good no matter who sees it, right?  You also want to make sure your eMessage gets through the different ESP servers, so using a variety of email clients is always a good idea. 

HINT: Create a Group using the Groups feature called "Test Group" - and before you send an eMessage to real contacts, always send it first to your Test Group.  Look at the emails received by those test accounts to make sure they look and work as they should.  Make sure each member of your Test Group received their eMessage.

3. View your eMessages in different email applications.  What looks fine in Outlook may not look so great in Thunderbird, AppleMail, etc., especially if you have provided the HTML coding.

4. After you've sent your Test eMessage, Replicate it to make additional revisions or send to your live list.  Test-send as many times as you need to with the Replicate feature, in order to be sure your eMessage looks and works well in all email clients and applications before you send it to your live list.

HINT:  Name your test eMessages appropriately.  Example:
                    Dinner Coupon 08.10.13 Test 1
                    Dinner Coupon 08.10.13 Test 2

This will help you keep track of the various "versions" and corrections you've made.  If you have a bunch of test emails in your Inbox with no way of knowing which was the latest version, they won't be very helpful.

When you're ready for the real thing, name the eMessage like this: Dinner Coupon 04.10.10 Live Send.  You can even include Group Names if sending different eMessages to different groups.  Make sure you UPDATE YOUR EMAIL SUBJECT LINE so it doesn't look goofy to your recipients! 

What do I look for when testing?

Basically everything.  It sounds like a lot of work - and it is!  But your eMessage is important, and it's important that it make the right impression.  Once you send an eMessage to your recipients, it cannot be recalled or "corrected."  So our mantra at NewPanda is: Test your message, then re-test it.  And then, TEST IT AGAIN.

Never, never, NEVER skip this important step!  Once you "get the hang of" testing, the process will become easier and less time-consuming.  And once it has been incorporated into your sending routine, it really won't seem like such a project any more.  Remember, it only takes one mistake to create a really bad impression, and it's really stinking difficult to reverse a negative opinion!

Testing will necessarily be more time-intensive if you are providing your own HTML code and using it for the first time.  NewPanda templates have already been rigorously tested.  If you send an eMessage using one of our templates, you will only need to test content you added.

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