5 Steps to Improve ROI with a Solid Email QA Process
When it comes to email QA, there are tons of moving pieces to keep track of. Some teams are stacked, while others are a one-person show.
Regardless of team size, there’s so much that rides on effective QA, including an email’s ROI. That’s why you need a solid QA process from the start, so mistakes don’t slip through the cracks.
This is what a solid email QA process looks like using the tools in the Email on Acid workflow.
Step 1: Email Editor
Create, test, and edit your email all in one place.
When you begin an email, you can start with a template, from scratch, or Import existing HTML from an ESP, file or copy/paste.
Once uploaded, a live preview of the email will populate on the right as you code and design. You can toggle between devices so you can optimize for each. Email tests can be run right in this tool—hit “retest” for a new rendering in seconds.
Email Editor also hosts your image library for easy use and keeps a revision history log you can revert to anytime.
The Snippets feature hosts premade code snippets and completes a complex action with one keystroke.
Character conversion provides HTML entities for special characters, such as &/&
CSS Inline coverts HTML styles to inline for improved aesthetics that render as intended across clients.
Step 2: Campaign Precheck
Once an email is designed, it’s time to optimize and review each element for maximum impact, functionality and proper rendering.
Optimize Inbox Display
The inbox display is your chance to motivate a subscriber to open your email and is made up of the three elements below. They work together to strike that emotional chord that’ll prompt an open, yet they each have their own function:
- Sender name should clearly communicate who is emailing the subscriber
- Subject line should give a brief overview of the email
- Preheader text should add additional context to the subject line
This is a really important step—it literally determines whether or not subscribers will open or act on your email. Give it the time and attention it deserves.
An effective inbox display will help boost action and minimize bounces, which leads to improved ROI.
Check for Accessibility
On average, 15% of the world lives with a visual impairment, so you can bet that a percentage of your email list does as well. Of those users, it’s a safe estimate that around 90% use a screen reader to access email and internet.
Accessibility will check your email to ensure it’s optimized for screen readers and color blindness so you can connect with those users as well.
Nothing hurts more than realizing a link is broken after you send an email.
URL Validation checks every link, redirect and UTM to ensure they function properly and send the reader to exactly where they need to be.
Some email clients treat images in email differently than others. Image Validation checks images to ensure they’ll render properly and check the download speed. If necessary, it’ll allow you to fix any that need resizing.
Plus, it’ll check for any gifs and allow you to select which frame to use as a still image, so it will make sense on the clients that don’t always play nice with them (looking at you, Outlook).
Spell Check your entire email
Run a check of your email title, preheader, alt text and body text to ensure there are no mistakes. Spell Check will also scan your HTML for words that may be seen as offensive, such as profanities.
Any misspellings can be addressed right there in the code, either by you or the app.
At the very end of Campaign Precheck, you’ll be given a summary of all the steps you completed. In the spirit of a solid email QA process, this should include all of them. It will also show you any code changes and let you know if you missed a spot.
Step 3: Spam Testing
Find out the likelihood of your email hitting the inbox, not the spam folder, before you hit send.
Know your deliverability score
We’ll check your email against 23 of the most popular spam filters and show you your results in digestible graphs. You’ll be able to see where you rank in terms of B2B, B2C and overall deliverability.
Remove yourself from any blacklists
The devil is in the details. We’ll also check your IP address and domain against 72 of the most popular blacklist sites.
Should you find yourself on one, we’ll give you tips on how to get yourself removed. Only each individual blacklist site has the ability to remove anyone from their lists.
Related: A Beginner’s Guide to Blacklisting
Step 4: Email Testing
The bread and butter.
Unlimited email tests and previews across 70+ clients and devices are included with every subscription, because email testing is just—that—important.
We are not believers in capping them because no one should have to send a message without running it through a final email test, no matter how many times it takes.
Collaborate with Mark-up
Effective collaboration goes a really long way in email QA. Streamlining feedback is a surefire way to efficiently align on content direction to achieve a higher impact.
Use the Share Link to send your email test results to colleagues, manager, clients — anyone who needs to give their stamp of approval.
Once in the email test results page, they can review each email preview with the Mark-up tool to draw, comment and swap ideas on generated screenshots of the email.
This keeps feedback consolidated in one central place for the editor to incorporate and retest for follow up feedback and approval.
Collaborators can leave thumbs up, thumbs down, or blue comment box icons to quickly indicate which previews are good to go and those that need attention.
Validate all links and images
Just to be safe, we’ll check every link again in this section of your email QA to be double sure that they work so your subscribers can easily take action.
You can also toggle on image blocking to see what your email will look like on clients that automatically block images (we meet again, Outlook). Easily spot missing alt text fields or make necessary adjustments to deliver a cohesive message when images aren’t involved.
Get code tips and tricks
Find code solutions for individual email clients in your test results to address any client-specific rendering issues and send an email that every subscriber can understand and enjoy.
Step 5: Advanced Analytics
A cornerstone of email marketing is performance data and analytics. Without them, brands wouldn’t have the ability to test content, gain learnings, and optimize and adapt their strategies accordingly.
Our Advanced Email Analytics tool provides insights that can quickly translate into actionable strategies and tactics for future emails to achieve higher ROI.
To generate these email analytics stats, your email must include our tracking pixel, which can be added at the very end of your workflow. This is an important step and cannot be applied retroactively.
The layers of Engagement Reporting
Engagement Reporting provides detailed stats on subscriber engagement in your email between the open and click-through.
This feature includes read/skim/delete metrics so you can get a good idea of content that keeps subscribers reading or elicits an immediate delete. It also breaks down these metrics by email client and device used to read the email, indicating if it was better received on one client or device vs. others.
This feature is great for content testing and understanding where your audience is receiving your messages.
Heatmapping gives a hot take
What if you knew the exact placement of where your CTA should be in every email to achieve the highest conversion possible? You can learn this type of audience behavior with heatmapping insights.
This feature shows you where your audience tends to gravitate toward in terms of CTA, even if they prefer to use an image vs. text to take action. Do some testing, include your CTA in different places, and see which placement is optimal for future emails.
Mouse around with Click Tracking
Get a feel for how effective your CTAs were based on the level of clicks on each individual link. If they didn’t get a ton of traction, you know your email strategy or content needs a little revamp.
This feature can also be used to compare against your website’s bounce rate, which is a good indicator if the content they were pushed toward was in line with their expectations based on the email’s content.
Hone in on email testing with Email Client Tracking
Sure, we offer unlimited email testing and previews across 70+ clients and devices, but are your subscribers on every single one? Probably not.
Email Client Tracking gives you detailed insights on the most popular email clients and devices your subscribers are using to receive messages.
Having this information readily available allows you to customize your email testing profile and hand-select the clients and devices that are key to your audience.
Widen horizons with Geolocation Reporting
Knowing where your subscribers live in the world can be powerful knowledge. You can use this to optimize an email’s deployment time by time zone, and even connect with subscribers during regional occasions.
Test. Learn. Optimize. Adapt.
There you have it: a solid email QA process, beginning to end.
- Create, edit and preview your email in Email Editor.
- Optimize and validate every element in Campaign Precheck.
- Increase deliverability with Spam Testing.
- Share the email with stakeholders for feedback and approval in Email Testing.
- Gain actionable performance and audience behavior insights from Advanced Email Analytics.
Still on the fence? Try a seven-day free trial and get a feel for how this workflow can increase the speed of your email QA process and earn you a higher return on every email.
Author: Melissa Berdine
Venturing from her DC and NYC roots, Melissa made the trek to Denver. With just her dog and a background of copywriting and editing, she joined Email on Acid as content manager. Melissa is known to friends as an avid cook and music festival enthusiast.