You might think you've done your rendering homework, but that might not be the case. "Don't assume that the custom template you tested several months ago is still rendering correctly across all ISPs and Browsers on PCs, Macs, iPads," writes Kimbery Snyder at the Bronto blog. "ISPs are always changing the game and you need to keep up."

So how do you ensure your emails render properly—wherever they go? Snyder recommends the creation of an internal test seed list and a comprehensive testing process that includes:

  • Checking each address from your seed list on specific browsers like IE, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.
  • Observing how messages render on a variety of computers and devices—ranging from PCs and Macs to smartphones and iPads.
  • Flagging messages that render incorrectly. "[T]ake a screen shot and note the email address, the browser and what [you] were viewing the message on," recommends Snyder. "[B]y doing so you can easily pinpoint where your problem lies."

"Having run this type of testing process daily, as an email marketing manager," concludes Snyder, "I know first hand that this is truly the only way to uncover whether your messages are rendering correctly."

In addition, she recommends:

  • Assigning a team member to click all the links for proper landing pages and tracking codes.
  • Having an editor scan copy for spelling and grammatical errors. "[I]t is important to make sure the alt text is correct as well," she reminds us.
  • Testing coupon codes to ensure they apply promised discounts in a customer's online cart.

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