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Once your HTML email tests out fine with a few web browsers, the next step is to use an online testing service. We'll look at MailChimp's Inbox Inspection Service. While the next chapter shows the complete campaign creation process, here we will focus on the last step: testing how the email displays in different email software. We'll start from the MailChimp dashboard. Click Campaign. Under Hansel & Petal, we'll click Edit to get the campaign details.
At the bottom of the Campaign details page is they run inbox inspection. Click the gray run inbox inspection button. Clicking the run inspection button displays this results page. Click the reports dashboard link. Then click the View Report button next to your campaign. MailChimp's Inbox Inspection Service, like similar services, takes anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to run the complete suite of tests.
These tests will show you how your email displays in actual email software. For example, let's look at Outlook 2003. All the elements appear to be here. For example, the header and footer display fine. The colors for the heading, the tagline, the prices, the product names, and the offer code all display fine. All the images have their borders around them. We can say that in Outlook 2003 this HTML email will look fine.
Next, let's looked at Outlook 2007. Here, the header image and footer image also display fine. The heading color, the tagline color and the offer code color also display fine. However, the spacing between the top navigation links would need to be adjusted. In addition, the background color for the content area did not display properly. So we know that if we care about Outlook 2007, we will need to go in, tweak our code, and come back and run the Inbox Inspection Service again to confirm that our changes work.
Let's look at one more difficult email software. Gmail often displays email in different ways than you might intend. In this case, however, the header displays fine, the footer displays fine, the navigation link spacing is fine, and the colors for the heading, tagline, product names, prices, and offer code at the bottom all display fine, and every image has a border. So we know that this HTML email will look fine in Gmail.
Online testing services are an inexpensive way to test thoroughly how your HTML email will display in many different kinds of HTML email software. It's an important step to take before you send any email. Let me also add that there are other testing services. For example, litmus.com, browsercam.com, and campaignmonitor all provide services to test how your HTML email will display in a variety of email software. Whatever service you choose, testing is a critical step to ensure your email displays well for all of your readers.
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