Creating Responsive Email Designs thanks to Litmus

If you are an email developer, tester or just a person who at some moment of your life you received an email whose design was not displayed properly, this new post will help you to understand why it happens and how companies can reduce the risk of sending emails that are not responsive to most of the devices, email clients, operative systems or screen resolutions of the market.

Building emails in Marketing Cloud

As we saw in previous posts, there are multiple ways of creating emails in Marketing Cloud: using HTML paste templates or creating our own ones using the out of the box templates and the drag-and-drop functionality.

Unfortunately, when the email is ready, Marketing Cloud doesn’t provide a feature to check if the email will be displayed properly for all our customers (the Preview and Test tab does not cover this kind of checks) so we have to find other ways to test this in the right way.

Preview and Test tab in Salesforce Marketing Cloud

The Option A is to send a test email to different test email addresses of different email clients and operative systems (Outlook iOS, Outlook Android, Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, GMX… there is an endless list here) but it would take a lot of time to cover all the possible scenarios (even more when including Mobile VS Desktop and Mobile APPs VS Mobile Browser).

But there is always an Option B: software. It is here when we talk about Litmus (I will talk about this tool because is the one I really know in details and it is the one I use in my daily basis with most of my clients, but there are other many tools like Email On Acid, Email Reach or Inbox Preview that provide the same service).

Testing emails using Litmus

In a few words, Litmus avoid us to spend too much time on testing emails (like in the Option A), with a really high confidence index, being able to preview our emails in more than 90 clients (mobile and desktop) in the same screen.

Builder screen in Litmus

There are many different functionalities in Litmus but this time I will focus on the Email Preview one.

The way it works is basically based on copy-paste the HTML of your email (coming from Marketing Cloud or any other tool) and performing the preview for the email clients you need. Once you save it, you will see how the email will be displayed in each email client, being able to make the changes live in Litmus if needed. As a plus, you can also send test emails from Litmus to double-check it is all good.

Email Previews for some email clientes in Litmus

Within this preview and test feature, there are also other checks that are important to test before sending out the email:

  • First impressions of the Subject Line and Preview Test
  • Accessibility best practices
  • Links check (one of my favourite)
  • Tracking check (specially for Google Analytics)
  • Image Blocking Check
  • Loading Speed
  • Spam Testing

Like in Marketing Cloud, from the administration point of view, we can set up different roles and permissions to, for example, only provide access to the test and QA team, or the agency is building the emails.

Depending on the licence, we can also integrate Litmus with Marketing Cloud (especially recommended when we have to test Dynamic Content blocks), so we will be able to manage all the previews from the same page (the Preview and Test tab from the Email Editor in Marketing Cloud).

Litmus + Salesforce Marketing Cloud integration

My experience with Litmus

I have been working with Marketing Cloud and email campaigns since 5 years ago, dealing with emails that are not displaying properly in some devices and, in some cases, just crossing fingers when clicking on the ‘send’ button because it was not humanly possible to test all the scenarios.

But, since we have tools like Litmus, and especially considering there are more and more new devices, screen resolutions, email clients and Apps, we now can feel really confident that all our emails will be displayed properly.

If we compare the email tracking results between when we didn’t use a tool like Litmus and now we are actively using it, the numbers are basically amazing. Higher open and click rate and a considerable reduction in the unsubscriptions and bounce rates.

These tools help us to improve the way we create emails and to understand what are the email clients and devices most used by our customers (or how much time the customers spend on reading the email), so we can take it into account when thinking about the design of the next campaign.

If you want to know more about how I am using Litmus or if you want to share your experience about this interesting Test and Preview topic, do not hesitate to leave your comments on this post or contact me directly on LinkedIn.

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