Test Your Messages!

We are bombarded by advertising to the point we have become the commercial, evident by the clothes we wear, the shampoo we use to the beer we drink. We think it’s normal for talking dogs to promote canned chili, or the mop we clean with, dedicate classic rock songs to us. And the pace of our commercialized society is blurring, as fads come and go as fast as Internet time – a rate so rapid that marketers have a difficult time predicting, no less promoting the next collectable toy craze or the latest fashion obsession.

Our commercialized society may be responsible for the current generation of “must haves’; consumers who want the latest gadgets to the latest fashion but our commercialized society has created a perpetual opportunity for the savvy marketer. The marketer who can understand and capture the “must haves” attention and sales will obtain their loyalty and repeat business. The savvy marketer knows they are competing in a worldwide market therefore they need to use the best marketing medium that yields the best results for their time and budget.

With all this world wide competition for the “must have’s” attention, time and money, you, as an Internet marketer using opt-in newsletters, have a major advantage over those who can afford product placement spots in the movies, or televised commercials and free samples. You have a list of people who signed up to receive your newsletter because your subscribers like what you say, like your products, like your opinion and want to continue hearing from you. The demographics of your newsletter is selective to your industry making your audience a truly “captive audience”. What you send them in email is important to them and to you. What you send them in email should be tested for:

Appearance: The way your newsletter is arranged, the colors you use, the graphics and included links received, all convey a message. Is it the message you want to appear in your subscriber’s in-box with all the right stuff? Does this format work well for all popular browsers and email clients; are there broken links and any empty spaces? Are all your elements correct, such as your charts and tables? And don’t forget to look at a text version of your newsletter, as there maybe some text version tweaking needed.

Subject Lines: Run your spell checker, and make sure your “From” lines have the correct information.

Content: Everyone makes mistakes, and using a spell checker is no exception. Did you mean to write “you’re” instead of “your” or “their” instead of “there”? Always have someone other than the contributors of your newsletter read and review your content. You will eliminate grammatical errors, or sentences that don’t quite make sense. AND always verify your facts.

Links: Test all hyperlinks. Click on each one to verify your internal and external links are working and that they take you to the correct page or website intended. Verify that your hyper links aren’t accidentally tied to local pages on your computer.

Readability: Once in your in-box, is your newsletter a good length to keep your readers interested or too much information in one sitting? Are you writing over your readers’ head or writing down to your audience. Consider running your content through Microsoft readability tool which displays information about the reading level of the document being checked and includes a readability score, which allows you to gauge your writing level.

Correctness: If you are personalizing your newsletters, check your dynamic content elements. Consider sending your newsletter to a sub-set list that uses the fill-ins from real data fields and the actual records that will be used.

In conclusion: Always test your messages. Your newsletters represent you, and with opt-in newsletters the impression you make is delivered to hundreds or hundreds of thousands with a click of a mouse. Make sure the newsletter they see is the one you intended for them to read. Send your completed message to yourself and your staff BEFORE sending it out to your entire subscriber base. This may seem unnecessary and requires a bit extra work but the benefits are immeasurable compared to the time it takes to do it.