Blog Entry

3 Ways NOT Testing Kills Your Email Conversion Rate

Conversions—those moments when a person does what you actually want them to do—are critical in email marketing. While other metrics, like open and unsubscribe rates, are good indicators of your email program’s overall health, conversions and email conversion rate are often the ultimate measure of success.

Many times, though, email marketers sabotage themselves—and potential conversions—by sending what are essentially broken emails. In the rush of getting campaigns out the door, and as the result of strapped teams trying to do what they can with limited resources, campaigns often miss one of the most critical stages of the production process: testing for quality assurance. And these mistakes can hurt both email conversion rates and brand reputation.

There are many ways that campaigns can break, all of which we discuss in our recent Anatomy of a Broken Email ebook. Here we share three major issues that contribute to broken subscriber experiences and poor conversion rates in one of the most important marketing channels: email.

Not getting into the inbox

The biggest killer of conversion rates is when subscribers don’t even see your email. Although busy inboxes can lead to disengaged subscribers, many marketing messages don’t make it to customer inboxes in the first place.

This is almost always the result of marketers failing to test for deliverability on a regular basis.

Deliverability of an email depends on many factors. From proper authentication set up using protocols like DMARC, DKIM, SPF, and BIMI, to your longer-term sender reputation based on email content and subscriber engagement, there’s a lot that determines whether or not your campaign will make it to an inbox.

One key way to improve deliverability is to run every campaign through spam testing, which will help identify potential issues before they become real problems. Spam testing—like those offered by Litmus—will flag problems that could cause poor delivery rates. A good spam test will show you if you’re on a blocklist, whether or not your authentication is set up correctly, and how various spam filters grade your campaign. This helps clarify an otherwise opaque topic.

Although fixing deliverability issues can be tricky and sometimes time-consuming, knowing about them in the first place is half the battle. Smarter marketers run every campaign through a spam test.

Broken personalization

Marketers rely on personalization and dynamic content more than ever to connect with subscribers and turn them into customers. From basic things like pulling in a subscriber’s name to more advanced techniques like dynamically building campaigns based on their product preferences, personalization improves brand loyalty on top of conversions and sales. 

But all of your personalization efforts could go to waste when they don’t actually show up in your email. This could be due to broken merge tags in your code to un-synced databases, but the best way to identify personalization problems is by testing your campaigns.

Sending yourself a test campaign is a good first step, but running every email through an automated email preview service allows you to see whether or not your personalization is showing up in multiple email clients—and how it looks across various devices. This is especially helpful when you pull in dynamic content like multiple products or articles or automate the campaign layout by pulling in different modules.

Another way to prevent broken personalization—and keep your conversion rates high—is to keep all of the email code that drives that personalization in one central location. Tools like Litmus’ Design Library allow you to centralize all of your templates, code snippets, and partials. Instead of rewriting personalization code for every campaign, you can pull in the relevant—and well-tested—code using snippets and partials, so that every campaign works as intended and your personalization continues to drive conversions.

Inaccessible emails

The last—and most often overlooked—killer of conversions is an inaccessible email.

An accessible email can be understood and acted upon by every subscriber, regardless of their abilities. Accessibility relies on everything from the visual design of a campaign to how copy is written and the underlying HTML and CSS, too. Ultimately, though, if an email isn’t accessible and usable, subscribers literally won’t be able to convert.

But it’s hard to know whether your email is accessible without testing it.

As a start, you can use automated accessibility checkers to identify any underlying issues like poorly coded HTML or visual design considerations like center-aligned text. Beyond that, test your campaigns with a wide variety of subscribers to confirm that everyone can interact with your campaigns, even when things like images are disabled or subscribers rely on assistive technology like screen reader software.

After all, if a subscriber can’t consume your email—let alone interact with it—what chance do they have of converting at all?

Stop killing your email conversion rate

Remember: Testing is one of the most critical steps in the email production process. Even the best, most thoughtful, and relevant content won’t matter if your links don’t work or subscribers can’t even see it. Test every email to protect your brand reputation and grow your conversions.


Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer, or both, we have more resources for you. 

Download the Personalized Marketing for B2B Marketers ebook here.

Download the Personalized Marketing for B2C Marketers ebook here.

Or, to find out more about the tools needed to succeed as a digital marketer, check out Oracle Marketing.