I had the opportunity to speak with Justine Jordan of Litmus at SxSW. This is a tool that lets you preview campaigns across 34 email clients and devices. I wish I had had this tool when I was running customer email newsletters and had not thought of testing with our internal email client, Lotus Notes.
The tool was developed initially to help designers with Web pages in the UK. Then, given demand, they expanded the offering to email tests, and given their roots, also landing pages in different browsers.
How it handles spam filters
Litmus covers all major spam filters at ISPs and webmail providers, as well as corporate filters.
A key component of spam testing is looking at the reputation of the machines where campaigns are run. For example, it checks if your campaign is sent from a machine that shares IP address with someone who is doing shady things.
Some of the gotchas of marketing on spam are:
- using popular marketing words
- the sending mail server is listed with dnswl.org with low trust (it occasionally sends spam)
- your message mentions millions of dollars
- you used dollar signs and exclamation marks in your content
- you used the term "absolute" in the body of your email, which Outlook considers spammy
- or you used the term "free" with exclamation marks
And so on.
Tracking and engagement
The tool runs on Amazon EC2 virtual machines and has QA baked in. It allows you to tell how many emails have been printed and forwarded from the email client directly (and not inside the email). It also tells you if the message has been read, as defined by kept open for 7 seconds, skimmed, between 2-7 seconds, or glanced at and deleted.
This allows you to see the level of engagement with the content and adjust as appropriate. The premium package gives you the opportunity to track information at the individual user level.
Litmus works with any email provider as they are ISP-agnostic.
Conversation Agent's Take:
On the enterprise side, marketers generally track analytics like open rate, clicks on articles, and so on. This tool lets them see much more on the engagement side by allowing them to identify who is reading vs. skimming vs. glancing at an email and focus their efforts more accurately with the more engaged readers.
As an agency, I can easily see how it would be useful to integrate this tool to test landing pages and emails to reduce waste and increase impact, especially due to formatting.
Look for more technolgogies and tools reviews from SxSW in coming weeks.