The internet is full of free tools & tricks. Some of which can save marketers a lot of time and work. Others offer deeper insights into how successful things really went. Email senders might want to click through the following list:
- Litmus Subject Line Checker:
Enter your planned subject line, from name, and email source code and get a preview for Outlook (2003/2007/2010), Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and Blackberry. This helps you checking whether your recipients can see all relevant keywords at first sight (or not). Sender name and subject line are the two most important factors determining your opening rates.
- HubSpot EmailGrader
Send a pretest-mail of your next newsletter to firstname.lastname@example.org. You’ll receive a detailed report on possible issues plus suggestions for optimizations to get out more out of your next send. Among other things: suggestions for perfect timing.
- Fractal / Mally / HTML Email Analyzer / Premailer
Email coding totally differs from coding webpages. It can be complicated to ensure a consistent rendering across all mail user agents. These tools help you identifying possible problems and offer solutions. They partly also do automatic code optimization for you. E.g. by placing centrally defined style-sheets inline and by applying the many little tricks an email designer would have to know about.
- Free Link Checker
The free link checker helps you to identify broken link- and image-URLs in your newsletter. Just enter the URL to the browser-version of your pretest-dispatch. This is especially useful if your newsletter contains a great amount of links. Instead of clicking each one to verify it doesn’t lead to a 404-not-found-page, just use this tool. Or try the official w3c link checker.
One of my faves. Upload a screenshot e.g. of your newsletter, set a question and get feedback from real people. They have five seconds to view your newsletter and must then answer. This sheds light on common questions like: “Can your primary message and the call-to-action grab your recipient’s attention in the most important first five seconds?”. Or on how long it takes to find the signup-form on your website (“clicktest”). Real responses might be far more valuable than algorithmic heatmaps from e.g. Feng-Gui.com and similar services.
- Image to HTML Converter
This tool let’s you convert images to HTML-tables. Those tables override the common problem of image-suppression. Therefore, it’s an interesting and creative alternative to attaching images directly to your emails. Get the tool by subscribing to the StyleCampaign-newsletter – you’ll find it in the welcome email. In addition, you’ll find a web-based converter here. But this one isn’t necessarily optimized for email usage.
CampaignCog is a free advanced analytics tool. It reports opens, forwards, deletes, and prints. In addition, it also shows the length of email opens (read, skim, glanced), what mail user agents your recipients use, what browsers, and in what countries they are located. You can track this for each of your campaigns by inserting a little code snippet.
- Keynote MITE / Mobilizer / Web Developer Toolbar
Check how your newsletters render on tablets and mobile devices (“Responsive Layouts” within the Web Developer toolbar).
- Bit.ly+ & Goo.gl+
A little known fact: If you add a + to links that have been shortened with bit.ly or goo.gl, you get an interesting click-reporting. (That is if the stats are public.) Especially bit.ly is often used on Twitter. Comparing the performance of different tweets this way gives you suggestions for subject lines that drive opens.
- SpamAssassin (Postmark)
SpamAssassin is one of the most common spam filters. It is therefore useful to examine the spam score for your messages before delivering them. Although the filter learns and adapts the rule-weights, so one installation may behave different from another – check your score e.g. with this tool from Postmark. It also offers an API to integrate it into your marketing cockpit. You will find initial weights for v3.3.x plus explanations to certain rules here.
If you need a quick method to measure email opens, this might be your choice. Just add a custom tracking pixel into your email and your free Google Analytics-reporting will show you how many emails have been viewed. The site also offers an own reporting which you can access by a unique URL.
- Rapleaf Instant Data / “Vornamen Abgleich”
For appending your data with additional basic attributes, like the salutation, check out these two services. However, note that such an append may violate data privacy regulations without a prior consent of your recipients!
This is an extented version of my previous list on emailmarketing.de. Of course there are tons of other tools; the list could fill a book. But which of them would you recommend?