E-mail on Acid. No, this is not an illegal substance. An acid test is a way to verify that something works.
Many small business owners use e-mail as a primary marketing tool, but often do not realize that their e-mail doesn't work: it either gets picked up by a spam filter or is not displaying correctly in the recipient's inbox. Even if it displays correctly within your e-mail program (regardless of if you use web-based, desktop or mobile solutions), that does not mean it will be received that way.
Help Is on the Way
EmailonAcid.com is the name of the service that will test and verify your e-mails and tell you how to improve them to avoid spam filters and display properly in the most popular e-mail programs (also known as e-mail desktop clients) and on mobile devices like the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android-based phones. It tests in the major platforms, such as Microsoft Outlook to Apple Mail, Thunderbird, even Lotus Notes. Web-based e-mail providers are analyzed, too, including Gmail, AOL and Hotmail. They cover almost any e-mail program you can think of.
Here’s how it works–the service analyzes your e-mail message and displays it in the different e-mail applications so you can see what happens to your HTML links, images and just about anything you’re sending. What you see is not always what your recipient sees. For example, most servers block images. So that cool product shot shows up as a little box with an X in it. Or maybe you've included a video–blocked. Or you inserted a special HTML link and it gets stripped out so the link doesn't work, or the layout goes wonky and it looks untrustworthy. E-mail on Acid helps you fix all these.
See It Before You Send It
Email on Acid takes screenshots of your e-mails rendered in the different apps and e-mail clients so you can see exactly where things have gone wrong. Then they do a code-based review which takes you even deeper into the HTML or CSS challenges, if any, that your e-mail will face in those clients. Finally, they run it through a spam analysis process and let you know how you fare. If some of this sounds intimidating, don't worry, they make it easy to just send in an e-mail and get it previewed, tested.
The service is affordable with monthly and pay-as-you-go options. There are a lot of resources on the site, with a helpful technical FAQ, plus a cool design guide for e-mail developers that explains standards and offers tips at Emailology.org.
Although they work with large corporations and big e-mail marketing types, Email on Acid is a small business, so it understands what you face in trying to wear many hats. Many of their tools can be used by a thrifty business owner without breaking the bank. The service verifies if you’re doing a good job in your e-mail design and layouts so that you reach more customers, with the right message.
TJ runs http://www.TechBizTalk.com, a review, how-to, and tutorial site to help you discover the top new web-based applications and services for your growing company.
Photo credit: TJ McCue