Apr 9, 2007

Inbox Inspector: One Click Email Campaign Testing

Last week, we launched a new feature in MailChimp (in "stealth mode"), and asked a handful of our customers to try it and give us some feedback. So far, this is what we’re hearing:

"It’s Christmas in April"

"This is cool as sh–"

"Passed the spam filter check by 100%! Yippee!"

What is the MailChimp Inbox Inspector?

It lets you check your HTML email campaigns in all the major email programs, spam filters, and server firewalls in one easy click

Basically, whenever you send HTML email campaigns, you have to check it
in a lot of email programs to make sure that 1) it rendered properly,
and 2) it made it past the crazy spam filters.

Kind of like how you
test web pages in different browsers. But 10 times worse. You have to
download, install, and maintain Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express,
Thunderbird, Lotus, and you have to go sign up for accounts with Yahoo,
Hotmail, Mail.com, and you have to pay for accounts with Comcast,
Earthlink, Bellsouth, and on and on. Then there’s the server firewalls,
like Postini, Spam Assassin, MessageLabs, and more. Oh, and Gateway
servers, like Ironport. If you’re lucky enough to have the budget for
all that (about 8 grand, then 1 grand a year to maintain) then you send
yourself lots of test campaigns to all those accounts, then repeat the process
until your email works the way you want.

Yeah, it’s a real pain. It can take hours to properly test an email
campaign. In fact, a lot of people just design their email, click send, and pray to
the email gods that it makes it through.

Now, you can click one button, and MailChimp will do all the testing for you in minutes:


Lots more screenshots at:


We did this by partnering with ReturnPath, one of the most trusted names in email marketing and deliverability. These guys have a solid product, and more importantly, great customer service (why we chose them). And they’re constantly adding more email programs and spam filters to check your emails (they’ve just added 15 more screenshots that we’ve got to integrate—slow down, guys!).

When you click the new "Inbox Inspection" button in MailChimp, here’s what kind of reports we’ll generate:

  • Screenshots of your campaign in 17 major email programs
  • Zoom-in views of where your email scrolls on a 1024×768 screen (you’ll be shocked how little your recipients see before scrolling)
  • Spamminess scores, but not just based on simple keywords. We all know that "CLICK HERE!" is risky. Inbox Inspector actually passes the email through real filters and  server firewalls, so you can see how their complex algorithms truly score your emails.
  • Content assessment reports (we look for broken code, typos, etc)
  • Printable report that you can send to your client or designer

Anyways, we’ll be launching it sometime this week, so look for it in under your MailChimp Account Tab, in the "Add Ons" section.

It’ll save you TONS of frustration, prevent embarassing mistakes, and best of all, it’s cheaper than what you’d charge for one hour of your time.

More Information at: http://blog.mailchimp.com/add-ons/inboxinspector/

Try MailChimp free at: http://blog.mailchimp.com/tryit.phtml