Sending Test Emails: The Overlooked Ecommerce Marketing Virtue

Picture this: With the holidays being right around the corner, Bob decides it’s time to get his customers pumped up for the online shopping season. For this year’s Cyber Monday, Bob’s online business—Bait, Tackle, and Bob(ber)—is planning to offer a real treat: 30% off everything sitewide.

Bob logs into his ecommerce marketing platform, types up the email, schedules it to be sent the following day, and goes about the rest of his afternoon.

The next day, Bob sees a friend at the gym (who happens to be on his email list). The friend mentions the Cyber Monday email and exclaims that she can hardly wait to buy the bamboo fly fishing rod she’s been eyeing at 80% off—the rod that’s originally priced at $2,595.

Bob begins to nod in agreement and just as he’s about to form a smile, his brain’s processing hub catches up to the words that just entered his ears. Suddenly, Bob’s jaw drops to the floor like a loaded barbell. Bob asks his friend to repeat herself, she again says “80% off,” and promptly hands Bob her phone with the email displayed. Bob stares at his Cyber Monday email and realizes the “3” had accidentally been typed as an “8.”

Bob is sunk.

Don’t Be Bob: Check Your Email Details

If Bob had been thinking, he would have done two things differently:

  1. He would have chosen Drip to be his main ecommerce marketing platform.

  2. He would have utilized Drip’s test emails feature to nip the typo smack-dab in the bud.  

Drip’s platform was entirely built with the busy ecommerce marketer in mind—yes, for that person who’s constantly trying to juggle their time to accomplish 752 different things in one day.

Drip was also built for humans, by humans. We don’t believe in overly-complicated technology and SaaS platforms that are impossible to navigate. Instead, we see technology as being a tool to help us, the humans.

And since we know that humans make mistakes, we designed our platform to include handy features that keep mistakes to a bare minimum. And on this note, we proudly present to you: test emails and what you can do to dodge email missteps.

Sending Emails in Drip

When it comes to creating emails in Drip, campaigns and broadcasts are where you’re likely to spend a lot of time.

A campaign is a series of emails that automatically deploys when someone triggers it. They let you send continuous topic-specific emails to people at whatever cadence you need. For example, when someone becomes a new customer, they can trigger your campaign that sends them warm welcomes, 25 coupons, or whatever you want to encourage them to keep buying from you.

From marketing or sales emails, to post-customer acquisition onboarding emails, to weekly how-to lessons, to any other type of emails under the sun, campaigns are ideal for keeping your customers engaged and cared for automatically.

A broadcast is the email option you’ll want for intermittent newsletters or quick, solo announcements—like Bob’s Cyber Monday message (preferably without the typo). Think of a broadcast as being an email soapbox where you pop in and let your people know what you’ve been up to or what’s most important to them right now.

Think about which type of email in Drip is best for your needs at the moment, then get to building. Both campaigns and broadcasts can be put together as plain text or HTML emails, or you can put together a total visual experience in the Visual Email Builder.

Like I said, Drip offers one-time broadcast emails and multi-email campaigns either on their own or inside of workflows. These are all the types of emails we send, and we test every single one of them. So, no matter which email type you plan to get your message across with, one bit of advice prevails across any format ever: Send a test email.

What Are Test Emails?

Before you send an email off on its journey to reach a zillion inboxes, it’s a good idea to see exactly what it is you’re about to send so you can avoid email disasters like Bob’s. So, it’s a good thing that Drip lets you view your work through two different lenses: the Preview function and the Test Emails function.

The quickest and easiest way to view an email as it will look to people who receive it is with the Preview function. It takes just a couple seconds to preview your email. Hit the button in the top right corner of your email editor and you’ll have an instant look at how your email will appear on desktop, tablet, and mobile phone.


Peep a preview of your emails across devices with a couple li'l clicks.

Peep a preview of your email across devices with a couple li'l clicks.

While you’re previewing an email, you can also select an individual person to view the email as.


Enter an email address and preview any email as if you were the subscriber.

If you’re using any dynamic text in your emails like Liquid, it will render automatically while previewing as the person of your choosing. This is the best method for quickly testing any Liquid you might be using in the email.

Side note: Liquid is a type of coding language that puts dynamic content in emails that changes for every user. A great common example is a person’s name being automatically populated when an email is sent.

For example, this is what my email looks like with a little bit of Liquid code in it:

subscriber first name liquid code in an email

And this is what that same line looks like when I preview the email using my personal email address:

populated liquid code in an email

While the Preview function is a quick way to double-check your work, hitting “Send a Test Email” is really where the crown jewel of sending error-free messages resides.

Test emails are just as they sound: They’re emails you can preview and send to yourself and others on your team before you send them to your list. For every email you create in Drip, you can send a test email.

“But what about my analytics?” you say. Glad you asked. Tests don’t count toward your email analytics, so you’re free to send as many as your heart desires until you get the email just right without ever worrying about muddying your stats.

How to Send Test Emails in Drip

Once you have your email message ready to go, all that’s left to do is send a test version to you or anyone else on your team so you can see how it’ll look to everyone on your list.

To send a test email, simply click the Send Test Email button and type in your email address or any other addresses you’d like to send it to. Be sure to separate multiple email addresses with a comma.


Send a test email to one or many email addresses, and check your work.

To view the freshly sent test, log into the email account you sent the test to, check the inbox, open the email, and—voila!—you’re eye-to-eye with your test.  

You’ll notice that Liquid does not get rendered in the test email. This is because Drip doesn’t attach any personal data to test emails. If you’re looking to troubleshoot your Liquid shortcodes, check out the email preview mode using one of the addresses you sent a test email to.

And just like that, you’ve sent your test email and now you’re ready to rock the proofing phase.

Why Should I Send a Test Email?

Remember in first grade when Mrs. Erickson would remind you to check your work? Well, sorry to burst your bubble, but Mrs. Erickson’s recommendation still holds true today. If Bob’s nightmare-inducing typo scenario wasn’t enough to shiver ye timbers, here are a few other reasons why it’s important to send test emails:

Beauty is in the eye of the app or program.

Some apps and email programs can wreak havoc on your prized email design. Opening your email in one program might display all text and no images, while opening the same email in another program might display just an image and no text.

To make sure your emails look right, be sure to check the test email on the different devices, browsers, and email platforms people might use to receive your emails. Is the email easy to read on a mobile device or does something look wonky? How is the layout when you open the email on your tablet? Are images downloading correctly?

By sending test emails, you can preview your email through the eyes of different platforms and make changes to your original email before it gets dispersed around the world.

Compose a symphony, not a natural disaster.

When it comes to the formatting and composition of your email, sending a test email will let you step back and check the overall construction of your content. Is the font size of the text easy to read or will it require Customer Betty to reach for her spectacles? How is the spacing between paragraphs—consistent? Does the subject line match the content of the email?

Remember, you’re looking to create a meaningful message that’s easy on the senses and looks professional, like the symphony sounds coming from a well-groomed orchestra. And with Drip’s test emails feature, you’re sure to hit all the right notes for your audience.

Houston, we have a 404.

Aside from flat tires and burnt popcorn, there’s nothing quite as soul-sucking as clicking on a link that leads to an error page. We’ve all fallen victim to the dreaded 404 Error Message that crushes one’s dreams of being led down the path of more knowledge or a whole new website world to explore.

If you’re planning to insert links within your emails, be sure they’re in working order. And what’s the best way to do this? That’s right, by utilizing the test email feature. Trust us, people will shout praises of glory when they find that your links don’t unknowingly drag them to error code purgatory.  

Avoid typographical horror stories.

Don’t be that person who forgets to include the “l” in “public.” Save yourself the embarrassment with Drip.

Test Emails Like a Pro

With Drip’s test emails feature, you’ll never have to second-guess the emails you put together, and you sure as heck won’t have to worry about sinking your online marketing shop like Bob. Test emails are where great ideas go to become even greater.

What are you waiting for? Log into Drip and start sending those test emails so you can be sure you’re always putting your best online marketing foot forward.