I’ll Take Credit for MailChimp Inbox Preview

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by Kelly Googe Lucas, client marketing director

DigitalSummitMailChimpHatWe’ve been using MailChimp to send our newsletters for quite some time. We also regularly suggest the platform to clients when they are looking to start newsletters for their firms. It’s a fairly easy platform to learn and navigate, and since they are based in Atlanta, we can’t help but want to support our local ATL peeps.

And while we’ve had a mostly good experience with MailChimp, we did run into an issue a while back that was quite frustrating. We discovered that depending on the recipient’s email client and even their preferred browser, readers were seeing different versions of the newsletters we created. This despite the fact that we’d reviewed how everything looked via the preview function that supposedly allowed you to see it in a standard desktop window view and a mobile device view.

I surmised this issue only seemed to affect certain templates though. If you used one of the many already created templates from MailChimp, or coded your own, these would appear exactly as you’d expect them to. Where the issue seemed to take place was when MailChimp introduced the drag-and-drop functionality for building custom templates. All those moving pieces seemed to throw email clients for a loop. Now, I’m not 100% certain that this was the cause, but the timing of the new system and the start of viewing issues seemed to coincide. But I digress…

Once we discovered there was something strange going on, we decided to reach out to MailChimp and explain what was happening. The rep worked with me for a bit and we were able to determine that the issue was viewing the email in Mac Mail versus Outlook. I then asked if there was a way for us to be able to view not just a generic preview, but also preview across different email clients. Unfortunately, at the time, that option was not available. So from then on, I just had to resort to having a few friends act as my email guinea pigs. I would send them tests and they’d send me screen shots. Not the most efficient system, but it was what I had and it worked. I told the rep that this was definitely a shortcoming of MailChimp and that they should provide the ability for users to see these previews.

Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago. I receive an email from MailChimp announcing their exciting new function – Inbox Preview. The email talks about how different email clients read HTML differently and that they have rolled out a new function that will allow you to preview how your email will look across the different platforms and options. Well butter-my-butt-and-call-me-a-biscuit they listened to my suggestion and did something with it! Perhaps other users had commented on this same issue, but whatever, I’m taking credit.

However…I definitely did not suggest their token system that you have to use for Inbox Preview. I have no problem with it being a paid function – they’re a business and need to cover their costs after all, but tokens? Just roll it into the premium account and bump the price up a bit, or make it an optional additional flat cost, or make it pay-per-use. The addition of a token system just muddies things.

And now you know that I am to thank for your new ability to preview your MailChimp emails in every way, shape, form and fashion. You’re welcome.

Will you be using the new Inbox Preview? What do you think of the token system? We’d love to hear your thoughts.

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