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Testing + Previewing Campaigns
Testing + Previewing Campaigns

Learn how to test your Campaign and preview your versions.

Michael Stephenson avatar
Written by Michael Stephenson
Updated over a week ago


Launching a Campaign with Element451 means harnessing powerful features designed to tailor and personalize each message, ensuring students, parents, counselors, and every recipient get the right message at the right time. We want you to send your Campaign with confidence, knowing every element is crafted to connect and engage. That's why we've built these tools for you to test and preview your Campaign:

  • Send a test of your email, SMS, or both to an individual or a segment.

  • Preview email Campaigns as one of your contacts, inclusive of token content and personalization.

  • Copy and share a public preview link to receive feedback.

Test vs. Preview

Test: Allows you to send a real version of your Campaign to a designated email address or mobile number. This step is crucial to get an accurate idea of how your message will appear in your recipients' inboxes and ensure all elements like subject lines, content, and links function properly. It's your final check before the actual send-off, providing you with the assurance that you've caught any errors or made necessary last-minute tweaks.

Preview: This is a visual verification tool within the Campaign builder itself. It gives you a snapshot of how your content will look, including support for any tokens (email preview only) or personalization versions you've set up. While the preview may not fully simulate the complete rendering experience in the recipient's inbox, it is designed to mirror the content as closely as possible. Previews are instant and helpful for quick checks during the editing process, allowing you to spot formatting issues, content placement errors, or personalization problems without sending the actual email or SMS.

Email Renderings in Outlook

To learn about the limitations of Outlook when it comes to displaying campaign emails to your recipients, check out this article.

Sending a Test Campaign

This tool allows you to send a test email, SMS, or both to either:

  • A single recipient by entering their details directly, or

  • To a pre-configured Segment of test users for broader testing (for help creating a segment, click here).

Important Considerations: Tokens + Attachments in Tests

  • Using the direct input method is a great tool to use as you iterate Campaigns and want to send yourself (or someone else) a quick test to review formatting to see how it looks. However, this method of testing won't populate token values.

  • To fully test token functionality, opt for Send to Segment, ensuring the Segment includes users with relevant data for those tokens. For an easier way to check token content, use the preview feature.

  • If you are testing an SMS campaign with an attachment, use the Send to Segment option to view the attachment.

How-To: Send a Test

  1. With your Campaign open, click the blue Test button in the top right corner.

  2. Select Channels: If your Campaign utilizes email and SMS channels, you will be prompted to select which channel you wish to test. If you are sending to both, we recommend testing both.

  3. Send to Segment: Select if you wish to send to a test Segment. For example, you may have a Segment created for your team for testing purposes. Be sure to read our considerations when deciding to send the test to an individual or test segment.)

    • ​Yes: If you choose to send to a Segment, you will be prompted to select the segment.

    • No: If you choose not to send to a Segment, you will be prompted to enter the recipient's email address (for testing email Campaigns) and/or the recipient's phone number (for testing SMS Campaigns). Each field supports sending the Test to one person.

      • When entering a phone number, include a country code. When testing, including the country code (i.e., +1 for US numbers) is essential. This is especially true when testing MMS messages, as the deliverability of portions of your message could be impacted.

  4. To run the Test, click Test in the top right corner.

  5. When finished, click the X in the top left corner to close out and return to your Campaign.

Public Preview Link (Email + SMS)

The Public Preview Link is a shareable URL accessible by anyone with the link; logging into Element451 is not required.

When viewing the public preview, viewers can:

  • Toggle between email and SMS previews (if using both channels)

  • Download a .HTML file (emails)

  • Preview the Campaign from a desktop or mobile device format (emails)

  • View the default version only (if using personalized versions)

There are two ways to access and copy the public preview link for a Campaign:

Option 1 (Easiest + Preferred)

  1. Open your Campaign.

  2. In the heading, under the Campaign name, click Preview.

  3. Share the URL.

Option 2

Because you will access the link in the Configure Email section, this option only works if you are using the email channel for your Campaign. Note: The URL will be the same as option 1, so if you use SMS, it will still be included.

  1. Open your Campaign.

  2. Click edit in the top right corner of the Campaign header.

  3. Scroll down to the Configure Email section.

  4. Click on the Preview tab in the right corner of the email editor.

  5. Click the link icon in the top left corner of the email editor.

  6. Share the URL.

Previewing Email Campaigns

The email preview tool allows you to see how an email will look before sending it to your contacts. This valuable feature enables you to catch any issues or make last-minute adjustments to ensure the best possible experience for your recipients. By using the preview tool, you can:

  • Select specific contacts to view the email personalized for them

  • See how any tokens or personalization versions will be applied

  • Catch any formatting, content, or functionality problems ahead of time

How-To: Preview Email Campaigns

  1. Open your Campaign: Begin by accessing the campaign you want to preview.

  2. Edit the Campaign: In the top right corner of the campaign header, click the Edit button.

  3. Navigate to the Email Configuration: Scroll down to the "Configure Email" section.

  4. Access the Preview Tab: In the right corner of the email editor, click on the "Preview" tab.

  5. Select a Contact for Preview: Click on the person icon in the top left corner of the email editor. This will allow you to search for and select a contact whose information will be used to personalize the email preview.

  6. View the Personalized Preview: Once you've selected a contact, the email preview will display the token and personalization content as it would appear for that specific recipient. This lets you see how the email will look and function for individual contacts before sending.

Previewing SMS Campaigns

If your Campaign has the SMS channel enabled, a preview in the form of a chat bubble will automatically generate to the right of the Configure SMS section.

If you are utilizing personalization, you can preview your different versions by simply changing the version in the Configure SMS section.

How-To: Preview SMS Campaign Versions

  1. Open the Campaign: Begin by navigating to the campaign you want to preview.

  2. Edit the Campaign: In the top right corner of the campaign header, click the "Edit" button.

  3. Navigate to the SMS Configuration: Scroll down to the "Configure SMS" section.

  4. Select the Version: Next to the "Outbound Phone Number" or "SMS Text" field, use the "Version" dropdown to select the specific version you want to preview. The preview of that version will be generated on the right side in the gray box.

If the SMS text has not been configured for the selected version, a chat bubble icon with three dots will appear in the preview area. This indicates that there is no SMS content configured for that version yet.


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