Part of my work each month revolves around email marketing for a few of my clients.

When designing and building a great looking eshot, what I see in the browser as I’m building isn’t always what’s displayed in the user’s email in the end.

There’s loads of blog posts about this around the web, but suffice to say – rules are not always followed the same way on Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail etc.

Usually 2+2=3 in a lot of cases to give you an abstract comparison!

So how do I build my email campaigns to look correct for each?

I’ve found you can’t mimic the sent out version through just copying and pasting the content from a browser window into a new email and sending to yourself. It can look a little different this way, and isn’t a fair test to compare what it will look like when it is finally broadcast.

In the ye olde days you used to be able to import html to a new Outlook message I seem to recall, but that functionality seems to be long gone.

I’ve found a great simple little tool that allows you to copy and paste in your html from your email campaign, and do a quick send to yourself.

I now use this before I send out a campaign:

I simply paste in the html, enter my email address (entering a few at once send to my test Gmail and Hotmail accounts) – and I receive as a ‘real’ email a few moments later.

There’s no functionality to import images, but these can either be referenced to a web server you’ve already uploaded them anyway, or indeed to be honest I can see if it’s going to work or not just with the outline of the broken missing images.