By Eric Pangburn – Web Success Team Contributor
In spite of the many advances in online marketing over the past several years, e-mail remains a remarkably powerful and effective tool. For starters, it continues to offer quick results and it is ideally suited for your online marketing efforts.
Impacting Your Bottom Line
Some of the major pitfalls that you have to be on guard against however are making errors in any part of the e-mail, and adopting faulty HTML code that can cause your e-mails to be classified as spam and/or filtered out by certain e-mail programs. As you can imagine, such errors can have a severely detrimental effect on your ROI.
In order to help ensure the fast and effective delivery of your e-mail marketing to your potential customers, here are some tips that you may find handy. Keep in mind that this is only a partial listing of all the factors you will have to consider with regard to e-mail marketing, although they can certainly get you some pretty good results, and should be effective starting points for a successful e-mail marketing campaign.
Avoiding Pitfalls, Potholes and Poor Performances
Before we get started, it is important to remember that for all its apparent simplicity, HTML can be quite tricky and temperamental, particularly when used in e-mail marketing. E-mails are quite different from websites in that they will be delivered to a lot more different recipients, many of which will have different means of deciphering and categorizing your e-mails. You may be surprised to find that certain e-mail client servers can have radically different ways of classifying content of your e-mail. In order to reduce the chances of miscommunications between e-mail client servers, here are some basic guidelines to adopt:
- Make sure that your email conforms to both HTML and CSS requirements
- Familiarize yourself with the different rules and regulations with regard to spam. Spamming and phishing.
- It may be helpful to have a suitably qualified expert at your email lists company to consult with regarding technical questions that you may have about sending out your email campaign.
- Get to know what techniques and practices can get you blacklisted and what the best ways around these pitfalls are.
- Make sure to specify which redirects are needed for appropriate e-mails.
Now on to the Top Ten Tips!
1) Make sure to implement the basic HTML tags in your code. This would include (<HTML>, <BODY>, <HEAD>, <TITLE>), among others, all of which will ensure that the entire e-mail is encoded as a single webpage. This will allow you to create more compelling and attention grabbing e-mail messages that have a much better chance of attracting and retaining readership interest than plain text e-mails.
2) Make sure that your e-mail complies with the World Wide Web Consortium or W3C standards of HTML. Keep in mind that HTML typically implements a validator, the purpose of which is to detect invalid HTML code. This can cause a number of delivery issues with your e-mail, and even cause your message to be rejected outright.
3) Try to keep your HTML code self-contained (all links should be live links). This will prevent or at least greatly reduce the chances of your e-mail being received as plain text, or worse, as HTML code that is scattered sporadically throughout the message. In the same token, you should always make sure that any links are always live and up-to-date.
4) CSS is best implemented for styling your e-mail as opposed to positioning your e-mail’s design. This will allow you to reduce their risk of broken layouts that can render your message virtually unreadable. Avoid sending out an external stylesheet with your e-mail, since many e-mail clients typically strip out this information. You would be better off using HTML tables for putting together your design. The fact that many e-mail servers commonly use only HTML tables increases your chances of a successful delivery.
5) Try to maintain a width of 500 to 650 pixels for all of your e-mails. Going over this width may require horizontal scrolling on certain browsers, and many readers will simply not bother reading such e-mail messages.
6) Keep in mind that certain e-mail programs will block images while retaining only the e-mail content. This is an important factor to consider when adding images, and you should make sure that all of them are tagged appropriately.
7) You may also want to consider placing the most important information in your e-mails in the top left corner. Quite a few e-mail clients have begun to adopt horizontal and/or vertical preview panes that enable the reader to view just a portion of the e-mail message without actually having to open it. In addition, certain e-mail clients now include a “block images” feature that keeps images from being downloaded unless the recipient specifically downloads them. Keeping your essential information in the top left corner will then greatly increase the chances of the most important parts of your e-mail being read.
8) When sending out a multipart e-mail, make sure that you focus primarily on the text version. Failure to do so may cause your e-mail message to be classified as spam.
10) Avoid embedding images within an e-mail whenever possible. Many ISPs simply filter out e-mails that have embedded images, since they can cause the file size to become overly bloated. In order to avoid a potential bottleneck, many ISPs will simply block these e-mails outright.
This may all seem like a lot to remember but trust us: it will get a lot easier with constant practice and application. Use these steps as a starting point for a more e-mail client-friendly marketing campaign, and you will eventually have the full power of e-mail marketing at your disposal.
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