Is Your E-mail Campaign Doomed To Fail?

You’ve got your next email campaign all set up — the list is squeaky clean, you’ve got 2 rock star subject lines to A/B test, and your copy’s so snappy it practically crackles and pops.

But it could still be doomed to fail.

Because a successful email campaign isn’t just about the visible, front-end marketing components — copy and design.

Equally important is the invisible HTML code it’s built of. And if you don’t understand how your recipients actually receive and read your emails — which email software they’re using — you’ll deliver code that’s incompatible and your potential customers will never get your message at all.

So how do you avoid this potentially costly failure?

Begin by educating yourself on your list’s email client base. That is, are most of your readers using Microsoft Outlook, or are they using web-based email, like Yahoo and Gmail? Most likely, you’ve got a mixture of both, so what’s the percentage breakdown?

Fingerprint’s Email Client Stats report gives a good set of statistics for client usage overall. Even better, your email service provider or list vendor should be able to help you determine these percentages for your list specifically.

From this data, you have another decision to make: Which of the total set of email clients are you willing to support? Depending on the number and kind, you may decide you don’t have the resources or ability to support all of them.

And finally, work with your HTML developer to make sure he or she understands what the email client compatibility set is, and that she follows best practices for email coding, such as use of HTML tables for layout rather than CSS.

Then, as always, test, test and test some more! Test first to ensure that the HTML is rendering properly in your desired email client set; at CDG Interactive, we use Browsercam Litmus. And try viewing it with all images turned off, the default view of many email clients: is your message still understandable?

Then run additional tests to verify the message’s SpamAssassin score (aiming to keep it as low as possible); many vendors have this capability, or you can try a tool like SpamCheck or MailingCheck.

After all, no email campaign can succeed if its message is blocked or unreadable.

  • What have you done to guarantee email readability?
  • Have you experienced email campaign failure?
  • What’s your favorite spam check tool?
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