Email marketing: Are they seeing your message?

Yesterday we received a package containing two small inkjet cartridges for a printer. The cartridges were rattling around in a flimsy mid-size box, and the box looked like an elephant had stomped on it.

Bad impression.

Bad packing.

Of course, when the package left the warehouse of the Brand A office supplies company, it looked just fine to them. But it reached the customer looking like an advertisement for why we should place our next order with their rival.

They have no idea. But they would have if they had tested their own packing procedures by sending a few packages to themselves.

What does this mean for email marketers? Just as a shipping service can disfigure an inadequately packed box, various desktop and online email clients are fully capable of distorting and disfiguring your carefully designed email campaign.

A recent study by the Email Experience Council found that nearly 50 percent of business and consumer email messages do not render correctly on the recipients’ computers for a wide variety of reasons. The report estimates that testing, subsequent redesign, and re-engineering of emails to make them mail-client friendly, can increase response up to as much as 87 percent.

Ready to start testing?

If your campaigns use a basic template, you can conduct a comprehensive test of that template. Once you have it working well in the major email and webmail clients, you can likely get by with just a quick test for each new email, checking primarily the mail clients known to be difficult. Here’s a list of the major mail clients you’ll want to test:

  • Gmail
  • MS Outlook
  • Hotmail
  • AOL Email
  • Apple Mail (Mac)
  • Entourage (Mac)
  • Eudora (Mac)
  • Yahoo! Email
  • Thunderbird
  • Lotus Notes

Are your mailings B2B? While Microsoft’s business applications are dominant, it’s not safe to assume everyone is using the latest version of Outlook (MS Outlook 2007). Consider testing your emails’ performance on older versions of Microsoft Outlook, on popular webmail clients, and on the email readers used on increasingly popular smart phones.

Periodic testing of your email templates and campaign emails will enable you to keep up with the ever-changing versions of the popular email clients. You can be confident that your offers are arriving in the recipient’s mailboxes looking just as great as they did when you sent them — increasing readership and ROI.

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