Brand-killing E-mail Mistakes
By Bill Nussey
Most marketing and communications professionals have realized the power of permission e-mail to complement multichannel communications in increasing revenues, reducing costs and leveraging existing investments in content and customer data.
What you might not realize, though, are the ways your e-mail communications could affect your brand. You may be destroying your brand integrity without knowing it.
Whether you work for a direct marketing company or a marketing agency—and whether you are a manager, director, principal or chief marketing officer— if your company engages in e-mail-based communications as part of an overall communications strategy, then you likely will find the following nine issues relevant to your business. They are all manageable if you are aware of their influence and address them.
1. All HTML is not alike.
Many marketers mistakenly think that if a recipient's e-mail browser is HTML-ready, the HTML message will always display properly.
Not true. There are hundreds of different combinations of e-mail software packages, Internet service provider (ISP) mail systems and browsers that can dramatically affect how an HTML e-mail message appears in a recipient's inbox. The basic HTML message that customers see can appear broken, including improperly displayed graphics and raw HTML code in place of content.
You'll never know that your message "broke," but you will see much lower response rates and even higher opt-out rates as a result.
There is no silver bullet here, but for starters, avoid the use of common HTML elements that will fail in some environments, such as style sheets, Java script, background images and DIV tags.
Also, seek out a solution provider that understands this issue, has quality assurance testing labs and whose technology automatically "tunes" HTML to optimize in all of those environments. Of course, your customers know best what they like, so you will want to offer them choice when it comes to HTML versus plain text.