Brand-killing E-mail Mistakes
2. AOL customers who want a richer experience.
Some AOL customers on older versions of the Internet Service Provider's (ISP) software can view rich text messages, but not HTML. (Rich text, not to be confused with rich media, is a protocol that allows for enhanced text formatting compared to plain text.) Solutions that technologically determine whether the customer's e-mail recipient environment can render text versus HTML will deliver by default plain text e-mail messages to AOL users with the older software.
If you are using a solution provider that employs this approach, you are losing a tremendous opportunity to enhance your brand value with that target audience through more effective rich text messaging.
3. When is a test not a test?
Many marketers test their e-mail campaigns and programs, but do so by sending each message to themselves or a few others in the office. Testing is crucial, but using this approach can be a recipe for disaster.
Make sure you include a phase during which you test overall appearance, reception quality and functionality of all aspects of each e-mail message. Your process should include sending tests to a broad list of domains that can be accessed inside and outside of your company's firewall and on varying bandwidth connections. This may take more time up-front, but will help you avoid broad-based errors that negatively affect customer relationships.
This also applies to rich media campaigns. Recipients will respond to rich media. But when some marketers attempt this path they see response rates that are either OK or subpar. What they may not realize is that the beautifully branded, attention-getting messages were never received by their customers.
The culprits to situations like this one include bandwidth issues, corporate firewalls and a variety of e-mail recipient environments that will not render rich media. Instead of a communications program that properly reflects the company and engages customers, the exact opposite occurs.