Tricks of the Trade
By Regina Brady
Are your e-mail recipients only seeing half of your subject line? Is your e-newsletter being flagged as spam? Here's a handy guide to some of my favorite online sites and utilities that should help you in your e-mail and online marketing efforts. And, the good news is they're all free.
E-mail trend reporting. To benchmark your results against others in your industry, head to DoubleClick (www.doubleclick.com) and check out its Knowledge Central area. It presents quarterly trend analysis on e-mail including bouncebacks, opens and click-through metrics by industry, along with overall conversion and purchase trends. You also will find primary research and information on ad banner trends.
Subject line and from line tune-up. Marketers find longer subject lines are more effective because they give room to tell a more compelling story. But many e-mail clients (the software a recipient uses to view e-mails) dramatically limit the display. For example, AOL 8.0 only will display 15 to 16 characters of your from line and 51 characters of your subject line. Deployment vendor E-mail Labs (http://www.e-maillabs.com/from_subject_line_tool.html) has a free tool that allows you to preview how your subject and from lines will display in many of the most popular e-mail clients.
HTML tester. Studies have found that anywhere between 20 percent to 40 percent of e-mails don't render properly. Poor HTML coding can result in display problems and a bad user experience. Of course, this has an impact on response rates and may tarnish your brand. It also can affect your delivery rates, since some content filters check header information as well as the HTML code.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has developed guidelines and standards for the Web. Its site (www.w3.org) is a hub for information. There is a separate site (http://validator.w3.org) that allows you to check HTML and XHTML documents for conformance to W3C recommendations and other standards.