I just came back from a pretty interesting conference for work relating to our CRM system and there was this presentation on how it integrates with an email marketing application. I find it awesome, and we’re taking advantage of it, but what slightly concerns me is how people expect to put together email marketing.
It’s not just with this application (which I will not name), but with various vendor services like Vertical Response, Constant Contact, RealMagnet, and others. The “lay” people think that with these services, they can simply import their text and fire away. I know it sounds like it’s really simple, but believe me, there is a little bit more to the puzzle before your campaign will have a positive impact.
First of all, you’ll need to know some HTML, as difficult as that sounds. If you understand the following, then you’re cognizant of at least the basics:
- Having CSS in your code is not allowed unless you use in-line styling.
- Images must not take up most of the email. Most major email providers and browsers (Outlook, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) will disable images by default, showing your users a blank image.
- Always add in ALT text for your images so people know what image it is.
- Forms fields do not display correctly in Office 2007.
- You must embed your font information in the HTML. You cannot add it as a style sheet.
These are just some of the tips that you’ll need to follow with email marketing. I’m sure they are the same ones I’ve said before in earlier posts on this blog, but I say this to make a point: creating an email for distribution is not as simple as slapping text into a program and hitting the send button. If you do that, there are several possible outcomes, most likely not positive:
- Your text will default to Times New Roman because you failed to embed the font tag or you used an uncommon font like Futura, Helvetica, Trade Gothic, etc. that most other normal computers don’t have.
- Your template will be marked as spam because your team failed to realize that some things can screw you over in email marketing.
- Consistency may suffer as a result.
So before you have someone tell you that the latest email application is a godsend, be sure to tell them that sending out emails isn’t that easy. These things are not quick fixes nor are they answers to letting this marketing campaign be standalone. With any good marketing campaign, you’ll need to monitor it…and that’s why you have people in positions of managing just the email programs.
If you don’t believe me, just contact any third-party vendor like Blue Sky Factory and ask them the importance of their role. Some organizations lack staff members who need help managing their campaigns, and they will work to ensure that your whole program is on the up and up while preventing any screw-ups.