Successful HTML Email Marketing Campaigns And Lotus Notes Issues

Successful HTML Email Marketing Campaigns And Lotus Notes Issues

As the​ online world changed in​ the​ nineties from informational to​ commercial and highly competitive,​ marketers embraced the​ new technology and the​ need has arisen to​ send graphically appealing newsletters and marketing messages. you​ have only seconds to​ capture attention,​ and the​ right picture will grab quicker than the​ right copy,​ as​ they say,​ "a picture can be worth a​ thousand words". Just ask your clients if​ they would use plain white paper,​ rather than letterhead,​ to​ send an​ offline message to​ prospects and customers.

Today,​ the​ vast majority of​ all email clients can render (that is,​ display) HTML emails fairly well. Notable exceptions are older versions of​ Lotus Notes and pre AOL pre version 6.0. So whereas a​ few years ago the​ answer to​ the​ question was rather complex,​ today it​ really comes down to​ message purpose,​ subscriber preference and multipart messaging. Studies show that roughly 95 percent of​ commercial messages sent today are sent as​ Multi-Part MIME.

Multi-part MIME is​ an​ older protocol that allows you​ to​ send both text and HTML versions of​ an​ e-mail in​ a​ single package,​ kind of​ like a​ sandwich. the​ recipient's e-mail program then displays the​ HTML version,​ if​ it​ is​ capable of​ reading that,​ or​ the​ text version,​ if​ it​ is​ not.

MIME stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions and is​ an​ internet standard for the​ format of​ e-mail. Virtually all human written Internet e-mail and a​ fairly large proportion of​ automated e-mail is​ transmitted via SMTP MIME format. SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and if​ nothing else,​ you'll learn a​ few more acronyms if​ you​ stick around. Internet e-mail is​ so closely associated with the​ SMTP and MIME standards that it​ is​ sometimes called SMTP/MIME e-mail.

Folks,​ while nobody can really agree on​ numbers and stats,​ we all agree on​ this: HTML Email Doesn't Work Properly for Millions of​ Recipients.

HTML email breaks in​ a​ wide variety of​ email inboxes. This isn't due to​ your creative abilities or​ lack of​ HTML knowledge - it's due to​ the​ fact that the​ email client your recipient views your email in​ routinely breaks your message.

I feel like this is​ worth defining,​ as​ I know a​ lot of​ people get very scared when we talk about clients and servers,​ but will not admit it. an​ email client (some "big picture" folks also call it​ Mail User Agent) is​ nothing but a​ computer program that is​ used to​ read and send e-mail,​ such as​ Outlook,​ Lotus Notes,​ Thunderbird,​ etc. a​ mail server (also called a​ Mail Transfer Agent or​ MTA,​ or​ a​ mail exchange server) is​ a​ computer program that transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to​ another. Most of​ the​ time,​ since nobody has time to​ learn all the​ acronyms and terminology coined by those "big picture" people,​ we are used to​ know a​ mail server as​ the​ entire contraption (wires and all) that runs the​ program.

Depending on​ the​ email system,​ your HTML images may be blocked so recipients see a​ blank white box and/or your live hotlinks may not work properly. AOL 9.0,​ Outlook 2003,​ and Gmail are most infamous for blocking and/or breaking HTML,​ "for security reasons".

Another big offender for not letting HTML through is​ Mel,​ the​ guy that works in​ the​ corporate it​ department. Many corporations have it​ departments who can't wait for the​ day when all attachments and all HTML emails are eradicated. That is​ because in​ their world,​ anything that is​ not pure text is​ spam,​ virii,​ worms,​ trojans,​ spyware,​ adware,​ pure evil(ware) that makes mailboxes grow and users growl. as​ a​ consequence,​ most of​ those cubicle inhabitants - the​ end users - who have to​ sign a​ hundred page policy before they start getting busy on​ those corporate e-memos,​ are unable to​ view and/or send HTML messages,​ whether the​ feature is​ turned off at​ a​ server level,​ or​ on​ their computers.

Everything else aside,​ there is​ no bigger offender here on​ Earth than Lotus Notes. Lotus Notes is​ notorious for its refusal to​ handle Multi-Part MIME the​ same way the​ rest of​ the​ civilized world does.

For your amusement,​ here is​ a​ definition of​ Lotus Notes that was created by one of​ those "big picture" executives: "Lotus Notes is​ a​ commercial workflow and groupware software package that also provides application developers an​ environment for quickly creating cross- platform client/server applications". Still with me? Don't be scared. For the​ purposes of​ this article,​ Lotus Notes is​ an​ email client. Ok?

If you​ work for a​ company that uses Lotus Notes as​ the​ email system,​ don't even think about sending newsletters other than in​ text form from it. Besides the​ fact that as​ a​ general rule,​ I always recommend to​ marketers the​ use of​ a​ professional permission based email marketing service,​ in​ the​ Lotus Notes case you​ just have to.

If you​ communicate to​ the​ B2B market,​ particularly large professional services firms,​ large lawfirms,​ many Global 2000 companies,​ HTML email compatibility will be a​ thorn in​ your side,​ as​ a​ lot of​ these companies use Lotus Notes.

The issues include:

- Older versions of​ Lotus Notes (under R5) convert HTML emails to​ a​ Lotus Notes Rich Text format. Lotus Notes versions under R5 also do not recognize Multi-Part MIME messages (HTML and text combined in​ a​ single email).

- Some companies may be deploying later versions of​ the​ Lotus Notes client,​ i.e.,​ R6,​ but using an​ older version of​ Lotus Notes/Domino server such as​ 4.6. in​ this example,​ the​ recipient's email client would also render an​ HTML message incorrectly.

So for a​ recipient to​ view a​ properly rendered HTML email,​ a​ company must use both the​ Lotus Notes client and server of​ R5 and above.

Here are some quick tips you​ can take if​ you​ have a​ significant Lotus Notes subscriber base:

1. Include a​ link at​ the​ top of​ HTML emails named "View Web Version" or​ something similar. the​ link sends recipients to​ a​ web hosted HTML version of​ the​ email (either on​ the​ email technology provider's server or​ the​ sender's server).

2. Also include an​ "Update Preferences" link and provide a​ web site update form that then enables recipients to​ choose to​ receive Text rather than HTML.

3. Create complete Text versions for those who prefer not to​ receive HTML or​ cannot view HTML.

4. on​ opt-in forms,​ include an​ option to​ receive a​ Text version and potentially list tips (i.e.,​ "If you​ are using Lotus Notes versions below R5,​ select Text").

In conclusion,​ I will say it​ again: Folks,​ don't try this at​ home. Instead,​ always outsource email marketing to​ one of​ the​ many professional services. Advantages are: No blacklists and established relations with the​ major ISPs,​ ensuring maximum deliverability (plus,​ you​ don't want to​ be called a​ spammer and banned from everywhere). They also make it​ easy to​ create,​ send,​ and track permission-based email,​ have advanced reporting,​ message scheduling,​ the​ ability to​ create unlimited lists,​ bounce back handling (extremely important),​ subscription management,​ newsletter templates and many other major industry-standard features. the​ service I use for my company can be tried free for 15 days,​ here:

Successful HTML Email Marketing Campaigns And Lotus Notes Issues

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