All About Email - The Last Word in Email Publishing

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Missing in Action?

Do all emails either reach their intended destination, or get reported as a bounce? This is a question that arose during our recent bounce metric test - more on those next week.

They threw up a couple of apparent, and if true, major anomalies, which web developers say are simply not possible - the main one being the concept of the vanishing email.

We tested all our apparent bounce emails, and whilst most did bounce, some didn't. Call them non bouncers.

We then tested the non bouncers - asking them to reply if they got the message. Some did - so we discarded them.

We then rang the remainder - people whose email was being reported as getting through, but who had not responded. 8 out of 100 denied ever receiving it, so we begged their indulgence and sent them another whilst staying on the phone. All 8 reported were reported as delivered - no bounce messages, and all 8 people confirmed that they had not actually received anything. Spooky. By this stage I was thinking of calling my Sculder or Mully!

I checked with the technical people. Not possible they said. But my evidence seemed to say different.I always use a read receipt with my personal email, and make every effort to convince all my email correspondents to use it. It eliminates the possibility of the odd, probably vital message getting lost in cyberspace.

Of course, it could be held up by a filter. But all 8 confirmed they had no rigorous filters in play, and checked their junk folders, but found nothing. DerNer Derner

So unless there is a secret monster out there munching random emails and thriving in it's lair in the nether regions of the Interweb, there are only 2 explanations. Either the Internet is leaky, which I believe to be a strong possibility, or ISPs are filtering emails so aggressively (too make it look as through their attempts to combat spam are effective) that a certain percentage of legitimate email is getting junked by the post office, so to speak - collateral damage, I believe they call it.

If true, a worry. I will now probably be taken in the dead of night by a crack team of ISP sponsored hit men and silenced forever. Or eaten by the monster!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Picture this

One of the great assets of Html email is its ability to present images - images which help sell the message of your email.

Images help break up, and consequently complement and illustrate content A good pic replaces a 1000 words. In fact, the pics, if done well, dictate the content - which should say only what the image cannot say.

The temptation, of course, is to load your email with images - but the consequence is either excessive overall file size, or poor quality images. Neither is very helpful.

So balancing the image equation is essential - get it right, and sales could go through the roof. Get it wrong, and deliverability and rendering issues, or simply poor presentation will lower response rates dramatically.

You do not need to be a professional photographer to get good images - digicams allow for lots of experimentation, and a little imagination goes a long way in making a pic look both attractive and artistic. Think location and context, background and angles.

Get your pictures right and people will read your text - and then you are a long way down the track to getting your message across, and appropriate action taken.