Methods to Move Beyond Email Roadblocks and Improve the User Experience

As you are looking to expand your use of email marketing, it is VERY important that you streamline the strategics and tactics you use in your email marketing (or newsletter) campaigns.
Performance Communications Group (PCG), a Chicago-based interactive marketing agency, has developed a whitepaper that provides instructions on how email marketers can avoid the “Red X.”
Here’s some useful information from their press release:
“Email is evolving to include advanced features, such as multimedia. While these features can make email more interesting and effective, they also open the door to adware, spyware, phishing and viruses. To curtail their spread, email systems and providers have pre-empted the use of advanced email features, leaving a red X where the content was,” said Scott Madlener, executive vice president, interactive strategies at PCG. “While this is done in the name of safety, it is forcing email marketers to take a giant step backwards.”
The whitepaper offers best practices for optimizing emails without being restrained by preprogrammed email default settings. These tips include:
1. Don’t rely on images or multimedia for primary messaging. Many emails include images to ensure fonts are rendered as the sender intended. Instead of text, the reader may only see a red X.
2. Manage Visual Assets. When building an HTML email with images or multimedia, combine as many objects in one to reduce the total number of Red Xs seen by a viewer with images off.
3. Trim Down Tables. Don’t use tables for large header images or media, as pre-allocated table space will be maintained causing the text to fall “below the fold.” Even though multimedia should not be in a table, set the height and width settings for the object, as scaling to 100 percent may reduce the actual size, making it too small to view in a preview window.
4. Keep the Code Simple. Complex JavaScript and CSS for formatting generally are not supported. Instead, use inline styling, multimedia or standard HTML to achieve the desired affect.
5. Don’t Hide the URL. Always present the URL to which a link will go, rather than hiding the URL behind a “click here” statement. Most email service providers change links for tracking purposes, so the replacement links will expire over time.
6. Remember Fundamentals. Make certain to include a link to “view as webpage” and “add to address book” within the copy.
7. Reduce Animation. When using multimedia, file size is of the essence. Reduce your HTML source code, optimize embedded objects and avoid attachments.