Sending emails to your list? Avoid this pitfall.

When you blast out a pretty email to your customer list, does it come out pretty?

Maybe not.

A clear majority of people now use email programs that block images from displaying, by default. This can affect your layout.

This is how it looks when you don’t take the proper steps. It looks sloppy and interferes with your message.

email01

And here is a better-formatted email. The images are still hidden, but the layout works and the selling copy is presented in the desired hierarchy.

email02

 

For comparison, here is the email once images are “allowed” by the recipient — either by a one-time clicks of “allow images” or “always display from this sender” i.e. whitelisting.
email03

 

What You Can Do

  • Create special accounts at Gmail and Yahoo just for testing emails.
  • Ask your marketing people to design emails that lay out properly when you (the sender) is “untrusted” .
  • Use a better email broadcast service, like Campaign Monitor or MailChimp. They have lots of testing tools, advice, and templates for designing good emails.

Is your firm running uphill?

Have you got that intimidated, guilty feeling? About how much better your competitor ranks for the good search terms, has more Twitter followers and Facebook friends, and has more online “gravity”?

This post is for you:

The Rich Get Richer: True in SEO, Social + All Organic Marketing

The writer is an SEO expert, but his main point touches on why online marketing needs to be thought of holistically.

High search rankings can earn you lots of visitors who might subscribe to an email list. Thousands of Twitter followers can mean direct SEO benefit and second-order effects like more links and branding. A popular LinkedIn group can drive traffic that turn into more RSS subscribers, getting you noticed by industry lists, which then feed into more media attention and links, which delivers higher rankings. It’s a virtuous circle — unless you’re sitting on the sidelines.

Or running uphill. Read the whole thing.

Forget the guilt of “I should have begun all that online marketing earlier.”

Take heart because of these things:

  • Online marketing tools are getting cheaper and work better together. This means a small or midmarket company can have big-company infrastructure for lead generation and development.
  • Customers may slow down their buying during a recession, but search engines don’t. Crank out good content, get people linking to you, and you’ll be better-ranked when spending conditions improve.
  • Competitors make mistakes, even when they are running downhill*. How often have you heard of a company getting more nimble and efficient as they grow?
  • Knowing what will engage customers is critical to marketing, but is always changing. If you find out what your buyers are interested in right now, you’ll have a more accurate perspective than your competitor.

Start Now! You can catch up. Interview customers, come up with a content strategy, integrate your marketing, and measure it all.

*True story: The first cross-country race I ever won was when the guy in front of me took a wrong turn and ran off the course.