More and more printer partners are being asked to provide email communications along with their direct mail programs. For printers that are just venturing into this space, we would like to provide some key recommendations.
Many printers think that since sending an email doesn’t take up press time, it can be deployed right away. It’s true that email can go out immediately, but making sure that the content is coded correctly and that all the necessary details are in place takes time.
We recommend a checklist of information needed for an email and a standard client communication delivered in writing that explains the required deliverables and timeline.
- Have a written timeline
The timeline should include a trigger point that starts the clock from the point that the client has given you everything needed to create and send the email.
- Make the client review & approve a live test
Have a deliverable that includes a live sample email send to your client’s test list. Recommend that the client signup for and provide you with email addresses that use Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail (now Outlook.com) and Yahoo that they can access directly. This involves the client directly and makes them feel comfortable with what is going out.
- Leave time between the test & the live send
Make sure to express a standard of at least 2 business days between the test email to your client’s test list and the actual send. This gives plenty of time for revisions.
- The client should participate in testing & approve the email
Make sure that the client is responsible for reviewing and approving what was sent.
- Include a single round of changes for accuracy
Make sure to be clear that additional changes may have a cost. This keeps the number of changes and tests down to a minimum and ensures that the client takes their time reviewing the test and organizing their feedback.
Design for email can be tricky due to the diverse number of email readers on the market. Here are a few design gotcha’s:
- Not all email readers display background images
Background images are nice for layout, but Outlook won’t display them. A fallback background color can help, but generally we recommend avoiding background images in email altogether.
- Email doesn’t look the same on every device
Gmail, iPhones, and Yahoo all inject markup into email code that is beyond the control of the sender. As a result, addresses, phone numbers, dates, times and other terms can be turned into hyperlinks. These may be blue, green or some other color. These added colors can make your copy unreadable if you have background colors.
- CSS code doesn’t work on all email readers
With web code, we style in DIV tags for width, height, coloring, and other neat design stuff. In the world of email readers, much of the CSS design won’t render.
Check out this video of a presentation that discusses quoting and fulfilling HTML for both the web and email for print providers.