Direct mail has long been considered an effective marketing tool. Now, in this digital age, direct email marketing has taken over. It has many advantages including cost, flexibility and immediacy. Unlike direct mail, email marketing campaigns are not constrained by weight limits or postal restrictions.
Email marketing is instant and allows multiple links to be imbedded in the message, driving traffic to company websites. Email marketing is also likely to be better targeted than most other forms of marketing since lists are frequently refreshed with new recipients signing on and others using the self cleaning deregistration facility. And without print costs to contend with, envelopes to buy and address, and postage to pay for, email marketing is an economic solution that is available to companies of all sizes. Of course, however strong the message, it must be well presented if it is to gain the attention it deserves.
This is why creative email design is so important to any email marketing campaign ? email design that makes the most of the flexibility of this media. Animation, links, forms, sign-ups, downloads and response facilities are all tools in email design. Another important element of email design is use of technical knowledge to overcome mail delivery problems and over-energetic Spam filters that can sometimes block even welcome messages.
Data protection issues are of particular importance in email marketing solutions since it is imperative that legitimate messages that have been requested should not be confused with Spam. High rejection rates, use of inappropriate email lists, or invalid email addresses can turn email marketing solutions into nightmares as service providers refuse to distribute emails from the same list. But provided good design and mailing list maintenance practices are adhered to, email marketing solutions can be extremely effective in presenting your business proposition.
The term email production is used in advertising and marketing to refer to the art and science of building HTML emails from creative, mock-up images built by designers. In a sense the production of an email would appear to be a simple task; starting with a picture of the advertisement to be emailed - usually in JPEG, or GIF format and then transformed into another medium i.e. HTML. The act of making this transformation would also appear to overlap with web design itself, as the advertising email is basically a small, one-page HTML application. However, the medium over which this page is typically rendered is significantly different from the standard browser model in several important ways, each of which distinguish email production from standard webpage coding.
First, the email equivalent of the cross-browser problem is much larger in scope when one considers the variety of email rendering clients in common usage. A highly abbreviated list of the most common clients includes Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003, Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Mac Mail, Lotus Notes, Eudora, and web based clients like GMail, Hotmail, or Yahoo. This situation is complicated further by the lack of a recognized body like the W3C to institute rendering standards. Attempts at such standards do currently exist (Email Standards Project), but such efforts are hampered by competing motivations in light of the ongoing SPAM problem.
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