Getting HTML Emails Opened

Many people and e-mail programs now regard HTML e-mails as potential spam. That being said, the issue is "How do we send our enhanced, graphics-rich e-mail with the best chance of being opened?!" The answer is to get subscribers to add senders to their address books, helping ensure e-mail is delivered, not binned by the spam filter.

One reason to educate users about the need to add trusted senders to their address books is by default AOL and MSN don't display HTML in e-mail from unknown senders. Gmail defaults to not displaying HTML even from known senders. If you aren't added to the address book, chances are users don't see your HTML bells and whistles. How many customers have specifically added you to their address books?

Most e-mail programs give users the option to display HTML or not. More and more are not displaying HTML by default.

What should an e-mail marketer do with respect to HTML mail?

* Determine whether HTML is a must-have. Do subscribers really prefer HTML in their e-mail?

* Educate subscribers to add you to their address books or otherwise whitelist you. Include this message on the subscription page and in all your subsequent e-mails.

* Include an alternate text version of your e-mail. If the user is not displaying HTML, many e-mail programs will display the alternate text version if it is available.

* Be sure, if you send HTML e-mail, all CAN-SPAM compliance items, such as the opt-out link and mailing address, will render properly and in a readable format, regardless of whether the recipient reads the e-mail with HTML rendering turned on.

Following these tips will improve the chances of getting your e-mail opened and read.

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