Issues With Lotus Notes And Successful HTML Email Marketing Campaigns.
Marketers welcomed the new technology as the online world transitioned in the 1990s from an informative to a commercial and fiercely competitive environment. As a result, the necessity to deliver visually appealing newsletters and marketing communications arose. As they say, "a picture can be worth a thousand words," you only have a few seconds to grab someone's attention, and the correct picture will do it faster than the right copy. Simply ask your clients if they would want to deliver offline messages to potential clients and consumers on plain white paper rather than letterhead.
Most email programs today are capable of rendering (displaying) HTML emails fairly well. Older Lotus Notes versions and AOL versions prior to 6.0 are notable outliers. As a result, whereas the answer to this issue was quite difficult a few years ago, it now primarily depends on the purpose of the message, subscriber desire, and multipart messaging. According to studies, Multi-Part MIME is the preferred format for sending commercial messages today in about 95% of cases.
An older standard called multi-part MIME enables you to transmit both the text and HTML versions of an email in one package, sort of like a sandwich. The recipient's email application then shows either the text version or the HTML version, depending on whether it can read HTML.
Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, or MIME, is an internet standard for email format. SMTP MIME format is used to transmit almost all human-written Internet e-mail as well as a sizable part of automated e-mail. Simple Mail Transfer Protocol is referred to as SMTP, and if nothing else, sticking around will teach you a few more abbreviations. Internet e-mail is frequently referred to as SMTP/MIME e-mail because it is so closely related to the SMTP and MIME standards.
Although no one can completely concur on statistics and numbers, we can all agree on the following: For Millions of Recipients, HTML Email Doesn't Operate Correctly.
Numerous email inboxes have issues with HTML email. This isn't your fault or a result of your ignorance of HTML; rather, it's because the email client that your receiver uses to view your message frequently corrupts it.
I believe it is important to clarify this since I am aware that many individuals are frightened when we discuss clients and servers but will not confess it. An email client is just a computer program used to read and send emails, such as Outlook, Lotus Notes, Thunderbird, etc. Some "big picture" people sometimes refer to it as Mail User Agent. A computer program known as a mail server is used to transfer electronic mail messages from one computer to another. It is sometimes referred to as an MTA or mail exchange server. We are used to thinking of a mail server as the full apparatus (wires and everything) that executes the program because most of the time no one has the opportunity to master all the acronyms and terminology created by those "big picture" individuals.
Your HTML graphics might be banned so that recipients only see a blank white box or your live hotlinks might not function properly depending on the email system. The most notorious examples of HTML blocking and/or breaking are found in AOL 9.0, Outlook 2003, and Gmail, all "for security reasons".
Mel, a member of the corporate IT team, is another notorious offender for blocking HTML. IT staff at many businesses are eagerly anticipating the day when HTML emails and their attachments will be banned. This is due to the fact that in their universe, anything that is not pure text is spam, malware, adware, spyware, worms, and viruses that cause users to sneer and mailboxes to swell. As a result, the majority of those end users who must agree to a 100 page policy before they can begin working on corporate e-memos are unable to access or send HTML messages, regardless of whether the feature is disabled at the server level or on their workstations.
Aside from anything else, Lotus Notes is the worst criminal on the planet. It is well known that Lotus Notes does not handle Multi-Part MIME in the same manner as the rest of the developed world.
Here is a funny definition of Lotus Notes that one of those "big picture" execs came up with: "Lotus Notes is a for-profit workflow and groupware software solution that additionally offers application developers a framework for rapidly developing cross-platform client/server apps." Having you so far? Be not frightened. Lotus Notes is considered an email client for the purposes of this article. Ok?
Do not even consider sending newsletters in any other format from your company's Lotus Notes email system if you work there. In the case of Lotus Notes, you simply must, aside from the fact that I generally advise marketers to utilize a professional permission-based email marketing tool.
HTML email compatibility will be a pain in your side if you communicate with the B2B market, especially large professional services firms, huge law firms, and many Global 2000 organizations, as a lot of these businesses use Lotus Notes.
The problems encompass:
- HTML emails are converted to Lotus Notes Rich Text format in earlier versions of Lotus Notes (under R5). Multi-Part MIME messages are likewise not recognized by Lotus Notes versions prior to R5 (HTML and text combined in a single email).
- Some businesses may be running an older version of the Lotus Notes/Domino server, such as 4.6, while implementing later versions of the Lotus Notes client, namely R6. In this case, an HTML message would similarly be erroneously rendered by the recipient's email software.
Therefore, a business needs to use both the Lotus Notes client and server of R5 or higher for the receiver to see an HTML email that has been properly displayed.
If you have a sizable Lotus Notes subscriber base, consider the following fast advice:
1. Add a "View Web Version" or comparable link at the top of HTML emails. The link directs users to an HTML version of the email that is housed on a web server, either on the server of the email technology provider or the server of the sender.
2. Give recipients the option to get Text rather than HTML by including a "Update Preferences" link and a website update form.
3. Produce comprehensive Text versions for people who would choose not to receive HTML or who are unable to access HTML.
4. If possible, give instructions (such as "If you are using Lotus Notes versions below R5, select Text") and a text version choice on opt-in forms.