The Community Company

Mailings - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why does my Email look different than the HTML I sent you?
    • Probably the most frequently asked question we get occurs when we send test mailings and the result looks different in your email program.
    • Email clients do NOT have the same ability to render HTML that a browser or an HTML Editor have.
    • The difference is to do with Cascading Style Sheets and "in document styles" which now control the formatting of HTML.
    • Many Email clients do not support CSS formatting but only inline formatting (embedded in each line of the HTML). gMail for example discards ALL information above the body tag so you can be sure that any classes/ID's/Tag modifications will not work
  2. YIKES! so what can I do about this?
    • Make sure that your HTML programmer uses inline formatting ONLY and be sure they understand that all classes/styles and tags may be eliminated.
    • The best way to test this is to delete all information between style tags and see how it looks. That is what it will look like in email.
    • If you need confirmation that we have not messed up your mail we will gladly put up a demo page you can look at on our site.
  3. What does Connect Press need from me?
    • A lead time of 5 days - or more if possible.
    • HTML Email - with absolute addresses on all images and linksthis should be hand made by a human and not exported from Word or any other "instant HTML" program.
    • Optout list - A list of your customers who do not want to get emails from you.
    • From address - this must be a working email address related to your company.
    • Physical address - the street, city, zipcode, and country of your company.
    • Unsubscribe link - this can be a mailto but a database driven page is better.
  4. How much time should I allow?
    • We generally ask for 5 business days from our receipt of materials to the actual mailing date in order to allow time for tests and any necessary changes the customer may require.
  5. What is the CAN SPAM Act?
    • The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, spells out penalties for spammers and companies whose products are advertised in spam if they violate the law, and gives consumers the right to ask emailers to stop spamming them.Please see this page from the Federal Trade Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm
  6. What is a CAN SPAM compliant FROM email address?
    • Your email's "From," "To," and routing information including the originating domain name and email address must be accurate and identify the person who initiated the email.
  7. How do I prepare a good email newsletter?
    • Know that HTML is not a word processor or anything like it.
      • It was designed with an entirely different set of goals in mind.
      • Just because something looks good in sa Word Doc there is no gaurantee it will translate into HTML.
    • Make the HTML by hand
      • Exports from Word or any other "instant HTML generator " are not acceptable.
      • Make sure your programmer reads this FAQ - he may well be surprised.
    • Do not use < DIV > tags or anything else that requires CSS position data.
      • Outlook '07 and Outlook '03 in Vista do not support CSS position tags in HTML email.
    • Do not use Maps
      • Maps are not supported by all Email Clients
    • Do not use deprecated tags
      • There are hundreds of tags that have fallen into disuse on the Internet but have to be kept around for backwards compatibility
          • i which used to mean italic has been replaced by em
          • b which used to mean bold has now been replaced with strong
    • Use only standard HTML characters and character codes
    • Do not use animated GIF images.
      • Again Outlook 07 and Outlook 03 in VIsta do not support animated GIF.
      • Only the first frame will show.
    • Do not use Flash animations
      • Again Outlook 07 and Outlook 03 in VIsta do not support animated GIF.
      • A red X will be all that appears.
    • Do include a lot of links to your site -
      • 25 links is our CP's upper limit.
    • Do use a lot of plain text (not 100% graphics) -
      • A good guide is 80% file size is graphics - 20% of file size is text
    • Do make all link addresses absolute
      • http://www.yourwebsite.com/campaigns/landingpage.html is correct.
      • campaigns/landingpage.html is not correct and will fail.
    • Image addresses should be to your server
      • http://www.yourwebsite.com/campaigns/images/image.jpg is correct.
      • campaigns/images/image.jpg is not correct and will fail.
    • Use inline formatting - not CSS.
      • Outlook 07 and Outlook 03 in VIsta do not support CSS in HTML email
      • Even "in the document" styles are excluded by gMail
      • We know it sounds primitive but inline works best.
    • Make sure you have a working unsubscribe link
      • This can be a mailto but a database driven page is better for your security
    • Make sure you have a physical address
      • This is the street address of your company
  8. How do I make sure it doesn't go into the junk mail folder?
    • Junk mail filters (Bayesian filters) work by observing how you interact with your emails and then use a mathematical prediction algorithm to determine whether or not any particular mail is "Junk". For this reason it is impossible to come up with a rule set that guarantees that an email will not go into the Junk mail folder. However you can help yourself by following some simple rules
  9. Avoid known Junk Mail trigger words - Obviously "Viagra" and "Free" will score high on Bayesian filters
    • There are some websites that list these words for you
  10. http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt8/spamfilter_phrases.htm
    The only known way to 100% make sure that your email does not end up in the Junk Mail folder is to get your customers to add you to their white lists in their email programs.
  11. Spam catcher avoidance
  12. Useful Websites
  13. What is the impact of Office 2007?
  14. Why not just send a picture?
    • A picture cannot be "read" by SPAM blocking algorithms (or a Junk filter) so, to be safe, whenever a picture only email is spotted it is immediately flagged as SPAM and either blocked or Junked.
  15. Why does email HTML look different in my friend's computer?
    • HTML was designed fom the beginning to be flexible because the computing power available at its destination is always unknown. For this reason all formatting information is stored separately fom the text in Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Even the font size is not fixed since every browser has a Larger/Smaller control which changes the size of the font to suit the recipient. It is therefore important to try changing the size of your font when reviewing your HTML to make sure it survives the changes gracefully. Recently some email programs have decided to only partially impliment HTML. gMail does not respond to "in the page" styles, Outlook 2007 uses a crippled rendering engine. For this reason there is never an absolute guarantee that your email will appear exactly the same way you designed it. You could bypass all these problems by just turning the whole mail into a JPEG but unfortunately that will be immediately identified as SPAM and trashed by either the ISP or the Junk mail filters.
  16. I am behind a corporate firewall does it make a difference?
    • Corporate Firewalls can make a difference. Many block the file types associated with multimedia (Flash and Shockwave) but all of them will allow text and simple JPEG images. Due to the other problems assiciated with Flash and Microsoft it is a good idea to stay asway from these media anyway in which case a Corporate Firewall will not make a difference.
  17. Can I use Flash?
    • Flash is not supported by Outlook 2007 or Outlook 20003 running in Vista.It is probably best to avoid it.
  18. Should I use JPEG or GIF?
    • JPEG and GIF are universally supported. Animated GIF however are not supported by Outllok 2007 or Outlook 2003 running in Vista.If you include an animated GIF in these mail managers you will only see the first frame
  19. What demographic Information can I sort by?
    1. Click here for a list of demographic information
  20. How do I arrange for a Mailing ?