Goodmail Blocked Image Seminar Presentations

Remember the unreadable Goodmail email with the blocked images that was an invitation to a webinar about, er, avoiding blocked images? If the poorly formed invitation didn’t scare you off, the presentation is available at:
http://www.goodmailsystems.com/docs/goodmail.pdf
and an
http://www.goodmailsystems.com/about/news_events_press/audio/

Those don’t look like particularly permanent URLs, do they? I’m hesitant to link there, wondering if I’ll have broken or off-topic links down the road. Don’t make that naming mistake when posting presentations to your site. Pick a name and directory structure that’s easy to remember, provides some context and looks like it won’t suffer from linkrot. Something like /presentations/goodmail-date/ or /avoiding-blocked-images.pdf would work better. And what’s /about/news_events_press/audio/ all about — is this for users, customers, the press?

Avoiding the Goodmail Blocked Images Seminar Snafu

Goodmail email invitation is unreadable in preview paneImagine you’re sponsoring a seminar on avoiding the scourge of blocked images in email marketing. When it’s time to send the email invitation, what’s the one bit of formatting that you would definitely want to get right? Remember, your seminar is about blocked images in email messages. Perhaps you’d zero in on making sure your message is readable even with the images blocked? Yet the nearby inbox screenshot shows how one organization mangled such an invitation.

The message was unreadable in an Outlook preview panel. The large, blocked images meant I couldn’t see the headline, “Blocked Images: When Bad Things Happen to Good Email,” presented by Goodmail Systems, Cheetahmail and Email Experience Council. But you can avoid their mistake by following these guidelines to give your HTML email blasts a chance to be seen.

  • Test that your layout holds up in both the bottom and side preview panes of Outlook
  • Make your headlines appear as text, not as images
  • Format your messages to be understandable even without images turned off
  • Insert links in the body of the email, not solely as buttons/icons.
  • Display your full URL as text at least somewhere in the message.
  • Test your email subject lines

Vertical Response has some good examples of emails from major retailers who don’t get the blocked images issue, as does Messaging Times. MarketingSherpa has more resources on this and other email marketing issues.

Any such whoppers in your in-box? Or, gulp, your sent box? Share ’em here or send them to me.

4 More Reasons to Use Google Groups to Build Faith Communities

Google announced enhancements to Google Groups that make the free product even better for supporting e-newsletters and discussions with your faith communities. The improvements cover four areas:

  1. Create shared web pagescollaborative web pages within the group without having the members needing to know HTML.
  2. Pick your own colors, fonts, logossuch as to match your own website.
  3. File sharing and collaboration central location to work on shared documents, rather than repeatedly blasting out attachments; good-bye version control problems; also includes subscriber profiles for those who want to share personal details within the group.
  4. Flexible discussions easier to reply to specific threads or to start separate sub-discussions.

This move puts Google ahead of Yahoo Groups, which previously offered a better selection of community-building tools, but with a heavy-handed emphasis on getting you to sign up for a Yahoo ID. That inflexibility made me recommend Google Groups for my parish’s listservs when we were looking for a solution to replace dreadful Topica a few years ago.

Give Google Groups a(nother) look if you want the benefits of e-newsletters or discussion groups without having the enormous burden of manually managing the subscription/unsubscription process.