Outlook 2010: Still no Effective Email Marketing Templates
It’s been announced and circulating the web that the beta release for Microsoft Outlook 2010 still will not accept standard based HTML, rendering your email marketing templates for the most part useless if they are received by a user using Outlook. The Email Standards Project Blog and the Campaign Monitor Blog both featured great, detailed accounts about what this means earlier today.
In a nutshell, it means your HTML email marketing templates, taking advantage of practical layout and design elements that work nearly everywhere else will still not work in the next version of Outlook.
The reasoning, as explained from Microsoft, is basically that they are planning on keeping Outlook users happy by allowing them to format their emails using Word. That means Outlook users sending to Outlook users will be satisfied with a convenient solution, while everyone else suffers the consequences of having their email marketing templates torn the shreds.
You can get in on the fight by visiting fixoutlook.org and twittering about the site. Already there have been nearly 20,000 responses. Enough of these and maybe Microsoft will back down from their stance and catch up with the times!
In the mean time, I think this example brings up another interesting point that many of us forget with our campaigns. That is that nothing is ever guaranteed, and all of your list members likely will not see your templates in the carefully constructed format you chose.
The solution for now is to follow best practices, and to keep things simple. The one-size-fits-all email marketing template approach doesn’t work. Think about offering different email formats for different users- so mobile email browsers, Outlook users, no-image programs and the rest of us can all still receive and make sense out of your messages.
You can also check out this email marketing template acid test performed by the Email Standards Project, which will fill you in on the best practices and the nitty-gritty of CSS and HTML email marketing template design.