HyperDrive Interactive

The Trials (and errors) of Developing Email Marketing That Delivers Results

Posted on by Bryan

Email design and development is an interesting dichotomy of old and new. It is an extremely effective and marketing communication strategy that is gaining an incredible amount of focus in the industry. Yet at the same time, in order to give all users a consistent experience there needs to be ample time to develop and debug-issues that arise. You may think that since email has existed for years it would be down to a science by now, but it can still provide plenty of headaches. These are mostly brought on by trying to get code to play nice given the lack of standards in email clients.

When you develop websites you can pretty much rely on W3C standards, and testing in IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari to make sure everything is working smoothly. In email however, there is a lot more variance… to give you an idea just check out all the clients listed below:

Desktop Email Clients
Apple Mail 4 OS X 10.6
Apple Mail 5 OS X 10.7
Lotus Notes 6.5 Windows XP
Lotus Notes 7 Windows XP
Lotus Notes 8 Windows XP
Lotus Notes 8.5 Windows Vista
Outlook 2000 Windows XP
Outlook 2002/XP Windows Vista
Outlook 2003 Windows XP
Outlook 2007 Windows XP
Outlook 2010 Windows Vista
Thunderbird 3.0 Windows XP
Thunderbird latest Windows 7

Mobile Email Clients
Android 2.2
BlackBerry 8900 OS 4 with plain text
BlackBerry Curve OS 5 with HTML
iPad 2 iOS 4
iPhone 3GS iOS 4
iPhone 4S iOS 5
Nokia N96 Symbian S60
HTC HD7 Windows Phone 7
Samsung Intrepid Windows Mobile 6.5

Web-based Email Clients
AOL Mail Explorer
AOL Mail Firefox
Gmail Explorer
Gmail Firefox
Hotmail Explorer
Hotmail Firefox
Yahoo! Mail Explorer
Yahoo! Mail Firefox

Given that an estimated 107 trillion emails were sent out in 2010 between 1.88 billion email users worldwide, numbers that have probably grown since then, it is pretty critical to sort out every issue before you send. Here at HyperDrive we use litmus.com to make sure that our digital correspondences are rendering properly across the board.

Another amazing resource is emailology.org, in fact, this may be one of the best resources I have come across to date. They have pulled together the closest thing to a standards guide, and also have tips and tricks for individual email clients, as well as some thoroughly commented boilerplate code to get you started.

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