I just received an email inviting me to participate in a self-evaluation of my email marketing savvy.  The problem with the message was that the links that was supposed to lead me to the online questionnaire was disabled by my Outlook email client:

Disabled links in emails reduce email’s impact and usability

Whose fault it was? My Outlook was being proactive in creating a safe environment by disabling links that might lead to an unsafe site (whatever the criteria for this is). Outlook did give me the option of enabling the embedded links by clicking on the top of the tool bar. I enabled the embedded link by making that extra click simply because I decided to use this annoyance for a topic of this post. However, it is very unlikely that I would do that otherwise for a message from a sender I am not familiar with.

Which brings me to the point of email marketing effectiveness and its link with web usability. An email is effective only if it engages the reader and sends them to a website for an action. If I am not compelled to go visit the website, the email did not achieve its goal. If the design of the email prevents me from visiting the target website, it has nobody else to blame for its failure. The email should make it not only compelling for me to click on that link but easy as well. Adding a simple text/HTML link would have solved the problem easily.

I am sure Alterian are very experienced marketers. But everybody can learn and we never stop learning. Taking the time to test their own email campaigns would probably teach Alterian a lesson or two about email marketing effectivenes.

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