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Email reader compatibility

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Wednesday May 2, 2007 )

With Outlook 2007 rearing its ugly (?) head and creating compatibility issues in relation to how email newsletters and marketing campaigns are displayed, I thought it would be helpful to list some resources where you can discover what will work and what won’t; not just for Outlook 2007, but other software/services too.

You want your newsletters and email campaigns looking their best when someone opens them, but with so many different email software packages and services supporting this and not supporting that, it can get to a point where you long for the days of plain text email.

You could run a copy of every major email reader application and have an account with every big email ISP for testing I guess, just to be sure – but that’s probably a little unweildy and time consuming for most of us; so here’s some good places to get the info you’ll need.

Microsoft have a two part article regarding Outlook 2007 here and here

They also offer a free Outlook 2007 HTML and CSS Validator tool for download

Marketing Sherpa have a nice summary of major Outlook 2007 compatibility issues here.

I love this one – there’s a great at-a-glance reference guide that covers CSS compatibility of Gmail, Hotmail, Live Mail, Old Yahoo!, New Yahoo!, Outlook 03, Outlook 07, AOL, Notes, Thunderbird, Mac Mail, Entourage and Eudora you can download here (PDF).

After having digested all that info, create a newsletter/campaign template and stick with that format for as long as you can :). Just to be extra sure, perhaps keep a copy of your newsletters and campaigns online and place a link to those in the email version e.g.

“Not displaying properly? View an online version”

There’s services around that allow you to see how your site will look when viewed with a variety of browsers – it would be great if someone developed such a preview service for email readers and services. If you know of a tool or service, *please* leave a comment – I’m sure many marketers and email newsletter editors would be truly grateful; including moi. :)


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