Tag Archive | "Microsoft"

When it comes to HTML email, anticipate the worst

When it comes to HTML email, anticipate the worst

Outlook's Trust Center

Our recent blog post on image blocking in email received an awesome response. I generally gauge this by the quality of questions, rebuttals and comments that wash in, many of which are genuinely good food for thought. Like:

This statement “only 48% of email recipients see images automatically.” does not actually result in “(the email being not read) by over half of its intended recipients.” because presumably… some have changed the default settings. I would like to see some stats on how many users have changed their default settings to show images.

As it turns out, most folks don’t tinker with their apps. According to this experiment by Jarrod Spool, less than 5% of users change their default settings, even when prompted. Jarrod’s study required that users turn on autosaving of documents in Microsoft Word – a simple, beneficial change – and was just as surprised at the low uptake then as we are now. He explains:

When we interviewed a sample of (our users), they all told us the same thing: They assumed Microsoft had it turned off for a reason, therefore who were they to set it otherwise. “Microsoft must know what they are doing,” several participants told us.

Now think about Outlook 2007. The first time I attempted to turn off image blocking in this email client, I had to Google around to find out where this setting could be (it’s in their Trust Center). Do you think most Outlook users (excluding coders, designers or tech folk) would have the time, inclination or know-how to fool around and do the same?

Would most Yahoo! Mail users be bothered to change their similarly tucked-away spam settings, so images are displayed for trusted senders?

What this tells me is that email designers have to anticipate the worst. Images will be blocked in email clients. Just because .wmv videos do play in the inbox when Outlook’s security settings are turned right down, doesn’t mean that they will play. To take it a step further, if some of your subscribers are using CSS-unfriendly email clients like Gmail, you have to design like they all are. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use cool CSS effects and nice formatting – you just have to make sure the message is still very much readable, even under less-than-desirable conditions.

So test your emails with default settings on, even if it results in the worst-case rendering scenario. Chances are, that’s what many of your subscribers are stuck with.

Email marketing software for web designers – Campaign Monitor

Posted in Real Estate SalesComments (0)

When it comes to HTML email, anticipate the worst

When it comes to HTML email, anticipate the worst

Outlook's Trust Center

Our recent blog post on image blocking in email received an awesome response. I generally gauge this by the quality of questions, rebuttals and comments that wash in, many of which are genuinely good food for thought. Like:

This statement “only 48% of email recipients see images automatically.” does not actually result in “(the email being not read) by over half of its intended recipients.” because presumably… some have changed the default settings. I would like to see some stats on how many users have changed their default settings to show images.

As it turns out, most folks don’t tinker with their apps. According to this experiment by Jarrod Spool, less than 5% of users change their default settings, even when prompted. Jarrod’s study required that users turn on autosaving of documents in Microsoft Word – a simple, beneficial change – and was just as surprised at the low uptake then as we are now. He explains:

When we interviewed a sample of (our users), they all told us the same thing: They assumed Microsoft had it turned off for a reason, therefore who were they to set it otherwise. “Microsoft must know what they are doing,” several participants told us.

Now think about Outlook 2007. The first time I attempted to turn off image blocking in this email client, I had to Google around to find out where this setting could be (it’s in their Trust Center). Do you think most Outlook users (excluding coders, designers or tech folk) would have the time, inclination or know-how to fool around and do the same?

Would most Yahoo! Mail users be bothered to change their similarly tucked-away spam settings, so images are displayed for trusted senders?

What this tells me is that email designers have to anticipate the worst. Images will be blocked in email clients. Just because .wmv videos do play in the inbox when Outlook’s security settings are turned right down, doesn’t mean that they will play. To take it a step further, if some of your subscribers are using CSS-unfriendly email clients like Gmail, you have to design like they all are. This doesn’t mean that you can’t use cool CSS effects and nice formatting – you just have to make sure the message is still very much readable, even under less-than-desirable conditions.

So test your emails with default settings on, even if it results in the worst-case rendering scenario. Chances are, that’s what many of your subscribers are stuck with.

Email marketing software for web designers – Campaign Monitor

Posted in Real Estate SalesComments (0)

New Facebook-Bing Partnership May Change How You are Found on the Web

New Facebook-Bing Partnership May Change How You are Found on the Web

Guest Blogger, Kevin Lisota, is CEO & Co-founder of findwell, a real estate brokerage helping people buy and sell Seattle real estate. Kevin left a career at Microsoft to put his tech skills to use in real estate and can be found regularly on his Seattle real estate blog.

Every real estate agent wants to be popular on the web. If you are easily found by consumers searching for an agent or a home, your pipeline of prospective business grows. Last week, Facebook and Microsoft made an interesting announcement that integrates Facebook data with the Bing search engine. Their announcement is a fundamental shift in how results can be found in a search engine, and will impact how buyers and sellers find you on the web in the future.

How search engines work today

For the last decade or more, search engines have functioned in pretty much the same way. They crawl around on all the websites they can find and create a massive index of pages and content. When a user types in a phrase in the search box, they match up that phrase with the pages that they think are most relevant to the query. With billions of pages out there, many with similar content, how do they choose which results to show? Well, for the most part it is a popularity contest based on how many other sites have linked to your page. The idea is if lots of people create “backlinks” to a particular page, it must be relevant and important for a topic, so those results are shown first. The more backlinks you have, the higher your results will appear in the search engines. They also give more authority to popular sites, so a backlink to your site from www.cnn.com carries a lot more weight than one from frankslocalcarrepairshop.com.

What did Facebook and Bing announce?

By now, you have certainly seen the Facebook Like button across many websites. You and your friends have probably been clicking on it to say that you like a particular web page, article, restaurant or product. What Bing and Facebook announced last week is that Bing will use Facebook “Like” data to enhance your search results with things that your friends on Facebook have liked. This is probably easiest to see in an example. Say your friend Adam has liked a particular steak restaurant in San Francisco. On your travels there, you type in “San Francisco steakhouse” looking for somewhere good to eat. Now with Facebook personalization, Bing can show you a list of steakhouses that your friends have said that they like.

How this changes the search game

Clearly web search results are better when you get recommendations directly from your friends, and I would certainly be more likely to click on them. This appears to be the first step in changing how web pages are ranked in search results, stepping away from the generic popularity contest that exists today and towards search results that are popular with people you actually know. The future of this partnership also looks interesting, as they see an opportunity to surface people in search results who are experts on specific subjects.

How is this going to change my real estate business?

When you search for a restaurant, you are looking for a specific type of food in a specific location. It also helps to know that the restaurant has received good reviews, and even better if those reviews are from people you know. Finding a real estate agent online sure feels similar to that. You want a local agent who has a specific area of expertise, and you want to know that they get great reviews and are recommended by your friends. If lots of people “Like” your real estate services on Facebook, your chances of being found on Bing just went up.

This integration between Facebook and Bing is just beginning, so it remains to be seen exactly how prevalent these “social search results” will become, but I think it will pay to be ahead of the curve on this one. Here are some basic steps to take now to help raise your profile in search results.

  1. Have a presence on Facebook – No one can like your real estate expertise if you aren’t on Facebook, so you are going to need a profile there.
  2. Implement the Like Button – If you have a blog, adding the Like Button from Facebook is pretty easy. There are lots of WordPress plugins to help you with that and it gives your readers a chance to highlight your content to other folks that they know.
  3. Start liking stuff – If you find real estate content on the web that would be relevant to your potential buyers or sellers, start hitting that Like button to help others in your social network.

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Realtor Marketing

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