These are some of the most common questions our clients ask us about using the system and email marketing in general. If your question is not answered below please contact us at support [at] extravision [dot] com and we will be happy to help.
Getting Started (7)
What do I have to do to start sending emails ?
Just call or email us. We will discuss your requirement with you, agree a pricing structure and create your account immediately. Once the account is created we will arrange online training for you. Or if your campaign is urgent we can build your first campaign for you.
Is training available ?
Yes of course. We offer free one-to-one training sessions online. This generally takes 30-60 minutes but we are happy to spend as much time with you as required. We are also happy to provide training for your colleagues and also refresher courses when required.
How can I get new login details for my colleagues?
Simply email support [at] extravision [dot] com with their full name and email address and we can create it for you. If you are a self service client please let us know if you want your colleague to have access to evmessenger or just the evreports. We can also set them up with or without rights to submit a campaign so please advise which you prefer.
Do I need to install any software ?
No you don’t. The system is web based and so you simply log in on-line without needing to download or install any software. As it is a web hosted solution, you can access your campaigns from anywhere you like – you would just need access to the internet.
I need advice on my campaign strategy – can you help ?
Of course. Simply contact your account manager and tell them of your aims and goals and they will be able to advise on the best campaign or combination of campaigns. Typically our clients need help with:
- Generating Leads
- Improving Brand awareness
- Getting people to attend an event
- Inviting people to a stand at a trade show
- Finding out what their clients think of them
Can you assist me in creating HTML templates ?
Extravision has an in-house design team who can help create a re-usable HTML template according to your specification. It can be based on the look and feel of your website or other supporting document and can incorporate your brand guidelines. You simply need to contact your account manager for a quotation.
I’d like to review my campaigns and results – who can I talk to ?
Your account manger can help. Please contact them or email campaigns [at] extravision [dot] com and we will be happy to provide an in-depth post campaign summary and advise on any future campaigns.
How much does it cost ?
We try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to pricing so are happy to offer a variety of pricing options on a self-service or managed-service basis.
For self service we offer per email pricing or a fixed monthly charge and for managed service the actual price varies depending on email volumes and complexity of projects.
You can see our self service pricing here
We are flexible and fair when it comes to pricing so feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss specific pricing options.
Does it cost me to create an account ?
No. We are happy to create accounts free of charge, depending on the pricing model you choose.
Do I need to pay up front ?
No. If you are using the Extravision system on a self service basis, you will be invoiced for your usage at the end of each month. If you haven’t used the system that month you won’t be charged.
How much does it cost for support ?
We do not charge for support. All our clients are entitled to unlimited technical support. To access support simply email support [at] extravision [dot] com.
Do I have to signup to a contract ?
This depends on the pricing model you choose. We have no contract per email pricing and contracted per month pricing.
what is an email click-through
An email campaign normally contains a number of links to web pages and possibly
other documents. Everytime a recipient clicks on one of these links the "click"
is recorded and the user redirected to the original page. This is called a click-through and the number of clicks is often called the CTR (Click Through Rate)
What is an email open
When you send an email campaign it is useful to know how many people have actually received your email and viewed the content. If the email doesn't bounce this does not mean that the email has been received and read by the recipient. The email open stat is an attempt at giving you this information.
When a tracked email is sent, a small transparent image is placed in the message. When the email arrives in the recepients inbox, the email client can ask to download all the images in the message. When the tracking image is downloaded this is registered as an open.
Unfortunately this stat is not totally accurate for a number of reasons. Many email clients have the automatic downloading of images disabled. So no open will be recorded not matter how many times the recipients reads the email. Also, if the email is loaded in the preview window and images are turned on, the open will be recorded but it could be deleted without the user actually reading the content of the message.
For these and other reasons the open rate should not been seen as a measure of a campaigns success. It should be combined with other statistics such as click through rates to give an accurate measure of the success of your campaign.
Why are replies from previous campaigns getting mixed up with a recent campaign ?
If two campaigns are sent out at a similar time to each other and both use the same from address (i.e. john [at] yourcompany [dot] exvm [dot] com), this can cause replies to become mixed up. Make sure that you vary the address that a message is sent from e.g.
What is a soft bounce ?
A soft bounce is an email message that gets as far as the recipient's mail server (it recognizes the address) but is bounced back undelivered before it gets to the intended recipient. A soft bounce might occur because the recipient's mailbox is full, the server is down, the message is too large or the email account is no longer used. Most email service providers will attempt to deliver the email regularly for a few days before finally returning the message as an undelivered soft bounce.The same soft bounce maybe deliverable at another time if the problem preventing delivery is rectified.
What is a hard bounce ?
A hard bounce is an email message that has been returned to the sender because it either never existed or doesn't exist anymore. It is permanently undeliverable. Causes include invalid addresses (domain name doesn't exist, typos, username doesn't exist, etc.) or the email recipient's mail server has blocked your server. Examples include (reason: 550 user unknown), connection refused by <domain> and (reason: 550 host unknown). Servers will also interpret bounces differently, meaning a soft bounce on one server may be classified as a hard bounce on another. Also, the exact error message returned may be different between servers. One may return "user unknown" while another might say "invalid recipient" or "mailbox unavailable".
Creating HTML (4)
Looking at the HTML code. What are tags ?
Ignoring the ‘header’ information at the top of the code, the message as you see it is stored within the body tag, this begins with <body> and is closed with </body>.
Formatting is added to the message using additional tags, for example Paragraphs are defined with a paragraph tag, this begins with <p> and ends with </p>, should we wish something to be in bold we would ‘wrap it’ in another tag, a bold tag, <b>bold text</b>.
To expand upon this basic understanding, there is a very good beginner’s guide to HTML on the w3 website with some helpful interactive examples. To view it click here.
How do I write HTML for emails ?
Designing a HTML email is very similar to designing a web page however there are several limitations that you should consider.
While CSS is supported by most email clients, this is only when it is used ‘inline’ in the code e.g.
<p style=”font-size: 12px; color:#000000”>Welcome to the Newsletter</p>
If the CSS is defined at the top of the HTML code within the <head> tag, many email clients such as Hotmail and Gmail will strip this out. If contained in an external style sheet it will be completely ignored by almost all clients.
Flash movies, images and sound will also not work in most email clients and additionally will increase the spam rating of the message.
When an email is viewed in most of the free email clients e.g. Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo, the images will initially be disabled and replaced with grey blocks. For this reason it is important to add an ‘alt’ or alternative text to each image, see the example below.
Without: <img src="http://www.google.co.uk/header.gif" />
With: <img src="http://www.google.co.uk/header.gif" alt=”Google” />
This alt text will display if the image cannot and is also important for accessibility reasons. Visually impaired users may be using voice based browser technologies that rely on such tags.
DIV Tags vs. Tables
Unlike web design it is not recommended that you use div tags for layout when building a newsletter, tables are strongly recommended as they are much less problematic in emails and are supported by most email clients. A combination of well structured tables and spacer images will be rendered consistently in most email clients.
There are many known issues in Outlook 2007 which are causing problems for emails, below are a few:
- Background images
These are disabled and will not show up, for this reason it is advised background images are not used in messages.
- Paragraph Tags
Outlook 2007 does not support the <p> tag, instead two breaks must be used <br /> <br />.
Today, the vast majority of all email clients can render (display) HTML emails well. An exception is older versions of Lotus Notes, there are many issues with Lotus Notes (anchors not working, css not displaying correctly) for this reason we recommend adding a ‘click here to view this email online’ link at the top of your HTML newsletter. An online version can be added from the docs tab.
As every email client displays HTML differently, it is important to test each message created thoroughly. In the message tab there is an option to preview how your email will be viewed in a hotmail/gmail/yahoo (and others) email account. This feature can be accessed in the messages tab and is titled ‘preview’.
Or you can create a free hotmail/gmail/yahoo email account and send yourself a test message to each of these accounts.
Why are strange characters appearing in my emails ?
When building a HTML email or web page, most special characters will need a special code putting into the HTML for them to work.
If you are seeing strange characters instead of the desired character make sure that you have the correct code in the HTML.
For example if in the HTML code we had -
<p>“Email marketing & Web Design”</p>
This could appear as ?Email marketing ? Web Design?, For this to appear correctly the following code would need to be used -
<p><p>“Email marketing & Web Design”</p></p>
Below are examples of commonly used special characters and their HTML Codes.
Symbol HTML Code Description " " Double quotes “ “ Left quote ” ” Right quote & & Ampersand • • Bullet … … Ellipsis < < Less than > > Greater than Non breaking space £ £ Pound € € Euro © © Copyright ® ® Registered trademark ™ ™ Trademark — — em dash
Should I use a style sheet in my email ?
How many times have you created a sophisticated looking web page which is to be used as a newsletter only to discover that when you look at it in your email client it has become mangled and in some cases unreadable. Even though you've followed strict W3C compliance and done everything right.
Unfortunately the support of style sheets across email clients varies considerably and is constantly changing. They all have their own way of handling CSS, rendering the code, bugs and quirks.
To try and simplify matters we recommend using our email preview system. This will show you exactly how your email will look in over 20 email clients including desktop, webmail and mobile clients.
Why are images showing in the message preview tab but not when I send a test ?
A lot of email clients will initially block images from unknown sources unless instructed otherwise, either click 'Show Images', 'Display Content' or add the sender to your trusted senders list.
Why are images not showing in the message preview tab ?
This will be due to a problem with the URL (location of the file on a server) - is incorrect. i.e.
A common problem is that your image worked when previewed on your machine but not in the message preview. This means it is stored locally, please make sure it has been uploaded and the correct URL has been used.
There’s a blue border showing around my image, how do I remove it ?
A border may sometimes be added by default when an image is used as a hyperlink, to remove this right click on the image, if within the wysiwyg editor and select properties. In the border box enter the number 0. Alternatively within the html code add border=”0” to the img tag. (<img>)
How do I add an image to my HTML email ?
Select the ‘message’ tab, from ‘edit html’ select ‘Upload HTML, Images & Docs’ ‘Browse’ to find the desired image on your computer and click ‘upload’
You will now be shown the URL (location) of where the image is stored on the extravision servers. This will be stored in your clipboard and can be retrieved at any time by holding ctrl and pressing v on the keyboard.
Alternatively to upload within the WYSIWYG Editor, click on the Insert Image button (next to the anchor icon on the right). Select the upload tab, browse for the file and then click ‘send to server’.
To insert your uploaded image, load up the WYSIWYG Editor and click on the Insert Image button, choose browse server, locate the image you uploaded in the previous steps, select and click okay.
Why are my forms not pre-populating ?
Check that you have ‘?id’ after the link
Also make sure that the link has been tracked and there are no spaces after your link.
Why is my forward to a friend not working ?
See 'Why are my forms not pre-populating?', forward to a friend will not function without ?id and without the link tracked.
Forward to a friend will also not work for plain text emails, only HTML.
Check you are using the correct forward to a friend link for your account
Can I create my own forms and still make use of reporting ?
Yes, a form builder can be made available for your account, for more information please contact us.
Can I create online surveys and still make use of reporting ?
Yes, for more information please contact us at support [at] extravision [dot] com
Does messenger support polls, if so how do I add one ?
Polls can now be easily added to your newsletter, please see the following example of adding the question ‘Do you like Football?’ to a newsletter.
In your newsletter create your links as below
Next in the tracking tab of messenger you will need to set the question and answer by naming the links as follows:
question=Do you like Football?answer=Yes
question=Do you like Football?answer=No
question=Do you like Football?answer=Unsure
This tells the system that you have polls in the newsletter, what the questions are and what the answers are. Relevant graphical reporting for all polls can be found in reports.
Please contact your account manager if you are interested in adding polls to your account.
How do I track the pages in a microsite I have created ?
When you click through from an email to a microsite, by default only the click to the landing page will be tracked. What you really want to know is how the user interacts with the microsite and gather valuable marketing information.
There are 4 simple steps to tracking a microsite
1. Upload all the microsite pages to evmessenger using the docs tab
2. Track each individual document
3. Re-track each document once more
The reason for re-doing the tracking is simple. The first time the system doesn't know about all the links that are going to be tracked. The second time you do the tracking all the links are replaced for tracked links in each document.
NB. it is important to remember that the internal links in the microsite will be given the title within the title tag in the href tag so you need to name all your links correctly
i.e. <a href="http://www.extravision.com" title="extravision home page">click here</a>
Without the title attribute the link would be called "click here"
How do I track a custom link ?
To track a custom link you will need to upload the contact list and upload the custom link to custom1.
In your message where you would like the custom URL to appear, enter the url:
Then re-do the tracking. When the user clicks on this link it will then re-direct them
to the appropriate page and will also be included in the clicks tracking.
How can I track identical links separately ?
The way to do this is to make the links slightly different without affecting the URL.
The html already contains tracked links error messaget
‘The html message already contains tracked links. Replace the tracked links with the real links and re-submit.’
When a message is sent from the system the original links are replaced with special tracked links that allows clicks to be registered in evreports. If you then import or cut and paste this sent message back into messenger it will cause the above error.
To fix this you will need to replace the tracked links with the original links. See below for an example:
A link already tracked will look something link this:
An original link will look something like this:
To get the original link, cut and paste the tracked link into your browser address bar, hit enter and the tracked link will revert back to the original.
I’ve tracked a link but clicks don’t seem to be registering ?
Make sure that there are no spaces after your link, it may be necessary to delete the link and re-input it.
Why are some of the links I’m tracking failing ?
This sometimes can happen when the page being tracked is on a secure server. E.g. - (https://www.evmessenger.com). Also, each link is given a time limit to be checked and if the site which the link relates to is slow, the tracking might fail due to the tracking timing out.
Send yourself a test message, if the links work from this there is no problem. If the links don’t work than they are either incorrect or the server that they are hosted on is having problems.
Test Messages (2)
Why am I not receiving test messages ?
There can be several reasons why you are not receiving test messages. The first stage is to identify if your message has failed to be delivered.
How can I find out if my message has failed?
Click on the history tab and tick ‘To include test messages in the list of jobs’ tick box. This will then display test jobs underneath. Click on the history button next to the test job which you have sent. This will then open a pop up and tell you if the test email was sent or failed.
The message was sent but I did not receive it, why?
When you send a test message the system will send to the email address/es entered in the test message tab. It uses the real data to pre-populate the email and uses the real email in the ‘To’ header. Some spam filters will block emails with different email addresses in the to header than actually being sent to. Check with your administrator that it’s not been filtered out as spam.
If you have a spam folder, check the message is not in here for the above reasons.
The message failed, why?
This could be to do with any personalisation added to the message. Check your data to ensure it includes all the information which is needed for each personalisation to work and it does not contain any special symbols.
Generally when a message fails the problem has been caused by the list(s) in the campaign. If the subject line has a company personalisation and one record in the contact list is missing this, the message will fail.
There are no messages to send. Records already submitted
This message has already been submitted to all the contacts in the lists currently selected. Messenger will not allow someone to receive a message twice so stops the test being submitted.
Change the lists to a ‘test list’ or a new list and re-send your test.
Plain text emails (3)
Why is '>' appearing in my plain text message and why can't I get rid of it ?
When a plain text message is received by an email client, it looks for 'From' and 'To' at the start of any sentence within the message and automatically puts a forward arrow (>) in front of the word.
The only way to avoid this is to start your sentence with a different word.
Will the Forward to a Friend feature work in a plain text message ?
A Forward to a Friend will only work in a HTML message.
Why are my links breaking in a plain text message ?
In the advanced section ensure that ‘Line wrap’ has been enabled. For formatting purposes we would also suggest you add a line-break before the link so it has a line to itself.
What happens if I have more than 5 custom fields I need to personalise in the message ?
By default every account is created with 5 custom fields that can be used in personalising a message.If you require more custom fields then these can be added by contacting support [at] extravision [dot] com
Preview your data
If you have any other queries about personalisation that are not answered here, experiment, create a message with a test list and preview this to see what will happen.
Why are the names and emails not matching up ?
Delete the list from messenger, check that data in the original list matches up, re-upload taking care to map data correctly. If the problem persists please contact support [at] extravision [dot] com.
I’ve changed my list and custom links have stopped working, what do I do ?
When a list is changed custom personalisations will have to be re-added.
What is the maximum length allowed for custom fields ?
The maximum length is 255 characters.
Can custom personalisations be left blank ?
No, if a custom personalisation is used and a record is missing this field in the data, this will not send.
What happens if Firstname and Surname are in the same field ?
The [#DEAR_Cname] will choose the name that appears first and ignore the second one.
What will happen if I use [#DEAR_Cname] and there is no firstname for a particular contact ?
Messenger will place a default greeting (Dear Sir/Madam), this default greeting can be changed by clicking on the ‘advanced’ button within the message tab.
Mailing Lists (4)
My list has been cut off in Excel, what is the max row limit for CSV files ?
The max row limit is set at 65536, if you are dealing with CSV lists larger than this it is worth using a plain text editor such as notepad, WordPad.
How does de-duping work and why have some of my contacts disappeared ?
Take a campaign that has three lists associated with it, lists A, B and C. If you have ‘remove duplicates selected’ and the same email address appears in list A and C then you will only receive 1 email. The deduping is not in list order.
There are a variety of queries which take place to remove unsubscribes, apply filters, remove duplicates etc. The data is ordered by surname and then grouped by id and email so it is dependant on the content of other selected data.
If someone’s email address appears in a list more than once, will they receive multiple messages ?
If the option ‘Only mail each email address once (remove duplicates from lists)’ has been selected from the ‘filter’ tab then a email address cannot receive a message more than once from the same campaign.
Please note: this is done by email address so if someone appears on the list with two different email addresses they may still receive two emails.
Why is my list failing when I try to upload it ?
Check that the list is in the correct file format (.csv or .txt)
Check that column headings do not start with a number
Remove any special characters (i.e %,!,;,*)
Save as a CSV.
If this fails, please send the problem list along with a description and the client/campaign name to support [at] extravision [dot] com
What is an incomplete unsubscribe ?
For someone to unsubscribe, they must complete a two step process - clicking the unsubscribe link itself, and confirming the email address to be unsubscribed.
This is to make sure that the link wasn't accidently clicked and so that the recipient knows which email address is being unsusbcribed. Sometimes recipients don't know which address the original email was sent to.
If someone only completes the first step (just clicking the unsubscribe link) then they will not be removed from the click or open statistics, and we will continue to email them.