Planning a Holiday eCard

Posted by on Oct 27, 2009 in Email Marketing | 2 comments

Early in 1998 The Turnaround Team began to offer e-Vs, their brand of e-mail videos. These e-Vs offered engaging TV-style commercials delivered to individual email boxes — rather than broadcasted across network channels. Since then, the concept of emailed animations and videos has taken hold with holiday eCards.

However, the technical challenges for distributing true video through email that existed in 1998 still exist today. Email deliverability is based on email good behavior and reputation. Distributing large video or Flash animation movies by email badly damages the sender’s email reputation. In other words, the beautifully designed and executed email will be blocked by the Email Service Providers (ESPs).

There are good alternative solutions that still allow companies to send engaging, animated eCards. Recommended guidelines are provided below.

Email Delivery
Contract with a reputable email distribution service. The most important factor in selecting the email house is their deliverabiity rates. More information can be found on the post on Email Deliverability.

    Email Design
    The holiday eCard  file that gets mailed is limited to an html file with an optional rotating gif. It cannot contain a Flash movie, although it can link to a page that has a Flash movie.

    The html eCard page is uploaded to the email distributor’s server through their account admin interface. The images can be posted on the email distributor’s server, but preferably should be hosted on the client’s server. If a landing page is linked to the eCard, the designer may need to ftp the landing page to the client’s server. The client will need to provide ftp access to the designer/developer to their server’s directory where the landing page will be served from.

    eCard Design Constraints

    • Maximum size of html file (Kilobytes). The smaller the heft of the email, the better.
    • Maximum dimensions (pixels). No more than 620 total pixels wide.
    • Justification: left or centered
    • Duration of any animations
    • Stay away from CSS style declarations in head tag. Outlook 7 will ignore them. Use inline styles instead.
    • Stay away from CSS backgrounds. Outlook 7 will ignore them as well.
    • Use HTML tables for layout
    • Avoid using JavaScript. Most email readers will disable it.

    More details on how to code email html can be found at

    Jean Steckler
    Steckler eMarketing


    1. Hi Jean,

      Your tips for e-mail delivery service are great.

      In addition to your list of the more reputable e-mail distributors, our Clients have also had success with iContact and MailChimp. What are your thoughts on either of those as reputable e-mail distributors?

      re) e-mail design – we always recommend to keep it as simple as possible.

      Great article.

    2. Thank you for your feedback. I will add iContact and MailChimp based on your advice.

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