I was that trendy 11-year-old with a copy of Microsoft FrontPage and an HTML book. It was 1999 and just like a blog post we had a few months ago, I was coding like it was 1999, building websites with sections paralleling my favorite pre-teen girl magazines and tastefully incorporating dancing baby GIFs (think Ally McBeal, circa Y2K) whenever it was appropriate. I had friends, I swear.

Fast forward to 2013. I landed this awesome job creating email campaigns using marketing automation software. I had a content editor. I minded my <p>’s and <br>’s. I abandoned dancing baby GIFs in favor of enticing eBook thumbnails. Everything was under control, or so I thought.

Then I started submitting my emails to our system’s email client preview tool. The horrors Outlook rendered would give you nightmares for weeks. But, it looked so good in Gmail – how could Outlook do this to me?  I felt deceived. I wallowed in self pity. I drank a glass of HR-friendly wine in my dimly lit office. Then I decided it was time to face the harsh realities of double coding for Outlook.

And that’s not all. After running a spam test on my emails, I realized the extent of another harsh reality: Spam filters really hate marketers. Not only do you have to resist using catchy phrases like “buy Viagra” and “luxury car” in your subject lines, your code has to be perfect.

So while it’s true that emails require you to code like it’s 1999, there have been seven versions of Outlook since then and countless new spam traps to circumvent. If you’re new to email marketing, hearing alarm bells after reading this blog article, or just not getting the level of engagement you desire– check out our new eBook: Five Email Marketing Problems You Don’t Know You Have. This book takes you through some of the common issues email marketers face and offers quick fixes to improve the deliverability and rendering of your emails.