Below you will find some answers to some of the most common questions about eCards and Stationery.
- Can you send me my eCard as a file instead of hosting it for me?
- Do I have access to analytical data for my eCard?
- How do I read my eCard tracking information?
- How long will our recipients be able to view the card?
- I don’t like any of the standard eCards available, can I have something more custom?
- What browsers do support your custom and standard eCards?
eCards & Stationery Design
Sending Stationery Through Email
- How do I know I have permission to send emails to my list of recipients?
- How do I know that my email won’t be blocked by a Spam Filter?
- I don’t have time to read and understand the entire CAN-SPAM Act, can you give me a rundown of the main requirements?
- If I'm sending the eCard Stationery myself, how do I manually distribute my eCard to other email addresses?
- Is my email guaranteed to be received by everyone on my list of recipients?
- Wait... if EMA is going to send my emails out for me, will they still come from my email address and where will the replies go?
- What format does EMA accept for my mailing list?
- What is “Opt-Out” and why is it important?
- What is an HTML email and how is it different from a basic email?
- What is the benefit of having EMA send my emails to my list for me?
- Why can’t I just send a big picture instead of a complex HTML email?
Can you send me my eCard as a file instead of hosting it for me?
No. All standard eCards are hosted on our server to ensure maximum uptime and compatibility. Some custom cards may qualify for self-hosted service, so please request a custom eCard quote for more information.
Do I have access to analytical data for my eCard?
Yes. If you choose to have EMA send your eCard on your behalf, we are able to track a wide range of analytic data through our mass email service. Upon request, you will be supplied with a username and login to track emails sent, emails opened, links clicked and bounced emails, to name a few. Please speak with a sales rep if you are interested in tracking analytics for your eCard.
How do I read my eCard tracking information?
Open Rate? How many people opened your email.
Click Rate? How many people clicked on the links in your email. Or more specifically, how many people went from your eCard Stationery to the actual eCard.
Unsubscribe Rate? How many people opted-out of your email campaign.
Bouncebacks? There are two kinds of bouncebacks... 1.) Soft: Which means the email address exists, but could not be delivered for some reason. (example: their email server was too busy at that time). 2.) Hard: Which means the email is completely undeliverable and that email doesn’t exist anymore or ever. (example: deleted email accounts or typos in the email)
How long will our recipients be able to view the card?
All holiday eCards will be hosted through the end of January each year, unless otherwise requested with one of our sales reps (additional charges may apply).
I don’t like any of the standard eCards available, can I have something more custom?
In addition to standard holiday eCards, EMA can provide you with a design team to imagine, design and build a fully custom eCard. Simply contact our sales team for a custom quote!
What browsers do support your custom and standard eCards?
Our eCards are built with the most modern web technologies, so it is highly recommended that you eCard be viewed in a modern browser. Our eCards will operate on 99.5% of the most popular browsers (based on current W3Schools.com browser usage statistics). Currently, our eCards work great in the most current versions of Google Chrome & Chrome Mobile, Mozilla Firefox & Firefox Mobile, Apple Safari& Safari Mobile (iPhone/iPad/iTouch) and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8, 9 & 10, Microsoft Edge, plus many other less used browsers. Although modern browsers are recommended, our eCards will still work quite well on older browsers too (we no longer support Internet Explorer 7). To learn more about these browsers or to update your current browser, use the links provided above!
*Although the above are well known and trusted software developers, EMA is not responsible for the performance, support or any conflicts that may be related to downloading and/or installing Internet browsers on your desktop or mobile device.
eCards & Stationery Design
What is the difference between my Stationery and my eCard?
Good question! All of our eCards are designed with a mixture of modern web technologies that will not work in an email. All these technologies are essential, because they are what make your eCard animate, play music and shower snow in your browser. Because of this, we provide Stationery, which is the actual message your recipients will get in their emails. Recipients will receive an designed HTML Email Stationery that matches your selected eCard, and with one click, they will be able to view the holiday eCard in their browser.
What size(s) and format(s) do you accept for photos and graphics?
EMA can work with a wide range of file types and sizes. If you’re submitting photos to us, we accept the most common image file types: .jpg, .png, .tiff, & .psd, and many others as well. All photos must be a minimum of 72ppi, and most projects require a photos that is at least a 1000px on the shortest side. When determining the size photo to send us, a good rule of thumb is to send the largest version you have and don’t attempt to modify it yourself. Remember that if we have to zoom into a portion of a photo or animate it in any way, the size of the photo must be larger to accommodate this. When sending graphics, such as a logo or an illustration. We highly recommend sending a “vector” version of this file! We accept the most popular vector supported formats: .ai, .eps, .pdf, and .svg, as well as some others. If do not have access to this, then default to the image size and format restrictions. Keep in mind that not having a vector version of your logo, illustrations, icons and other graphics could affect the quality of the final eCard products.
Are your cards built in Flash?
No. Both our standard and custom eCards are all now built completely Flash-free. Instead, we use newer and more mobile-friendly technologies, to include HTML5 and jQuery. Although Flash technology provides some great animation effects, it is not as web-friendly as many other technologies. Most notably, mobile technology and the Apple i-products, like the iPhone, iTouch and iPad. For this reason, EMA is proud to provide a product that is compatible across almost all modern desktop AND mobile platforms.
Sending Stationery Through Email
How do I know I have permission to send emails to my list of recipients?
We don’t know for sure if you have permission or not - it’s your list. However, to help you determine if you do or do not have permission, here are some common (but not all) ways you can inadvertently become labeled as a spammer:
- Getting an email list from a tradeshow. If they didn’t give you permission to email them, they didn’t opt-in to your list.
- If the recipients on your list didn’t opt-in, then you are spamming. Those recipients are more likely to report you for spamming them, in which case you’ll potentially get blacklisted. Plus, your company will earn a bad reputation as a spammer.
- You hold an event and collect business cards in a box to win a door prize. The people who dropped their business card into the box wanted the free tablet you’re giving away, but they didn’t opt-in to your list.
A good rule of thumb for this is to always keep your recipients informed as to how you will be using their email address. If you’re upfront and honest with them, they will be given the choice to give you their email. You may have fewer emails on your list, but they will be less likely to opt-out or report you as a spammer.
How do I know that my email won’t be blocked by a Spam Filter?
First of all, we don’t always know this because each user will have an individual level of security for their email account and computer. Additionally, EMA has been doing this for a while and we know what to look out for, plus we test every email before it goes out. Here are some of the things we’ve learned to look out for:
- Don’t go crazy with colors, styles, and formatting. We keep it nice and simple in our designs.
- Use just one exclamation point! Don’t do this!!!!!!!
- NO ONE LIKES TO BE YELLED AT WITH ALL CAPS
- Watch out for those common spammy words like “Wells Fargo” and “Viagra”
- Best not to say “free” or “click here!” or “click here now!” or “act now!” or “limited time!”
- Use good clean HTML. Don’t worry, we make sure to do this for you.
- Think you can get away with spelling a spammy word creatively? Nope. “m0rtg4g3 ref1nanc3” will still get recognized by a spam filter.
- If you’re going to send an HTML email, use a good mix of images and text. Just one big image isn’t going to fly.
- Don’t send the HTML email by itself, so use a text alternative. Don’t worry, we do this too.
I don’t have time to read and understand the entire CAN-SPAM Act, can you give me a rundown of the main requirements?
Compliance with this law isn’t actually that complicated and non-compliance can cost you up to $16,000 per email that is in violation of the law. For example, if you sent 2,000 non-compliant emails out in a campaign and you are fined per email... do the math. EMA is not responsible for any non-compliance with the law in your email campaigns, so it is highly recommended that you read and understand the full CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. However, here are the main requirements as specified by the Bureau of Consumer Protection:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information. Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information – including the originating domain name and email address – must be accurate and identify the person or business who initiated the message.
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines. The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the message.
- Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
- Tell recipients where you’re located. Your message must include your valid physical postal address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a private mailbox you’ve registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service regulations.
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you. Your message must include a clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt out of getting an email from you in the future. Craft the notice in a way that’s easy for an ordinary person to recognize, read, and understand. Creative use of type size, color, and location can improve clarity. Give a return email address or another easy Internet-based way to allow people to communicate their choice to you. You may create a menu to allow a recipient to opt out of certain types of messages, but you must include the option to stop all commercial messages from you. Make sure your spam filter doesn’t block these opt-out requests.
- Honor opt-out requests promptly. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message. You must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days. You can’t charge a fee, require the recipient to give you any personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request. Once people have told you they don’t want to receive more messages from you, you can’t sell or transfer their email addresses, even in the form of a mailing list. The only exception is that you may transfer the addresses to a company you’ve hired to help you comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf. The law makes clear that even if you hire another company to handle your email marketing, you can’t contract away your legal responsibility to comply with the law. Both the company whose product is promoted in the message and the company that actually sends the message may be held legally responsible.
*Requirements provided by: Bureau of Consumer Protection website.
If I'm sending the eCard Stationery myself, how do I manually distribute my eCard to other email addresses?
All of your eCard files are completely web-based. You are free to utilize an email marketing provider of your choice or you can send them out as a “signature file” within your email program. Following are links to help you set up email signature files.
If you are sending your email manually, please remember that sending large quantities of emails directly from your personal mailbox could trigger some spam filters, which could cause your email to be suspended or black-listed. If EMA is not sending your email on your behalf, it is your responsibility to adhere to the rules and regulations of the CAN-SPAM Act. Please send your emails responsibly, as EMA is not responsible for any negative action caused by sending your email. If you would like to send your email through webmail such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, we would be happy to forward your eCard to an email address you specify. From there you will be able to simply forward the eCard to your individual contacts. If you have chosen to use an email marketing service other than EMA's service, you are responsible for all costs and risks associated with that provider. Your eCard has been built in standard HTML, and is designed specifically to work with many of the major email marketing vendors. Although it does work with most, we cannot guarantee that it will work with every vendor's system, therefore, E-Marketing Associates cannot provide support for these third-party vendors.
Is my email guaranteed to be received by everyone on my list of recipients?
As much as we would love to tell you that everyone will get the email, sadly we can’t and no one can. Every email sent must pass through hundreds of potential variables and every user’s computer and email is different. Consider some of these points:
- Not every email on your list is still valid.
- Sometimes there are typos in the emails on your list, and one wrong character means the email will bounce back.
- Spam Filters have all levels of security, some are a house of straw and others are a house of bricks.
- There are a lot of email providers and email applications, all of which have different settings, requirements, and security features.
- Sometimes your recipients are on vacation, and that little vacation message counts as a bounce.
- Sometimes your recipients have a full mailbox. If we can’t fit anymore email in the box, then they won’t get that eCard.
These are just a few examples and there are many more. The point is, don’t worry too much about each individual email. You may be astonished to learn that the average email open rate is somewhere in the 30-40% range!
Wait... if EMA is going to send my emails out for me, will they still come from my email address and where will the replies go?
Not to worry, EMA’s email system allows for all emails to be sent “from” an email address of your choosing and all replies will go to that email as well. As far as your recipients are concerned, the email was sent directly to them from you. If you require an even more personalized email experience and want your eCard to come from multiple email addresses, please contact our sales team to learn more about our multiple lists service (additional charges may apply).
What format does EMA accept for my mailing list?
If you choose to have EMA send your eCard out on your behalf, we will require a mailing list. A mailing list can be as simple as a list of emails, or it can contain emails with names, titles and other information. After we complete your eCard design, you will be asked to send this file via email to our production department. We can accept the following formats: .xls, xlsx, .csv
What is “Opt-Out” and why is it important?
Providing a means to “opt-out” of an email distribution list, means that you are providing a way for people not to receive your bulk emails anymore. We know what you’re thinking... “I don’t want people to stop receiving my emails!” The truth is, whether you like it or not, you must include this in all bulk email campaigns. It’s even illegal to not include this feature. Be sure to read and understand the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.
What is an HTML email and how is it different from a basic email?
An HTML email is very different from a basic email that you would typically send. Through the power of HTML, we can provide a beautifully designed email, with formatted text and even your embedded logo and eCard imagery. The only way to get these images into your email is to host them on a web server and embed them via an absolute link to the asset on the web server. EMA takes care of the work and provides all of the eCard images and hosting on a fast and reliable web server.
What is the benefit of having EMA send my emails to my list for me?
When you are sending out any emails to a large number of recipients (all at once) from your individual mail provider, it can cause some serious problems if you don’t do it right. By sending bulk emails out incorrectly, you run the risk of having your email account suspended by your provider and your emails could potentially never reach your list of recipients! In addition to this, there is no tracking analytics, no “opt-out” requirement, and no privacy for your list of recipients. EMA provides a full service emailing package to ensure your emails arrive and all email accounts remain safe and secure. Although no one can guarantee every single email will reach its destination, EMA enlists the help of iContact’s bulk email system to ensures the best scenario for a successful email campaign. Our eCard team does all the heavy lifting of loading your stationery into the system, uploading your email list, configuring the analytics for the campaign, and setting up all of the requirements specified under the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. It is essential that your business complies with this to avoid any negative or legal backlash from an email campaign.
Here are some additional items to consider when delivering your emails from your own server:
- Your ISP may throttle your outgoing emails or shut down your account if you send too many emails too fast. You may also be subject to monthly bandwidth limit from your ISP.
- Email firewalls and ISPs that receive your emails don’t like receiving tons of emails from one single IP address at once (unless they normally receive tons of emails from that IP). So if you only send occasional email campaigns from your IP, you may want to throttle your delivery or spread them across multiple IPs, to avoid accidental blocking. Email-marketing services usually split your campaign into pieces and send it out over lots of different IP addresses.
- If you send emails from your desktop email program, chances are you’re connecting through your local ISP. If you don’t have a dedicated IP address set up with your ISP, you’re probably sending emails from a dynamic IP address. ISPs and spam filters don’t like receiving lots of emails from a dynamic IP address, because it looks like a hijacked home computer.
- Sending hundreds of emails manually is VERY time consuming and is just plain boring! Let us do it for you, and do it fast and secure.
Why can’t I just send a big picture instead of a complex HTML email?
This may sound like an easy solution, but the easiest way is almost never the best way. Sending just a large image could present two issues. 1.) Some email programs block images by default, so your recipients will see nothing in their emails! 2.) Spam filters really hate this and if there is not a good balance of images and text, then there is a good chance your email will be blocked.
Custom SPF & DKIM Setup for Custom eCards Email Blast (Email Authentication)
Getting your holiday eCard to the inbox is important, and authentication is essential to avoid being blocked or ﬁltered by anti-spam software. Authentication is used by mailbox providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc.) as a method to quickly identify legitimate mail from junk, spam, or phishing attempts. Although all email sent by E-Marketing Associates on your behalf through iContact is authenticated, we highly recommend setting up custom SPF and DKIM. Taking this step will boost your results!
Important to Know
- You need to own a domain—e.g., icontact.com, weather.com, adoptapet.com, etc.
- The process takes about 15 minutes.
- There is no cost for setting up custom SPF and DKIM.
- You need to log in to your website host account—examples; godaddy.com, hostgator.com, networksolutions.com, etc.
- You will need to edit the Domain DNS CNAME Records.
- We recommend getting help from your domain host or your website technical advisor.
- You must notify eCard Support when you are finished.
About DKIM - DomainKeys Identiﬁed Mail
DKIM is a tool for verifying the identity of the email sender. DKIM uses cryptographic authentication that creates a digital signature added to the email headers. This digital signature proves the email sender is authorized to send email using your domain. We recommend setting up DKIM for your domain if you own a domain.
Setup Custom SPF and DKIM records for Your Domain
- Login to your domain hosting account. (e.g., GoDaddy, Wix, Network Solutions, etc.)
- Locate the Domain DNS settings. (if you are not familiar with editing your domain DNS, we recommend requesting help from your domain hosting provider)
- Create one new TXT record and two new CNAME records as specified below. If your domain host is; GoDaddy, Wix, or Cloudflare, please review the special notes under "Important for GoDaddy and Wix" below.
RECORD TYPE: TXT
POINTS TO or VALUE: iContact165018
RECORD TYPE: CNAME
POINTS TO or VALUE: k1.dkim.icontact.com
RECORD TYPE: CNAME
POINTS TO or VALUE: k2.dkim.icontact.com
- Confirm the SPF and CNAME records are set up correctly.
- Go to https://tools.wordtothewise.com/authentication.
- Scroll down to the section for SPF.
- Enter your domain.
- Click the “Check” button, and it says “Valid Record” in a GREEN box, then it is set up correctly. If it is RED, then it is not set up correctly.
- Next, scroll down to the section for DKIM.
- Check for "icontact.k1" and "icontact.k2" for your domain. You will have to do each individually. See the example below for icontact.k1:
- Click the “Check” button, and it says “Valid Record” in a GREEN box, then it is set up correctly. If it is RED, then it is not set up correctly.
Contact eCard SupportYou must contact eCard Support and let us know you have performed the above SPF and DKIM steps and request that we turn on custom DKIM for your account. Do not skip this step, as it can affect future sends.
Important for GoDaddy and Wix
Some DNS providers will append the domain name automatically. In those cases, the .(yourdomain.com) is not required. Examples of these are GoDaddy and Wix.
Important for Cloudflare
Cloudflare is a service that provides DNS management outside of the actual domain host. Entering these CNAME records in Cloudflare requires the Proxy status to be set to "DNS Only"