I have several clients who insist on sending really bland emails (e.g. “Please see attached”) and then attaching a beautiful PDF formatted newsletter.
Their logic is that they are able to generate the great-looking PDF for more easily than a formatted HTML newsletter.
Leaving aside the issues of email formatting, best tools etc, my biggest concern is that the information is too remote for the average subscriber.
I have to really identify with your organisation to bother to open the PDF, whereas I’ll probably inadvertently skim read the content if it is in the body of the email.
I have asked tons of average Internet users and they all concur. However, I’d like more concrete evidence to take to clients.
Hard stats, a white paper or something of that sort would be really useful.
I tried to generate open rate stats for the PDF and failed.
The only method I could think of was to add links in the PDF (with Google Analytics campaign tracking codes) and ask readers to click on them (e.g. “Thanks, I got the newsletter”).
I then got messed about by Adobe Reader which throws up a security warning when users click on the links.
Most of the subscribers are not tech savvy enough to interpret the warning and proceed anyway. Many of them would simply cancel the link browsing in fear.
Anyone have any better ideas for tracking PDF open rates?