Email marketing is truly an industry in itself. There are many nuances to the effective uses of email marketing, lots of it is beyond the “need-to-know” scope of today’s marketing managers. However, understanding the most basic principles will ensure you’re getting the most from your email delivery provider and your designer. Designing for email delivery is not the same as designing for the web.
Have you ever been to a website and been asked to download an update to see the website’s content? Are you a Mac user and been served a message that says your Safari Browser is not supported?
Content on the internet is not always seen by the user the way we intend it to be. Variables such as computer speed, internet connection speed, Windows vs. Mac, browser type, among others affect the way a visitor sees content. Experienced designers know how to compensate for these differences to make a generally identical experience. The same things must be considered for email marketing.
This post will discuss just one law of email marketing, but it’s one I see broken very often. Most email software blocks the automatic download of pictures in emails. You probably have opened an email and seen white boxes with little red X’s in the corner. You have to click and specifically allow those pictures to appear unless you’ve previously added the sender to your “trusted sender” list. Maybe some of your recipients have made you a trusted sender, but there’s no way to know. And why not maximize the impact of your email to all of your subscribers. Why is it important to understand this? See this example:
The above example email was sent to me, and as you can see, is completely blank. The entire email is made up of images, or red X’s.
You took the time and effort to build a campaign and send an email blast. You wrote a subject line compelling enough to make your prospect open it. This empty screen above is not what you want them to see. Of course, your prospect can just click and allow the pictures to be seen and display the intended message, but why give the recipient yet another opportunity to decide not to read your message? You’ve already made it past the spam filter and the [delete] button, don’t blow your opportunity.
So how do you fix this? Your email blasts should always be designed as a combination of images and text. When an email with this format is opened, the pictures may still appear as red X’s, but the text content appears as intended. See this example:
Now your recipient has the opportunity to read the main content of the email without clicking anything else. They may read it, decide the message is not for them, and delete the message. Most likely though, assuming your message is well targeted, they’ll read your text and then click to see the images and the rest of your message.
Additionally, they can still click on something (the text links) without the pictures. In the first example, there was nothing clickable or actionable about the email.
As an aside, some users still download their emails and disconnect from the internet before reading them. Albeit not very many people, users like these will not be able to see your images ever, as they must be connected to the Internet for those images to appear in your email. This is also the case for users whose Internet connection fails intermittently.
Emails in the proper mixture of text and images allow you the opportunity to communicate some of your message despite that fact that your images may be blocked. This simple design format will ensure that the maximum number of recipients have the opportunity to read your message and act on it. Be sure your designer is following this basic principle for your next campaign.
Dennis O’Neil heads up ONeil Interactive LLC, an online marketing strategy company for the new home industry. You can learn more about Dennis and ONeil Interactive by visiting www.oneilinteractive.com.