A lot of importance is placed on deliverability in email campaigns. What this refers to is the percentage of emails that actually make it into the subscribers’ inboxes.
But another important metric is the actual mix of email clients your subscribers are using to view your emails and how each of them displays your message. Even people who have been doing email marketing for a long time sometimes don’t pay enough attention to this.
For example, many email clients (“email client” means Gmail, Outlook, Eudora, etc.) will have a default setting that turns off all graphics in the preview window. The reason for this is spam-related, the details of which are beyond the scope of this post. And since most email campaigns have graphical banners at the top, those banners won’t load when graphics are turned off. If you’re not aware of this, and you don’t design your email template the right way in order to compensate, your viewer might see just a big blank box in their preview window. Clearly not what you want!
Some people might say, “But isn’t that why we also include a text-based version?” While it’s good to include a text version, the reason for doing so is not what you might think. The text based version is for people who specifically need text-only emails for accessibility or bandwidth reasons. HTML is text too, from a technical standpoint. Turning off graphics in an email client still renders the HTML properly, it just doesn’t download and display the images rendered via the HTML <img> tag.
Here’s one final tidbit to seal the deal… mobile devices do not load graphics in the email program, at least my iPhone doesn’t. It doesn’t even LET me load graphics! And guess what? The iPhone is the second most popular email client for one of my lists. My ESP (E-Mail Service Provider), which is MailChimp, tells me what email clients are used to view my emails. Take a look at the chart, Gmail is #1 and iPhone is #2. It would behoove you to check your own list to see what your email client mix is.
Another activity you should consider is email client testing. Any time you change your email template, you need to retest it on at least the top five email clients that are used by your subscribers. It’s easy enough to create accounts for yourself on these different clients, and send tests to those accounts and just view them. View them with graphics turned off and then on. View them in the preview window and the full reading window. View them on different devices if you can (Windows vs. Mac vs. iPhone/iPad, etc.)
Yes, this all sounds like a bit of a pain, but isn’t it worth it if it means just a few more of your subscribers will actually have a better reading experience? For all you know some of your readers are opening your email just to see a blank box (your header) and with 100 other emails waiting to be read, yours might just get passed by.
I don’t want that to happen to you any more than you do. If you need help, or have a question about this, just post a comment and I’ll be happy to respond with more details.
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