I’m CEO of an email solutions provider. I enjoy beautifully deigned emails. I like pretty pictures as much as the next person. But as the holiday email marketing advice continues and the many screenshots of retailers past email marketing campaigns are touted in email and blog and email newsletter advice, I get just a little put off by the little detail none of these people are mentioning: All that pretty email design means nothing when recipients have images suppressed or issues with email rendering.
Many, possibly most B2C email marketing recipients have images blocked, whether they know it or not. Plus B2C emails come up against rendering issues due to so many consumers using email clients like Yahoo or AOL.
As Mark Brownlow says in an article explaining image blocking, “It is entirely possible that the majority of people getting your commercial emails are using email software or a webmail service that blocks images.”
Mark’s article also explains how to deal with image blocking, but that’s not my point in this particular email marketing blog on email design.
My point is that it’s misleading to talk about email design and just show us the pretty pictures and sexy screenshots and not ever show us those same email designs with images blocked, alt text showing, or with bad email rendering in a different email client.
The email designs are inspirational, yes, but not educational until we deal with ALL aspects of email design, including blocked images. And in the email marketing world, that means what your email design looks like when with images render and when they don’t. The main goal of email marketing is not to be visual and creative and evoke ooos and ahs, but rather to evoke an action on the part of the recipient. Email design that’s only partly functional for only part of our audience does a disservice to our email marketing budget and our email list. The best email designs are the one where the message and call to action are clear regardless of the recipient’s email settings.