Email Marketing – Are Your Emails Being Seen?

Do your Email marketing campaigns really get read or even seen by the subscriber?

Are you spending money on your email marketing campaigns, with a great looking template design, great pictures, and great content? You may be surprised that what you see is not what the subscriber gets.

I have been telling a number of clients recently that including pictures only in a mass marketing email campaign might actually be causing problems and reducing the ROI. I have various email addresses that I typically use to view emails from both large and small name companies. I also use several types of readers, both online and on local computers, to see how the emails render. Some of the large name companies think that if they put a lot of cool looking pictures in their email campaigns they will increase the ROI. The truth is, the opposite affect might be happening because of how email client readers render an email, and the default handling of pictures with them off by default in many readers.

The email article titled, The Rendering Run-Around, By Len Shnyder, Director of Partner Relations and Industry Communications, Pivotal Veracity is an excellent article about understanding how the e-mail rendering process works for all the major email clients and online readers.

Everyone does not see the same thing. Some of the major email readers are defaulted to not displaying images, even in the preview pane mode. This can have a serious lack of branding affect and cause the reader to place the email into the spam box even if they subscribed to the email in the first place. The reason is because the pictures are not displayed and the reader can not tell what the brand is.

Here are some of the highlights from the article that is definitely worth reading.

# Images are “ON” by default in:,, Cox, Comcast, Earthlink, Outlook 2002, Roadrunner, Lotus Notes, Yahoo’s inbox folder.
# Images are “OFF” by default in: AOL 9, Gmail, Hotmail, Mozilla Thunderbird, Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, Outlook Express 6, Windows Live Mail

11. Does my design effect my delivery, reputation and/or ROI?

Everything is connected! The elements of “good email” don’t exist in a vacuum. The design of your email can and does impact delivery with most spam filtering programs incorporating design-based rules as well as various forms of HTML validation.

Read the whole article The Rendering Run-Around

I would add this little piece of advice. Email marketing campaigns must take the rendering issues into account up front. When designing an email template, take into account the ability to hyper link to the main article in the website or specific web pages for landing pages. Do not try to make your email marketing campaign the website. Images in emails should be held down to a minimum or a good balance between body text and the layout; with the understanding of how images are not displayed (when a subscriber blocks images from being seen) and the large gaps that can result in the actual email as being displayed in a client’s email box.

I personally think that email clients will continue to tighten up how email is handled in the delivery aspect. Both business to business, B2B marketing, and business to consumer, B2C email marketing campaigns will have to tune their templates and in some cases eliminate 90% of the pictures in the emails, if they want to have the best possible ROI.

Jim Warholic,
President of Professional Web Services

Our Internet marketing services will get your business found online.

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