Recipients view e-mails through many different programs and screen sizes, from desktops to mobile devices. Readers also generally view e-mails through preview panes while images often need to be “right-clicked” so they can be downloaded. What does this mean for marketers?
We need to test our audiences' preferences and make sure we include a good ratio of text to imagery. Since recipients expect e-mail to be interactive, we can drive them to the Web where a more flexible environment exists. Video can play, for example, and recipients can submit forms. With the Internet standardized from desktop to desktop, it's easy to test campaigns on different Web browsers with the confidence that most people will have the same interactive experience. Here are some tips:
Design for the inbox. Do not reuse an offline piece or Web page and dump it into an e-mail. Optimize what you send to the inbox — the brand should remain consistent across channels.
Use test before imagery, including your name and company name. Even with image blocking on, the recipient can still read an introduction and know the sender before having to right-click.
Host images online. Avoid embedding images in your e-mail. Most firewalls strip these out and people won't be able to right-click to see them.
Use headlines. Recipients scan e-mails when they receive them; make sure your headlines allow for an understanding of the e-mail's content.
Do not use images for headings. Make sure your text contains relevant content. Recipients should understand the gist of your message without having to right-click to download designer titles.
Repeat your calls to action. People are more likely to click on text than images, so write your actions out and repeat them within your e-mail.
Keep the design simple. Do not have too many colors or competing pieces of content. Your recipients will skip your e-mail rather than try to distinguish its important elements.
Make sure brand consistency exists from e-mail to Web. Create landing pages, if necessary, but make sure the recipients feel they are on the same message journey when they click on a Web link.
Make the subject line and "from" addresses intriguing, otherwise the time spent on your creative and content will be wasted and the e-mail might never be read. Remember, recipients will first see these pieces of information upon receiving your e-mail.
Finally, be a safe sender. Request that the recipient add you to a safe sender list. Your images will be downloaded automatically in the future.