I’ll fess up. Farmer Boys is one of my favorite fast-food places. As a marketer and a fan of their burgers, it was a win-win to sign up for their emails. But although they serve great stuff in their restaurants, their email communications didn’t make it to the table. This is what the senders want recipients to see:
But there are problems in deliverability and visibility of images their email design, and they aren’t the only marketers having this kind of trouble… Like so many email marketers, they counted on luscious photography (it really is) to carry the message about specials of the week. Big mistake. For the majority of people who receive emails, instead of images of tasty fresh food, they are treated to the barest of pages punctuated by big red or black ‘X’s marking the spots where an image should be, and there is nothing to communicate what should be there in ALT text. And many email services red-flag emails made up of large images as possible spam.
Email makeover with a side of optimization, please!
The majority of people get emails with images turned OFF. Here’s what the email will look like to over half of the people who receive it, if it makes it past the spam filters:
To overcome this, the design of the page can be improved with some reorganization of elements. If the design kept the headline in HTML text, it would not have disappeared with the visuals if a recipient’s email client has images turned off. So even without the great food images, the message of special savings would have still come through, and there’s a better chance of our email being more effective. It’s a reality marketers can’t ignore and need to work with — Over half of the email clients, including Gmail, don’t display images as a default. And with all the email that lands in the average person’s in box, marketers can’t count on the recipient recognizing the name in the ‘from’ area. In fact, many of your recipients may not even know that images are disabled.
There are other steps that can be taken to further optimize marketing email, but the first is work with the assumption that your recipient cannot view images. If you follow this rule of thumb, whether you’re selling burgers or broadband, you can avoid sending out a big serving of ‘X’s to clients.
Below you can see how the email can be improved by using HTML text for the headlines and body copy to increase readability/response.
If you are facing a similar situation with your emails, help is available from a number of sources. The Email Experience Council, an arm of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), offers whitepapers on email best practices. Lynda.com also offers an online course on email marketing basics (affiliate link) with John Arnold. If you already use an email marketing tool and want to learn how to master them, courses are available on Constant Contact or Lynda.com’s (affiliate link) other popular email education and best practices offerings.