Archive for the ‘improve email response rates’ tag

Set the height and width of images in emails

In my series of demonstrating what not to do in email marketing, the next victim is CrackBerry. I love ‘em. I go there weekly but this is basic stuff. I have to share.


1) Set the height and width of images in emails and get your message seen.

2) To allow for the auto-preview in Outlook, don’t lead with an image as seen here and eek out another bit of response by showing actionable text instead of <img src=”…>

Height and width not set so featured offers are off the screen

Here it is with images enabled:

if they had just set height and width these offers would be visible

Almost there. Nice mix of text and images but the offers were pushed off the screen by a simple mistake.

Posted: April 14th, 2010
at 3:20pm by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , ,

Categories: #FAIL

Comments: No comments

HEY. Emails don’t perform with images disabled.

I’m going to start featuring all the emails I get that don’t perform with images disabled.

Here’s one from BikeBandit. Notice how far over to the right you can scroll.


1) Make your email perform with images disabled. Maintain a balance of text and images and make sure your primary message or call to action appears in live text with images disabled. Don’t count on alt text to help you out. It doesn’t work on many email clients.

2) Set the height and width on all images and recipients will not have to scroll to the right to see something – assuming they don’t immediately close the email.

Email rendering with images disabled

What’s over there to the right anyway? Oh. Live text. Not much but it will never be seen. Most people won’t scroll down or over before making a decision to open, file for later or delete.

Here it is with images enabled.

Email rendering with images enabled

Posted: April 14th, 2010
at 10:55am by Rob Van Slyke

Tagged with , , ,

Categories: #FAIL

Comments: No comments

Top 10: Improve Email Deliverability and Response

Keep emails fresh

  • Relevant: Appeal to each of your primary audiences

Unless you only offer one product/service and subscribers would only subscribe for one reason, you need to segment your list and provide relevant content to each segment. See my recent post: 6 Easy Steps to Implement An Email Segmentation Strategy

  • Deliverable: Dot your I’s and cross your T’s.
    • Setup domain authentication (previous post)
    • Keep your list clean (stop sending to unopens)
    • Watch your text to image ratio
    • Don’t go overboard with the superlatives, ALL CAPS and spammy words
    • Include a copyright and link to your privacy policy
    • Use clean HTML code – sloppy errors are flags

Don’t let mistakes affect deliverability. All sorts of things affect deliverability but don’t let the basics slip by.

  • Compatible: Design for the various previews in email clients

Preview your email templates in the major email tools such as Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, Apple Mail.

This is the best reference I’ve found for understanding which CSS styles render in which email tools:

  • Personable: A friendly person wrote this – not a company

The days of stuffy corporate speak are over. You are trying to build a relationship with your prospects through multiple channels. Don’t blow it in email.

  • Focused: Don’t create distractions and keep it shortFor whatever reason, many email templates are full of distractions (navigation links, house ads, etc). Focus on:
    • Your subscribers’ needs
    • Your goals

Again, reference my post Email Segmentation Strategy for tips

  • Test: Test everything before you change something

If I had to guess, I’d say 5% of all email marketers test their emails in any way. Marketing = Testing.

  • Simple: Simplify the layout

Unfortunately, most marketers don’t revisit their email layouts and templates as often as they should. If you aren’t testing, how do you know what to change?

  • Fresh: Work in design elements that keep it fresh

Just a visual queue to your subscribers that this isn’t a resend and they should take notice.

  • Recognizable: Review your from, subject line and headline strategy

Don’t get too generic with your from email and from name and don’t change them. You want subscribers to add you to their address book. If you change your address and/or from name, it won’t be in their address book. Choose something recognizable and run with it.

  • Viral: Make it interesting and incorporate share icons

How much effort does it take from the first key strokes of an article to the moment you hit send to get your email out to your subscribers? If you add up the hours and cost, you might take your email marketing more seriously. Take another hour or so to review headlines, intros and photos to make your email something people want to share (assuming your content is compelling in the first place).

  • Useful: Reference previous and up-coming content

Just a bonus tip: People don’t read every email you send. Reference previous content and hint and upcoming content.

Download the Presentation Email Deliverablity Checklist

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