MarketingSherpa data indicates that 59% of consumers and 90% of business email users view some or all of their email with images turned off. This includes people who may view email in their preview panels with images turned off (remember, this is the default for many email clients including Gmail and some versions of Outlook). It also includes people who view their email on a mobile device, such as a BlackBerry.
All of us in the email marketing world have known for ages that images aren't always visible. But few marketers have redesigned their campaigns to get around the problem. Today, I'd like to celebrate one of the few email newsletters I receive that breaks the mold: HomeAway newsletter.
HomeAway is a vacation lodgings firm. Just as you'd expect, their newsletter is loaded with photos of enticing destinations. However, HomeAway's email team obviously includes a smart designer and a great copywriter. If you open the newsletter with images blocked, it's loaded with text descriptions of enticing destinations.
You don't have to scroll past lots of dead white space looking for the text either – it starts right at the top of the screen. All of the links are usefully worded, explaining where the URL will take you (instead of a generic "more" or "read on") and formatted in easy-to-skim vertical lists.
If you have an image-heavy or image-dependent email newsletter, take five seconds right now to click over to the real-life examples I've had posted of HomeAway's newsletter. You can see the image version and the blocked-image version. Both have ideas your email designer and copywriter might be inspired by. The link for samples is here: http://www.marketingsherpa.com/cs/homeaway/study.html
By the way, if you have redesigned your email program templates to work better with images blocked, or perhaps with mobile devices, let us know at ChrisH(at)MarketingSherpa(dot)com. Sherpa just might want to profile you in a future issue!
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