Some statistics say that as many as half of your email recipients have image display turned off. Are you sure your email campaigns still present useful information even if your ezine subscribers don’t see the images?
When designing HTML email campaigns with images it’s imperative to test your emails in different email clients, such as Apple Mail, Entourage, Eudora, Thunderbird, and online email services, such as Yahoo!, Google Mail and Hotmail, to make sure they look good with images turned off.
Sending and email composed of just images may lower the deliverability of your campaigns. Some ISPs still employ email spam filters which flag any emails with high image-to-text ratios. So talk to your designers to make sure they design your email campaigns in such a way that the message still gets across, even if the images are not displayed.
Here’s a sample from my email production portfolio: A client of mine sends me a TIFF image of their promotion, as designed by their graphic designer. I then slice and dice the image to compose a well-behaved HTML email. This second image shows you how this same email looks without images. As you can see it still shows most of the information, as well as links.
Here are some tips on how to design a good HTML email:
- use text whenever possible, instead of “text as image”
- if the background is a solid colour, code is as such without using an image background
- when you have to use an image, in places where there’s lots of text, make sure you also put all of that text into the ALT tag of the image used.
- pay attention to how you name the files used in your email campaign, e.g. ezine_masthead.gif is much better than image1.gif
- when using tables for layout try to do without spanning columns and especially spanning rows
- sometimes it’s impossible to “translate” what the designer has envisioned into a working HTML email, go ahead and use an image instead, but make sure you use the ALT tag to describe the image.
If you can use most of these tips, you should be OK. Final tip: test, test and test again, and don’t forget your best friend: your email service provider!. Some ESPs may have tools to assist you in testing your emails, so be sure to check them out.
Here’s a related articleEmail Design: 3 Easy Steps to Perfect Email Display