Image only emails – why???

I’ve received two emails in quick succession today that left me wondering if I’m out of step with the rest of the world…

Do you receive emails that look like this:

where you are clearly expected to download their images – otherwise you can’t see the message.  Or this one that has lots of images:

Clearly the sender is expecting me to download the images in order to read their sales message.  But why would I?

The format of the email immediately marks it to me as a promotional message that does not even have the courtesy of explaining what it’s all about before I have to take action to read it.  Forget it – DELETE!

This is part of a wider concern over the sender’s views being paramount when considering communication.  In both these instances the sender is most concerned that their emails look “great” and so have failed to grasp that 80% to 90% of their audience are going to see what I showed you above.  If they had paused to consider their transmission medium and audience, they would have realised that a large part of their message should be text that is displayed whether the recipient downloads images or not…

I further advocate putting images on the right hand side of the email or at the bottom so that if they are not displayed, the email is still legible and the message gets across to the 40% to 50%  of their audience who read the email in the preview pane but don’t download their images.

I prefer to get my message read over showing off my design skills.  One brings me business, the other… !

I hate this…

There is nothing that makes me mad more than someone telling me that they are “allowed” to send me email because… This is a good (or bad) example:

Maybe they are legally allowed to send me an email – but why rub my nose in it?

And to make matters worse, I know I’m not in their address book and there is no way that anyone will have recommended me to them.  They’ve found my email address by using a “bot” to trawl the web automatically and grab it from a “contact us” page.  I know this because that’s the only place this email address is used.

So, what to learn from this email:

lesson 1: Don’t lie to potential customer in your email.  No one wants to deal with liars!

Lesson 2: This email was the equivalent of an advert beside the road.  Boring, bland general and talking about the advertiser.  Don’t do any of these things.  Talk about the recipient, their challenges and give them knowledge that can help them.  Don’t know what their challenges are or what knowledge can help them?  Don’t email them till you do!

Gone Phishing…

We just received the following email.  Putting aside the huge image across the top of the page that renders the preview pane completely empty, take a look at the pink banner applied to the message by Outlook:

Suspect email - Outlook says "Phishing?"

I don’t know what you think, but I’d pause before taking a closer look at this message, especially as the only thing visible is an option to unsubscribe and a big grey box!

So why is it classed as “potentially unsafe”?  I do know the sender and they are legitimate, so somehow they have done something wrong that has made Outlook suspicious…

There are a number of possible reasons for this but I suspect the main one is the links in the email just look really dodgy and don’t point to the same domain as the email purports to come from:


I’d mark that as “potentially unsafe” too!!

It gets better…  The sender has used Constant Contact to send the email and then half way down the email we get this:

So, we’ve got an email sent using Constant Contact promoting using Infusionsoft for email marketing.  And using an email with “potential phishing” to suggest the sender is an authority in email marketing…

To quote my son “LOL”

Why would you send this?

Here is a great example of poor email marketing.  There is so much wrong with it, I don’t know where to start.

Let’s look at the sending email address.  Nice of them to advertise Pure 360 as their email marketing provider!

Subject line is OK, but they’ve missed the opportunity to mention the Open, which finished yesterday…  And how about mentioning the winner, or something else related to Golf?

Then you look at the message, or lack of message in this case!

poor email example

Not very clever eh?  Just push the images to the bottom of the message, if you really must include them and put your text at the top of the screen where it can be read and recipients engage with the text.  Once a recipient has read something from you, they may feel inclined to download your images…

A bad example of email marketing

We regularly collect great examples of what NOT to do with your email marketing.  You may also find it easier to see bad examples and how to avoid them rather than trying to follow good examples.

This email has two of my pet hates in it:

  • Loads of images at the top of the email
  • it talks about the sending and nothing about the recipient.

What do you think:

we don't like this!

If you were to receive this, the first thing you may notice is the from email address “”.

Does this sound like a communication that is going to be of value or interest to you?  I don’t think so.

The next thing you may notice on previewing the message are the two large blue boxes at the top of the email.  This is where images should be – but most email programs don’t display them, replacing them with a red cross and warning message.  Not ideal!

Finally, I’ve highlighted “we” & “our” within the email.

This is all about the sender.  The recipient gets one mention at the end “you can search…” but that’s it.

So, what to do differently?

  1. Change the sending email address to something a little more customer friendly
  2. start with text at the top of the email then put the images at the bottom of the email.  At least then recipients will know why they are being asked to download the images and may feel more inclined to do so.
  3. re-write the text to focus on the recipient and the recipient’s issues, not just a recounting of how great the senders’ website is.  Ask “what benefit will the recipient get?” and answer that question in the email.

Happy emailing…

I wonder if Apple know… or care

Just how their emails are dispayed to the majority of Outlook users.

Here is what the new iPad email looked like to me in preview:

What do you think?  Is Apple missing a trick by constructing it’s whole message from images? This is what it should look like, once images have been downloaded.

But, how many people will download the images?  As it’s Apple, probably a lot, but are you doing the same with your email marketing?

And will your recipients also be willing to download your images in order to read your message?