Do you think about how an email will look when it lands in an inbox?

I know, this is a particularly pointless question in many respects. We all spend many hours ensuring that emails look good, conform to brand guidelines and make our case as effectively as possible.  Do you consider however how the email will look without images? Many email clients such as Outlook 2007 no longer display images as a default. This is also the case with gmail.

Its important that you factor this into your email design. To illustrate how important this can be, check out the following story:

I have a client who spent a lot of time, trouble (and budget) employing a designer to put together a very high impact, graphically heavy, email to promote a competition. The email did indeed look very nice. There was however one problem – the email was basically composed of just one graphic. No text, no alt image tag. Apart from the fact that such images are destined for the SPAM box almost immediately on receipt, (using just one graphic is an approach favoured by spammers to get through corporate firewalls), when viewed, all you could see beneath the subject line was an unsubscribe link.

With hindsight, I think I at least gave the client credit for including an unsubscribe link. The problem was that when the email was viewed with images off, the only thing people could see was the unsubscribe link. In fact it looked like this was the message! As a result the few people who did see it unsubscribed…

It is important when testing your email to consider all scenarios. Indeed, some advertisers are now designing their emails to take account of the possibility of images being disabled:

Costco emails redesigned

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