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October 18, 2012

Getting Visual with Email

October 18, 2012

Consider those times you open an email from someone like Amazon. How long does it take for you to close or delete the email? Do you read all the copy? How often do you actually click through?

With image blocking, spam filters, and the fact that many people simply do not always open email newsletters, email marketing can be a tricky beast to tame. The things to consider go on and on: what day or time of day does the email go out, how does the subject line read, what kind of language is used in the copy, etc, etc. These are all important factors, but I would also argue that the design, format, and layout of an email are equally important. And, in some cases, maybe even more so.

When designing an email template, and further down the road the email newsletters themselves, I keep that in the back of my mind. I focus on creating a visually pleasing header and really strong calls to action, with the idea that compelling visuals will suck audiences in and good content will compel them to click through. But according to Email on Acid85% of all popular email platforms have images hidden by default, so this is a tough battle to win.

Image Blocking

No one wants to see this when they open an email.

One small trick here is putting a background color behind your image. Another is to write compelling alt tag text (the description that appears when images are blocked). With images blocked, this will convey the idea of a header or a button and may provide some visual organization to the layout, but it’s not exactly an ideal solution.

Thanks to the recent release of Mozify, a new feature from Email on Acid, this visual challenge may change in the near future. Mozify gives you the power to convert your images into an email-friendly, HTML mosaic. Check it out; it’s insanely cool stuff. Sure, it may not produce quite the same effect as your original, sexy designs, but it will do a much better job of immediately conveying your original messaging and imagery. And you know what that (ideally) means – increased click through.

Image Blocking with Mozify

The power of Mozify - this is with image blocking turned ON. Much better, huh?

So until emails start rendering more like websites – and render properly across all popular platforms – this is a step in the right direction. Mozify is currently in public beta and requires a monthly Email on Acid subscription, but it could potentially be a game changer. And while I haven't personally experimented with it yet, I will definitely be keeping my eye on it.

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