“Why are your emails so plain?” It seemed like a simple question but from someone whose emails are pretty snazzy. Well, sort of. Their emails are a series of graphics and pictures. The question came in a few weeks ago in response to their having received my Monday Morning Marketing email.
Today you have to assume that a lot of people are using their phone to read emails. If they’re reading them at all. So what? Those fancy graphics and snazzy style that might look great on a computer monitor suddenly becomes unreadable on a smart phone screen and even some tablets.
In fact your recipient may not even see your graphics and images.
Those snazzy graphics also consume a lot of bandwidth to download, relatively speaking. By including all sorts of images and graphics in your email you’re demanding more of the recipient’s data. While many of us now use our smart phones knowing that we have “unlimited” data this is not always the case for all your recipients. There are still a lot of people with data caps.
Sometimes bandwidth for smart phones is compromised by location so the recipient of your email with lots of pictures and images is waiting for something from their paying client but that email is sitting behind the one with all the graphics. And waiting. And waiting.
Also, a lot of larger companies and organizations as well as government agencies are either blocking graphics in email or making it so the recipient has to specifically request to download the graphic. If the story you’re telling isn’t enticing enough, your email is going right into the trash. In fact I know of agencies that specifically restrict graphics in emails altogether - if your email is image-heavy the message isn’t going to make it to those individuals.
Lastly, isn’t the email with your story or information really a gateway to get the recipient onto your website where the real information exists?
By getting your prospect onto your website they can browse around and see what other information you might have. They can also see what you’re actually selling. For example, this website.
I have lots of information here that’s absolutely free but the idea of these blogs is that you’ll hire me to do marketing for you. Or refer me to someone who needs the type of services I sell. That’s how I stay in business. These blogs offer further credibility along with, I hope, information that you can use in your own business.
So the emails I send out use the same fonts and colors as the website but offer only a teaser of the information. From there, if the information seems valuable to you, you’ll click on the link and read the full article.
The emails I send are very, very short and have few, if any, graphics. This means they’ll load on any device quickly and provide enough information so the recipient can make a decision. If what I have to offer is of enough value to look further.
By being text-based these emails can be read on any device and even those with visual impairments can get the information as many of those individuals can have either readers that read emails and websites to them or they can size up text so that it’s readable on their device.
I also know that some of the stories I write are valuable for some recipients but not others. Most of the people who receive my emails have some sort of customer-facing business but some are in food service, some in entertainment, some are in the tourism trade and others offer business-to-business services.
By consuming fewer resources from the people I am sending emails to and also doing my best to deliver content that has value to them, I am following my own best practices using this medium.
Lastly, if you are using images make sure to use "alt tags." These are words that describe the images in your email. For those who are blocking images they can see what you're trying to convey with those images which may entice them to click on the image and download it. Most email programs will accommodate "alt tags."
Here are a few other blog posts about using email in your marketing: