Thinking Outside The Blocks

As you know, or you should know, many e-mail clients will block images and links from incoming messages from unknown addresses.  If you’re sending out an e-mail, perhaps you should keep that in mind when your organization designs an e-mail.  Remember to include good alt/title text and try not to put every last bit of copy in an image, okay?  Otherwise the beautiful, wonderful e-mail you designed to look like this:

Hey, that's a pretty e-mail you've got there.
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Looks like this:

This looks like something I would click to find male enhancers from trusted Canadian farmassists.
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I mean, seriously, at first blush this looks like something I would get promising me a brand new, erm, replica watch with links to a Chinese Web site.

So remember to throw a little text in there to accommodate those e-mail clients that block your pretty colors.

Also, remember to double-check your text versions of the e-mails, hrm?  Guess what the text-version of this e-mail is missing?

1: The opt-out link.

The HTML version has the opt-out link, wired right into the e-mail system:

If you're viewing it in HTML, you can opt out
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The text e-mail?  Well, no.

Stay a while.  Stay forever!
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2.  No tracking.

In the HTML e-mail, we see that all links go through the e-mail system for tracking purposes:

This is how you know your e-mail campaign is working.
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The text e-mails take you directly through to the target at SiteMeter.com, with no tracking done:

Think of it as
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Dudes, that’s how you tell if your e-mail campaign is working.

The text e-mail is so often an afterthought that most of them do suck.  Also, I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before (but am too lazy to look through the archives) about including smart quotes and other non-standard text characters in text e-mails.  At least the people at SiteMeter handled that.

But it never hurts anyone and doesn’t expend that much time to do the text e-mail right.  It also doesn’t take too much foresight to put enough relevant content into the text of the e-mail that it’s not entirely dependent upon the images within to make its context and meaning clear.

But a little effort is so often too much from designers and developers, ainna?

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