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4 Ways to Avoid Sending a Graphics Only Email [How-To]

I subscribe to a lot of email newsletters. Over 200 to be honest. Over 500 is more honest. The reason I subscribe is simple: I want to learn how other people are doing newsletters and see if I can learn anything I can share with my clients and that I can use to improve my newsletter.

One thing I always remind my clients about e-mail newsletters is something many overlook:  Not everyone has images turned on all the time for their e-mails.  I thought this was widely known, but I guess not. Recently I got a newsletter from a local media company that was graphics only.

Here’s what it looked like in my inbox.

no text email

You can click on the image to see it full size if you want to see how this looks.

Is this the message you would want your clients to get? It’s sure not what I would want MY clients to see.

How can you stop this from happening? Here are 4 ways to avoid sending a graphics only e-mail.

1) Test your messages by sending them to various internal AND external email addresses – Always send yourself a test message to your internal e-mail address. See how it looks in your e-mail client. But don’t forget to text with external e-mail addresses. Don’t turn the images on.

Also, be sure to view the e-mail on your mobile phone. How does it look there?

Here’s how this message looks on my iPhone:

blank email

Had this company tested this message, they would have NEVER sent it out. Remember: Many people have limited data they can use on their smart phone, so they may never turn on images for everything you send.

2) Ask your recipients to display images for your e-mails - I’ve seen this done tactfully by simply saying “If this e-mail doesn’t look right, be sure to select always display images from this sender.” Not everyone will listen, but many will.

3) Always include alternate text in every image you use - When you use images, you need to put an alt tag on every image so if your reader has images turned off, they know what the image is supposed to be, without seeing your image. Alt tags stand for alternate tags, and they show up on the top of an image when the image doesn’t display, or when the image is moused over. Alt tags are also used by those who use screen readers to “read” your website to the vision impaired.

4) Start with text and add images second – Can you get the point across in your newsletter if it is just text? If not, re-work your message. Images are meant to ADD to your message not BE the message.

Only you can prevent your e-mail newsletter from looking like this company. Just do these 4 things and your newsletters will be much better received – and likely more effective too!

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