Email marketing fail

I wonder why marketers continue sending out graphics-rich marketing emails when the control over whether your message is seen or not is with the receiver, not you the sender.

Take a look at this email I received today. It’s gobbledegook because my email client’s default setting is not to display images unless I choose to show them. Typically, that’s businesses I do want to hear from, already have a relationship with and/or have set up their domain in a white list to show everything. That’s all about trust.

I get it’s an offer. But there’s nothing to compel me to do anything other than move on to the next message or delete it.

The latter, done.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

  1. Andrew Warne

    Never thought of this before, but it's a real good point, I'll have to look at how my companies emails look without the images now your pointed it out to me.

  2. Eamonn O'Brien

    Agreed Neville – this bugs me too.

    It's daft to ask email recipients to multi-task to get at messages.

    Having done the hard part of getting people to open an email in the first place, don't make it hard for recipients to see what you want to say.

  3. Robin Houghton

    It's amazing how many marketing emails still consist of just ONE BIG image, meaning all you see is one BIG blank. Design and branding agencies seem to be keen on this!

  4. Neville Hobson

    +Robin Houghton I think there's a disconnect in the minds of the creators of the emails ("This will be a great call-to-action when customers read it!") as when I mention to some marketers that email receivers can control the appearance of those marketers' emails – eg, switch off graphics as their default – I see the blood drain… :)

  5. Armin Grewe

    What baffles me is that so many of them don't seem to be aware of this. Don't they use e-mail themselves? May be I'm wrong here, but I believe the vast majority of e-mail clients (or web mail for that matter) allow you to switch off the automatic display of images, including the presumably still most used Outlook.

  6. Mathew Lowry

    Mostly they believe that everyone has the same email experience as theirs. Whenever a client sends an "example" enewsletters to use as inspiration, forward it to gmail, take a screenshot, and send it back with a "so you want it to look like this?" message. Works for me, anyway.

  7. Stephanie Fischbach

    Gobbledegook, indeed! I honestly believe that most people disable their images, except from senders they expect emails from that they trust. Hopefull by posting this, it will open up some sender’s eyes to think about this before hitting the send button. With our organization, we encourage plain text emails and send them out ourself – we find that they add a personal touch or “je ne sais quoi”

  8. Maurizio Fantato

    I am even more cynical and I am of the opinion that – at least in a number of instances – it's sheer laziness (disguised as habit). There is a real issue about the true value of emailing offers these days. Is it really, really worth it? Only, I say, if you have already engaged with your audience, they trust you, you are short, sharp, to the point and have targeted your offer so accurately that you even know in what way your customer/prospect likes to have a message served to them… not many of these messages around. Like you, I simply delete.

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