A significant path to high email optimization is ensuring that you’ve adhered to your email marketing best practices. But a major stumbling block to email optimization, even after you’ve crossed every “t” and dotted every “i,” is how your email renders in preview panes. How does your email looks with images on vs. images off? Where is your email is getting cut off, horizontally and vertically? Is there enough imagery and/or text to compel someone to open it?

Even in today’s world, where preview panes are a factor in just about every email client and on every device, there are too many examples of email preview pane best practices being ignored. Too many email marketers seem to ignore the significance of image blocking, especially on the preview pane.  And that simple little factor can destroy an entire email campaign even if the message is relevant, highly engaging, well-crafted, and full of beautiful and interesting text and images. How? In one version with the images on versus one version with the images blocked, the following glitches resulted:

• The newsletter name disappeared.
• The headline disappeared.
• The navigation bar disappeared.
• The photo disappeared.

And after all of this content disappeared from the preview pane, what you’re left with is a frustratingly boring or blocked preview pane that does nothing to get the recipient to open and engage with the email. And to adhere to all the email best practices that get you into the inbox, but to ignore the next step to get that email opened and acted upon is a huge waste of effort.

The majority of readers are now using both the preview pane and the default blocked-images functions to decide whether to open emails and block unwanted downloads. In fact, more than half of email readers rarely or never download images within their preview pane, and an increasing number of email subscribers will simply delete the message due to insufficient information displayed in the preview pane, due to blocked images, advertisements or poor design.

So what does all of this mean to you? Think of the preview pane as a teaser area used to grab the readers’ attention and compel them to further action: the preview pane will determine whether the reader will open the email, scroll or click through to stories or just delete without further review. When designing your email marketing campaigns, ensure that your email messages are making the most of the valuable preview pane: just the top left 2-4 inches, the only area visible in both horizontal and vertical panes.

Lastly, blocked images affect the tracking of open rates, which affects your overall email performance rates . By placing more emphasis on how your emails render in preview panes, you will be able to up your click-through and conversion rates.

Published On: November 14th, 2011Categories: Email marketing best practicesTags: , ,

About the Author: Sharon

Sharon Ernst from BetterFasterWriter.com is on a mission to improve the business and marketing writing skills of today’s workforce with her blog, newsletter and online classes. Her newest class on intermediate email copywriting covers 19 tips and techniques non-copywriters can put to use right away for better results. The class has real-life examples and before/after comparisons to make the lessons stick. Find her class at www.betterfasterwriter.com/intermediate-email-copywriting-class. When she’s not busy helping employees, managers and marketers master their writing skills, she and her husband are busy raising pigs, cows, chickens and vegetables on their 20-acre farm.

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