How do you make sure all subscribers on your email list see the email you have just sent in its true HTML form? One way to do this is to include a link at the top of the email directing subscribers through to a HTML page (minus personalisation) that replicates the email.
Banana Republic do a great job of using the real estate at the top of the email to push their offer, as well as providing the link to the HTML page that replicates the email (see two examples below). The text used to push subscribers through to the HTML page is: ‘Can’t see images? Click here‘. This is a great way to direct subscribers through because it’s short, to the point and you know exactly what they mean.
Banana Republic HTML email header
Banana Republic HTML email header - Piper Lime
From this we can see that Banana Republic only allow the offer and can’t see image message to occupy one line and because can’t see image is short, it allows more characters to be dedicated to the offer (and push sales).
Victoria’s Secret are also using this space to promote their newsletter offer or one of their new products (see below). In this top space, this is the primary message and the remaining space is dedicated to directive subscribers through to the HTML page that replicates the email. The text used to push subscribers through to the HTML page is: ‘If you are unable to see images in this email, click here‘. This seems very wordy and not as effective as Banana Republic’s – It also means that more characters can’t be dedicated to the offer/product.
Victoria's Secret HTML email header
Bluefly use this space a little differently. The first thing they do is inform the subscriber who sent the email (great for privacy), then offer their email address so the subscriber can add it to their address book (great to ensure it is received/viewed), then ask if the subscriber is viewing the email on a PDA (shows they understand their audience) and then offer the link to the HTML page. The text used is: ‘Having trouble viewing the email below? Click here‘. A lot better than Victoria’s Secret, but still not as good as Banana Republic’s. The other piece of functionality I like about this email is that there is the ability to forward it to a friend (top right). My only hesitation with this email header is that it is a little too long and could easily be shortened.
Bluefly HTML email header
West Elm combines a few of the above in the top space on its emails: offer, trouble viewing email and safe list. The text used to direct subscribers through to the HTML page reflecting the email is: ‘If you are having trouble viewing this email, click here‘. Again this is quite lengthy, but the way it has been designed (each element on their own line without spacing in between) makes it feel quite short.
West Elm HTML email header
One thing all emails have in common is a consistent navigation under the few lines of text. It makes it so much easier for the subscriber to link through to the website and, specifically, the section of the site that is of most interest. Helping to increase the possibility for purchase/sale conversion.
- Simple offer – The top of any email is prime real estate, so make sure it is used to push an offer, product or message that is important to subscribers.
- Length – Whatever message is included at the top of the email needs to be succinct – as fewer words as possible.
- Deliverability – If email delivery is an issue, then ensure that there is a message instructing subscribers to add the send email address to their safe lists. Again, try to use minimal words.
- Devices – Prior to sending the email, think about how most people will be accessing this email. If a lot of subscribers are accessing via PDA or mobile devices, do you need to be doing anything differently.
- Send to friend – So many emails have send to a friend functionality right at the bottom of the email. Not many subscribers scroll all the way to the bottom of the email, so it is good to include at the top. Make sure it is prominent without taking away from the email.
- Space – Don’t let the text at the top take up too much room. Look at the spacing and see if it can be reduced to ensure it doesn’t seem to be too much.
Written by Dominique Hind (nee Layton)