Janine Popick at Vertical Response has a great post on her blog about big-time retailers who use image-only email. The screen shots she provides are really stunning. The point I’d like to make is even if these emails had made it to the inbox, the response rates are likely to be low – consumers are too busy and process their email too quickly. If they don’t see something compelling right away they delete and move on – and there is no way an email that is essentially blank can be compelling.
This is why it is so important to do pre-campaign checks to see how your email is going to render once it is delivered to the inbox. Return Path will soon be announcing a major upgrade to our Campaign Preview tool that is going to allow users to see these “no image” views. We hope that seeing these emails side-by-side with the “images on” versions will wake marketers up to the reality of what’s happening.
Of course, rendering is only one piece. As Janine points out, the image-only nature of these messages often lands them in the junk folder – if they arrive at all. Understanding your inbox placement rate is important to getting a whole picture (pardon the pun!) of how you think about email deliverability and – ultimately – the health and responsiveness of your program.