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Redesign Your Email Templates For Shorter And Narrower Preview Panes

EmailLabs says it's time for B2C marketers to throw out their old templates and replace them with longer, narrower versions.

The betas of both Yahoo's and Microsoft's online e-mail clients enable the preview pane by default but these spaces are much smaller than what consumers were hitherto used to. Hence, e-mailers are advised to put calls-to-action and other critical information at the top of messages.

Due to widespread adoption of Microsoft Outlooks preview-pane function in corporate settings, B-to-B marketers have been dealing with this design challenge for some time. Not so for B-to-C marketers, who until now could safely assume that most consumers would see their entire emails as designed.

"B-to-C marketers who want big results had better start thinking small," said Stefan Pollard, the company's director of consulting services. "Many are completely unaware that preview panes and automatically blocked images can make their current design templates virtually unreadable. If they were to use a third-party rendering tool to actually test how their e-mails look in consumers’ inboxes, they might be shocked."

Preview Panes and Image Blocking by Major Web-Based Email Clients:

  AOL Versions 6.0 - 9.0 Hotmail Windows Live (Beta) (a) Yahoo Yahoo Mail Beta (a)
Preview window included No No Yes No Yes
Advertisements served in client Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
External images blocked by default Yes No Yes No No
User controls image-blocking settings Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
User clicks link to enable message's images Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Images enabled if sender is in user's address book/buddy list Yes Yes Yes No N/A
Images auto-enabled if sender is on ISP whitelist Yes Yes N/A  No N/A 
Alt tags displayed when images disabled No No No No No

(a) Email Client in beta mode -- settings may change with full release

More reasoning is in this press release.

Source: ClickZ

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