Things aren’t always as they appear. Perception is not always reality. What you see is what you get.
We’ve heard these phrases before. But do they always prove true? Of course not. And especially when it comes to direct marketing …
The acronym known as WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) describes a system in which the content (text and graphics) that’s displayed onscreen during the editing process appears exactly as it would when printed or displayed as a finished product, whether that be a printed document, web page or slide presentation.
What you see is not what you get. WYS is not WYG. In email, anyway.
Whatever software you’re using very well could try to emulate the end result in order to get as close as possible to WYSIWYG. However, the biggest benefit of WYSIWYG is the ability to be able to see exactly what you are producing.
When it comes to email, be aware that different email clients serve emails differently. What you think you may have designed and are sending out may not actually be what your audience is seeing.
Some applications offer multiple WYSIWYG modes with different levels of realism, such as:
- Composition mode—in which you can see something that’s somewhat similar to the end result, but with additional information that’s useful while composing, like section breaks, and uses a layout that is more conducive to composing than to layout.
- Layout mode—in which you see something very similar to the end result, but with some additional information useful in ensuring elements are properly aligned and spaced, such as margin lines.
- Preview mode—in which the application attempts to present a representation that is as close to the final result as possible.
However, it’s important to note that 67% of email users have their images turned off. Yes, you read that correctly: a whopping 67% … turned off! (source: Marketing Sherpa, 2010)
So how can you ensure your email is still hitting the mark with or without your images?
Try out these tips:
- Use email preview engines/emulators to give you an idea of how the email will look for different recipients
- Prepare for the inevitable: “images not displayed”
- Put as much text as possible in the code, not images
- Add alt tags for any images
- Create a text-only version of your email
Take a look and see what you can do to ensure your message is getting across and looks good in the process, no matter how it’s viewed. As a last resort, if you absolutely need your message to reach your target with the proper images/design displayed correctly, consider mailing a physical piece. There’s something to be said for tangible items. And with everyone getting inundated with email messages these days, it might just serve as a welcome surprise …