How to avoid and work with the red crosses in email
It’s a shame to put time and effort into a newsletter and then have it fall at the final hurdle: its display within the inbox. Over half of readers have images disabled in their inbox. How many of us go the extra mile to click on the link to see the message? And how many of us just move on and open the next mail?!
Here we detail how you can avoid the red cross and how you can work with it.
What you can do to avoid it
Make the call to action button out of text with a background (such as the blue one below to subscribe), instead of an image:
Instead of the standard image (displaying as a red cross):
Finally, did you know that a gif is more likely to display than an image in an email?! Why not try replacing one of your images with a gif?
What you can do to work with it
Despite your best efforts, some of your subscribers will get a red cross, so you have to give them easy ways to deal with it.
Provide a highly visible link for them to click on to see a web copy. Remember it requires an extra click and effort on their behalf and not all your subscribers will be interested.
Let them know they should be seeing images and where to click to see them: For example, this:
instead of this:
Make sure your message to click elsewhere has a different color text and background so your subscribers can read it!
Put ALT tags on the HTML images, so that the reader if they don’t see the image, will see a text description of it.
Recycle: think of alternative ways for them to see the information, for example putting the newsletter information on your blog or Facebook page.
Outlook (2003, 2007, 2010 and Outlook.com) is one of the worst offenders for blocking images. But it is a strong email client: Outlook.com was even in 4th place in the United States for email clients according to Litmus.
Key takeaway: it’s worth making the effort to get round and work with image rendering issues.