A designed email may look smart and exciting on your computer, but may not always look good on receipt.

I have my email inbox set up in columns, showing all the incoming emails on the left side of the page.  On the right side, any selected email will be displayed.

That might seem a bit odd to you, if you have your list at the top and the display at the bottom half of the screen, but it is how I like it.  And I am not alone in this preference.

Now my setup means that if anyone sends me an email that is fully designed (rather than just being text) the chances are I will only see the left side of the advert. Which means I have to do some work in order to see the advert.  And being a lazy sort of cove, generally I don’t do work just to read.

Other adverts that are fully designed don’t appear at all – I have to click a button to reveal what’s there.  And of course the temptation is simply to hit delete, because the fact that I can’t see the display indicates quite clearly that this is an advert.

Now this situation applies to the computer I use for work, which has not special censorship protocols introduced.

In schools, however, because of the danger of pupils or students inadvertently seeing something that comes in, in the school office, the setting iS often of “no pictures”.

Which is why I would always recommend writing the advert as text (which can be seen on any computer setting).

However when I make this recommendation I often get told by advertisers that their product or service is one in which the visual impact is of prime importance.  Phrases such as “you wouldn’t sell a car without a picture” are often made.

Now this is quite true, one would not sell a car without a picture.  But most people don’t buy cars because someone has just sent them an unsolicited email. Most of us go looking, either on websites or in magazines or in car showrooms.  If we do get sent a car advert it is from a supplier whoM we know and have been in touch with.

If you are selling something utterly visual my suggestion is still, do not put a picture in your email, but instead offer some exciting and tantalising benefits and then say, “to see what this looked like, just click here” and that will take the reader to a specially prepared page of your website.

Of course you may still feel that I am not talking sense; indeed such comments have often been made.  But if that is the case, and you do get a disappointing response from a picture-based advert, I would urge you to try again with a tantalising text advert that leads to the picture on your website landing page.

If you need any help with this approach or want to discuss it please do call 01604 880 927 or email Stephen@schools.co.uk

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