It is 7 30 a.m., and I am reading through my emails and news feed while at breakfast. I find this morning routine highly efficient. I quickly skim through everything, remove the least relevant information and random spam and set aside time during the week to read the longer pieces.
If you, like me, read a lot during the day, you are probably as picky as I am, when it concerns the content you read. I am quite good at managing what lands in my mailbox or my news feed on Feedly. I rarely experience troubles with having too much irrelevant information to read.
What I am frustrated with is the formatting of the emails I receive. With all the various types of devices we use, it surprises me how many emails still can be read only from laptops.
Here are my personal seven anti-favourites among bad formatting choices of mass mailings.
1. Font size.
Either too small or too large. Quite honestly, I unsubscribe the moment I receive more than one unreadable small-font email from a sender. While I appreciate receiving information comfortably into my mailbox, I will not mistreat my eyes for it. Whatever I am interested in is undoubtedly available elsewhere on the Internet.
What is important to highlight is that there is probably no universal truth about what font size you should be using for your mailings. Various fonts will look different even if you make the size of them equal – make sure your formatting is reader-friendly.
2. No (sub)-headings.
If there are 3-5 sentences in the email body, this is not a problem. But, honestly, sending text-heavy emails with not a single heading available? It’s just no fun to read it. It’s tiring, requires more concentration and makes it impossible to skim through and decide whether I want to read this or not. And this is the single reason why I subscribed to the mailing list in the first place. Here is an interesting article that highlights the importance of a proper text structure in marketing.
3. Ugly fonts.
I am no specialist in the typeface. The only parameter of the right font for me is whether it helps or hinders me when reading. I personally like Arial in documents, my blog uses Montserrat for headers and Noticia text as the base font, and I like the neat and clean effect this combination has. Here at Brafton, I have found a good summary for the good, the bad and the ugly email fonts used.
4. Not formatting the emails to be read across various devices.
Have you ever received the email with some tabular data that splits into two or more lines when opened on the mobile? Or images are too big and you cannot scroll down because of it? You open the email, and all the positions are misplaced because the layout is broken?
It is confusing and makes the reading more complicated than it should be. It is a well-known fact that people use various devices – why don’t you make the email readable on the most popular of them?
5. No images at all
C’mon, not even an introductory one? Boring.
Unless your email is an in-depth study of some highly academic topic, please, insert some images. It will make my reading experience way better.
6. Broken links
Almost nothing bugs me as much as reading an email, getting interested, following the link for more – and ending up with an error message. No further comments, I guess this speaks for itself.
And here is one more thing that has nothing to do with formatting, but everything – with my experience:
7. Emails sent from no-reply and no contact information in the signature
Really? Guys, why do you even bother sending those emails, if you block any chance to receive feedback? Let’s say, I read something, liked the content, follow the link – it’s broken. But the substance was great, so I decided to hit you an email and point out the broken link so you can fix it and I can use it then. But – nope, cannot do so, since there is no contact email address. Honestly, I have not yet seen such a unique and exciting content that I went googling your homepage to contact you through it.
What are your top anti-favourites of email formatting?