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October 02, 2008

Clever programming for "Always display images" and a poor man's hack

Eventful Programming
Originally uploaded by bkmcae
I'm not a heavy Eventful user, but I have an account and recently opened an e-mail from them to add my location. As usual, when I opened this message in GMail, it automatically suppressed the images. Automatic image suppression is a privacy measure, intended to keep spammers from knowing that you've opened their e-mail. Eventful has done a clever bit of coding provide a more customized message to viewers to inform them that they are "missing something exciting" by not allowing images and gives instructions on how to turn them on. And they've also programmed the e-mail so that it knows I'm reading it in GMail. After seeing this, you can be sure I clicked "Always display images from"

Getting your users to always allow images from you is a good way to draw them into further engagement with your communications and also can help give your open rate a boost (not that the open rate is all that important when compared with the click through rate and your funnel).

You should know that there's a poor man's way to do this with most e-mail broadcast software. It's not nearly as sophisticated as what Eventful has done, but I'll be trying it...

Most e-mail broadcast software will allow you to insert an alternate text attribute into your image metadata. If the images in your email are suppressed, (in many cases) the alternate text will display instead. So here's what you could do. Simply enter into the alt text attribute something like "Hey, you can't see this neato image we made JUST for this e-mail! If you're reading this, allow automatic download of images from our e-mail address and you'll have 7 years of good luck!"

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