Help! Why Doesn’t My Email Look Right?

Once in a while, our customer service team will receive a frantic email from a marketing department exclaiming “a customer got our email but it doesn’t look right!”. When our customer service team follows up, they will learn that the email looks fantastic on the backend, but some guests are reporting that the email isn’t rendering properly in their inbox. In this blog post we will examine why an email may look good to you, but not your recipients; and what you can do to prevent that.

Why Some E-mails Look Different to Customers

For the non-technical marketers, you should know that emails are composed of HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Internet browsers like, Chrome, Internet Explorer, & Safari interpret HTML & CSS for webpages and have agreed on a common standard to interpret and display these languages. This is why even though you may open up a webpage on different browsers, the content of the page looks relatively the same. Unlike web browsers, however; email programs like Outlook, Apple Mail, & Gmail have NOT agreed on a common standard to interpret and display HTML & CSS. This means that when you send an email, although the same HTML & CSS is sent to everyone’s inbox, the email’s appearance can vary depending on the email programs your recipients use.

Testing Your Emails

The number one action you can take to ensure your emails are rendering correctly for your customers is to test. Take advantage of Paytronix’s “Test” feature in the email tool to send emails to various email clients. According to email analytics firm Litmus you should begin testing in the following five email clients which account for 83% of email opens:

  • Mail app on iOS
  • Gmail online
  • Mail app on Android
  • Apple mail on a desktop
  • Outlook

Fixing Your Email Issues

If you find that your email doesn’t look quite right, reach out to your email designer with information on the error, and what email client you found it in. (Bonus points if you can provide your email designer with screenshots.) With this information your email designer should be able to locate the cause of the discrepancy and develop a solution to ensure your email looks great for all of your customers.

After you are done testing your existing e-mails, start thinking about fresh ideas to revitalize your messaging. Learn how you can shatter your 2016 marketing goals with a new e-mail strategy.

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The Author
Joel is the product manager team lead on the marketing team at Paytronix. At Paytronix, Joel enjoys helping clients make the most of their mobile strategy. He is a proud graduate of the School of Management at Boston University, and loves to see the intersection of marketing and technology in action. Bonus Fact: Joel can whistle and hum at the same time!

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