Speed up image download in your emails


When you test your email you notice that your image rich designs are loading very slowly. You also notice your website is loading slowly after a large email send.

This is more than likely because you are using your normal web-hosting for images used in your emails. Bear in mind that the majority of opens and clicks on marketing emails occur within the first hour. This concentrated blast of image requests to your server results in performance issues and provides a poor user experience.


Use an image library feature that allows you to host and manage your images in the cloud. Images will download quickly when a recipient opens an email. Hosting your images in the cloud you can expect a reduction in bandwidth consumption during large campaigns. This will ensure your website performance does not suffer.

Images can be automatically added to the image library when you upload your email creative. You can also add files on an ad hoc basis using a simple manual file upload interface.

Image library’s tagging feature allows you to assign key words and categories to your images. This means that you can search for, organise and filter images easily and visually.

With an Image Library you can be confident that your hosted images are delivered rapidly to recipients without affecting your website bandwidth.


Migrating ESP in 5 easy steps

Moving from one email service provider (ESP) to another can be a daunting experience.

At GraphicMail we offer a managed service with dedicated Implementation Manager to make sure the migration moves without any hitches. Here are some of the things to think about when moving ESP.

1. Moving your data – ALL of it

It isn’t just customer records you might need to move. Don’t forget the following:

  • Unsubscribes
  • Bounces
  • Spam Complaints
  • Open and click data

You need all of your data in order to make sure you don’t have delivery disasters when moving ESP. Sending to email addresses that have unsubscribed from your database or have complained about your emails will lead to a further spike in complaints. Keeping your bounce data is also essential as this list may contain spam traps, which you obviously don’t want to be sending to.  Essentially if you get this wrong it could be months before you can rectify your sending reputation and get good inbox placement.

Also if you want to improve delivery rates consider suppressing those people that never open or click on your marketing email. This will help reduce your complaint rate, and with ISP’s looking at engagement rates to determine the quality of your sender it will give you an improvement in delivery without loss of any actual opens and clicks.

2. Past Campaign History

Include all historical campaign data ensuring you don’t lose any of the value in the reporting you have built up. This includes your past campaigns and all associated open and click data.

3. Signup Forms

Existing forms will need to be customised so your new ESP can pick up where the old ESP left off and continue to send the welcome emails connected to the form. This shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours to do, so isn’t a huge job. Some platforms can actually do a ‘double post’, so the submission goes to 2 places.

4. Sub-domains

You will likely need to create new sub-domains for pointing to your new ESP. These are usually used so you can have friendly from addresses and tracking links. You can switch your existing sub-domains to your new ESP but that means any click-throughs on old emails will cease to function. If you have a DKIM record for a sub-domain, ensure your new ESP signs emails with it, this allows you to maintain your sending reputation that you build up with your old ESP. It is a complicated subject area to discuss in this blog article.

5. Transactional Emails

One of the key reasons why marketers switch ESP’s is to integrate marketing and transactional emails more closely. Transactional emails are of course mission critical so switching on your new ESP needs to be handled carefully. Look for an ESP with a simple integration option of SMTP gateway, where your system administrators can simply change the connection details they send through rather than having to require complex programming resources.

Need help? Get a dedicated Implementation Manager through our contact form.


Why are there gaps between my images in Gmail?

If you use any of the three major webmail email clients (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo). You’ve probably come across an email that appears to have
lots of gaps between the images.

In the email below, the image of the Houses of Parliament has been sliced up in order for text to be
inserted in two places. The image is then stitched together using several table rows. As you can see,
Gmail has inserted gaps between each row, breaking our image into several sections. The same thing
happens in Yahoo and Hotmail.

In order to remove these annoying gaps, we simply need to add a small bit of code to the image: style=”display: block”.

<img src="image-url.jpg"; style="display: block" />

Once that code has been added to the offending images, the email renders correctly.

Simon Says…

Don’t be tempted to take the shortcut of adding the display: block CSS code to the head of your email:

<style type="text/css">

Firstly, some email clients will strip that away and the gaps will return. Secondly, there will be instances where you don’t want the display: block to be applied. If you have text running alongside an image in one table cell for example, the display: block would push the text underneath the image. It’s best to add the code to each individual image, that way it can be removed if necessary.


High opens but suffering from low click rates?

Keep Calm – we can fix this


In email marketing, opens and clicks are bread and butter.

You have the perfect subject line. It is fully tested and designed to move smoothly through any spam filters.

You have great open rates.

Your content is spot on, your messages are brief and to the point and your images and layout work in perfect harmony.

Despite all this your click rates are terrible.

What is it about your email that is not getting people fired up enough to make that next step and follow a link?

Perhaps it’s because your recipient is not seeing the same email you are.

Major mail clients such as Hotmail, Gmail, Outlook have their own quirky ways of rendering the text and images within your carefully prepared HTML email. Unrequested line breaks can appear, text can be misaligned and images can be cropped, moved or completely invisible.

And that’s without getting into how your email might look rendered on a smart phone.

So what?

If your recipients can’t make sense of your email they will lose interest. If they are interested but the call to action image that you so carefully designed is mangled or has no link attached they will be unable to proceed.

So, thanks to quirky email clients you have less clicks, less conversion, less return on investment for your email marketing.

Now what?

To solve this problem you need to be able to see how your email looks to your real life recipients. It may be that when you send a single test to your particular email client everything looks fine. So how do you check as many possible different mail clients to identify problems?

Method 1 – Manual Sending and Checking

1. Sign up for an email address with every major email client:

a. AOL
b. Gmail
c. Hotmail
d. etc

2. Download the following browsers and email clients:

a. Firefox
b. Chrome
c. Thunderbird
d. Outlook
e. etc

3. Create and maintain a data list with all email addresses of all your testing personas.

4. Ensure you own a minimum of:

a. 1 x PC
b. 1 x Mac
c. A collection x SmartPhone (one AppleOS, one Android)
d. 2 x Tablet (one Apple, one Android)

5. Prior to you campaign start date, send a test email to all of your testing personas

6. Open your email in every client across every browser across every operating system

7. Incidentally you’ll probably need to employ a new member of staff to do all this for you:

a. 1 x new member of staff

Method 2 – Inbox Preview

1. sign up to a service
2. See previews of how your email will render on all the different client and operating system combinations
3. Identify any potential problems and use our HTML for email guide to solve them.
4. Relax
5. Repeat until satisfied


Mobile email HTML design tips

The rise of the smartphone has been phenomenal.

It seems as though almost everyone (aprt from my Nan) has either an iPhone or Android “hand-hold-e-computer-machine” (Nan again).

More than 70% of people read their email in a mobile app, 10 years ago it was about 20%. No wonder Nan can’t keep up!

With this ever increasing mobile activity for emails, we thought it was time to give you some tips on creating a mobile friendly version of your marketing emails.

I personally think that its more time efficient to create an online mobile friendly version (similar to a weblink) rather than setting up two versions of each email, but the tips below are valid for both methods:

  • Make sure that you are sending a text alternative to your HTML version.

Mobile email readers are small. The big devices close to or under 1150 pixels, while common mobile email readers are in a range of 320 pixels.

Bare these screen displays in mind depending on your audience:

  • Email for desktop viewing = 600 pixels
  • iPhone 5S portrait = 640 pixels
  • iPhone 5S landscape = 1136 pixels
  • iPad 2 portrait = 768 pixels
  • iPad 2 landscape = 1024 pixels
  • Stick to a single column layout and make sure the content is left aligned
  • Keep images to a minimum and make sure they are small in size
  • Automatic text resizing – many mobile devices automatically resize your fonts, which can impact on the design. Use the CSS rule below to disable this:
    -webkit-text-size-adjust: none;
  • Space your links out! It can be troublesome clicking the correct link on a touch screen so make it as easy as possible.
  • Is your website mobile friendly? It’s all well and good optimising your email marketing for mobile devices but make sure the landing pages you are directing them to are as well.
  • Test your work – make sure that you thoroughly test your web version before going live.
    There are some great tools out there for this, such as Litmus.