Guess the brand (bet you can’t)

I want to talk about Alt Text today. It’s the most underrated ecommerce email tip in my arsenal. When it comes to Alt Text, make sure you:

  1. Have them
  2. Make them descriptive.

That’s it. That’s my tip. Underwhelmed? Please allow me to blow your mind. Take a look at the black and white boxes below.

Now before I reveal which brand this email is from, let’s count the ways this email is missing the mark.

We have no idea:

  • Who they are 
  • What they sell
  • What they want us to do

All we know is that they offer free shipping over $45. That’s a crap ton of money to give to a brand whose name, products, and offer we can’t even see. So, what do you do when you get an email like this? A big fat NOTHING. Now, wanna guess which brand this is? (You can’t because there’s literally no clue in the image above). It’s everyone’s favorite Belgian Chocolatier – Godiva! Their entire email was designed as a graphic-only email with all the copy on it!

Here’s what the email actually looks like:

Now THAT’S an email I would have bought from! Too bad I didn’t see it. Godiva isn’t the only brand that ignores their Alt Text. 

Most ecommerce emails are image-heavy. Often, they’re image-ONLY. I mean… it could be the world’s most beautifully designed and brilliantly written email but if the subscriber has their images turned off, then all they’ll see are blank squares with no copy. Their message is lost forever and as an ecommerce business, they’ve lost customers without even realizing it..

So, what’s the solution? Ideally, it’s creating emails with copy that goes in the email instead of on the images. But changing a brand’s email design process isn’t practical because it’s a time-consuming affair. An easy fix to the blank square problem is to add Alt Text to the image. Even if the subscriber has their images turned off by default, Alt Text enables them to read what the email/image is about. 

Here’s an example of Alt Text done right. 

Even though I don’t have my images turned on, I know exactly what this email is about and what their offer is. If I’m interested, I’ll hit “Display Images”. 

Even if I don’t, I can click on the Alt Text and go to the offer this email is promoting. As email strategists and copywriters, we don’t usually have control over how our clients create their emails but this… this is something we can easily do.

In a nutshell, if you want to improve your email conversions, make your Alt Text descriptive.



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