It used to be that email was only read by using Microsoft Outlook. Then online Webmail apps starting to appear like Hotmail and subsequently, Gmail too. Along with email mobile apps, it’s now possible to view emails anywhere you go, on any size device. While this seems like a good development, it also has a few drawbacks too.
In this article, we point out why it’s useful to enable a feature to let email subscribers view your email in their web browser instead of their email or webmail app.
Enabling Bookmarking of an Email
The ‘view this email in the browser’ feature is something that a few email list providers offer. It can be inserted into an email before sending it out to subscribers. It enables subscribers to click the text link which immediately launches their web browser and opens a new tab to show the email.
Once the email is shown in the web browser, it’s possible to bookmark it for easy reference later. For emails that are lengthy and have the complete text of a few articles, this is highly beneficial. In some cases, they may also be saved through third-party services like Instapaper or copied into Evernote too.
Fix Display Issues and Enhance Typography
When viewing an email with many images inside an email app, it doesn’t always look right. Sometimes, the logo is moved into the wrong position or the text is too small, and other times, the images are so large and/or plentiful that the email text gets obscured by screenfuls of photography. At this point, the email largely becomes unreadable.
In such cases, being able to open the email in your web browser is extremely useful. With the standard web page formatting in modern browsers, a more consistent appearance is usually achieved. Email, by comparison, is very finicky to get a single email to look good across a variety of email apps and platforms.
Enhance Email Shareability
When you have an email in your inbox and wish to share it with friends, this isn’t necessarily so easy to do. Commonly, the email ends up with a series of dots […] and isn’t shown immediately when sending a copy to a friend. Most users are not familiar with how to send an email on and make it immediately viewable like the original version was.
By offering a web viewing feature for the email, recipients can send the link to their friends or work colleagues that they feel would enjoy it or benefit from it. This can increase brand recognition but also may lead to many new subscribers who liked the email enough to want to receive more just like it. At that point, your subscribers are doing your email marketing for you (no complaints there).
Make Interactive Features Work Reliably
It’s often helpful to include interactive features inside an email. This could be a quiz or a response request asking for their opinion.
While these kinds of interactive features sometimes function well, they are hit and miss inside a webmail or email app. Frankly, getting them to work consistently from one app to another is a nightmare!
However, when the email is viewed inside a web browser, that’s far more easily testable and provides consistent results. It also avoids a string of support tickets or complaint emails being received stating that they were unable to use the quiz or answer the questions as it didn’t work.
Printing and Easier Reading for People with Vision Difficulties
Not everyone finds the latest accessibility features built into iOS, Android and Windows to be all that useful. This isn’t the developers’ fault either because everyone’s needs are different. Subsequently, viewing email can be difficult for people with poor vision or who suffer from dyslexia.
Printing for Convenience
For these people, they often prefer to print emails out as a hard copy and read them that way. This stops them needing to peer at their smartphone and fuss about trying to enlarge the text or enable a text-to-speech feature with a weird voice.
When emails can be opened in a web browser, they can use their configured printing feature to run off a copy in no time at all.
Greater Visibility Inside a Customized Web Browser
Emails that are viewable inside a web browser are useful for another reason too.
People who have trouble with their vision because of cataracts or deteriorating vision sometimes have a custom, user-specified stylesheet set up in their web browser. These work to actively override the standard settings for colors, fonts and font sizes to make pages far more easily seen and consumed by them. They don’t have this level of control with an email app.
As you can tell, there is a long list of reasons why finding a mailing list provider that offers access to email within a web browser is a good idea. It can make the difference between keeping someone on your mailing list and losing them altogether.