Car dealers sell and coders code… however, it’s to any marketer’s advantage to understand the basics of two attributes that can assist in the crafting of persuasive emails: the alt and anchor tags.

Help Your “Images Off” Subscribers with Alt Tags

Alt tags are the descriptions of every meaningful, non decorative image that should be incorporated on the HTML of each email you send. These tags are text descriptions that appear in the browsers of your customers who have images turned off either by choice or by default. In the code of your email the alt tag follows this structure:

<img src=”image path” alt=”description of the image” />

The description of the image should be concise but clear. Describing an image in an alt tag simply as “logo” or “banner” is not enough. Whose logo, which banner? You should strive to describe the image itself and then follow that by duplicating the text contained in the image precisely. The most effective alt tags are the ones such as “Humongo Auto Dealer Logo – Huge Vehicle Purveyors Since 1921”, or “Accessory Donation Banner – For every set of fuzzy rear mirror dice you buy we will donate a set to Third World diceless children”.

Capture the Essence of Your Image in Your Alt Tag

Charts are more difficult to describe, so instead of just throwing in a bunch of numbers try to capture the essence of the information. “Accessory Donation Chart – The number of donated dice has grown by a third each year since 2006” is preferable to “Accessory Donation Chart – 2006: 27,492; 2007: 36,810; 2008: 48,076; 2009: 64,534; 2010: 85,729.” Crafting the descriptions so that they are more “descriptive” will help your tags indicate to your “Images Off” clientele what they should be seeing. That will in turn allow the reader to understand the reason why the image is there. You’re writing an email to get the point across that readers should click on your call to action, so make it easy for them to comprehend that!

Don’t Drop That Anchor Tag

An anchor tag leads to a specific point on a page. By placing these tags at the top of your email you will enable your subscriber to quickly “jump” to the place in the newsletter that most interests them. If you are covering four subjects in your newsletter: Presenting The 2012 Humongo V-12 Largesse 4X4 SUV; Largesse Features; Largesse Performance; and Largesse Specs; you don’t have to force your customer to scroll down through most of the email if they want to just read the specs. They can just click on the Largesse Specs link and they will be jumped scroll-free to the section that interests them. In your email’s HTML code the anchor tag should be structured in this way:

The initial link: <a href=”#specs”>Jump to 2012 Largesse Specs</a>

The position link: <a name=”specs”>2012 Largesse Specs</a>

Use Anchor Tags to Landing Page Sections

You can also use the anchor tags to direct your customers to any precise spot on your landing page that you determine. Therefore if the Largesse Specs are not on your email but you want to draw attention to them on your website, you can specify the URL of the specific page as well as the exact location where the specs can be found. In this case, the structure for the initial link is:

<a href=””>Largesse Specs</a>

The position link stays the same on the proper page. When your subscriber clicks on that link, their browser will not only take them to the landing page you specified, but it will jump to the Largesse Specs directly. This tactic is especially useful with L-O-N-G landing pages where you want to point out particular aspects of it for easy access.

Coders never like to leave well enough alone so there are variants on these tags. In XHTML for example, the anchor tag name is substituted with id, but those complexities are best left to your programmer. Simply understanding the basics of how to use these obscure tags will help you craft emails that are more understandable: An effort that should result in greater conversions!