Forwarding HTML emails is a surefire way to transform your beautiful email designs into a broken, crumbling, unfortunate mess. You may have already experienced this firsthand while trying to show a colleague your latest Pardot email creation... only to discover that the email they received is an abomination that looks like it went through a blender. Emails don’t like being forwarded, and that’s the long and short of it. To be successful in email marketing, you need to understand why that is.

Why Do Forwarded Emails Break?

Simple answer? There is no standardized code that dictates how each email server renders an email. So, an email may be set up in Pardot to display beautifully for both Outlook and Gmail, but when Outlook receives that same email, it will burn that Gmail code as something it doesn’t need when rendering, and scatter it to the four winds.

In other words, forwarding that email from Outlook to a Gmail account user will result in the email looking like something you’d stick in an attic window to scare small children on Halloween. It's not just limited to Outlook and Gmail either! It can occur when forwarding across all platforms. Best practice? Try your best to avoid forwarding emails at all costs. Instead--if you want to send a test email for someone to review--send it directly through Pardot via the testing tab.

How Does Email Forwarding Affect Prospects?

Email forwarding may become more applicable to your organization depending on whether your prospects forward your emails. A simple way to tell is to visit a report on a sent email in Pardot.

Head over to the 'Interaction' tab, which will show you how many times your email was forwarded. If you gauge that your email was forwarded at a high enough frequency, you may want to prep your email to keep it from breaking. Keep an eye on it. Your ‘interaction’ tab is your friend.

Solutions To Email Forwarding

There are several ways to keep your email from breaking when forwarded. Either of the options below can help prevent issues.

Cut Down Designs:

Keeping your email designs simple can help prevent the code from breaking when forwarded. Try sticking to a single-column layout or closer to a plain text design. The fewer moving parts, the less likely it is that something will go haywire.

Add a View Link:

Adding a “View in browser” link can allow prospects to view the beautifully formatted email when forwarded, in case the email has broken for the viewer. So, while they still might receive something that looks a little off, they’ll have a work around to see the message in all its perfectly-formatted glory!

Email design is vital in the digital marketing world and can be a make or break the strategy for any organization, so understanding a commonly used tool like “forwarding” and how it interacts with emails is crucial. Take the time to review your company's emails and note how frequently they are being forwarded. If needed, use the suggestions listed above to prevent your emails from breaking. You’re not going to be able to predict what’s going to happen every time, and you can’t know in advance if someone is going to forward one of your emails, but by following these tips, you can be better prepared if they do!

Questions about email forwarding?

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