It is commonly known that email clients (e.g. Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.) will each render HTML emails differently. This behavior can impact emails that are forwarded.
When a recipient forwards an email, email clients may change the formatting and code of the forwarded email. The changes vary between each email client and each will do what it thinks is best to make sure that the forwarded email can be displayed by the recipient receiving the forwarded email.
Changes can include, but are not limited to:
- Removing, inserting, or modifying HTML elements
- Adding or removing white space and line breaks
- Adding "reply" or quoted blocks of text
Unfortunately, this does not bode well for for emails because the structure and design of your emails can become distorted. This can cause emails to be less functional as well.
What can we do when email forwarded emails break?
While you cannot control the behavior of an email client here are some email design tips that may lessen the impact of broken forwarded emails:
- Create a landing page version of your email. By creating a web version of your email, you can direct recipients to that page where the HTML is not distorted. Users may have seen this type of solution-- emails that say something like "Having trouble viewing this email? Click here."
- Keep your email design simple. If your email's HTML is less cluttered, then less may break when forwarded. Single-column emails have been known to be easy to display. Users may also find luck with two-column emails that are not heavily stylized or coded.
- Always test your email templates. Be sure to proof your emails because sometimes forwarded emails will break due to a simple coding error, like misplaced HTML tags.