Email forwarding is defined as re-sending mail from one mailbox to another. The action of forwarding an email is an established method of sharing a message amongst users, as it's an easy and quick way.
Why users often forward emails?
Subscribers often forward marketing emails for the purpose of sharing appealing offers, or vouchers with their friends and family. Moreover, marketing teams forward emails to their coworkers as an email review practice.
Why is forwarding emails considered a bad practice?
Fowarding emails maybe convenient, but these might contribute to several potential issues. Here's a list of the few ways you may be affected:
Forwarding an email often “breaks” the email. It may break the bulletproof buttons, or create additional spaces to your design, and result into other similar issues.
Damage your Email Server Reputation
The emails can get rejected by your remote email account mail server (for various reasons), and can get filled up in the queue. It may hamper your email server’s reputation. This may also get your mail server blacklisted. Another potential problem is when the remote email server's makes use of SPF to validate the senders. In both cases, the mail server is seen as an impersonator, and marked as a spammer.
Why do emails break when forwarded, and how to manage them?
Email clients all render emails differently, so when a subscriber forwards an email, each email client puts its own unique code modifications on an email when forwarding it, instead of forwarding the code as originally received. This may include the stripping of certain HTML elements, wrapping the email in a blockquote, or inserting additional classes to the code. These modifications can break your design, and make the email less functional for the recipient.
Here are some actions you can take to optimize your emails:
Simple Email Design
If your email layout is less complex, there is less that could be altered. For example, simpler layouts (e.g. single-column) typically hold up a little better when forwarded.
Use Alternative Sharing Options
You can encourage your subscribers to share your email without using the forward function. For example, email service providers (ESPs) should provide tools that allow you to embed a “forward to a friend” link in your email which will send your email to the email addresses that the subscriber provides without any modifications to your code. You could also allow your readers to share the web-version of your email via social media.
How to use an alternative review method?
Avoid forwarding emails to your team members for testing or review, as you maybe sending them a broken email. Here's a list of a few ways of sharing an email that don’t require forwarding, ensuring the whole team recieves the email as it’s intended:
Run a quick email test to see how the email renders in desktop clients, mobile clients, and web clients.
Enter your HTML into your ESP, and send it the same way that you’ll send it to your customers. This will make ensure the accuracy of your tests, and save you valuable time.
Send your code as an html file, and allow the recipient open it in a browser. This allows them take a look at the email’s design, and responsive behaviors triggering as they resize their browser window.
Send the email to yourself, and take a screenshot of it, and then share it with your peers for a quick review.