If you made it here, you were probably searching best practices for adding attachments to your marketing emails. How big should the attachment be? When should you add an attachment? What should your text be leading up to the attachment? Here’s our advice when it comes to adding an attachment to marketing emails: Don’t do it!

It’s true, PDF attachments feel like an easy way to blast out marketing emails to your audience. They’re quick to create, simple to attach and easy to write email content for. However, did you know the number one delivery vehicle for malware is email attachments? Sure your email attachments mean no harm, but how effective are they?

5 Reasons why Adding an Attachment to your Marketing Email Misses the Mark

  1. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) may mark it as spam before your subscriber even gets to open it. Typically, those sending out blast emails with attachments tend to be spammers. With the rise in attachment-based email viruses, your files could be a potential security threat. And even if you make it past the email server, spam filters in Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook and Yahoo! may block your attachment completely, affecting your email campaign’s deliverability in a major way.
  2. If you make it past an ISP, your subscriber will likely still think it’s spam. Each time you deploy a new email campaign, you should be asking yourself this simple question – “Would I open this?”. It will help to determine how your list will receive the message. Think about what an attachment would look like to a new subscriber, someone unfamiliar with how your marketing emails look. An attachment from an unknown sender could easily be mistaken for a virus. Any split second of hesitation will likely cause a new subscriber to hit the “spam” button and move on – never to see another email from you again.
  3. Your messages become too large. Attachments increase the size of your message, which increases the time in which it takes to send your emails, which ultimately creates a general server overload. When an attachment makes your email too large, it can cause performance issues for your campaigns and significant delays in recipients receiving your messages.
  4. The email usability experience is decreased for your subscribers. Not only do email attachments run a risk for your campaign deliverability, they are cumbersome and difficult for readers to download. Downloading attachments can go awry for several reasons – firewalls, attachment sizes, and download capability on a mobile device. So even if you end up making it past the spam folder, readers may quickly feel inconvenienced by the download process, hit delete and move on.
  5. Attachments get lost in the forwards. It’s normal these days for everyone to hope their campaign will go viral. There’s always a chance right? Wrong. While people forwarding your emails may give your message the boost it needs to go viral, attachments often don’t get included in those forwards.

What are the alternatives to email attachments?

Now that we’ve eliminated attachments from the email marketing mix, the question you’re probably asking now is “should I be writing all of my content in the body of the email?”. The answer – Not necessarily. While it does make sense to use HTML emails for things like newsletters and event invites, you can still send out a short text email without the attachment and get your point across. Instead of using an attachment, host the file online and provide a link in your emails. When you link to the content directly, you do a few things:

With many marketing automation tools, hosting a PDF file online may sound more complicated than adding it as an attachment, but in fact it’s pretty simple.

Step 1.

Add your PDF file to the asset library in your marketing automation solution.
Email Attachments

Step 2.

Your file will automatically be converted to a URL. Share that URL!
marketing emails

If you don’t want to a link to a file, you can also create a separate landing page with additional information and lead your readers there. Creating a landing page allows you to track more stats than just click rates, as you would in just an email. You can measure and analyze your prospects’ landing page behaviors and better understand their next steps.

So next time think twice before adding an attachment … or just leave it off!

According to Demand Gen Report’s 2016, Benchmark Survey, 77% of B2B marketers say email is the top channel for driving leads, making deliverability of those messages essential for success. So it’s obvious how crucial negatively affecting your deliverability with something like email attachments can be. By following the advice above – whether it’s hosting a file online or creating a landing page – removing email attachments from your marketing emails will create a more engaging email that is aesthetically-pleasing and creates higher deliverability rates.