Hot Rum Cow Covers All The Bases: Responsive Email & Landing Pages (+ Images-Off Optimization!)

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I had heard that Hot Rum Cow sent great emails so I was very excited to sign up for their newsletter & see what they had in store. I recently received my first email from them & I’m majorly impressed. Between their responsive design, images-off optimization, sleek design & responsive landing pages, Hot Rum Cow covers all of their bases!


One of my favorite aspects of this email is how great it looks on both mobile devices & desktops.

While it’s very subtle, they use simple media queries to scale the width of the email and associated images, making it easier to interact with on small screens. Due to large font sizes, colorful imagery & branding, and touch-friendly buttons, this email is, undoubtedly, optimized for viewing in all environments.

However, in the footer of the email, there are numerous text links on top of one another, which makes it a little bit difficult to “touch” on a mobile device. It wouldn’t be ideal if a user on an iPhone meant to click the linked address and accidentally clicked the unsubscribe button!

Speaking of the footer, Hot Rum Cow successfully addresses iOS’ tendency to turn phone numbers, addresses, and dates blue. Since a blue link  in the footer wouldn’t fare so well with the rest of Hot Rum Cow’s design, they use a little CSS to blend the link to their address with the rest of the design. As a result, the link is orange, like other links in the email, rather than blue.


Frequently, I’ll receive an email that’s mobile friendly, but links to a site that isn’t mobile friendly at all (or vice versa). However, when I clicked through on this email, I was pleased to discover that Hot Rum Cow’s landing pages were responsive!

In addition, when I clicked on the link to “buy iPad app” on my mobile device, I was brought directly to the app store (the app is iPad-only for now, which is a bummer, but still a nice touch in the email!). When I clicked this link on my desktop, I was brought to the App Store landing page. As a result of this, the entire experience — from reading the email to visiting the landing page(s) or App store — is entirely smooth for the subscriber. Nice work, Hot Rum Cow!


Another great aspect of this email (yes, it gets even better!), is how great it looks in an images-off environment. Due to the fact that the main content is all live text, it’s still present when images are disabled. This enables the email to still be legible no matter what!

In addition, through the use of colored table cells and styled ALT text, the email is able to maintain hierarchy and branding in an images-off environment. By using both of these techniques, Hot Rum Cow is able to recreate the buttons near the bottom (to buy the magazine & iPad app) to look almost identical to the actual images — such a great touch!

Through their use of styled ALT text, Hot Rum Cow is able to make it appear as if the logo and green “newsletter” text is still present when images are disabled. This maintains their branding, even without images! However, since ALT text will disappear once the size or length of the text exceeds the width and/or height of the image container, the styled ALT text of the logo isn’t present in all cases due to its large size. Due to this behavior, it’s probably best to stick to shorter descriptions and smaller font sizes to avoid having your ALT text removed altogether.


Adding an additional touch to an otherwise simple email (it is basically all text after all!), is the animated GIF of numerous newsletters. It not only adds some colorful, attractive imagery to the email, but it showcases how great Hot Rum Cow’s newsletters look! It’s a nice way to subtly promote their product by letting the newsletters “sell themselves.”

What do you think?

What do you think of this email? Are you as impressed as I am? At first I was a little turned off by how much text is in the email, but since it’s coming from an editorial company, I believe that those who subscribe to their emails are very interested in reading their content and, therefore, wouldn’t be turned off by the amount of text. Do you agree?


Do you have an email that you’d like us to feature in our inspiration series? Send it to us at!