Basic HTML Email Tips

I’ve created hundred of emails and I’ve reviewed/analyzed probably ten times as many. In that process, I’ve come up with a few Do’s and Don’ts…or really just basic tips to improve your emails. Some of this stuff I wish I had known when getting into email development.

Can’t See The Images In This Email? Neither Can I!

Always, always put a link in your emails to view them within a browser. There are quite a few people out there that check their email from work that can’t view your images within their email clients. Unless it’s a really basic transactional email (e.g. mostly text), don’t leave this link out. Often times, the entire message of an email is stored within the images. If users can’t view them, then what’s the point?

Web2.0 is No Go

HTML email is invariably far behind the curve of the latest web technology. In creating your emails, leave out Javascript and Flash. Although there are some email clients with limited support for these technologies, it is more likely to cause your campaigns to be flagged as spam.

Place Primary Call to Action in Prime Location

The portion of your email that is immediately visible to a user varies from email client to email client. However, you’re almost guaranteed that the top left corner will be visible. So, take that into consideration when developing the creative for your emails. Place the main item that you believe will generate the highest CTR(clickthrough rate) in this position and save the rest for other offers.

Embedded Images vs. Linked Images

Never ever embed images within your email. Doing so sends up all kinds of red flags, impairing the deliverability of your email. Plus, it raises the filesize of your emails substantially. Nothing angers a consumer more than having all their other emails held up while they download yours.

Focus on the Subject…line

The subject line is one of the most important factors in getting your message across in email. It determines whether or not your email will even get the opportunity of a passing glance. So, spend some time testing different approaches and measuring results. The difference between a good subject line and a bad subject line are huge.

Attaching Files is Bad, Very Bad

Nobody likes to open up attached files unless they are from a friend or co-worker or if they are expecting to receive them. For good reason too, a lot of sensitive information goes through email and nobody wants to risk that by opening up some unknown file. Plus, nobody wants to download them.

Forms Don’t Work

There are very few email clients that support forms within email. So, just leave them out. If you have to have your recipients fill out a form, place a link in the email to a webpage with the form on it. Then they can decide whether or not they want to participate.

 Got some tips of your own that you’d like to share? Please add them to the comments.

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