Top tips for constructing your HTML emails part 1
- Make it snappy!
When we read emails we have a very short attention span. To get your point made do not ramble on and ensure that you have easy and clear links to all of the calls to action. Recent stats indicate that people are most likely to click on a link which is used in the opening paragraph – so make sure this is done successfully.
- Avoid stylesheets
A lot of the emails applications you encounter, like Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail and Hotmail, make poor use of stylesheets (CSS) or do not use them at all. Ignore any recommendation which suggests that using stylesheets to construct your HTML emails as this only applies to designing web pages. It is important to ensure that your designers implement traditional HTML coding, using <table> and <font> tags.
- Images for web use
It is important that you optimize all if the images used in your HTML email for web use, which means both their file size and image resolution, but not essentially the physical size of the image. A large file size will result in the user waiting a long while for the graphics to appear on the screen. It is fairly simple to optimize your graphics using most standard graphic package.
- Careful image selection
Make sure you do not go over the top when choosing your images. The spam filters in email accounts work by rating the content of an email against certain criteria, one of which is the over-reliance on graphics. A good HTML email is created with a carefully considered and complimentary selection of images and content.
- The use of ALT tags
An ALT tag is a textual description of each image used. Email clients, like Outlook, switch off images automatically and therefore users need an alternative way of being able to know, quickly, what the graphic is. By labeling images with ALT tags allows a user to be more likely to enable to images and then read the email. Additionally, employing a mixture of graphics and web text can help with this problem. Using HTML colour backgrounds can add to the visual appeal of your email even when the images have been turned off.
- Host images on serversHosting your graphics on servers can be quick and cost effective. If a template is being uploaded, it is important that images are saved within the same directory as the HTML. It will enable you to select all of them in one go and upload straight away.
- Avoid the use of ‘danger’ words
‘Danger’ words are those which will automatically get your HTML email sent to the spam folder, and include words such as ‘Free’ and ‘Special offer!!!’
- Avoid selecting ‘danger’ designs
When designing your email avoid over-using bold text, large font sizes, a vast selection of fonts and stuffing it full to the brim with links – all of which are common features used by spammers. Avoid this look and your HTML email should not be banished to the spam folder. - The limits of Outlook 2007Outlook 2007 comes with an array of limitations such as not supporting background images. It is therefore suggested that, when sending out your HTML emails, send a test email to ensure that the content comes across as intended.
- Mail Magic editor
When designing your HTML content for Mail Magic it is important to remember that the editor makes use of the HTML font size tag. It is therefore important to bear this in mind as some users who go on to edit the template are limited with the option to set sizes between 1 and 7.