HTML emails can be a great way of reaching out to your prospective customers and clients as they are more interactive and you can pack in great information with effective visuals. There are many email marketers that advise you against using HTML emails because
- The recipients may think they carry viruses or spyware
- HTML emails are often heavier than text emails
- The visuals can confuse your customers and clients
- If the images don’t load they may get a distorted version of your otherwise exceptionally well-prepared message
These are well-grounded apprehensions but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t send HTML emails. With evolved spam filters and ever-increasing bandwidth people are growing less and less touchy about receiving HTML emails.
There are some time-tested guidelines for preparing effective HTML emails and newsletters:
- Mind the width. An HTML email doesn’t equal a web page. Go ahead and create liquid HTML email layout as long as it doesn’t distort your email. A safer thing to do is decide what minimum and maximum width keeps your HTML email best looking and then keep your width accordingly. Different email clients have different sizes of windows and email reading areas.
- Use inline styling. You should definitely use stylesheet definitions to style your HTML elements (fonts, background colors, etc.) but use inline styling like <p style=”background-color:#c0c0c0; margin-bottom:5px;”> instead of using an external stylesheet. If you user is checking his or her messages without an Internet connection or if somehow the link has a problem it will destroy the entire layout of your HTML email.
- It’s OK to use tables. The practice of using tables for creating HTML layouts is disliked by contemporary designers as they mostly prefer DIV-based layouts. But that’s alright. For preparing HTML emails you can use tables for creating your layouts as not all email clients and applications are good at interpreting exact DIV dimensions, whereas tables are easily recognized.
- Use images sparingly. Images need to be fetched from an external link — just as the stylesheet file mentioned above — so in case they don’t load or if embedded image display is disabled in the recipient’s email client then your message may get lost, especially if most of your message is in the form of images. Use text as alternatives and besides, using colors and fonts you can create great HTML emails even without images.
- Test your email on various platforms. People use different email clients — both web based and desktop — to access their daily dose of emails and they may have different ways of formatting the same layout. Spend some time testing your emails on different email clients, operating systems, and even different devises.
- Eventually, it’s the message that counts. Really, what gets you the real deal is your email message. Have you got something really great to offer? Then present it with compelling text and a subject that makes people open the message immediately.