Pretty is as pretty does: In e-mail creative, that means ensuring that the messages render properly in all the major Web clients. After all, it doesn’t matter how beautiful your message is if no one can see it properly. TO ENSURE THAT RECIPIENTS CAN, BEAR THESE TIPS IN MIND:
- The optimal width is no more than 600 pixels
Although what is considered “above the fold” varies according to e-mail client, ClickMail Marketing advises putting your most critical content within 200 pixels from the top of the message. Along the same lines, Lyris suggests including your call to action, table of contents, or key promotional message in the top 2 to 4 inches. This way it should appear in recipients’ preview panels.
- Avoid using too many fonts, overly large fonts and too much italic
Not only is it esthetically questionable, but according to dotMailer, some ISPs view any or all of these as indicative of spam, threatening deliverability.
- Do not use rich media
- Steer clear of including forms
Link to any forms online instead.
- Tag all your assets — images, tables, fonts — with sizes
This ensures that the formatting isn’t changed even if images are suppressed.
- Make certain that the most important elements of your message are readable in text
Because so many clients suppress images, you don’t want your key content to be image-only. While you’re at it, use specific alt text descriptions for any HTML images you do use, to appear in lieu of any suppressed images. If you have a photo of shoes that are 20% off, your alt text should say something along those lines rather than simply “image 1.”
- Bear in mind that Web HTML is not the same as e-mail HTML
Layers, for instance, don’t work in e-mail. For this reason, Datran Media suggests coding your e-mail manually rather than using a program such as Dreamweaver to do so.
- If you use CSS, keep it simple and limit it to font properties
Most e-mail clients don’t support the more complex CSS properties.
- Test your e-mails in a variety of e-mail clients
Review your database report to see which clients are the most popular among your recipients and, if nothing else, make sure your messages render properly in those.
Got an e-mail tip to share? Contact Sherry Chigerl at firstname.lastname@example.org