I’ve recently received a handful of e-mails that have been breaking some of the basic fundamental rules of an HTML email. Whether it’s the lack of knowledge from a marketer, a stubborn designer or lazy developer, this post highlights some of these discrepancies that I have been noticing. To have a successful HTML e-mail, please follow these 3 basic rules:
1. Don’t have your entire e-mail as a giant image.
Why? You’re essentially sending out a blank e-mail. If your recipients don’t have you marked as a “known sender” most e-mail programs will not display images. To view images in an e-mail, a user initiated download of the image will be required. Rather than sending out that huge graphic with your copy embedded in it, cut it up and make your copy HTML text. In doing so, this will allow your recipients to see your message without having to download any images. In the narrow window that you have to grab a recipients attention it’s important that your message reaches them with as little effort as possible. With this hybrid image/HTML text version expect open rates and click through to increase.
2. Don’t have your e-mail wider than 650 pixels.
Why? Not everybody will see your content. Even though some of us have small tv’s for monitors keep in mind how preview windows act in desktop clients like Outlook. Even with a hi-resolution monitor your preview window for e-mails might not be that big. I have a 1920×1080 22″ flat screen monitor and my preview window in Outlook is only about 800 pixels wide. I’m in the upper echelon for screen resolution and even then 800 pixels isn’t that much. What about, laptops, iPads and mobile devices? Expect their preview/e-mail windows to be even narrower. To be as compliant as possible across all devices and to deliver the best user experience for your recipients have your email in the 550px – 650px range. 74% of designers surveyed agree with this width.
3. Don’t use the same subject line for each e-mail.
Why? You’re killing your open rate. Think of your subject line as an ad’s headline. Your subject line needs to be brief, reflect your e-mails content and be catchy and engaging. Poise a question, highlight an offer, statistic, recent news or event. If this month’s subject line was “Company’s Name April Update” and last month’s e-mail was “Company’s Name March Update” get away from that trend and highlight what’s in the e-mail and what’s important to your recipients. Once again, you have a narrow window to grab a recipients attention and having a well-crafted subject line is just one more element that will help market your message.
Take a look at this gem, sub par subject line, too wide and it’s all image. Breaking all my rules in one e-mail!