Tips for great looking HTML Newsletters
There are a gazzilion of email clients out there! Some are on the desktop like Outlook and some are web-based like Yahoo and Gmail. It’s always a nightmare for your designers to create the perfect newsletter that also looks great in all email clients. We have created a list of common DOs and DONTs to get the most out of your newsletters:
DO Use HTML tables. Divs and other fancy stuff wont work in all email clients (like Outlook 2007). Tables are old-fashioned and should be avoided in web design but they do their job great on HTML Newsletters.
DON’T Use images for your main actions. Let’s suppose you are sending a good looking email to the list of your subscribers asking them to take part in your latest competition. The main image of your newsletter is a present your are giving out and the main button is a nicely formed JOIN HERE. Sometimes it looks nicer to design this button as an image but this is a potential killer of your click-throughs. Most modern email clients will ask the user if he wants to download images so in our example they won’t see the present image as well as the JOIN HERE button image. It’s best to use css when possible in your main actionables.
DO Use the ALT Text. Following up from the item above. If you do choose to rely on images then always use the alt attribute. That’s the only way that people with blocked images will be able to get what you wanted to show. And don’t have your alt text say “My image is kewl”.
DON’T Write loooong newsletters. If you are about to send a newsletter to your subscribers check out its length first. People are thrown off by long newsletters and expecially long plain-text emails. It’s best to keep your emails short and to the point.
DO Tell your users what’s in the newsletter straight away. People don’t like scanning and scrolling. They won’t spend as much as you think to look for information in your email. You need to be clear about what’s in the newsletter – use a good subject line.
Finally, you may want to have a look at the Email Standard project for more info and tips.