Designing an HTML email that renders properly with all email clients can be tricky and extremely time consuming. Trying to follow all the rules for optimal delivery can also be a daunting task. So, why create an email from scratch when it has already been created for you? Using an extremely flexible, thoroughly tested email template can be the fastest and safest way to produce an effective promotional email or marketing newsletter.
When designing websites you only need to test the copy on a small handful of browsers. This is not the case with HTML email messages. There are dozens of different email clients that all display HTML messages differently. Using a template that has been thoroughly tested to render properly in all major email programs eliminates the need for redundant testing.
Pre-designed templates can also follow design rules geared for maximum inbox delivery. Email filters look for certain characteristics common with spam. Messages with an image to text balance, proper use of HTML coding, and a clean organized look will almost always receive favorable delivery.
Of course, pre-built templates may not meet the needs of all email marketers, so if you are creating a message from scratch or you have an established template, here are a couple of key points to follow:
Keep your HTML code simple. Use a table based layout with inline styles, and always specify margins and spacing, so the email client does not make them up.
Your HTML portion of the content should have a nice balance of text and images. If your content is only one big image or series of images it is likely to be filtered as spam, or ineffective to recipients who block images. A good rule of thumb is to keep messages at about 60 percent text and 40 percent graphics.
Always use the "alt" attribute for images. This is useful for people with images turned off.
You should also include a text version of the message for recipients who view their email on older mobile devices.
The key is to send only relevant content that offers value to your recipients. Long messages or messages filled with a heavy sales pitch are often ignored or marked as spam.
Content design is a key component to email marketing, so it should not be taken lightly. Just dropping in a flyer and hitting send will rarely yield the best results. Using a pre-designed template offers an easy effective way to build a successful email marketing campaign.