Getting The Most Out Of Your Email Design

Many companies are taking full advantage from using email marketing,  however a large majority or people are not using the advice given to them and missing out on the additional rewards from a bit of fine tuning. This ranges from skilled designers struggling to build consistently rendering emails to people who are perhaps new to email and aren’t aware of the Do’s and Do nots
Here are some tips for designing your email and advice to strengthen the deliverability to help get the most out of your marketing campaign.
1: Personalisation
Nobody enjoys being addressed by “Hi There” or Dear Customer. When I get an email that says Hi Tom I am more likely to engage with it. By addressing the recipients you are likely to see a higher open and click through rate. To do this Simply use the insert action feature in dotMailer it will appear as @FIRSTNAME@
2: Data
They quickest way to reduce your deliverability and get blacklisted is by buying and selling your data. Your emails will quickly get flagged as spam and the no-one will open your emails. The most effective marketing is down by sending to your existing customers and organically growing your client list using methods to have them to sign up to your mailing lists.
3: Back to basics
Emails do not need to be complicated, they should look nice but don’t over complicate things, Thry to keep the structure simple, main header for logo. This should be followed by the main content with the main message and finally followed by a footer with company details and any legal information.  Now remember the simpler the design the easier it is to code., this means less chance of something going wrong in web browsers or email clients.
4: Construct using tables
When building an email we are going back to basics, we have to construct the layout by using tables
5:Hotmail & Gmail image padding  fix
As mentioned in a previous blog post hotmail has one huge bug with the way it applies padding around all images, luckily we have a nice easy fix
By applying the style to all the image tags it removes the padding which is applied by hotmail and Gmail.
6: Images
Avoid background images, most email clients do not render them and display a greyblock, Never rely on visual artwork to be the main way to communicate your message, if you send a email with a big image, it will be turned off and appear as a blank email.
7: Phishing links
Try to avoid these at all costs
8: Spacer images
Now some email clients don’t like empty <td>’s even if you set a width. To fix this issue we suggest you use a transparent GIF and then use that to set the width of height of any empty <td>’s
9: Alt Tags
With images being disabled when an email arrives in a recipients inbox taking advantage of adding an alt tag is your best chance of convince a user to enable them to read your email.
10: Test, test and test again
This is probably the most important step to constructing an email, this allows you to view them in the email client but also the web version in a browser. This allows you to check consistency across isp and if any rendering issues have occurred.
For more advanced testing we offer inbox preview here at dotMailer.

Millions of emails hit inboxes every day and while many companies are harnessing the power of email marketing, a large majority, however, are not using the advice freely given to them and are missing out on the additional rewards to be seen from just a little bit of fine tuning.

This ranges from skilled designers struggling to build consistently rendering emails to people who are perhaps new to email and aren’t aware of the Do’s and Do nots.

Here are my top 10 things to change. If you don’t do anything else, take note of these. They will strengthen your campaign deliverability and help your campaigns to achieve more.

1: Personalisation

Nobody enjoys being addressed by “Hi There” or Dear Customer. When I get an email that says Hi Tom I am more likely to engage with it. By addressing the recipients you are likely to see a higher open and click through rate. To do this simply use the ‘insert action’ feature in dotMailer’s Campaign Editor. Select the field (FIRSTNAME). It will appear in your campaign as @FIRSTNAME@.

2: Data

The quickest way to reduce your deliverability and get blacklisted is by buying and selling data. Your emails will quickly get flagged as spam and as your emails pile up in the junk/spam folder or lost in hyper-space, no-one will open your emails. The most effective campaigns are sent to your existing customers and organically grown, opted in lists.

3: Back to basics

Emails do not need to be complicated. A simple structure and a main header for your logo works well for most clients. This should be followed by the main content with the a single key message with obvious calls to action, followed by a footer with company details and the required legal information.  Remember the simpler the design the easier it is to code. This also means less chance of something going wrong in different web browsers or email clients.

4: Construct using tables

When building an email we are going back to basics, we have to construct the layout by using tables

email table code for blog

5: Hotmail & Gmail image padding  fix

As mentioned in a previous blog post Hotmail applies padding around images in a different way to anybody else, causing issues for many email designers, luckily we have a nice easy fix

hotmail fix

By applying the style to all the image tags it removes the padding which is applied by hotmail and Gmail.

6: Images

The biggest thing to remember (and do!) is to avoid background images. Most email clients do not render them and display a greyblock.  Also never rely on visual artwork to be the main way to communicate your message in an email campaign. If you send a email with a big image, it will be turned off and appear as a blank email, causing your contact to think you’ve sent them a blank email and hit delete or the spam button.

7: Phishing links

Phishing links cause distrust in your email campaigns and are mainly caused when the whole url is present in an email. Place your links behind actions and images, encouraging your contacts to click through.

8: Spacer images

Now some email clients don’t like empty <td>’s even if you set a width. To fix this issue we suggest you use a transparent GIF and then use that to set the width of height of any empty <td>’s.

9: Alt Tags

With images being disabled in the majority of email clients when an email arrives in the inbox, taking advantage of adding an alt tag is your best chance to get your message across to your contact and persuade your contact enable links and engage with your email.

10: Test, test and test again

This is probably the most important step to constructing an email. Testing allows you to view your campaign in the email clients but also the web version in a browser. This allows you to check consistency across ISP and email clients and fix any rendering issues that will occur before the email is dispatched to your database.

For more advanced testing we offer Inbox Preview here at dotMailer.