Email Tips Pt. 1

Email Tips Pt. 1

Effective email marketing, like all marketing, takes planning. Email is quick to design and implement but it’s still important to take the time to plan your campaign.

  • Identify what you hope to accomplish with the message
  • Identify how you’re going to track and measure your success
  • Identify your targets for the message and think through the characteristics that make them your best targets and how you can speak to their needs, wants, hopes and dreams in your email creative.


You have about 4 seconds and 2 to 4 inches to capture your reader.

  • Skimmers typically only read the top portion of your message.
  • Preview panes only display 2 to 4 inches of a message so to get a reader to open it or click through, you have to be compelling right from the start.

Think through what you’re trying to achieve with your message. Make that message prominent and instructions for action clear.

Don’t try to accomplish too much in an email – one message, one goal.

Keep your design clean and uncluttered.

  • On screen reading is difficult for a lot of people.
  • The more you put into an html email the more chance there is of it rendering incorrectly in someone’s inbox and being unreadable or at the least, unattractive.
  • You have such a short time to tell people your message so clean and clear design and copy is essential.
  • Try to avoid using background colors but if you do, keep them very light, almost transparent.

    • Using white text on a dark background can actually trigger SPAM filters. Spammers often use white text to hide text within a message so it has been added to list of triggers.
  • Use standard fonts – Arial, Verdana and Tahoma are the most common and most readable (according to recent studies).
  • Avoid images that contain vital content

    • Images are blocked/disabled by the majority of email clients and have to be accepted by the reader. If the essence of your message is contained in an image you may never be given the chance to share that message with a reader.
    • Use teaser text and HTML colors rather than images for vital content so readers can get an immediate "preview" of your email even if images are disabled.
    • Use image alt tags with a short phrase that identifies the image – “View of latest catalog”; “Save 50%”; etc.

      • Right now alt tags are recommended but this may be changing. The latest version of Outlook released in February no longer supports alt tags so now neither your image or your alt tag text will be seen by readers.
      • Images can be a trigger SPAM filters – too many images in comparison to HTML text could result in your message being caught.
  • Add a “View this e-mail as a web page” link at the top of your message. If the html is rendered incorrectly or the reader is receiving a text version of the message they have another easily accessible viewing option. Recent EmailLab studies indicate 4% of email readers click through to view an email as a web page.


Give readers a compelling reason to act – give it to them clearly and right away.

  • Offer driven emails perform the best
  • Email addresses and “touches” with customers are valuable. Make sure you don’t come across as a spammer by making each communication noteworthy.

    • Give recipients access to something they wouldn’t otherwise receive or know about if they weren’t getting your email (special pricing or free shipping just for those receiving the email; two day early access to a sale; etc.)
    • Branding is not the best use of email – emails should be “exciting” in that they’re offering something new and some reason for the recipient to respond.

Give readers as many access points as possible.

  • Make each image a link to your web site.
  • Provide several url links within the body of your message.
  • Don't just say “click here” – this is a SPAM trigger and also doesn’t allow the user to see the url. Many people don’t click through but access a web site independently of the message they receive.
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