Remember last year’s HTML study? GetResponse analyzed over 1.1 billion emails sent from customer accounts between July and December 2009. The results clearly showed that HTML emails averaged 59% higher CTR than plain text messages! Impressed?! Let me show you a few easy and effective ways to engage your subscribers, increase your CTRs, and get better results from your email marketing.
It’s all about using the possibilities provided by HTML. Without any programming knowledge whatsoever, you can insert photographs and graphics, and format the text any way you want – from preheaders and headers, sections and indentations, to background and font colors, highlighting and bulleted lists.
To jump-start your HMTL newsletter or campaign, GetResponse gives you more than 300 gorgeous HTML templates, ready for you to customize. You don’t even need any additional software. Our WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor, launched from the Create Message section, allows previewing and editing of the HTML code in each template. You can save the changes you’ve made at any point and return to them later.
If you’re a power user and feel like tampering with the HTML code yourself, there are four basic rules I would recommend you follow. These will help your emails display properly while making it much easier for your subscribers to find what they need in no time. Remember – if you’re in a hurry, you can still rely on our ready-made templates.
Be readable – get the structure right!
The best way to establish the structure of an HTML message is with the use of tags needed for the creation of tables, such as <table>, <tr> and <td> and attributes: border, cellpadding, cellspacing, valign, align. This is a proven and safe method to avoid many errors in code rendering that you might still come across in email-displaying software. The golden rule is: the simpler the HTML code, the higher the chances of getting it displayed correctly in email clients.
When designing an email message in HTML, divide it into four basic parts:
Make sure the width of the email does not exceed 600 pixels to provide optimal readability. Most email clients display each message in a small preview window. Place the most relevant information at the very top of the email, and don’t forget about the hyperlink, which will enable the previewing of your message in a browser window (described below in detail).
The preheader and header are the first elements of your message that your subscriber will see on the screen. Make them attractive – remember the power of first impressions!
Be appealing – make your content look good!
People are visually-oriented beings. In other words, it’s absolutely true that what you see is what you get! To increase the chances of successful communication with your subscribers and attract (and keep!) their attention, use the options provided by HTML to organize the elements of your newsletter:
- Divide the text into paragraphs, spacing them out evenly. This way you’ll make the text easier to read by introducing a “rhythm”. You’d be really surprised how helpful this is in getting your message across.
- Use inline CSS (or use our editor) to style the colors and shapes of the fonts, create bullet lists, modify indentations and spaces.
- Use appropriate contrast between the color of the background and the color of the text. The lighter the text, the darker the background, and vice versa. Remember that the human eye has more problems reading text on a computer screen than on paper.
- While inserting images, don’t forget to fill in the alt, width and height attributes. Email clients often block images, but this will make your message display correctly while keeping the structure intact. Avoid using images as the background for your emails. Even the popular Outlook 2007 has problems dealing with those.
- Try and keep the total size of images under 30 kilobytes. The fewer images you use, the faster the message will display on the subscriber’s computer. Another reason for this is that some email services only allow messages through that are under 24 kilobytes. A well balanced proportion of text and image will prevent your email from being classified as SPAM.
- Remember − inserting images in your newsletters via GetResponse’s Multimedia Studio will dramatically decrease the risk of your message being directed to your subscribers’ junk mail.
Be professional – test before you send!
No email should be sent without thorough testing. After all, you don’t want any kind of software to get in the way of effective communication with your customers. Most are probably using one of the most popular desktop applications, such as Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, Lotus Notes, or managing their emails in web-based applications such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Each of them has its own way of rendering incoming email code, often leading to unexpected results. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to decrease the risk of appearing unprofessional.
- It’s a good idea to set up several email accounts and install a few email applications to test and compare the way each message is displayed. It’s your task to ensure your subscribers don’t experience problems reading your emails. There’s no better way to discourage them from wanting to know what you offer than with a message created with an incorrectly prepared HTML template.
- Check and double-check all links to ensure they will take your customers exactly where you want them to. You don’t want any annoying surprises in your newsletter!
- It’s always a good idea to send an email to yourself first. Put on your customers’ shoes and you’ll see exactly how they see your email.
- To prevent potential problems displaying the message and the images embedded in it, use the system created by GetResponse. It generates a special link so that the message you are sending can be previewed directly in the Internet browser. Simply type View This Message Online in the text of the hyperlink and place it in the preheader, which is displayed once the message has loaded.
Use the optimization power of GetResponse Split Testing to look after your campaign results.
Be flexible – let your subscribers choose the format!
Let’s get this straight, I’m not encouraging you to shy away from plain-text messages completely − simplicity can also be an asset. But if you send your HTML messages in two formats – HTML and plain text − you can let your subscribers choose what’s suitable for them. On top of that, your messages won’t get classified as SPAM, and you’ll increase the chances of your email being delivered and read. For your convenience, the GetResponse team has prepared a system that automatically converts your email message from HTML format to plain text and combines both before sending. All you need to do is click!
Now you can see how simple it is to send professional email messages that will make all the difference to your subscribers – and to your business! To begin your adventure creating customized email messages in HTML format, log on to your GetResponse account today. Feel free to use the functionalities we have prepared to make the creation of HTML messages easier.
Write a comment below and let us know how are HTML emails working for you. And don’t forget to show off your templates!