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15 Email Design Tips
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By Neil Anuskiewicz

Designing an effective email is not difficult, but it has a few unique aspects that should be considered in the design process. Regardless of design however, the message should be clear, simple and easily identifiable. The following tips are basic reminders for good email design.
  1. 1. Do not use too many or too large graphics in your email marketing. Ideally, you would have about 60 percent text and 40 percent graphics in your emails. It is never a good idea to send an email that is one giant image. Keep in mind that many email clients have images turned off by default.
  2. 2. Use the HTML alt tag for important images. Not only does the alt tag display text while images are loading, you can use it to describe the graphics.
  3. 3. Provide a link to allow people to view your email as a Web page. Some people just prefer to look at things in a browser and your HTML email may not render well in every email program out there. Many Email Service Providers (ESPs) have a standard mail merge value such as {{{browse}}} for viewing emails in a browser window.
  4. 4. If you do use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), keep in mind that email newsletters only supports inline CSS. Ideally, you would stay away from CSS altogether in your email design as some email programs will jus strip it out.
  5. 5. Be sure to send a text version of your email along with the HTML version. If you create both an HTML and a text version most ESPs will send the email as a multipart format, which means that the text version will be presented to those services and programs that cannot handle HTML. It is good to remember that some email programs and mobile devices can only handle text emails.
  6. 6. Do not rely on background images. There is no guarantee that your background images will display properly on all the different email programs, and if they are stripped out, they may alter your message.
  7. 7. Since you are designing for email programs and mobile devices, be aware of file sizes of images. You do not want to bog down your emails with large image file sizes.
  8. 8. To accommodate as email programs and mobile devices try to limit your email width to no more than 600 pixels.
  9. 9. Avoid things like flash, java script, etc., as many email programs do not support these things properly.
  10. 10. Tables are important component of email design and have made a comeback as email marketing has grown. Make sure to use the table attributes to maximum advantage in your email marketing design.
  11. 11. If you do use tables, keep it simple with a two-column table with a row across the top. Email programs are not as sophisticated as web browsers so avoid complex table layouts.
  12. 12. Your company name should be apparent in the "From" address, subject line, and content of your email. This decreases the chances your email newsletter will be mistaken for spam.
  13. 13. The law requires either a physical address or P.O. Box in all email marketing emails. Be sure to include this in every email you send. Most ESPs will not allow you to send emails that do not comply.
  14. 14. Make sure your subject line is relevant and avoid over hyping with all CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation marks! Email receivers and spam filters have come to automatically associate these things with spam.
  15. 15. Test your emails against a list that includes a variety of email clients, such as Yahoo, Gmail, Outlook, and so on. Do this as a quick test before you send out your production email to make sure everything looks all right.

Keep these tips in mind, paired with compelling and relevant information and offers, and the result will be a solid and successful email.

Neil Anuskiewicz is the Director of Business Development for EZ Publishing.
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