Undoubtedly recognized as the oldest and most successful Internet marketing technique, email marketing consists of promoting offers, generating leads and advertising to a targeted audience through sending an email or series of email messages. Email marketing affords you the opportunity to build your brand and reach a wider market.
One of the common pitfalls marketers face is not optimizing a series of email templates that will be viewable in the recipients inbox. Without the correct formatting and proper structure you run the risk of undermining your credibility and your emails not being seen as anything more than an annoyance.
Following the optimization tips as outlined below can improve your email marketing conversion rate:
1. Do not use word processing tools and / or programs
While office programs such as Microsoft Office and Open Office are ideal for creating written documents, they are not suitable for designing and composing email templates. Word processing applications tend to copy unwanted code in the HTML source of an email message and may render your email unreadable. It is strongly advised that you do not try and take a shortcut by using word processing tools for your email templates.
2. Use web standards for HTML
Pay attention to how the HTML code you write into your emails appears in each of the main browsers. Use standard HTML code to ensure your emails are error-free and easily readable. Unusual codes are often not supported in browsers that are older, and sending an email with these codes is not looked upon favorably. Ensuring you adhere to the best HTML formatting and alignment for each browser will provide your email recipients with a pleasant experience.
3. Avoid using CSS in your layout
While CSS is a great way to design fun, eye-catching websites, tables are much more effective in email templates because of the usability factor they possess and do not require an in-depth knowledge of code to be able to modify them. Good browsers will render CSS well, but not all email clients have the same capability, so tables are a way of ensuring your emails are readable.
4. Avoid using external CSS files
If you are determined to use CSS in your email template, try writing inline CSS rather than inserting an external CSS file into it. It is not uncommon for email service providers such as Microsoft Outlook, Yahoo and Gmail to prevent the,and other tags in your code from appearing if you insert an external CSS file, with the result being a break in the body of your email.
Use an absolute image path when inserting images into your email templates. This is preferable over a relative path for your image as an image with an absolute path will display universally, whereas images using a relative path are capable of displaying within a specific set of development environments.
6. Add alt attributes to your images
Search engines are not able to see images the way you or I see them. Descriptive alt attributes on your images will tell the search engines what your images consist of.
7. Provide a plain text version
While your HTML email template may be attractive and compelling many email clients and third party email apps are not capable of rendering emails with HTML. Offering a plain text version will ensure your email recipients get to read your message.
8. Avoid over-long URLs
Use a URL shortener to make the appearance of your URLs more attractive and avoid messing up your email presentations.
9. Avoid using video on your emails
If you must use video to support your email message, upload it to a video sharing site such as Vimeo or YouTube first and then embed into your email.
10. Use good etiquette
No less than any of the previous tips, using good etiquette in your emails will ensure good readability. Use proper grammar, the correct tone, composition and salutations and ensure it does not contain spelling errors.