HTML Emails And Best Practice

Whilst social media certainly has its place in reaching specific demographics; email marketing effortlessly sits as a foundation underneath these more modern methods. So let's look at how it can be used effectively whilst adhering to HTML email marketing best practices.

So What Is An HTML Email?

HTML emails have everything that standard plain text emails lack. These added extras range from styled layouts and images to custom colour schemes, font styles, formatting, and even certain types of multimedia.

The only difference is that they’re delivered to email inboxes instead of viewed online.

With most email newsletters and corporate announcements sent out today utilising HTML, it’s safe so that they’re not going anywhere soon.

Can I See An Example?

Sure thing, click here to look at our Ecologi “Rooted In Success” CSR newsletter, hosted by our CRM software Hubspot.

HTML Email Example 01

How Could An HTML Email Help My Business?

Higher Engagement

From pie charts to looping GIFs, HTML emails can help you get your message across quickly and more effectively. This is especially true for those in your audience who feel more comfortable with image-based instructions than lengthy copy bodies.

Push Your Brand Message

Adding rich media to your campaign not only helps reinforce your brand guidelines but enables you to present your products or services in a visually impactful manner. Does your company have a new product launching soon or an existing service that has been improved? If so, then images, videos or animations are a far better choice to champion those offerings than relying on the written word.

Utilise Audience Tracking

Although your common or garden HTML email doesn’t have this functionality, if you’re integrating your campaign into a CRM such as HubSpot or Salesforce, a world of analytics is at your disposal.

Not only will this help you discover how well your campaign performed, but it also prevents similar mistakes in future endeavours, should your audience engagement be poor.

Just watch out for Apple’s recent privacy changes, which have severely limited the reach of analytics.

What About Accessibility?

Just because your email is full of GIFs, images or diagrams doesn’t mean it’s always going to engage with your entire demographic. Designing the perfect email campaign also involves thinking about accessibility.

Offering a plain text version is vital in catering for people using screen readers and helps avoid anyone feeling they’ve been forgotten.

How Can We Ensure Best Practice (dos and don’ts)?

1) Avoid Gradients.

Unfortunately, gradient images and textures behind the editable text aren’t possible in standard HTML emails.

2) Less is more.

We all get 100’s of emails every day, so the reader will very much appreciate brevity. Think of your HTML email as the synopsis of a book. You’re aiming to lure the reader in and convince them to read the complete content on your website.

3) Fancy Fonts.

If your client has a fancy font, we will specify this in the code, but it will only display if the user has the font installed. If the font must be shown for brand reasons, we can display this by turning it into an image instead. However, think about how this will look if an email client has images hidden by default.

4) Interactivity.

Most email browsers don’t allow interactivity, such as quizzes or embedded video. An excellent way to get around this is by displaying the first quiz question in the email and linking your audience to the entire quiz elsewhere. However, the technology is ever-changing, so please reach out to the team if you need to ask us what is currently possible.

5) Videos.

Video in email is still in its infancy, and as such, it doesn’t render well in most email clients. In some cases, it won’t be shown by default at all. So instead, take a screen capture of the most eye-catching part of your video and direct the audience to the full content when they click the image.

6) Responsive Emails.

With more and more users reading emails on their phones, there is now the possibility of creating responsive emails. The caveat here is that the email will need to be distributed from a Marketing tool such as HubSpot or MailChimp. Get in touch with us if this is something you need.

7) Single Column.

Unless we send emails from a marketing tool that allows responsive emails, it’s best to try and make the email a single column structure. This will mean the email can display in the best way for mobile users, and you won’t be faced with columns of text and images that show in the incorrect order.

8) Less Is More.

It’s worth mentioning that just because you can add rich media content to an HTML email doesn’t mean you should. By all means, add images to support your content and GIFs to help explain a complex process, but research suggests that emails where multimedia was overused mean a decrease in the open rate of around 37%. That’s a huge hit to take purely because you found an exciting animated graphic.

9) Test, Test, Test!

Did we mention testing? We stress-test our emails as much as possible, but it’s always best to share the email with your client before the deadline and see if they have any display issues. There are dozens of email clients on numerous operating systems, so the more environments you test your email in, the better.

Don’t Forget A Call To Action.

One of the most important and yet often overlooked benefits of an HTML email is the ability to make your call to action more prominent with buttons, eye-catching formatting and more.

If it sounds like an HTML email will help get your healthcare message across effectively, we’re pretty sure you know where to click.

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