HTML Email Formatting: Mistakes & Fixes

HTML email formatting is considered to be one of the best things that any email marketer can do with the messages he sends to the people in his emailing lists. However, while this kind of formatting can exponentially increase the appeal of your email messages, it also has the potential to be the banana skin on which your email marketing efforts can slip.

There are many things that can go wrong when an individual actually gets down to formatting his email messages through HTML. Over the years, we have all come across such mistakes either as email marketers, online entrepreneurs, or quite simply as recipients of the emails themselves.

Fortunately, with just a little more care, you can avoid making these mistakes yourself. In order for this to happen, however, you need to know what the common mistakes are and how to fix them. Here is an example..

Overload of Images and Graphics

While most mistakes that email marketers make with the HTML email formatting of their messages are visible to their receivers, this is one mistake that does not qualify. The reason for this is simply that if you overload your email message with images and graphics, it will not pass through the spam filters of many email service providers. Here is how you can avoid this mistake.

1. Graphics and text: The best thing to do is to balance the graphics in your email message with the appropriate quantity of text. Ideally, you should be using a 3:1 ratio in terms of size wherein three is the size of text and one is the graphics.

2. Less is more: If the amount of text in your message is a lot less then do not try to increase the size of the message through images. A smaller email message is also a lighter email message which would allow it to go through email service filters. In fact, some receivers might even appreciate short and sweet email messages.

3. Thumbnail images: If you are using images in your email messages then they would run up the total size of your email message. Email service providers look for heavier emails and treat them as spam. The trick to use images and still avoid this situation is to use thumbnail images.

4. No 100 percent graphics message: Many email marketers think that they can just formulate an email message in Adobe Photoshop and send a JPG as their email message. However, this would be counterproductive because email messages that are nothing but images are usually blocked off by email service providers.

 

Ignoring the Preview Pane

Many people use email clients as opposed to using their emails through their browsers. In fact, this is increasingly becoming common practice and a lot of professionals are using email clients such as Microsoft Outlook and Windows Mail. The reason why this is relevant for email marketers is that most email clients have the feature of preview panes.

Most email marketers do not realize this fact and build their email messages on conventional structures. This can reduce the impact of the email message. Consider how you can avoid making this mistake.

1. Inverted pyramid: The inverted pyramid is a journalistic technique which demands that information be provided in a descending order of importance. It is relevant for email marketers as well.

2. Logo placement: Logo placement can not only occupy space but also put off the symmetry of an email message. The best place for logos is on the left side of the email message near the top.

3. Dimensions: If you think about the preview pane, then you might consider going wide to accommodate it. However, this would not work because preview panes themselves have restrictions on how wide they can go. Keep it under 600 pixels.

4. Text link: A text link should be on top of your email message and should go straight to the web version of your email message. If you can make the content of the text link compelling then you would get more click throughs onto the web version of your email message.

Dead Links in the Email

An email message with dead links is counterproductive to the entire working principle of email marketing. Links that are broken or blocked can be counted as dead links because they do not allow click through traffic.

There is only one reason for your email message to have dead links and that is laziness. Here are a couple of ways that you can use to avoid dead links in your email message.

1. Text URLs: Links that are pasted directly from the browser to the content space are known as text URLs. In other words, if you paste direct links into your content as opposed to creating hyperlinks on anchor text then you are using text URLs. Text URLs are frowned upon by the majority of email service providers which is why they block email messages carrying such links.

2. Independent content: It is always best to use content that is independent of the graphics or images it is accompanied by. The reason for this is that there are a wide variety of platforms through which people are using the internet these days. Many of these platforms do not support heavy graphics and images which could result in your email message carrying broken or dead links.

Restricted Innovation

While email marketing is not regulated by any single body, there are still certain coding standards that are expected as norm. Even so, many email marketers like to innovate with their email messages so as to get the maximum out of their investment.

However, there is a difference between innovating within a system and innovating beyond it. Email marketers that use out of the box coding and unique attachments run the risk of running afoul of standards set by email service providers. The trick is to innovate but in a restrictive manner. Consider the following.

1. Coding: As mentioned earlier, one of the ways of sidestepping the problem of being blocked by email service providers is to not go too far with the coding and stay within the standard norms. There is a lot of innovation that can be done within the accepted coding formats. Therefore, this should not restrict your creative skills too much.

2. Attachments: The majority of email service providers almost always see attachments from unknown senders as spam. The result, as is obvious, is a bypass of the inbox into the spam folder or even a complete block. Avoiding sending attachments should resolve this problem entirely.

Being Blindsided

Online entrepreneurs are almost always short on time. This can lead to neglect on their part in things that they consider insignificant or assured. This can lead to many online entrepreneurs and email marketers not going the full nine yards and testing their email messages as much as possible before sending them.

However, as most seasoned email marketers would tell you, this is a cardinal email marketing sin.

1. Test: If the problem is that you do not test your email messages enough then the solution is simply that you should test them as much as possible. In fact, you should be so focused on testing your email messages that it should be obsessive to a certain extent. Send your test email messages to different accounts on different email servers and see how they look.

2. Prioritize: Due to the different coding patterns that different email service providers follow, it is nigh impossible for you to spot and fix all the problems with your email messages. Therefore, what you should do is prioritize these efforts to only big problems and overlook the smaller ones. This way you can, at least, be sure that your email messages are visible to your target audience.

As an email marketer, if you want to ensure maximum returns on investment by maximizing the deliverability of your email messages, then you need to study all the mistakes mentioned above and work hard to prevent them from occurring.

It is not difficult to ensure the quality of your email messages. All you need is to invest some time and effort.