Email Coding 101

It can be daunting writing HTML from scratch especially if you haven’t written any HTML email code before. As someone who has coded email for over 15 years I promise you it is not as hard as it looks and everyone had a day one someday. Being able to read, write and understand HTML is a fantastic first step into understanding the internet and is a valuable life skill even outside of the email marketing environment. In this post I will guide you through the first simple steps of hand-coding your first email. Before we even get started it is worth pointing out that email code is quite different from ‘modern’ HTML you might find on the web, and without…

Planning and implementing your email marketing strategy

Email Marketing Strategy Just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should! It’s an old adage and one many email marketers would do well to consider before embarking on their email marketing strategy. If we start from what is possible the prospect of drawing up an email marketing strategy, budget, resource and timelines is daunting. I like to start from the other end, not what is possible but what does the business need. It sounds simple and the oft flippant response is more sales but that doesn’t always hold true. So start with a blank canvas and decide your business’s short, medium and long term goals, they may all turn out to be the same – sales,…

The Rise of the Spam Bots

Email marketers know the best distribution lists you can have are the ones grown organically, with a huge source being via sign up forms on your website. This means you can be certain that that person really wants to sign up…right? You might also have forms to capture such things as contact or blog comments to help you communicate with your users better. But just how safe are your forms really? If you haven’t added any protection to them against spam bots and malicious phishers, then sadly, not safe at all. The implications of this can often be dire for your success as an email marketer. Feedback from your users is a helpful way to know if you are collecting…

The 10 commandments of responsive email

James reads his emails on the slick new iPhone. Sarah uses Gmail and loves her ageing Android too much to say goodbye. Bob’s at work, using Outlook on a desktop PC. We’re about to send all of them a message. And we know it’s going to look fantastic. Not just for these individuals but on the countless device and email client combinations out there. That’s because the mailing has been carefully developed from planning to execution with responsive design in mind. Nearly 70% of companies send responsive emails these days. But how many of them are doing so as effectively as they could be? Take a look at these ten rules to find out how your responsive emails stack up.…

Pictureless perfect: how to build emails which look good when images are blocked

Image blocking has always been a challenge for email marketers. Some email clients hide images by default, leaving your beautifully crafted newsletter as little more than a few stray alt tags scattered around in white space. So how do you make sure your emails look presentable when stripped of their images? Let’s rule out some ideas which don’t work before we look at those that do. Embedded images Adding images to a web page doesn’t necessarily mean linking to an external file. It’s possible to use a data URI instead and paste the image data right there in your HTML document. There are drag-and-drop online converters which can generate the data for you. Just feed them an image and they’ll…

How retail should use email marketing

Email marketing can be the most effective sales support for retail companies. It is undisputed that it is by far the best value for money form of advertising. For every £1 spent, email marketing generates a £38 ROI. Email has been claimed to be more than 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter. This is easy to imagine as people have absolute control over their inbox in choosing to receive emails from their favourite brand it is reasonable to assume a retailer will be sending emails to people who want their emails. People have very little control over the type of content they receive via social media and most retailer brand messaging gets lost, not least because people don’t…

Do image heavy emails still have a place in email marketing?

A healthy balance of live text and images in email – it’s the general consensus in email design and development as well as being best practice. This healthy balance is seen as a must to help emails land in inboxes rather than the spam folder, and to ensure our emails reach the widest possible audience. However, over the years there has been a rapid increase in the number of email clients and devices that need to be considered in email development. With each combination of device and email client/inbox provider, email marketers are faced with set after set of rules and restrictions that need to be abided by. What’ll work in one email client won’t in another. Oh, but it’ll…

Email Conversion and UX Correlation infographic

Graphic design is a visual language of communication and, like any language has its rules. Emails have become part of the graphic world so need to abide by these rules. UX (user experience) is also critical and respecting the principles of UX will improve the engagement of your audience. So welcome to our Email Conversion and UX Correlation infographic, where we look at how design and UX can work seamlessly together.