HTML email comes of age

Plain-text email enthusiast Rachel Collinson explains why she thinks html email might finally be worth the trouble.

I'd imagine many of you are familiar with me banging on about HTML email and how it's just not worth it when compared with plain text.

Well, I can say that finally, HTML email has come of age. Break out the organic cava! Unleash the recycled party poppers! You can now send this stuff out guilt-free.

This is mainly to do with several recent developments:

  • Email marketing systems have now properly matured, with great templates that have been rigorously tested
  • Research reports on smartphones show that people are having fewer problems reading email on mobile devices
  • Automated testing systems are now more common, allowing you to test much more easily across the zillions of combinations of device, operating system and email software

But ONLY use HTML email if you:

  • Make sure that your email works for people who will never see images in it.
  • Test, test, test. And then test again.
  • Disregard the open rate - it's the click rate that matters.
  • Focus on one thing per email.
  • Use an existing tried and tested email template. Base your email on that rather than designing from scratch. There are major pitfalls for the unwary. If your template isn't robust, you can be sending out broken emails for years and never know it.
  • Know that if your copy is boring, HTML and pretty images will not  save you.

There. I said it :o)

Rachel Collinson is Managing Director of Rechord, an online creative agency specialising in non-profit and campaigning clients.

by Rachel Collinson published Jul 30, 2012,
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