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Published by brandon.badillo, 2019-03-08 18:37:32




©2019 Site Impact. All rights reserved.

mail itself has been around since the 1970s, and
email marketing the practice of brands sending

Epromotional or other messages to potential and

current customers followed the advent of the new
medium quickly. Queen Elizabeth I was the first head of
state to send an email in 1976, and the first recorded
email advertisement sent via government and university
networks went live in 1978.

Of course, there is a constant battle between brands
looking to get the message out about their products and
services and the desire that consumers have for privacy,
and email has been one of the toughest battle grounds
for this, from the 2003 CAN-SPAM act signed into law
by George W. Bush to the more recent GDPR regulations
established by the European Union. Bad behavior from
unscrupulous brands and marketers has always made
things more difficult for legitimate companies; and beyond
the laws themselves, regulatory agencies like the Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) have codified rules for how
marketers can conduct themselves.


On top of that, the rise of ISPs and then independent
email providers such as hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail and more
have further complicated matters for brands seeking their
audience, namely through the development and changes
to their guidelines and algorithms.

Google rolls out new innovations to their email platform
often: the segmented inbox, with categories for regular
emails, social media notifications, and promotional
content all neatly categorized for users; they have also
revolutionized customer control of the content they
receive by allowing for one-click unsubscribing and new
functions for reminders to follow up on emails as well as
the ability to “snooze” emails for a pre-set period of time.
While this does mean that consumers will be better able
to focus on those messages that truly interest them, these
kinds of capabilities do make it challenging for brands to
get the attention they need.


Technology plays a major role in the email marketing
world as well; what used to be a desktop-only medium has
thanks to the growing popularity of smart phones-become
dominated by people who access their emails, personal
and professional alike, on their devices. With this shift has
come several challenges, and with new technology like
voice address systems for home use and “the internet of
things” becoming more and more of a reality, there’s no
slowdown ahead for changes to email. Right now, a large
proportion of consumers access their emails through
mobile devices either entirely or primarily. This means
that marketers will continue to have to focus their efforts
on creating a big-screen experience for a small screen.


The single best way for brands to make sure that they’ll
continue to be able to land in the inbox and connect with
customers is to stay on the right side of the ISPs and email
providers, and the best way to do that is to know what
the best practices are. Of course, these are constantly
changing and evolving but most providers have some
clear and consistent logic behind their rules and knowing
what it is that they’re looking for lays a solid foundation
for maintaining a good reputation. Engaging in email
marketing with too cavalier an attitude or without doing
your due diligence will make it much harder for brands to
get the recognition and engagement they need; once a
brand’s reputation is marked, it gets harder and harder for
that brand to recover it.


o now that we know that the best way to stay visible for
consumers is to follow the best practices, we can take some

Stime to look at what those best practices are and how they’ve

changed and adapted over time. As a general definition, best
practices are those guidelines and procedures that the consensus
of an industry considers correct and effective; they can come out of
governmental regulations, consumer behaviors, and more and most
come from a combination of those factors.

For email marketing, the biggest concern is to avoid
coming across as spam. Many email providers have built-in
spam filters that detect emails appearing to match certain
characteristics and automatically block them from the
inbox; there is also a possibility for recipients to mark an
email as spam and enough of those reports can damage
any sender’s reputation, making it more likely that future
emails will be automatically sent to the spam folder (where
no one will see them). While the list of best practices can
sometimes seem endless, there are some key practices
that everyone in the industry can agree on, that maximize
any email marketer’s efforts.


Research shows that a large percentage of consumers
either primarily or exclusively look at their emails on their
phones, and as demographics shift that number is poised
to increase. What this means for email moving forward is
that marketers will have to plan for their campaigns to be
accessible on a smaller screen.

In addition to the general challenges posed by trying to
fit information and great design on the handheld screen,
Apple and Google alike are incorporating more interactive
functionalities into their email platforms, which means that
marketers have important choices to make when and how
to incorporate interactive features into email design and
when to leave things classic will become more and more
important an issue.


May 25, 2018 saw the launch of the EU’s General Data
Protection Regulation (GDPR), which governs how brands
and marketers can collect and use consumer data; other
countries have been following suit, and consumer privacy
concerns in the light of new data collection possibilities
have been growing. People want to feel that they have
control over who knows about them as well as what they
know; so, permission-based email is the only way to go.
Opt-in procedures for email marketing should be clear in
terms of the information gathered and used, and easy to


navigate, and making it easy for consumers to take back
their permission is also vitally important as these new
regulations get stricter.


More and more innovative possibilities are coming or
have arrived when it comes to email, so marketers need
to know the best formats to use whether that’s a question
of which platforms customers are more likely to be on, or
which new bells and whistles to use in an email. Knowing
which format will work best (HTML, plain text, or the
newer formats available as email platforms expand) for
the effect needed separates the novices from the pros.


One thing that has always been consistent with email
marketing is that the content of the email from the subject
line to the body is a key factor for success. The shift to
mobile and other formats makes email copy even more
important; marketers must get the message across in a
way that’s clever, concise, and clear. Consumers aren’t
interested in reading long emails, but they also aren’t as
likely to respond if they feel like they don’t have enough
information. Finding the balance between providing
enough information for customers to convert, conveying
it in a way that entertains, and not overloading, makes the
difference between a successful email campaign and one
that just doesn’t work.



More and more, email service providers and ISPs are
looking to protect their users’ privacy and to appeal to
consumer desires to stamp out spammy emails. As a
result, platforms like Gmail and Yahoo have implemented
algorithms that take aim at the most obvious signs of spam
emails; they have also given their users the tools to report
inappropriate or spammy emails. When this happens,
the systems flag the account those emails come from;
and too many strikes means that future emails will land
in a dedicated spam folder, where recipients won’t ever
see them, and where they’re likely to get automatically
deleted. Marketers have to keep on top of their reputation
as senders or they won’t be able to be seen.


New functions and capabilities for email design arrive on
the scene seemingly weekly, and it can be tempting to
incorporate all the exciting new options into a campaign,
in the hopes of really standing out. But even though
email platforms are rolling out options that can allow for
interactive emails with quizzes and animation, there is still
a place for a plain text email and for restrained graphics
and design elements. Knowing when to use a flashy new
feature in an email and when to show restraint to get a
genuine message across makes a huge difference in the
success or failure of a campaign.


Data has become one of the most important aspects of
planning and deploying an email marketing campaign.
Gone are the days of “blast” emails sent to everyone on
a list with the same messaging; consumers increasingly
demand more personalized emails that target their
interests directly. The best way to set a campaign up
for success is A/B testing and other methods; finding
out exactly what consumers and prospective customers
specifically-will respond to can make or break a campaign
and mean the difference between a great ROI and money
down the drain.


mail marketing is becoming more and more intimate and
personalized; consumers want to feel like the brands reaching

Eout to them are offering them, specifically, value for their time.

Technology is making this more and more possible, and consumer
expectations continue to rise as more and more, marketers put it to

Targeted emails, and list segmentation, are two important
practices when it comes to email; but in order to target
groups and individuals, or segment your recipient lists,
you first have to know who it is you’re marketing to. Data
on who it is you’re talking to is an important foundational
step but before you even get to look at who’s already
engaging with your brand, it’s important also to know who
you should be reaching out to; who might be interested in
a particular product or service.

Demographic data has been around for years now, including
the ability to target based on:

● Gender ● Age ● Income level ● Geographic area ● Marital status

● Family status ● Interests ● Race ● Education

The coming data and analytics, however already starting
to show up revolve around predictive and behavioral
measures. As information gathering has become more
automated, it’s become easier and easier to make
projections and predict responses. From here, marketers
can target specific messages to specific people, and know
that those people will welcome the value.


List segmentation the process of separating a list of
email addresses into categories has been a factor in email
strategy for years, but new technologies are making
it possible to segment lists down almost to individual
email recipients. Of course, there’s a level beyond which
individualization no longer makes sense from a cost-
benefit analysis; but using the data that is increasingly
available on consumer behaviors and demographics,
marketers have the ability to get very close indeed to a
one-on-one connection with their customers. That one-
on-one feeling that individual connection is something
that consumers increasingly demand from companies they
do business with, and that trend is poised to continue.


Technology and planning now exist to make it possible for
marketers to target campaigns to specific groups of people
most likely to convert based on behavioral analytics,
previous purchase history, demographic information and
more. Marketers that don’t get on board with the shift to
more personalized marketing content are going to quickly
find themselves left behind.


With the shift from general messages to the entire
audience to specific, targeted communications with
segmented groups comes another challenge for marketers:
crafting messages that make sense, that appeal the best to
the sub-groups they’re reaching out to.

● While you may only have a limited number of products
or services, there are bound to be multiple groups of
people interested in them; but those groups all respond
to different things.

● Copy in email marketing should appeal to those values,
wants, and needs that each group has in mind.

● The way that you would address a 21-year-old college
student to convince them to buy is different from how
you would address a 40-year-old mother of four.

Segmenting and targeted copy go hand-in-hand to help
marketers improve ROI, increase engagement, and overall
secure more conversions. The best segmentation methods
in the world won’t help if they’re not accompanied by
appropriate messaging to the various segments you have
in mind.


ne of the more interesting findings that multiple studies
have documented within the field of email marketing is that

Oconsumer response is heavily dependent on timing. The

time that emails arrive in an inbox, along with the amount of time
an offer is available, with other variables, all play a role in not just
the rate at which recipients open a given email, but their likelihood
of responding to a call to action. Knowing when your customers
or prospects are most likely to have the time to really consider the
value proposition you present can make a big difference.


Planning for email marketing campaigns should include a
broad understanding of the behavior of your customers;
that includes when they are most likely to be checking
their email, as well as when they are more likely to be
engaged with their emails. While many consumers check
their email first thing after waking up, that check is often
cursory just for the sake of picking and choosing which
emails they want to read, and which they will send directly
to the trash. Even in these instances, however, a savvy
email marketer can set themselves apart enough to make
the cut.



Brands should know when it’s relevant to reach out
to their customers; the ability to email every day is
intoxicating and can be a temptation but one that should
be avoided. The best practice for email marketers is to
tend towards fewer rather than more emails, and to make
those emails as relevant as possible. Behavioral targeted
emails (for example, emails triggered by a customer
abandoning their virtual shopping cart on the website,
or browsing and then leaving) are a mainstay of email
marketing, but they are not the only ones to think about;
promotional emails should be highly relevant to customers’
interests some brands have even been able to go so far as
to use weather data to suggest potentially useful items.


The growth of new tools to gather and analyze data means
that it’s easier than ever to know the exact right moment
to launch a campaign, and to follow up. Seasons, trending
issues, demographic movements and more can affect the
best time for you to reach out to consumers; now that
there is data at hand to be able to make these choices, it is
important to choose wisely.

With the data in hand, you can plan your campaigns to
come and while your timing should be flexible, it’s a good
idea to plan as much in advance as possible. You should
have loose plans for your campaigns for as far as a year


out; of course, as the time for a particular campaign
approaches, it’s important to tweak and reevaluate. For a
minimum guideline, you should have at least three months
lead-time on any given campaign, and the data will help
you to accomplish that with confidence.


While it’s important to have basic campaign plans set
up three, six, and up to twelve months in advance,
keep in mind that some of the campaigns that have the
best responses and highest conversions fall into place
in reaction to current events; being agile and flexible
to the demands of the moment, to what is going on
in your consumers’ lives and worlds, can create its
own opportunity to engage and win conversions. It’s
important to build in spontaneous or at least spontaneous
seeming campaign chances, to generate a higher level
of engagement from your audience. By having a few
ideas “on the deck,” so to speak, to fit different types of
scenarios, marketers can reach out in ways that seem
genuine, and that are highly relevant to their audiences.


nce you know who your audience is, and the groups that
they’re made up of, you can effectively tailor your message

Oto them; you know when they’re most likely to respond to

your message, what kind of verbiage they’re likely to react positively
to, and much more. With that in mind, it’s easier to break down the
steps of actually crafting the perfect email for each segment.

Before you do that, however, you should know what your
message is. Each campaign should have a specific idea, or
concept to communicate; there’s nothing more likely to
waste money than a campaign with no real message for
people to respond to. So, before you get to crafting, there
are a few important questions to ask yourself:

● What is the goal of the campaign?

● In the simplest words possible: what do you want
your customers’ take-away to be?

● What’s in it for them?

● How does it reflect the brand?


Not all email marketing campaigns are necessarily to
promote a specific event like a sale or a new product
arrival; campaigns geared at awareness of a new product
or service are just as valid. Let’s drill down a bit more into
the questions though.


Every campaign that you develop and launch should have
a specific, measurable goal. What that goal is can vary but
it should be something that you can state specifically, and
that you can come up with a way to gauge the success of.
Some examples of specific, measurable goals include:

● Awareness of new products or services
● Increased traffic to your website/location
● Increased sales overall

Of course, there are as many possible goals that brands
can target as there are days in a year and brands in the
world; but the important thing is to make sure before
planning the campaign that you know what you’re hoping
to achieve and how you will measure whether or not
you’ve achieved it.


This question follows directly from the first one, and
at heart, it’s asking: what is the “elevator pitch” version
of your campaign’s goal? Marketers should be able to
describe, in the simplest terms, what email recipients
should know or understand about the brand’s message.
Consider the following exercise to get to the best possible
version of the customer’s take away:


● Start with the broadest version of the concept you
want to communicate to consumers

● Narrow the focus down to the key words
● Use the keywords to turn the broad concept into a

single sentence
● If possible, refine that sentence to the length of an old

school Twitter post (140 characters)
● This is the customer takeaway!


Having a clear concept of what you want to express to
the customer, in the most basic possible terms, helps to
frame every other aspect of planning and development
of the campaign. Anything that isn’t in service to getting
that point across should be reconsidered, and if possible
cut completely. As email becomes an increasingly mobile-
first medium, space is at a premium; making the concept
as tight as possible and as straightforward as you can will
make it easier to make decisions to cut extraneous content
and over-the-top design elements. Keep in mind that even
in the multimedia-obsessed age we currently live in, some
of the most successful email marketing campaigns remain
plain text campaigns.


This may seem at first like a redundant question, following
the customer take away; but really it’s a statement of
the value proposition that you’re offering your recipients
which may be separate from the overall message you
want them to take away from the campaign. Consumers
are increasingly seeking solid value for their time reading
emails there are simply so many coming in that if they read
every one there would barely be time for anything else.
So if an email doesn’t offer obvious value, consumers are
much more apt to ignore it or delete it without reading
than they might have in the past.


Of course, value comes in many forms, and benefits
don’t have to be something concrete like a specific dollar
amount off of the purchase of an item. Asking yourself
what benefit the customer gets from opening your email,
reading your message, and clicking on your call to action
helps to frame how you’re going to present these things
to the recipient; it also helps keep the primary focus on
what’s most likely to bring success to your campaign.
Consumers especially in the Millennial demographic are
consistent where they feel that their time is valued. They
reward brands that give them something back whether
that’s a discount or something less tangible (for example,
information on an item that can benefit them or make their
lifestyle goals easier to accomplish). Studies have shown
that those marketers that focus the most on customer
expectations and desires have the highest success rates;
and for good reason.



While email marketing is made up of individual campaigns,
it’s also important to fit those campaigns into a larger
context of how they will impact the brand over the long
term. As an example: one campaign, badly developed or
poorly deployed (for example, broken links or offensive
imagery) can damage a brand’s relationship with its
customers for months and years to come. It’s important
to ask what the impact of the campaign will be on brand
recognition, authority, and consumer confidence while still
in the planning stages, and keep that question in the back
of your mind as you go through the rest of the steps.

Many email marketing campaigns are aimed not at specific
promotional events but at overall consumer awareness of
products or services; these awareness campaigns don’t
necessarily garner a huge number of immediate sales or
conversions but by telling a story, they encourage later
conversions and sales, and encourage email recipients
to share. The internet has become an extremely
interconnected hub; social media has only hastened that
phenomenon. Make sure that your brand is properly
represented in your email campaigns and you’ll maintain
steady ground to grow from with both new and existing


hen people think about email marketing, one of the
foremost concerns in their mind is either data or design

Waspects; even among professional marketers, these two

aspects tend to take the bulk of attention and they are certainly
not unreasonable priorities. But content is every bit as important as
graphic design when it comes to email marketing: it is the message,
in a way that no design element, not even the call to action, can be.

Email marketing content falls into a few specific categories,
so it bears looking at each one individually to understand
how choices create impact as well as to understand the
best practices in each area.


A well-crafted subject line is, at heart, an invitation. It’s
something that makes the email recipient want to know
more, something that encourages their curiosity and
interest. With the shift to mobile platforms as well as the
coming popularity of voice address systems, subject lines
remain vitally important but the approach that marketers
take to crafting them has and will continue to have to
● Studies show that the emails that get the best open

rates have subject lines of 50-100 characters in length
A good subject line should convey urgency as well as a
clear message; but it’s important to avoid the kinds of
words and tactics that people associate with spam emails.
For example, some of the most common “red flag” words for
spam are:

● Act now!
● Free
● Cash
● Don’t delete
● No catch
● “Once in a lifetime”
● Winner
Of course, there are far more than these, but this list
gives a representative sample and illustrates the point:
while a deal or a promotion may be a substantial value for
customers, trying to hype it too much can do the opposite
of getting people interested. A good subject line should be
more like an introduction to an interesting person and less
like a hard, desperate sell.



Once the recipient opens the email, based on the subject
line, it’s a terrible thing to go on to disappoint them with
the email’s contents; it feels like a small betrayal to be
intrigued and then let down so the best practice is to avoid
that by making sure the body text of the email is just as
strong as the subject line. Ideal body text should have the
following features:

● No glaring grammatical or spelling errors

● Correct, clear information

● Appropriate “tone”

● Engaging delivery

● Concise length

People read emails quickly; studies show that consumers
spend on average 15 to 20 seconds each reading
individual emails. That means that if there’s something
obviously off a clear typo, a grammatical error that messes
up flow, bad spelling, etc you’ve lost them before you
even really have them. Body content for emails should be
concise, with no extraneous information, as well as clear it
shouldn’t require more than a few seconds of thinking to
understand the message.

Tone and delivery are important too: depending on your
brand, the level of professionalism and familiarity that
your recipients will expect from you will vary, but it should
be consistent across all of your emails. Too familiar or
friendly an approach is as much a turn off as too formal an

In short, body content for an email should give the
recipient everything they need to make a decision, in a
quick format that’s easy to digest, and with a tone that
feels comfortable.


The call to action (CTA) in an email actually has two
aspects to it: the design aspect and the content factor.
We’ll discuss the design aspects (including placement,
color, etc.) later on; for now, it’s important to focus on the
content. The primary thing to remember about your call to


action is this:

The best-placed call to action will not accomplish much if
the actual wording of it doesn’t measure up.

Calls to action are similar to subject lines in the sense
that they need to be quick and inviting. They represent,
in essence, a final pitch one last, big push to convert. But
too often, marketers overstep when it comes to a CTA;
they know they need to give their recipients that final
push, but instead of a gentle shove they apply the kind
of enthusiasm and force that one would expect from
someone trying to move a pregnant woman out of the
way of a car. It’s easy to understand this mistake and not
always as easy as it might seem to avoid it.

Best practices when it comes to calls to action from the
content perspective fall into the following guidelines:

● As few words as possible

● Clear cause-effect relationship

● No shouting

A call to action from a graphic or design standpoint
really just represents a spot for a customer to convert: a
clickable link, a mobile-friendly “button” that enables a
call, etc. With that in mind, a call to action should be no
more than a handful of words and those words should
clearly communicate what action is needed and what the


result of that action will be. For example, “Check out the
new lineup” or “Buy now”. The correct length of any given
email’s call to action is going to vary depending on the rest
of the email but it shouldn’t be more than about 5 or 6
words at the most. As you can see in the examples, the call
to action clearly communicates an action and connects it
with an outcome.
As for the “no shouting” guideline: consumers get emails
constantly at least dozens a day and while calls to action
should have a sense of urgency behind them, content
that comes across as shouting will only turn people off; it
won’t make them feel comfortable about clicking the link,
pressing the button, or acting on the offer in whatever
other way you need them to.


ow that we’ve tackled the best practices for email content,
we can take a look at the role that design plays in email

Nmarketing and it’s an important factor, indeed. While good

content is vital for a successful email campaign, the design elements
are the frame and the best artwork suffers when it’s placed in a
bad frame. Creative comes into play even more powerfully with the
growth of mobile email, since the smaller screen concentrates the

Overall, the key to good email design is balance; the days
where one big image was all a marketer needed are over,
and with mobile email, balance is more important than
ever. Images should fit into the smaller format without
being overwhelming and should be appropriate both to the
subject and to branding issues. Color choices should also
take consumer preferences and psychology into account.
Finally, the layout should be as clean and clutter-free as
possible. Let’s take a few moments to look at what these
things really mean.



Images are an important piece of any email marketing
campaign, as they are in most advertising formats. Content
tells the story, but images reinforce the concept and after
all, as they say: a picture is worth a thousand words.

When selecting images for your email campaign, there
are some key best practices to abide by. On the most
basic level, images for email should be appropriate, brand-
related, and relevant. They should be sized properly for
the layout and they shouldn’t take up so much space that
they obscure the message you’re sending. Finally, avoid
background images altogether; most email providers strip
them out of emails entirely, meaning that at best it will
never be seen and at worst, it can harm your reputation
with the provider. More specifically there are some key
aspects to keep in mind:

● Use the minimum number of images to convey the
feeling you need

● Make sure to pay attention to proportions in your
images on mobile, recipients have about three inches
of space

● Simpler images are better than more complicated images

● Colors in your images should coordinate with your other
design elements properly



In addition to the images used in the email, color choices
and visual patterns play a major role. Color choices can
make a major difference in the way that consumers
respond to your email, and the shapes you use in the
format can break up flow or enhance it. In addition to
these concerns, the fonts you choose for the email design
subtly unconsciously make an important impression in
customers’ minds. There are a few key things to consider in
this arena:

● Use a limited number of colors focus on no more
than 2-3

● Avoid red as much as possible; it can be a trigger for
spam filters

● Color theory works: warm colors (red, orange, yellow)
elicit excitement, while cool colors (blues, greens,
purples) have a calming effect

Balancing the colors and shapes involved in your design
will create the most impactful statement; poorly balanced
colors or incompatible shapes will interrupt the flow and
even the best content in the world won’t work.



In addition to images, color, and shapes, an important
concern for the creative is the overall layout. As a prime
Vertical layouts are the only ones that work. Horizontal
layouts just don’t work in email especially for mobile email.

In addition to that important guideline, there are several
things to think about when considering the layout of your
email; overall, your layout should flow easily, allowing
customers who receive your email to pay attention to what
you have to say rather than trying to decode how you’re
saying it. Here, as in the previous aspects, there are a few
key practices to ensure success:

● Font size should be no smaller than 12 pixels, while the
CTA font should be 2-4 pixels larger

● Maximize the white space clean and uncluttered designs

work best
● Incorporate eye path techniques: there are consistent

ways that people tend to read, and how they prioritize
● Use visual textures wisely: they can add visual interest
and establish mood but they can also distract
● Code key elements like call to action buttons into the
email itself, rather than embedding them as images they
should be accessible even if images are turned off
With the right design elements in play, you can frame
your message properly, and create a winning combination!


tudies have documented that a large percentage of all
consumers and an even larger percentage of Millennials access

Stheir emails either primarily via mobile devices or exclusively

there. It’s easy to see why: smartphones allow users to check their
emails anywhere they happen to be, instead of being tethered to
a computer. More recent innovations in the realm of interactive
email even make it possible for consumers to not just convert but
complete purchases without having to even go to another site.

This trend is certain to continue as even more people jump
on board with mobile email, and so it only makes sense to
follow best practices to maximize the impact emails will
have on this platform; apart from content and design, the
major element at play is coding. There are some mainstays
of the format, as well as some new techniques that
marketers must keep in mind, to make the most of what
mobile email has to offer.


Apple and Google both have announced plans to roll
out even more sophisticated interactive functionalities
for email, which will be continuously released moving
forward. Some key possibilities include expanded animated
image capabilities, in-email purchasing abilities (negating
the need to go from the email to the site to complete a
purchase), and more. New functions allowing brands to


encourage in-email actions are going to be a major game
changer, but they will have to be used properly to make an
impact, instead of being just noise.

Moving forward, there will be even more ways in which
this will impact marketers; as voice address home systems
become more prevalent, the same functions that allow
people to go from interest to purchase within the same
email will need to accommodate that ease of use in a
voice address manner as well so it bears thinking about for
campaigns down the line.

Smart marketers should be learning as much as possible
about the options that platforms have begun rolling out,
so that they can confidently put them to the best possible
use and of course, it’s always worth remembering that
just because it’s possible to do something, it doesn’t mean
that it’s a good idea to. The same trick that can lend an
engaging note that draws customers in can also come
across as overwhelming or gimmicky, if it’s not handled



The best practices for mobile are not entirely different
from industry standards from years past; but mobile makes
issues like correct coding and proper design even more
important than they’ve ever been. While bells and whistles
like embeddable video and animations add a touch of
magic to a medium that can sometimes in the wrong hands
come across as somewhat tedious, they aren’t the main
story. The foundational premises for mobile email are and
have to be seamless experiences. With that in mind there
are some important things to keep in mind:

● Width of emails should be within the range of 350 to
600 pixels

● Programming language choice is vitally important;
know what device you’re sending to (segmentation is
important for this)

● Apple and Google’s phones use different systems, so
what works on one will not work for another

● Email is a 2-D medium, even with video embedded; code
nested tables for more intricate designs to keep things


● All images included in the email should have
alternative text (alt text); this way, if images are turned
off, they’re still accessible

● Pre-headers, headers, and footers should all be neat
and properly coded (broken code makes for sloppy

● Make sure that all characters are coded to avoid
junk-looking results when the email renders on your
recipient’s device

● Ensure that images are hosted on a reliable server,
using http links broken images in an email set off
alarm bells in recipients’ minds

● CTA buttons for mobile and buttons and icons in
general that appear should be proportionally larger
than desktop counterparts; after all, they need to be
accessible to a finger-tap

These guidelines are an important starting point, but the
underlying theme is this: your emails should show up
beautifully on mobile devices of different types, and you
should accordingly plan to make sure that the coding is
correct. Testing is an important aspect of this particular
issue in email marketing: send test emails to different

devices to make sure everything renders correctly, that
images are not crowding or showing up unevenly spaced.
There are quirks of email providers that should also be
considered when putting together the code for the email;
for example, most providers strip out coded spaces so it’s
important to have images that take the role of spacers to
ensure clean, white space where you want it.

The easiest method of making sure that things render
properly is responsive design; this does require a bit more
tech savvy, but it allows for marketers to invest more
time in the development of concepts and less time on
nitpicky coding. Responsive mobile design puts media
queries to use to optimize the experience for the device
the recipient is using, adjusting the email width, sizing of
design elements, and more for the purposes of displaying
it perfectly for the device it shows up on.

As the mobile-first culture moves forward and becomes
more prominent, responsive design will not just be
convenient, but utterly necessary; learning the tricks of the
trade now will ensure that campaigns long into the future
will follow predictable and easy-to-manage steps.


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