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Make Sure Your Email Looks As You Intend It To

What does your email look like when it arrives in your customers' inboxes? Is it the masterpiece you created and checked in your email client?

In this month's issue of Return Path's newsletter "Email Survival Guide", Matt Blumberg suggests checking the below four things before sending every email campaign to take precautions that your email will look exactly as you intend it to in the inbox before you hit send:

1. Check for problematic HTML
Due to different designers and methods, many emails have problematic HTML code and syntax errors that aren't accepted by certain email readers. Mistakes such as missing graphics or raw HTML code cause many emails to show up in the inbox in an unreadable format. If your HTML content isn't formatting correctly and is not aesthetically pleasing, response will fall considerably. It could even be so bad that your email won't get delivered at all.

2. Verify all links and images appear correctly Often the way your email is constructed will impact the way it works. You must check that all of your images appear correctly; that tables scroll, bullets format, and links are clickable in different client readers before you send your email. Many times if you use images from a different server, they can break. To troubleshoot links and images, make sure that the images are on your server and image tags have the correct links.

3. Check for spam-like content and spam filter data
Some common email filtering packages examine things like HTML styles, text formats, gaps in text, use of all caps, and other features common to spam. Mailers have some control over the effect of filters on their messages by avoiding words that trigger filters. However, content that triggers spam filters is not always obvious, which is why you need to test with a pre-campaign monitoring tool to see if there is content that you were not aware of that would get caught in spam filters.

4. View email in popular client readers Evaluating the compatibility of your email messages with different email clients is critical to running a professional email campaign. A few years ago, there weren't many different versions of web browsers to choose from, but now there are hundreds available. While checking how your email looks in every single email client would be impossible, it is important to know the factors that change how your email looks from one client reader to the next to make sure your email will render correctly in the first place for the readers that matter most to your program.

By spending a little time up front to make sure that your emails will render properly and be clear of spam-like content or code, you can secure much higher response rates from your email campaigns.

Source: Return Path's "Email Survival Guide" newsletter

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