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Html emails are a great way to showcase prices and products. A couple of tips that might come in handy:
1. Use simple styles. If you go for a complicated stylesheet setup they will be overrided by the email providers' (hotmail, aol, email.com) stylesheet anyway- so it won't end up looking the way it did on your machine for most users. So keep it simple.
2. You can host any images you use on your server or you could embed them in the email. Including them in the email makes the newsletter take up more space and hosting them on your server may bring up bandwidth issues or offline viewing problems. Take your pick, neither way is ideal, although the trend at the moment is towards hosting the images on a server.
3. You'll need some way of tracking the success of the email. Use redirect pages or a unique url for each product, which you can easily pick out of your logs.
4.Make them in pure html. Some peoples mail programes may have problems displaying them anyhow, so don't complicate matters by trying to add dhtml or anything fancy (like flash). Again, keep it simple.
5. Have a comment at the very top of the email (in the html) saying something like "if you can see this then your email program may not display html correctly, please click this link to see the email" With a link to the email on a webpage.
Keep in mind that sometimes html just isn't the way to go. Some target markets (like geeks or webmasters for example) sometimes just don't like html emails and would much prefer a text only email. On the other hand, in some sectors it really works.
Hope that helps.
In my opinion most HTML emails are spam. They are bandwidth consuming, possibly harmful and plain annoying things that appear in my inbox on regularly! But that's just my personal opinion!
There has been many discussions on HTML emails here before and the general consensus seems to be that a plain text mail with your message and a link to a relative HTML page is the most polite way. It's important to remember that:
This means that your message will never even get through, despite all your work.
That said, I delete all email formatted in HTML which is not from a "friends" address before they get to my email box automatically. I also dont subscribe to any newsletters that only have a HTML option. I added this filter when i found that not one email sent to me in the previous 6 months which had HTML was of any use. They are also larger in size, and have more potential for containing nasty virus and such.
Personally i find the practice rude as it slows down my downloading, but Im only one in a million i guess. "Normal casual or inexperienced internet users" may accept it more, probably because they dont know how to turn it off or SPAM has not become too big a problem yet.
Though just being in HTML does not mean it is spam, many spammers do use HTML because they think it will have more impact.
I now send power point presentations to Potential Clients in response to an enquiry. I think that emails with a nice header are preferable to heavy html, and enclose attachment for details on our products. As always important to keep files as small as possible
Although bad HTML is often spam and spam is often HTML, emails are not spam just *because* they are HTML. Spam is spam, whether text or HTML.
HTML emails are like websites - they can be good or bad. At the end of the day, it all comes down to the designers experience and the end-user's preferences.
On average, HTML emails give 2-4 times higher response rates than text. HTML email is good for branding. You can track open rates. You can display "click here" instead of a long url. They can look good. Lots of others.
Larger size = longer download time. Not viewable in all email clients. Often filtered/stripped by corporate networks. They can look bad. Lots of others.
Always send it in multi-part mime format so that text-only email clients display a readable version.
I absolutely hate them. I usually delete them before they load, even if from family and friends.
They take too long to load and scan through.
They are like junk catagloues.
Give me text - keep it short and simple - if I'm intrigued I'll click the link and get the presentation.
Otherwise, they are spam.
Is that industry specific or an average?
I always tend to delete emails that have any form of graphic on them.
Also my main email just sends me the HTML which is a bit poor.
I think at the end of the day going opt in with option of format is the best bet.
If they are being used for newsletters, I would go for a short plain text message, with a link to a newsletters page on your site though. More content will build up on your site this way.
Advertising products could be done that way, but not for all though (I assume you are trying to "sell" your recipients).
Widget Co. Mailout.
If you can see this message it means your email program cannot read HTML email. If you are interested there is a copy located at the following webaddress: [yoururl.com...]
This will alleviate the problem of the (relative minority) who still do not recieve it in a readable format
Iid be interested in the source for that too. Ive seem it claimed a lot but i havent seen results of objective tests or surveys. I would also be interested in seeing whether they convert as well (ie. Did they click on the link or reply just because they liked the "look" of the email or were they really as good a prospect than somone who more rationally made the decision?)
I assume that most people that view HTMl emails are at home rather than work, and are relatively new to the internet and havent yet found out how to turn it off or know of the dangers of nasties embedded in fomatted/HTML emails.
So not disagrreing, but would like to see the evidence!
They load fine on broadband, but then a lot of people use dial ups at home still, connect-download email-disconnect.
This causes a problem, when you open them it will try to re-connect. I am told by friends that this is very annoying :) - the HTML email obviously gets the blame.
Of course they should get the blame, emails are best read off line, especially of you are on a dial up, or away from a connection etc etc.
Graphics and pretty formatting have a place, and thats on the web.
As i said before, I can't and dont want to force people not to use HTML for emails, its just that i dont read 'em. Each to his own. And my advice is that there are others like me.
The stats I mentioned before relate to some of my client's campaigns. If it's done properly, HTML email really does work.
In terms of *proof* of better response rates for HTML, the doubleclick report is probably the most readily available. Note that their report relates to B2C, *not* B2B (which is a completely different kettle of fish).
"Consumers respond better to Html than text. Html generates response rates overall 1.4 times and up to 1.7 times higher than text for all industry categories."
"Overall click-through rate for industry text emails was 7.1%, while Html was 10.0%."
"Html performed markedly better for most industry categories and increased performance."