Best Practices and Guidelines for eMail Newsletters

- Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In Online Marketing, eMail Newsletter Campaigns plays a major role to reach maximum number of audience. eMail Newsletter is one of the easiest ways to market your products, events, offers etc. Your eMail Newsletter Design might look great in one eMail client, but chances are when you open the same eMail in a different eMail client the results may not be the same.

Best Practices and Guidelines for eMail Newsletters

To be sure that the eMail Newsletter is reaching to the end users properly without any formatting issue(s) and getting displayed properly to the end users, follow the below guidelines.

Newsletter Design

Design your newsletter to suit its chief purpose. If the main objective is to announce a new product or promote a particular service, you may want to focus the newsletter entirely on this product or service.

If you have to include ads in your newsletter, make sure they blend in with the content. Balance your newsletter content to be 90% educational and 10% promotional.

People never read: they scan for content that is of interest to them. So, don’t overwhelm them by squeezing too much information on the page. Make sure your content gets straight to the point, and write short paragraphs and bullet points.

HTML Code Validation

Normally the eMail Newsletters are in HTML format, and should be validated properly before final send-out, there should not be any missing tags or extra tags. You can use W3C Validator to validate your pages.

Finally never forget to do HTML Unicode Entity Converter to the special characters. Always place your company logo on the top left side of the eMail. Grab users attention by your eMail headline(s). Try to avoid CSS (Style Sheets) in your eMail Newsletters no matter if its Inline, Embedded, or External CSS, use HTML font tags by using font tags we can make sure that the eMail will display fonts properly in any mail client.

<font face=" Arial, Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif" color="#000000" size="2">

Also all links should open in new window (e.g. target="_blank").

Text eMail

Keep your text eMail content simple, direct and to the point on your offer in short statements and bulleted text. Limit your each line length to 70 characters to prevent unwanted wrapping. Don't attempt to create boxes with characters like "-" and "". Use dashes (-) and asterisks (*) as separators for different sections of the message. All links should be on its own line with some additional text.)

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User will be able to distinguish the links and the text, and also reduces the chances of broken links or unwanted wrapping by eMail client.


Don't use images for important contents like headlines, calls to action and links to your web site. Outlook, Gmail and many others mail clients turn off images until allowed by the user. Use ALT tags properly in all images for better user experience also use the height and width to the image to ensure that the images are displaying properly without any formatting issue(s) and getting displayed properly to the end users. Limit the images in you eMail, use image only for your compnay logo, eMails banner, product picture and spacer images.

Make sure images have alt text. Most of the time, people won’t have images enabled, so you’ve got to make sure your images have one essential component: alt text. Alt text is the alternative text that appears when images aren’t loaded in an email. This is especially important if your CTAs are images -- you want to make sure people are clicking even without the image enabled. Users are drawn first to elements that are visually simulating, such as graphics. Use images to guide users to the most important content and messages.

Avoid Background Images. By default, most email programs don’t allow images to load at first. Using colored text against a colored background image is a perfectly acceptable practice when designing a website.

Write an Attractive Subject Line

One way to encourage users to open your newsletter is to write a subject line that grabs their attention. Also, be realistic about your offers, and avoid making them sound too good to be true.

Keep the subject lines short and brief, don't uses SPAM Words like (FREE, Viagra, Casino, discounts, $$$ etc.) in your subject lines. Take your time to write a meaningful subject line and void all capital letters subject lines. Use your company or brand name in "from name", "reply-to" and "subject line".


Always ask your subscribers to add your From Address into their Address Book. (To ensure delivery directly to your inbox, please add to your address book today.) This will make sure that your eMail reaches to their mailbox everytime and not going to Junk/Bulk/Spam. Check for any broken link(s) before final send-out for better user experience. Have a unsubscribe link at the bottom of the eMail, give your users a quick way to unsubscribe from your mailing list. In many countries, it's actually mandatory by law that every eMail Newsletter has to have an unsubscribe link.

Avoid Scripts

Don't ever use JavaScript or any other kind of scripts (Flash, VB Scripts, Forms iFrames etc.) into your eMail Newsletters. There is no better way to have your newsletter marked as spam and getting your domain name blacklisted.


This seems kinda counter-intuitive, but it’s key if you want to maintain an active, engaged subscriber list. Besides keeping your list healthy, having a clear unsubscribe process will help ensure your email isn't marked SPAM before it hits the rest of your list's inbox. You can provide the link or email to unsubscribe at the bottom of the newsletter in footer section.

Joydeep Deb

Marketing . Innovation . Technology


About the Author
Joydeep Deb

Joydeep Deb is a Senior Digital Marketer and Project Manager with strong experience in Digital Marketing, Lead Generation, Online Brand Management, Marketing Campaigns, Project Management, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Search Engine Marketing (SEM), PPC, eMail Marketing, Web Analytics, Web Technologies, Web Design and Development.

With an MBA in Marketing. IIM Calcutta Alumini. Lives in Bangalore, Karnataka - India.

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