Email Marketing – Email Coding Tips

Preparing for a meeting at work, I outlined all email coding tips I know and use as an email marketer. Oh email coding – not everything works everywhere as desired.  How many times have wee seen a beautiful email not looking its best in one of popular email clients… two minutes before we would like to send it?  😉

Email coding tips:

  • Use table-based structure


  • Gmail/MSN add a line below the image and the next table cell; the workaround

<img style=”display:block” src=”….”>  (thank you, NCR!)

  • Do not use images as spacers; they show up as missing images in the images off mode; use width of <td> to define padding if needed
  • Background images in <td> are ignored by Outlook 2007; use background colors instead
  • Removing image size reduces the space taken by the image in the images off mode; it can be used to “hide” large images in the images off mode


  • CSS in the head of the document is ignored by Gmail – use inline styles instead
  • Safe fonts: Arial and Times New Roman – exotic fonts defined in styles would be converted to commonly available fonts
  • Background defined in the <body> can be inherited when forwarding and make text illegible; use 100% table instead to define the background
  • MSN disregards centering of the main table (Chrome, Firefox); the workaround

<STYLE type=”text/css”>
{ width: 100%;}
{width: 100%;}

Thank you, Exact Target!

  • Yahoo (Chrome) disregards space between consecutive paragraphs;

Do not use <p>…</p><p>…</p>
Use instead <div>… <br /><br />…</div>

  • Yahoo blue dotted underline link problem; avoid dark blue background colors in design of email templates where the situation could be expected, or (rather silly) add a tiny dot of background color between two words that became a blue link


  • “Bulletproof” buttons – buttons coded as a text on a background color and visible with images on and images off. Thank you, The Retail Email Blog!

General marketing concerns

  • Designing and coding to allow the main call to action to be visible with images on and off in the top left corner – and large enough to be seen (and possible to tap with a finger) on mobile devices
  • Avoiding colspans and rowspans for coding emails that will be used as templates and modified by different people.  It allows removing and adding email elements easier and faster.

I am sure this is just a small part of the coding tips. Do you know a good tip or resource?

MIMA – 2011 Digital Strategic Planning

Times are clearly changing… Even if MIMA is Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association, we are now mostly discussing digital marketing – and it makes sense.

The event was as usually useful; Andrew Eklund discussed the survey of local digital marketing community and shared his ideas. A few most interesting points from my perspective are below:

  • Generally digital strategies are flexible – there is understanding among marketers in the trenches and executives that digital business environment is changing too fast.

  • Most people in the survey believed that current digital strategy does not give answers to core strategic concerns – this is curious point – we do need to pay attention to connection of our beloved field with business objectives… and not to “fall in love” with specific tactics or tools our companies may not need
  • Too many marketers now are waiting to act – everything needs to be perfect…  But it will never happen, we do need to try and learn from the results
  • One of the most useful points was the language we, digital marketers, use to describe our efforts. Andrew highlighted unneeded complexity, that can be easily removed

  • Digital marketing metrics should “tell a story” relevant from the business perspective, provide actionable data
  • The obvious highlight: IT and marketing should work together – shared metrics are needed
  • Andrew’s tip: executives love funnels 😉
  • Quite interesting perception of social media, which is understood as important. Centralized social marketing efforts are not scalable… Social media is not just marketing function – it should be part of the organization scalability.  The recommended role of marketing is educating the organization on social media use and providing digital knowledge/analysis support, rather than “running” one centralized Facebook and twitter account. Social media efforts can be more beneficial for the business if they are scalable with the organization growth…

The entire presentation is available on SlideShare