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?


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