If you want to include images, videos, branding or a color scheme in your emails, you have to create them with HTML.
Some people don’t want to do that (and that’s okay). They don’t want to learn HTML or hire a designer; plus, they believe sending HTML emails will bring down their delivery rates.
If that’s you, read on. Creating HTML emails is just as simple as plain text (we’ll show you how). Plus, we’ve checked in with Laura Atkins of Word to the Wise, a leading expert on email delivery, for the straight story on hitting the inbox.
Templates Make It Simple
When you create a plain-text email, you’re just typing words. You can do the same thing with an HTML message. Just use an email template – a pre-designed background you can type directly into.
Many email services provide them, or you might be able to get a few for free across the Web (here and here, for example). If you use AWeber, you’ll find hundreds of templates already available in your account.
Now, As For Delivery…
It’s clear that sending HTML by itself can cause a problem.
As Laura explains, “Spamassassin is still giving relatively high scores to “HTML only” mail. Failing to send a multipart/alternative email can… tip an otherwise inbox-delivered mail into the bulk folder.”
But there’s an easy solution. Send a multipart message, with both plain text and HTML versions bundled together.
Setting this up is copy-and-paste easy in AWeber. After you create your HTML email, copy the text of your message right into the plain-text box, and you’re done!
Then, if someone can receive the HTML version, they will, and if they can’t, you have plain text as a backup.
This type of planning is uncharacteristic of spammers, so filters are more likely to let your message through.
What About Images In Your Emails?
Another concern about HTML email is that the wrong image-to-text ratio can land you in the spam box. Too much image compared to the amount of text in your message can bring down your delivery.
“There is a lot of spam that is just images,” Laura says. “So if you send mail that is heavy on the images and low on the text, it’s going to look like spam.
This doesn’t mean it’s going to be a delivery problem necessarily. But, if the mail has other issues: mentions domains that have iffy reputations or recipients that aren’t engaged then a heavy image to text ratio may be enough to tip the mail into the bulk folder.”
So, in general, Laura does recommend that for the best delivery, your format be “primarily text, and readable and understandable without turning images on.”
Also, it’s important to keep in mind if you’re using any images whatsoever that some people may have images turned off by default, so make sure you do have alt text set for your images.
In AWeber, you can do this by adding a “screen tip” when adding your image.
The Bottom Line
Here’s what Laura tells her clients:
“If they’re currently sending mail without consistent delivery issues, then they don’t need to make changes. Even if the mail is all images or all HTML, if it’s not broke, DON’T FIX IT.
There are lots of senders who use poor formats but see no delivery problems because the mail is wanted and the ISPs know the recipients want it and so they deliver it. If they’re looking to make improvements, I’ll tell them to add text and start making the email readable without images but that’s more to help recipients rather than delivery. ”
How Do You Protect Your Deliverability?
Keeping a low image-to-text ratio and sending multipart messages are just two ways to keep deliverability high.
What measures do you take to keep your emails out of the junk folder?