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Tips for creating emails and templates

In this article we will give you some tips you should consider when creating your emails and your own templates.

Legal requirements:

  1. Insert the unsubscription link into your email in a way that makes it easy to identify.
  2. You need an imprint in every email.
  3. The sender address needs to be an active address that can be checked for incoming messages.

Tips on layout

  1. The width of an email should be between 600 and 700 pixel. Our CleverReach templates are created for an optimal display with a width of 600 pixel.
  2. Create your email in such a way that it can easily be read without images should these be blocked by an email client or not available for download.
  3. Always insert an alternative text for images in case they are blocked by the receiving mail client.
  4. Images with a size of more than 500 KB cannot be inserted via our media database. In general you should keep image sizes as small as possible since images need to be downloaded by the receiving mail client when an email is opened.
  5. Use a table of content (so called “anchors”) to allow recipients to jump to the articles of interest.
  6. Keep the layout clear (use margins, don’t fill spaces unnecessarily)
  7. Give all images a fixed width (WIDTH) and height (HEIGHT).
  8. Don’t use background graphics. Some emails clients (e.g. Outlook 2007) have trouble displaying these.
  9. Personalize your email with placeholders (e.g. First Name, Last Name etc.).
  10. Don’t copy/paste text directly from Microsoft Word. Ideally you will insert the text from a Word Document into a “neutral” text file and subsequently copy the text from this file to CleverReach. This will help you avoid adding Word formatting into your emails. We also recommend you do not copy entire tables from Word or Excel.
  11. Avoid using hard coded blanks. Some email clients will display them incorrectly or not at all (e.g. Lotus Notes).
  12. If you are working with our drag & drop editor you can create your email in a modular way, i.e. you can create separate elements for each article. These elements can then be rearranged and even deleted if needed.

Technical tips

  1. In general we recommend that you use the browsers Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explore in their most current versions. We do not recommend using Safari.
  2. Browser plugins such as Skype, Firebug or AdBlock should be deactivated for the CleverReach domain on principal, since they can lead to faulty HTML code being added to your HTML emails.
  3. Don’t use DIV layers in your emails. Make use of tables instead (this excludes the CleverReach templates and the drag & drop templates). Under no circumstances should you make use of DIV layers with an absolute positioning.
  4. If you make use of CSS styles make sure to position them inline if possible. Outlook 2007 and 2010 e.g. are very limited in interpreting CSS styles that are placed in the header area, especially if they are class or ID selectors (this does not apply to CleverReach templates). In no case should you reference external CSS files.
  5. Avoid link texts with ‘http’ to not trigger phishing alerts. The actual links of course need to contain ‘http’ to function properly.
  6. The width (WIDTH) of a table must be defined in the ‘TD’ element and not in the ‘TABLE’ element. Additionally you should enter the width definition directly as a TD attribute and not as a CSS style definition.
  7. Avoid using rowspan within tables and rather work with nested tables.
  8. If possible do not place images using float. Especially inline styles with float are ignored completely, e.g. in Outlook 2007 and 2010.
  9. Use the inline style display:block if you want to string together images in your templates. By doing this you avoid empty spaces in your layout.
  10. Don’t use percentages when defining a height, especially with images (this does not apply to responsive designs).
  11. Keep link texts short. Otherwise the table / column will adapt to the length of the link.
  12. Under no circumstances make use of conversion programs that can transform image files into HTML files. HTML code generated in this way will lead to display errors in many email clients.
  13. Use simple labels when naming your image files. Names such as “image_1900_x_1600.jpg” could cause errors or not be displayed at all in some clients. Also avoid spaces in file names and only use small letters (e.g. logo.jpg).
  14. Do not place a <title> tag in your template. The system will automatically generate one upon distribution (the subject line will be used).
  15. If you would like to use your template in the drag & drop editor please make yourself familiar with our template technology.
  16. Whenever you insert images the source file should always have the optimal resolution.
  17. Don’t use animated graphics (e.g. roll over functionality or animated GIF files). Outlook e.g. does not support this functionality on principal.
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