Email Coding Tips from FreshMail

I want to share a cool find about FreshMail in this post. Here’s the deal. I’ve been sending standard emails as part of my email marketing campaigns up till now, but it’s time to make it more custom because it allows to better convey the look and feel of your brand. Problem is, you can’t just use up-to-date web development technologies (HTML5, CSS3, just to name a few) for building sleek newsletter emails nowadays.

That’s because there are dozens of email clients out there that support different sets of HTML and CSS properties. Long story short, if you build your custom newsletter template for one email client, chances are, it will look out of whack on others. For example, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 use the Microsoft Word processor to render HTML. Ouch! Right?

With that in mind, there’s still a silver lining. Here’s the deal. While doing research on the topic before I get down to creating custom newsletter email templates for WebDesy subscribers, I stumbled upon an annual CSS properties support report put together by FreshMail this year. They really took their time to highlight all the nitty-gritties of CSS support properties in modern email clients.

That’s pretty much a one-stop piece of stats that you need to take into consideration if you want to ensure that your newsletters are properly displayed on your subscribers’ email clients, regardless of whether they use Outlook 2007 on Windows or Mail on Mac. All the stats are broken chart-by-chart so that you can easily compare the CSS support property in question.

Other than that, they have a list of best practices that you really want to use in order to fit the bill when we talk about the top-notch current standards in newsletter design. I’m sure you’ll be able to find useful stuff both for cross-client CSS support and what you need to take into account while designing your email newsletter.

Interestingly enough, they also included an analysis of animation and video support in this year’s report. That just goes to show that the guys at FreshMail are in the know what’s trending in the business of email newsletters. More often than not, site owners are looking to integrate both video and animation in their newsletters.

Also, they took the plunge and investigated how you can use all sorts of fancy CSS3 properties in your newsletters. Odds are, you know how you can make use of the CSS3 technology while creating your actual site, but what about using those features for your newsletters?

And one more thing. Mobile is going big not only in the realm of search engine optimization but in email marketing as well. You can use the CSS support for email report to get to know which features will work on mobile devices and which won’t. So you can save yourself from tons of guess work and just use CSS properties that will work for sure.

Bottom Line

So if you want to get really serious about coding custom email newsletters, you need to keep in mind a bunch of peculiarities but FreshMail made it a whole lot easier. You may just want to keep the report open in a separate browser tab or window while designing your next newsletter.

About The Author

Vitaliy Kolos

Coming from tech support background, Vitaliy Kolos is into tons of web stuffs: WordPress SEO (his forte), web design, web development, inbound marketing and everything in between. Other than that, he's an avid audiobook reader and insatiable digital nomad.

  • Richard Heckel

    These are really great tips because I’ve been wanting to go serious about my MailChimp newsletter subscribers for a while but what really stopped me is that you need to invest quite a bit of time making sure that you did everything right. It goes without saying that it’s easy to do if you just want to use a pre-design template, but things start looking different when you actually go about design your newsletter designs from the ground up. Hopefully the tool will make it at least a bit easier.

    • That’s right. It’s harder to code for newsletters because it’s like you’re developing a site back in the 90ies or something like that. That’s because you’re supposed to use tables instead of divs. Yeah, and it goes without saying that it’s to the best of my knowledge