Hour after hour has ticked off from the clock on your wall. Days and days have passed by. Social activities and all forms of relaxation have been bypassed. Finally, your email has been constructed. Beautiful, bright and complex, what an achievement!
Well, guess what. Most people looking at your email don't have images turned on and therefore are not seeing those beautiful, painfully constructed HTML messages you're sending out. Upwards of 60% of people have to right click on an email to display images and with some programs or mobile devices, the images and formatting will never be seen or displayed correctly. That number is going up.
Plain text - A plain text email is just that, plain text. There is nothing eye catching or exciting about this form of presentation, but every person on your list will at least be able to see what you are saying. Some options here are to include links to graphics or PDF files form your plain text emails. Recommendation: Consider it.
Templates - Templates from your email service provider are all very pretty, and usually graphically based. Another problem with templates is implied with the name; they are templates. Other people use them, which is not a good idea when you are trying to be unique and stand out. Recommendation: Not a great idea.
Rich Text - Rich text shows up very different, dependent on things out of your control such as monitor settings or whether a person is on a PC or a Mac. RTF can also potentially look less professional than other methods. Recommendation: Avoid it.
Simple HTML - Some simple HTML usage in your emails without graphics can be highly effective. Create the look of the email with that simple HTML and use colors but avoid images which may fail to load or be displayed incorrectly. Avoid using style sheets and other "fancy" HTML codes. Recommendation: The best bet.
- The fewer characters you have in your subject line the better; there should be no more than 50.
- The "from" line should be something a person will recognize and it is perfectly acceptable to use your organization, as in, "From: Network for Good".
- The "to" line shouldn't just be the person's email, but rather should be their full name, if possible, which signifies that the person sending the email knows who they are sending it to.
Source: Adapted by Jake Emen from Marc Lee's Nonprofit 911 Presentation "Email Fundraising on a Tight Budget"