We had a fantastic turn out for our How to Create a Successful Email Newsletter webinar recently, thanks to everyone who attended. There were so many great questions that we couldn’t answer all of them, so Jill Bastian, our head of training and education here at VerticalResponse, decided to write this blog post instead.

What is the current feeling about width of email content for best viewing in HTML mode – 600/800/1000 pixels??

When creating your email you always want to keep your recipients in mind, and the width of the email will have an impact. Generally you want the email wide enough to read comfortably, accommodate your images and not have a scroll bar at the bottom of the page. That usually means keeping the email around 650 pixels wide with images you are using at about 600 pixels at the most. If you are using smaller images in your emails, you might consider sizing them around 200px – 250px wide to allow text to wrap around them. Also, if you plan to have a few pictures next to each other keep in mind that the total width of all the pictures shouldn’t exceed 650px or you could end up with a scroll bar. This width will also work well for anyone who is viewing the email on a smart phone.

What’s all the hoopla about call-to-action buttons?

We talk about Calls-To-Action quite a bit because they are important. A call-to-action is basically what you want your recipients to do in your email like, click to go to your website, sign up for an event or make a purchase. One of the things we’ve found in our testing is that we get about a 26% increase in clicks when the call to action is a button rather than a text link. Your recipients may not have the same reaction to the buttons as our readers do so you’ll definitely want to test this for your audience. Check out our article Use Buttons Instead of Text Links and Increase Clicks.

When my subscriber sees my email in the preview pane, is it considered an open?

This is a question we get frequently, and since many people use email programs that have preview panes, it’s a good one. As long as your recipients allow images to appear in their email program, then VerticalResponse will track anything they do in the preview pane. The opens and clicks will be tracked for you in the reporting section of your VR account.

How do you accommodate viewing email on mobile phones?

This is a great question, and as more and more people use smart phones, something to keep in mind with your email design. The screens are smaller and graphics can be an issue for some phones, so keep that in mind as you design your email. Generally for phones you want to keep the email simple, images small and as we usually say, the most important part of your email at the top.  Be sure to keep your branding consistent because the small space can make it harder to recognize who is sending the email. We’ve written about Designing Your Email for Mobile Devices.

Is it correct that we can edit the text version of our email newsletter separately from the HTML version?

Our Wizard or Canvas tools will set up the back-up text automatically, but you can edit this version if you like. Click the Generate Text Version Automatically box in the Canvas tool or Email Options, Auto-generate Text Version in the Wizard will allow you to make changes to the text back up. Again, some of your recipients will be using phones so have a good and easy to read text version in case they can’t get HTML.

All of the questions from our webinar were really good, and hopefully they will give you all some helpful ideas for creating your emails. If you are interested in our free webinar series check it out here.

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