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4 Reasons Why You Should Always Send HTML Emails From Your Autoresponder

29 January, 2008 (17:04) | Testing, Tools | By: Nick Dalton

1. Tracking

Unless you send your emails as HTML most autoresponder services cannot report how many of your emails were opened by their recipients. I know that this tracking is not very accurate since many email clients block the tracking image or HTML. But we’re not primarily interested in absolute numbers; trends are more important.

Here are some important findings you can learn from the tracking data:

  • If fewer and fewer of your emails are being opened over time or as your autoresponder series progresses, then you are probably not providing enough value in your emails for your readers.
  • The subject line of an email is your sales letter that tries to convince the recipient to open the email. Look at your subject lines together with the percentage of recipients who opened the email. This will help you craft better subject lines.
  • What is the optimal frequency of sending emails to your list? Keep an eye on the open rate to get early warnings of email fatigue.

2. Real Links

Instead of having to resort to text like and hoping that the email client will automagically convert the text to a clickable link, you can create normal HTML links just like you do on your web site.

With normal HTML links it’s easier to embed web analytics tracking code. It looks better and you don’t have to worry about the link text breaking across two lines.

3. Looks Better

Hard line breaks made sense in the 60’s and maybe the 70’s when terminals had a fixed character width. But who has a screen these days that can only display 65 characters per line?

Even my phone displays HTML emails better than preformatted text with hard line breaks. Lines and paragraphs flow they way they should, and don’t suddenly break off in the middle of the screen.

With HTML you can use headlines and emphasize text without having to resort to ALL CAPS, stars or other unreadable characters. Would you have made it this far in this post if there were no headlines or other normal typographical items to rest your eyes on?

4. Branding

Without going overboard with HTML you can add the color scheme of your website to your emails, reinforcing your brand identity. If you decide to add your logo or any other images make sure that the email looks ok without the images since many email clients block images by default.

In a world where 99% of the marketers only send you plain text messages you have a chance to stand out with professional looking emails.


To see a very simple example, sign up to the email notification list in the top right corner of this page. Each time I publish a new blog post you will receive an HTML announcement email.

Are you sending your autoresponder emails as HTML? Why not?

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