Create perfect messages in all email clients

For any email marketing campaign to work, the email has to reach the inbox and stand out from the all the others. However, the story does not end there. Your email has to render well if you want your subscribers to open your email, click through the CTA and get converted.Rendering is a problem because every email client and device perceives the code differently. Code that works well with one email client can create a rendering issue in another. To make things even more challenging, even the most widely used email clients come with rendering quirks and problems. In this article, I’ll take a look at the challenges and workarounds for each of the main email clients.
Outlook
It wouldn’t be a hyperbole to say that we email developers shudder at the thought of Outlook. The obvious reason is the numerous rendering challenges presented by this email client. What’s surprising is that any corporates still have Outlook as their standard email client and a small proportion of your subscribers are still loyal to it. Have a look at some of the challenges and hacks for Outlook:
Challenge: Outlook doesn’t support margins in and Hack: If you want to provide margins, use the tag; uppercase should be used outside the tag, and lowercase inline Challenge: Padding is only supported on certain HTML attributes (not including on or tags)Hack: Table-based layout is the safest bet to overcome this issue
Challenge: Outlook is the only email client that does not support GIFsHack: As some clients will only see the first frame of your animation, this should include all the important information, run only for a few milliseconds, and make sense as a standalone image Challenge: Outlook does not support Google Fonts, and will implement Times New Roman as a fallbackHack: Embed the following code…Outlook.com
A new version of Outlook.com was introduced in early 2016 but the legacy version is still not out of use. Here are the challenges and hacks particular to that client:
Challenge: An unnecessary gap of 4-5px is added below imagesHack: Set the display property as “img {display:block;}” to remove the paddingOutlook.com introduces unnecessary spacing between your imagesChallenge: Does not support RGB bordersHack: Use HEX codes to set HTML background colourChallenge: Adding # in href links breaks the anchor tag and shifts the CSS to another placeHack: Use domain name rather than href #iPhone native app
The native iPhone email app is the most used client, and it supports all the interactive elements you’d typically find in email: GIFs, menus, accordions, countdowns, sliders and so on. Moreover, it also allows the email marketer to use high-definition Retina images for an awesome user experience. iOS10 has become all the more coveted because users can now adjust the number of lines of preview text in emails and even opt for list-unsubscribe. Nonetheless, despite these strong points, iPhone native app also has certain shortcomings. Let’s take a look.
iOS10 users can opt for list-unsubscribeChallenge: Tiny text is automatically resizedHack: The minimum font size for headers should be 22px, and for body text 14pxChallenge: The release of new iPhone models can cause rendering problemsHack: Fluid layout ensures emails display properly across all devicesChallenge: In iOS9, when inline-block level elements are next to each other in the code with a space between the ends of two elements, it leads to wrapping issueHack: Simply remove the spaceChallenge: iOS10 does not support fixed positioningHack: No current workaround…Gmail
Gmail is popular because it’s so convenient to use. However, that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges.
Gmail clips larger emailsChallenge: If your HTML file exceeds 102kB, Gmail will clip itHack: Avoid unnecessary style tags and attributes, and don’t copy the code from Microsoft word or other text editors as it is (this will add extra tags to the HTML file)Challenge: Gmail will remove CSS from the block if it exceeds 8142 characters or includes errors or nested @declarationsHack: Make sure embedded styles are short and free of typosChallenge: Floats, margins, paragraphs, and padding are not supportedHack: Use a table-based layout with for padding and marginsChallenge: Background images do not work for non-Gmail IDs configured in GmailHack: Apply the background colour as fallbackChallenge: Attribute selector does not workHack: Use .class selector insteadApple Mail
Apple Mail is perhaps the closest thing to a perfect email client we have. The main advantage of Apple Mail is that it is very forgiving when it comes to bad email coding. Moreover, just like iPhone Native App it supports interactivity in emails, thereby eliminating the need to view the email in browser. You should keep in mind two things while coding emails for your Apple Mail subscribers:
Avoid using Calibri fontsHost your email and provide the links to the server, as internal links do not work in Apple MailYahoo! Mail
As new and better email clients have arrived, Yahoo! Mail is less frequently used these days. Some of its rendering challenges and the hacks are discussed below.
Challenge: It does not support the centre-align HTML attributeHack: Use align=”center”Challenge: min-device-width and max-device-width are not supported by media queriesHack: Use width attribute &/or in style instead of min or max-widthUse the width attribute instead of min- or max-width, either separately or embedded in the tagChallenge: Float tags do not workHack: Add align=”top” to the image in questionOn that note, we have reached the end of the discussion on most typical rendering challenges for email clients. Take a look here for more challenges and workarounds. Email marketing, if done right, can pave new avenues for your marketing strategy. Keep these simple workarounds in mind and your subscribers will never see a broken email layout in your emails ever again.
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