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  1. 3 Second Rule

You have three seconds and three inches to grab the attention of your reader. Make sure the call-to-action is above the fold

2. Design for the preview pane and initial mobile screen.
Use the top two to three inches of your message for your most important content. Put links to Web and mobile versions above the fold

3. Make it readable.
Keep font variations to less than five per email. Use common san-serif fonts, as many email recipients do not have non-standard fonts

4. Test A/B subject lines for response.
The subject line is one of the most important factors in determining the response rate. Take advantage of the quick turnaround of email deployment and response to determine if there is a difference in response rate.

5. Avoid Spammy Keywords
Words such as “Discount,” “Sale,” “Free Offer,” etc,  can trip the spam filters and get your email into the junk folder. There are online tools that can check your message for spammy words. Use them.

6. Keep images simple.
Don’t provide text content as an image, and avoid animated GIF files. Animated GIF files are acceptable to use in your creative, but be aware that some email clients do not render the image correctly and will only show the first part of the animation.

7. Use alt text. Provide an alternate text version of your message. This will pass spam filters that look at the image-to-text ratio of a message.

8. Consider not using long tracking URLs at the top of your emails. These long strings of code can take up most of the initial screen on many smartphones

9. Keep emails to less than 600 pixels wide
maximum 650 pixels. This eliminates the need for users to scroll and ensures that your email won’t have ads overlaid on your content from email services.

10. Use text links, not image links.
Image-based links will create a mess in most mobile environments and will not render when images are blocked in a PC environment. Pepper your email message with a variety of links to drive recipients back to your website, boosting your traffic.

11. Consider the time to load (TTL).
Test your email for the length of time it takes to render with images. The longer it takes an email to load, the lower the probability that the recipient will read it.

12. Use a recognizable “From” name and address.
This will let the recipient know whom the email is coming from and hopefully make him or her more inclined to open the message.

13. Host a replica of your HTML email design on a Web server.
This way you can add a “click here if you are having trouble trying to view this email” line to the top of your email content.

14. Avoid using forms in your email body.
Some email clients do not pass the information over to the proper collection points.

15. Avoid using JavaScript.
Most email clients consider this a security risk, and the messages will likely be marked as spam.

16. Send Test Emails
Send test emails to multiple providers, including Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc and see how the email comes out or if it ends up in the junk folder.

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