Monday, February 6, 2012

E-Newsletter Design Tips

Nonprofits are always looking for new ways to enhance communications with its supporters.  Creating an e-newsletter is a great way to accomplish this goal, but is your design up to snuff?

Most, if not all, nonprofits have weekly or monthly e-newsletters that are sent to its followers.  These will often contain the latest news about the organization, special offers, and other unique items.  But you can't just throw a bunch of code together and expect your newsletter to be a smashing success.  It all comes down to this: Design matters.

When designing your nonprofit's newsletter, make sure the web team keeps the following information in mind:
  • Decide which e-mail clients are a priority.  According to CampaignMonitor, Microsoft Outlook was one of the most popular clients as of June 2011.  Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Apple Mail were also near the top of the list.
  • Use tables for your layout, not cascading style sheets (CSS).  There are a lot of e-mail clients that are not able to read CSS.
  • Since you won't be relying on CSS, your team can use the old-school style of formatting: Putting tags for color, font, decoration, margins, etc., directly on links, paragraphs and images.  You can put styles into the header, but leave them out of the e-mail body.
  • Avoid using Javascript, Flash, video, or anything a 1999 web browser couldn't handle.  The message here: Code like it's 1999.

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