Best Practices For Email Campaign Creation

Hi everyone,

Hoping to get some advice on how designers are making their email campaigns? I’ve seen different methods floating around but can’t seem to find what the correct way is.

Are people really coding their own emails in HTML? From what I’ve read its quite hard to get it right, and i’m no coder!

I’ve also seen people design it in indesign/photoshop, slice it and export it all as separate images. Then drop it in to mailchimp or some other platform with drag and drop capability. Is there anything wrong with this?
How do people do this and make it responsive on mobile?

Is there another method i’ve missed?

Any help would be great, thank you

Use Mailchimp or Send in Blue etc.

You’ll need to verify your user list with them - usually with an initial 2 step verification, which will send out the emails to your email list, and ask them to verify if they want to be on the list.

Only those that respond to the mailing will be allowed to be on your mailing lists, bounces (hard/soft) etc can result in them being ex-ed off your list.

Once the users are verified, it’s very simple going forward.

I wouldn’t recommend coding your own email - the Mailchimp Send in Blue, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor etc are all tested across various browsers/mobile devices etc. and even have special mobile device panels for tweaking content on these devices.

If you’re not a coder, then don’t code your own emails. Plus the email needs to have a View in Browser, so unless you’re going to host all your email blasts and link to them.

And you also need to have a database for unsubscribing etc.

So go with a prebuilt system like Mailchimp or the 100 others out there.

If you’re only sending to handful - then you can probably do something simple in outlook or gmail.

But if your outlook/email starts getting a lot of bounces you get blacklisted and that can take weeks to get off that list.


From my experience, I think it’s best to use a service such as Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. There is a host of marketing / analytical benefits aside from being able to use their responsive, tested templates.

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Yes you can do A/B split testing. You get feedback on who opened it, who read it, who forward it.
You can resend the email to those who haven’t opened/read it - all automatically.
Amongst other things.

They are quite robust and excellent marketing tools.

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I’ve often coded emails for different clients and employers, but I’ve been writing HTML since the mid-'90s. Email requires very simple HTML since there are so many email clients that don’t do a good job of interpreting HTML5 or most any version of CSS. This might seem to make coding HTML emails relatively easy. However, you’ll need to write code the degrades gracefully for less modern email clients, which makes it difficult to do without knowing HTML/CSS inside and out.

Because of this and because you’re not a coder, I’d definitely suggest that you not attempt to design HTML emails yourself. MailChip and other similar companies are in the business of making it easy for their customers to design their emails by modifying their pre-made templates. I’d suggest going this route.

There’s something very much wrong with this. A great many companies, individuals, and email clients don’t automatically display images. A pieced-together, image-based email won’t even be seen by a significant number of recipients. The email will also stand a good chance of landing up directly in recipients’ junk mailboxes. Definitely don’t do this.

Again, sign up with a service like MailChimp and just modify one of their prebuilt templates.

They do it through their knowledge of HTML/CSS and, as I mentioned, writing code in a way that gracefully degrades for browsers incapable of interpreting it.

Again, don’t try it if you don’t know how — modify a prebuilt email service template instead.

For what it’s worth, even though I have designed and coded my own emails, I still recommend clients sending those emails through professional email services because these services make it so easy to do.

They also provide many useful features, like tracking open rates, unsubscribe and subscribe features, A/B testing, click analysis, spam identification pitfalls, scheduling and about a dozen other things you just won’t get through sending them out via one’s on email address. The last thing you’d want to happen is for your personal email or a client’s email to be flagged and blacklisted as a spam originator.

Thank you for taking the time to explain - I appreciate it

So for context we do use Mailchimp to send our emails. We are an e-commerce business so normally have a header image, some text and then promote specific products. I build them with the drag and drop editor - image block for the header, text block for the intro and then use image groups ( dispays 2 column, 2 rows) and design these in photoshop to promote the product and then link each image to the product.

So is this a problematic way to build it?

Thank you

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