6 Tips for Email CSS Render Testing
Let's face it: The goal of sending targeted email campaigns is to inform your subscriber or customer of something great that they are missing—like a new product release, cross-sell or information about your brand. But, without proper email design and formatting, your marketing message may never reach your subscriber.
ISPs and Rendering Issues
Different Internet service providers (ISPs) render emails in different ways, which may prevent your message from displaying properly. This means you could have coded a template that looked wonderful in Gmail, but appears scrambled or unorganized in Hotmail. So, an email that was supposed to look like the "Properly Coded Email" image at right, instead looks like the "Poorly Coded Email."
In addition to ISPs, keep in mind that HTML email templates render differently on Internet browsers: What looks good on Chrome might not look the same on Safari. Unfortunately, email templates that do not render correctly can be flagged as SPAM or may never reach your customers' inboxes due to regulations set up on the ISP's backend system. For example, when an email is sent, it goes through a set of processes before entering the recipient's inbox. One of those processes determines if your email has "dirty HTML code." If the system determines that your code is dirty, it may not deliver your email.
Most online marketers make the assumption that once they code their templates, they will render correctly across all email mediums. This is simply not the case. Below, I have listed some best practices for using HTML code and the different elements that ISPs do not accept when processing that code.
HTML not CSS
HTML and CSS is like a long-lasting relationship. They are still very different, but cannot live without each other. It is important to understand that HTML in email design does not work the same as HTML in website design. While website designs call to style sheets to provide the design of the wire frame, email templates need inline CSS to render correctly with design attributes.