23 Best Practice Tips for Successful Email Fundraising #16-19

16.  Test, test, test.
Some studies show that vertical banner graphics outpull horizontal banner graphics in online fund raising. But the only way to truly know is to test everything. Test headlines, test body copy, test graphics, test calls to action.  Testing is the only way you can confirm or disprove your theories about what should work in email fundraising and what shouldn’t. Once you start testing you may be surprised with the results.

17.  Eliminate all CSS from your email fundraising code.
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) code is great for web pages but it doesn’t work in non profit email fundraising. Many email clients will strip it out, like gmail, yahoo and hotmail, plus some macmail systems.  You’ll read advice about using “inline” CSS in email to get around the problem, but truthfully, that’s just for people who are willing  to concede that their emails won’t render properly in various email accounts.  Stick with coding your emails up in plain, old-fashioned HTML 101. Then test the rendering of your code across multiple email clients, fix up any issues, then test again. Once you have templates that are golden you can reuse your proven code by simply swapping out graphics and copy blocks for the next email fundraising effort.

18.  Optimize your graphic sizes and pixel widths.
You’ll get better response to your non profit emails if people stick around long enough to read them. You need to make sure your jpg or gif graphics are fully optimized for the web to improve load times. One software we use to do this is the Advance JPEG Compressor 2008. Also, shoot for pixel widths of 600-650 for emails and pixel widths of 900 on landing pages to optimize presentation widths. Design Horizontal buttons starting at 375×80.

19.  Indent paragraphs.
While it is common practice to not indent paragraphs on the Internet, studies show that the eye prefers to see indented paragraphs. You want to make your emails and landing pages as eye-friendly as possible, so put a little effort into indenting your paragraphs.

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