Before you begin to compose your email, have a solid communication plan in place to ensure your messages are effective and well-received.
Plan your templates so messages are consistent with your organization's brand for external communications, including your website, but are distinct across different email campaigns. For example, use a consistent font within all email for a particular campaign to create a common identity across its messages. Keep the banner image short so links and content that drive recipients' participation occupy the majority of the preview pane of their mailbox providers.
Note: As many recipients will view your email through a mobile device, keep responsive design in mind as you develop email templates. With a responsive email template, your messages render appropriately across multiple devices and mailbox providers. For examples, see ZURB's Responsive Email Templates and Email on Acid's Free Responsive Email Template.
Over-communication can be as bad as non-communication. Plan your E-newsletter and email campaigns to ensure timely delivery of relevant information and an opportunity for interaction. To avoid delivery during business hours, do not send email messages between 8:00AM to 8:00PM. The best days to delivery email are during the middle of the week. Try regularly scheduled communications such as E-newsletters on different days until you determine which day is most effective.
To enable visitors to easily subscribe to E-newsletters and email campaigns, include a simple and efficient subscription form on your website. To ensure your communications are exactly as intended, test email messages with a list of internal recipients and seeds. To filter responses to a central monitored location, use a generic email address such as info@*.org as the 'Reply-to' address of your email messages. To determine the effectiveness of your recipient lists, check the delivery rate. If less than 80% of recipients receive your email, clean the list.