Book review: Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works

With the recent switch I had of all of my newsletter subscriptions (found in upper right on this blog as well), I wanted to make sure I could give you content that pretty much every mail client could read.  This book was right on time. Create Stunning HTML Email That Just Works is by Mathew Patterson. (Disclosure: I received the book as a review copy selection and the link is an Amazon affiliate)

The first thing I realized is that every mail client renders so many parts of HTML email differently.  The book is only ~139 pages, but it hits home fast with tons of free sample code to download.  The author of the book is with a large email distribution platform, so the knowledge was definitely there. The chapters broke down as follows:

  1. Why Email?
  2. Planning an Email Campaign
  3. Design for the Inbox
  4. Coding Your Emails
  5. Understanding Permission
  6. Selling Email To Your Clients

Chapter 6 was for those that provide solutions to businesses and customers.  He did a good job summarizing, but I will skip that part of the review since I read the other chapters twice.

He does an excellent job covering the business case and some basic statistics.  But, more importantly, how people interact via email compared to other mediums.  From the opening chapter he delves into formatting, structure and client support.  I think it was one of the most important areas for anyone to be aware of.  With the listing of numerous tables, it showed how every email client provider lacks support for so many areas of tags, formats and just plain simple HTML.

He gives great visual examples from numerous newsletters, makes block representation of successful examples and then gives away about 30 free templates to start using immediately that will work with any client type (outside of text clients of course).

The chapter on permission and some legal requirements was well needed for anyone getting into HTML mail.  Some would think that HTML email is past it’s time. Web 2.0 is the total future and stop wasting time on just email.  After seeing the power of what it can do on my own the past few months, I am sold.