Email guidelines: Best practice

You can design and build your own solus email or we can do it for you using one of our layout templates. Whichever route you choose, be sure to read our advice and guidelines, below.

Please note that we may have to edit your email to work with our systems. We will endeavour to minimise the impact of this. When we provide the design service, we reserve the right to limit requests for changes. All of our solus emails are delivered with a Prospects-branded header and footer to ensure our subscribers are aware of the source.

Subject line

  • Use fewer than 50 characters.
  • Keep it simple. Be descriptive and persuasive. Use your familiar brand message if you have one.
  • Avoid ambiguous phrases such as 'reach for the stars' as these can reduce open rates.
  • Avoid using capital letters, exclamation marks or 'spammy' phrases such as 'special offer', 'free' etc.

Calls to action

  • Having one or (few) calls to action is usually less confusing for the reader and can work better than having many.
  • Position the call to action near the top then repeat this at the end of the email and make it prominent.
  • Set expectations by using meaningful language such as 'Apply now' or 'Find out more about this job' on any links or calls to action. Avoid phrases such as 'Click here' or 'More info'.
  • Link the call to action to a relevant landing page or section of your website that has a clear conversion message and onward journey. Consider allowing users to navigate to other parts of your website on this page.
  • If the call to action is a phone number or email address, make it unique so that performance can be tracked.
  • Use link shortening for lengthy URLs.
  • Don't link to general pages such as your home page or search page. The more on-topic the page, the better the chance of conversion.


  • Create a sense of urgency by including the closing date or an 'ending soon' message.
  • Include any key information (including deadlines) near the top of the email.
  • Be concise rather than copy heavy, drive people to the relevant page on your website for more information.
  • Utilise hyperlinks to provide further information where possible.
  • Limit email to three topics to maintain reader attention.
  • Use images that add value to the content and reinforce your brand or campaign rather than bland stock photography.
  • Provide a text only version of the copy. This is sent to people who cannot view emails in HTML format.


  • Design the email to have visual and contextual continuity with the landing page to which it links.
  • Use a consistent typeface.

Technical considerations

  • Maximum width of 600px.
  • Images must be JPG or GIF format, not PNG. Please provide alt text for each image.
  • Use only inline CSS.
  • Use table-based rather than CSS-based layout.
  • When supplying HTML, send the .html file as an attachment. Don't embed the HTML with an email or Word document.
  • Do not use rich media such as Flash, audio or video
  • We cannot accept emails that are comprised primarily of images with little or no HTML-based text. The vast majority of email programs block images by default. Any crucial content or branding displayed within images may not be seen by the recipient.
  • Do not use special characters or spaces in any URLs otherwise Google Analytics tracking may not work correctly.

Any questions? Email or telephone 0845 077 1966

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