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Exploring JavaScript in Email: A Detailed Guide

The Role, Risks, and Rewards of Using JavaScript.

Table of Contents

At beehiiv, we encourage you to make your content more engaging, more responsive, etc. 

JavaScript in email is a way to do just that, but it comes with significant caveats.

While JavaScript, with its ability to create interactive content, can technically be used in emails, there are several issues to keep in mind.

That doesn't mean that JavaScript fans can't or shouldn't ever use this coding language but it does mean that you should proceed carefully.

Can you use JavaScript in an email?

Yes, technically. You can add JavaScript to HTML email.

However, most email clients do not support JavaScript due to security concerns. That means that they will either strip out the script or block the email altogether.

While dynamic content is valuable, deliverability best practices should always be your top priority. Even if some email clients do allow JavaScript, you have to ask if it's worth the risk of your email being blocked or ending up in the spam folder.

If all you want to do is send a link via email, you don't actually need JavaScript. You can simply use HTML and the <a> tag to create a clickable link:

Exploring JavaScript in Email: A Detailed Guide

<a href="https://www.example.com">Visit our website!</a>

This code will create a link that says "Visit our website!" and will direct users to "www.example.com" when clicked.

How To Send an Email from JavaScript

You can also send an email from JavaScript. For example, you could create a contact form with JavaScript and have the information emailed to you.

The easiest way to send the email is by using the "mailto" protocol.

This protocol allows you to create a link that, when clicked, will open the users' default email client and automatically populate the To: field with your specified address.

JavaScript in Email: Key Use Cases

Despite the challenges, there are several potential use cases where adding JavaScript can enhance an email's dynamic nature, potentially leading to higher engagement rates.

  1. Interactive Content: Create interactive elements in your email such as image carousels, quizzes, or surveys.

  2. Real-time Updates: JavaScript can enable real-time updates within emails, such as countdown timers or live inventory status.

  3. Personalized Content: You can send people tailored content or prioritize features according to their interests.

Exploring JavaScript in Email: A Detailed Guide

Interactive and dynamic content is becoming more popular and more important as a way to deepen the relationship between your brand and its subscribers.

Advantages and Limitations of Using JavaScript in Emails

The primary advantage of using JavaScript in emails is the potential for increased engagement through interactive content. However, this benefit must be weighed against several significant limitations:

  • Email Client Support: Many email clients do not support JavaScript.

  • Security Risks: JavaScript vulnerabilities can be exploited for malicious activities like phishing attacks, which is why many email clients block it.

  • Potential Errors: If not implemented correctly, JavaScript can break the layout of your email or cause other rendering issues.

JavaScript is a powerful tool and one of the most popular coding languages for marketers. Carefully weigh both the pros and cons when considering whether to include it in your email campaigns.

Best Practices for Implementing JavaScript in Emails

Still want to experiment with JavaScript in your emails? Go for it! Here are some best practices to follow:

Exploring JavaScript in Email: A Detailed Guide
  1. Fallback Content: Always provide fallback content for email clients that do not support JavaScript. This ensures your email still provides value even if the interactive elements don't render.

  2. Thorough Testing: Test your email across multiple email clients to ensure it renders correctly.

  3. Security Measures: Take measures to secure your code such as removing any sensitive or personal information.

You should also monitor the performance of emails using JavaScript and evaluate them against standard HTML emails. Make sure that you're getting added value for the added hassle.

JavaScript in Email Alternatives

If you're looking for JavaScript workarounds and alternatives, give one of these a try:

  • CSS: CSS provides some level of interactivity without the associated risks of JavaScript. It's also more widely supported across email clients. For example, Gmail supports most CSS properties and queries.

  • In-platform tools: Your email service may have built-in tools that enable many of the same functions. beehiiv allows you to embed surveys and polls in your newsletter, a more efficient and effective process than creating your own JavaScript or CSS elements.

  • AMP for Email: The jury's still out on this Google-developed technology that brings web-like functionality to emails with better security than JavaScript. Some brands have leveraged the tool successfully, increasing conversions by putting review forms and dynamic content right in the email. However, most email services don't support AMP at this time.

You should also keep an eye out for new tools and innovations. This is a quickly evolving sphere.

The Litmus Test: Do You Need It?

While JavaScript offers immense potential for creating dynamic and engaging email content, its use in emails comes with several limitations, mainly due to security concerns and the lack of universal support across email clients.

This doesn't mean you need to settle for flat content in your emails.

When thinking about using JavaScript in email, ask yourself: Do I need it? If there's something you can only achieve through JavaScript, then it might be worth giving it a try.

However, alternatives like CSS and beehiiv's built-in tools often achieve similar outcomes without the associated downsides. Explore all the capabilities of your email service before taking on any coding headaches.

Why Trust Us?

The beehiiv platform is built on years of experience and deep knowledge in the realm of digital communication. We've spent countless hours studying, testing, and refining our methods to ensure that we deliver the best possible solutions. As for me, I specialize in digital marketing with a particular focus on email and long-form content. This means I understand not just how to get your emails into the inbox, but also how to craft compelling, engaging content that gets your audience clicking and converting.

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