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Learn HTML - HTML Email
The Lowdown: How To Create And Send HTML
by: Steve Shaw
I am frequently asked how to create and send HTML email, usually
with regard to how to broadcast it to a mailing list. This article
presents the various options available to you.
How to create HTML email:
Creating the content of an HTML email is very similar to how
you would create a basic web page. Just use your normal web
page editor, such as FrontPage or Dreamweaver (or even Notepad
can be used, in conjunction with a browser to preview the code),
and construct a web page in the normal way, saving it as an
.html or .htm file.
You may consider creating an HTML email template that you can
use as a basis for all your future HTML emails. If so, once
you're happy with the basic look, save it and then just open
and re-edit for your future emails.
There is an important difference that you need to remember between
writing HTML for your web site, and writing HTML for email.
All the URLs in your code need to be absolute, rather than relative,
for all links and images, eg. http://www.yourdomain.com/image.gif,
rather than something like just image.gif. This also means of
course that any images used in your HTML email need to be stored
on a web server, the same as when you use images on a web site.
How to send HTML email:
To send the HTML email to an individual, such as to yourself
in order to check on its appearance, you can open the web page
(i.e. the HTML email) you have created in the latest version
of IE (File -> Open...), and then click File -> Send.
However, if you're creating HTML email for use in email marketing,
you will normally want to use a completely different tool in
order to send it to numerous recipients.
There are two main options to enable you to send email to a
mailing list - you can either use some special software on your
own computer; or use a web-based solution, either on your own
web site, or via a service run by a third party.
If you are looking for software, you can find a variety of solutions
by going to somewhere like download.com, and searching for 'send
You can also install some software onto your own web site, which
can give you more control but also gives you all the responsibility
for maintenance of the software/script if things go wrong.
However, I personally have a preference for using a third-party
web-based service when sending out my newsletter. For one, it
means my broadcasts are not reliant on my own Internet connection
or PC, and it also let's someone else take care of delivering
my messages to several thousand recipients.
There are literally hundreds of third-party web-based services
available, all varying widely in quality and ease of use, and
suiting different budgets and email requirements. One of the
best ways to do your research on this is to check out your competitors
or your favourite newsletters and ezines, and, if they send
out HTML email, find out what service they use. Often the unsubscribe
link, that should be at the bottom of their messages, will point
towards the relevant web site.
(HINT: By signing up to my own newsletter at http://takanomi.com/newsletter,
you will be able to find out which service I personally use.)
Finally, and importantly, should you send out HTML email? It
entirely depends on the preferences of your own list. But, in
general, look towards big business. Most big businesses tend
to send out HTML email, and there's only going to be one main
reason for that - response rates. But you do need to ensure
that your HTML email is professional, easy to read, and has
an attractive layout.
Copyright 2004 Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw creates systems and software for effective e-marketing.
His powerful PopUpMaster Pro software creates popups that beat
the popup blockers and can significantly increase your conversion
rates. For more information: http://www.popupmaster.com
About The Author
Steve Shaw has been marketing full-time online since March 2002,
developing software products and systems for effect'ive e-marketing
- for more information see http://takanomi.com