How To Create A Fancy Email Using HTML

By
Services for Real Estate Pros with Smart Media Creative Solutions
http://actvra.in/6C4

Level 4 on the Techy Skill Meter

This will require all the knowledge covered in my former blog post, How To Update Your Web Site.

Creating a fancy HTML email is very similar to creating a web page, but there are a few details that are different to make it work as an email.

Step 1

Make your email as a web page using your HTML Editing Software. Go crazy! Make it look totally sweet!

Step 2

Make sure all image links are absolute and not relative. This means they point to the full address of your image, and not the short relative version.

Example:

relative = "/images/picname.jpg"
This is not what you want.

absolute = "http://www.yourwebsite.com/images/picname.jpg"
This is what you want.

If you're Mr./Ms. Talented, and you use CSS to format your web page, it all needs to be inline. You can't have it in the head or as an external file. I recommend using minimal CSS formatting for an email because some web email clients will ignore it.

Step 3

Upload it all to your web site using your FTP program, and view it live on the web in your web browser.

Step 4 

There are two ways to send it that most people are capable of. One is you can open the page on the web in Internet Explorer under the Page menu click "Send Page By Email". Another is to open the web page file you have on your computer using Word, copy all the content, and paste it into an email in Outlook. There is special software out there for sending bulk email but these two methods are usually suitable for the average Joe.

Note: There are so many ways of checking email, and so many outdated computers or computer illiterate users, there will be some people that are not able read this email. If you are sending vital information you need everyone on your email list to be able to read, do not send a fancy HTML email, send a plain text email. 

Tip: Send a test run to an email on your Outlook, and to a web email like hotmail or gmail.  To see how it will look on most people's computers.

ALL DONE! Now you look a big time professional company sending fancy bulk emails to its clients! 

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Rainer
211,325
Find a Notary Public needAnotary
QEC Internet Services - Long Beach, CA
I'm going to look through your post later today once all is quiet
Dec 20, 2007 10:31 AM #1
Rainmaker
820,302
Gail Robinson
William Raveis Real Estate - Southport, CT
CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT
Robert, I'll have to go to your previous post first because I don't know what HTML editing software is or the FTP program, but I know I should.  HTML is the language of websites and blogs, to not understand it is like not learning Spanish while living in Barcelona.  I'll be back.  Thank you. 
Dec 20, 2007 10:40 AM #2
Rainer
20,426
Robert Krames
Smart Media Creative Solutions - Gainesville, FL
If you look at the post I referenced, the HTML editing software I recommended lets you create web pages without writing it in pure HTML. I know how to write pure HTML, but I rarely ever do it, because it's very tedious. It's much quicker to use some HTML editing software like Dreamweaver to make your web pages.
Dec 20, 2007 11:43 AM #3
Rainmaker
216,199
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

You might also want to remember that more and more people are setting their email programs (which now have that capability due to popular demand) to only accept plain text emails, stripping the HTML.  These aren't people with outdated equipment or programs, either  and they have to be computer literate enough to know how to change the default settings on their computers. Just to reinforce the advice to send information that it's important they receive in plain text. 

 

 

 

Mar 01, 2008 03:36 PM #4
Rainer
20,426
Robert Krames
Smart Media Creative Solutions - Gainesville, FL

When you say "more and more", what percentage is that? If "more and more" is 5 to 15%, I would say keep doing HTML emails. People just don't respond as well to plain text as they do colorful but professional looking graphics.

Case in point, on a local newspaper web site, we were running static, non-animated banner ads. I redesigned them in flash, and made them more aesthetically appealing, clicks went up by, I think it was 600% or something ridiculous like that. Just because it looked nicer, we didn't really change the message.

Mar 03, 2008 07:34 AM #5
Rainer
20,426
Robert Krames
Smart Media Creative Solutions - Gainesville, FL
By the way, I always send out my confirmation of subscription emails in plain text. And recommend in that email that the user add me to their address book so it's less likely my HTML emails will get filtered.
Mar 03, 2008 07:36 AM #6
Rainmaker
216,199
Tricia Jumonville
Bradfield Properties - Georgetown, TX
Texas REALTOR , Agent With Horse Sense

Don't have percentages, but I work a great deal with "the public" (you know, people who buy and sell homes) in non-work-related ways via email discussion lists.  As part of that, I deal with their problems vis a vis email, and this comes up a lot.  

There's even a website that I've run across (most list moderators that deal with this use it, in fact, to deal with the problem), that is very useful in helping people set their email to send plain text, and it details the problems that HTML causes in email.  If you'd like it, rather than link to it here, I can send it to you privately so you can see what you're up against.

The capability to strip incoming HTML is relatively new, as I said, because people demanded it.   The thing about HTML in email is that it's pretty black and white, no one seems to be neutral to it, they either love it or hate it.

I'm not telling you (or anyone) not to use it, just pointing out one of the potential downsides and confirming that HTML has the potential for not reaching the intended recipient and that critical information should be sent in plain text for that reason, as you said.  

 

Mar 03, 2008 07:48 AM #7
Rainer
20,426
Robert Krames
Smart Media Creative Solutions - Gainesville, FL
Please do, I will take a look at it.
Mar 03, 2008 08:02 AM #8
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