A collection of useful tips to improve how you use Business Catalyst solution in your business.

Setting up your eMail Marketing Newsletter Templates and Layouts

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We all know how important an email marketing campaign can be to your business. A constant request from clients is for putting together the email template. You first of all have to make a choice whether you are sending plain text or HTML.

If you are sending plain text then you have chosen the safe, easy and guaranteed pathway. You have no issue with layouts for your emails. 

If you are like most of us and chose HTML then we have some serious issues to contend with.

The challenge that lies before anyone sending HTML emails is that the different email clients handle the layout code in different ways and not all that successfully in many situations.

Building a HTML email is unfortunately not like building a web page. The web browsers have worked hard at adhering to standards such as W3C yet email clients have stubbornly gone their own way. Some have even gone backwards with Microsoft 2007 OUTLOOK being a major culprit. Web based email clients such as GMAIL and HOTMAIL are no better with their own peculiarities. 

Whilst this may leave you wondering what this means to you I offer advice based on one of 2 premises. If you are familiar with HTML and CSS then I recommend you read the article ‘Rock Solid HTML Emails.’

Some general points drown from that article are:

  • Keep your layout SIMPLE
  • You will need to use tables, nested tables and inline CSS to manage your layout
  • Set width in cells and images in pixels. Do not set width on tables.
  • CSS should be place inline. The article provides a tool for converting all CSS to inline CSS.
  • You should provide fallback colors for background images.

As for the bulk of your reading this article, my advice is get someone who is experienced to create your email template for you. If you are using an email marketing system such as our Business Catalyst CMS then you will find that these invariably come with templates provided.

A number of developers offer free or commercial email templates. Be sure to check that they are able to work across the main email clients. If you would like a free HTML email template (right mouse click to save the HTML file or save the page source if viewed) that has been verified as cross client compatible you may download for your own use. 

If you would like further assistance with your own email marketing email templates, then please contact us with your details and requirements.


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