How to Create and Send HTML Email

Until recently text-based email was the most popular way to communicate, however with the advent of html email you can now create and send beautiful graphics, create clickable links and use interactive forms.

HTML email can have the same appearance as a web page. You an
include your favorite photos, create colorful newsletters or charts for your friends or business associates.

It's now often used as a valuable tool in email marketing campaigns.

HTML email has now surpassed text-based email in popularity.

Read this survey on email format preferences and and programs.

Let's first point out the pros and cons of sending html email before we get into how to create it.

Pros of using html email

* Visually appealing
* Able to include graphics, icons, clickable links, different fonts,
interactive forms.
* Increased interactivity with your customers.
* Mostly used by advertisers, however more consumers are using
html email as they switch to faster connections.
* Ads can be more effective in HTML
* Most of the popular email clients now support html email
(ie Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, Netscape Communicator, Hotmail,
Rocketmail, AOL, Yahoo, Web TV).

Cons of using html email

* Slow loading due to downloading of graphics
* Takes up more space in your email client
* Not all computers support html email
* Users may not have the required bandwidth or may have
download quotas set by their ISPs.
* Hackers can send viruses, trojan horses embedded in html email.
* Users may turn off the option to receive html email, or use filters
to quarantine it.

How to create a simple html email

1. Open your favorite html editor ie FrontPage, Dreamweaver (you can also use MS Word 97 or 2000 but it tends to bloat the code a little) to create your email.

2. Always use absolute URLS for your graphics (ie

3. Graphics (ie images, icons, fancy fonts) must be stored on a
web server
to correctly appear in email software - you could
save it as an attachment, however most folks will not open the
attachment especially (and delete it) if it's from someone they
don't know.

If you don't want to use graphics, you can use colored tables for different sections (ie header, masthead, contact information and footers).

4. Name and save the page you have created (ie html-email.htm).

5. Open your Email Software - in outlook express (since it's the most popular) go to create mail - insert - text from file - scroll to your saved html page.

You are now ready to send your html email.

6. Email a test to yourself before your send it to your subscriber list. You may want to send it to your friends who have different email programs so you can be sure most of your subscribers can read it on their computers.

7. Once you have created an attractive html page or newsletter, save it as a template. Now you can just open the template whenever you want to send html mail and most of the work will be done for you.

HTML email is still rather new, but it is a great marketing tool if used properly. The key is to test, test , test to see if your subscribers prefer it over text based email. If you are unsure your subscribers can read html email, then offer both text-based email and html email, to cater to both audiences.

In my Part 2 of this article, I will discuss "How to create and send an html email form" to increase the interactivity with your subscribers and boost the response rate in your email marketing

© 2003 Herman Drost