Topic: Web email

You know how we recieve emails that are like mini websites. They have like an html based email in which you can design it any way you want and create links from image and stuff. How can I do that? I am trying to run an ad campaign for my website with images from some of the designers there and I wanted to know how I can create a web page email like other sites do, such as stores and other websites. Thanks in advance.

Re: Web email

One thing I have learned is to code them up without web standards. Seems contradictory, but some of the email renderers really suck (so use <font> tags, use <table>, etc.). Check out the Email Standards Project website: http://www.email-standards.org/

We use some software that I'm not sure of what it's called to send out "email blasters" (as they are sometimes called), but basically you put the coded embed in one part of the software, and attach or put a plain text .txt version (some email browsers don't display images and thus the text version is needed) in another part. Our software also manages email databases. Not sure what the best software to use is but I'm sure a quick Google search will find some.

Also, expect a lot of the email addresses to bounce back, and be sure to (probably) remove them from your list so you're not firing emails to broken addresses.

Hope that helps a bit, sorry I can't provide a solution.

Re: Web email

So you use software to do it. Is it internet based or can you use it like regular software and just connect whenever you need to send email?

Re: Web email

You might check out Campaign Monitor, which, while it isn't free, is a very robust solution with lots of good reports and tools.  They also have lots of advice on creating the emails, and can facilitate the HTML and text versions of the email.

Re: Web email

Unfortunately writing HTML e-mails has become one of my primary tasks. I work for a company that sends to tens of thousands of people a week, so I've been forced into having a lot of experience with them. The cool thing is they are set up with an app called Send Studio which has a checker that runs the code on the rules for AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and Outlook '03 & '07. It's been great for learning what works and what doesn't.

In a nutshell, you have to use HTML 4.1 standards with no background images, neither CSS or HTML... thats right... our newest glorious edition of Microsoft Office doesn't support it even though '03 supports it perfectly. This means normal images and nested tables. I use tricks so that I actually don't have an image behind text. If I need it I make the text part of the image too.

Gmail doesn't support css before the BODY tag... so every single last style has to be defined for every single last element. Yes we are talking massive code bloat on major steroids. Another fun thing about Gmail is it doesn't recognize text styles, so as Ben mentioned you have to use the <font> tag. It's a trip.

Don't integrate ANYTHING with flash or Javascript. Way too little support. If its important, make a link button to it.

Its a pain, but that's the nature of the beast. It takes me 4x longer to make in an e-mail what I could make as a web page. It's been hard to get this across to clients but the ones that understand are enjoying really snazzy emails that don't break for nuttin.

Oh, and be careful how you got the names for your list and always ALWAYS ALWAYS have a way to unsubscribe. I think its the law. I think there are more laws too, regarding weather you have to put a physical address in the footer... I'm not precisely sure on that because the content and media people look into that and tell me what to do.

Really a lot of grief can be avoided if you make a simple e-mail that consists entirely of one or two images. Otherwise, congrats Adrian, you found another minefield in the realm of web dev. smile

"Bear 270, young man. Bear two, seven, zero, over." - Musings of a flight simulator guru, me.

Re: Web email

Leovenous wrote:

Unfortunately writing HTML e-mails has become one of my primary tasks. I work for a company that sends to tens of thousands of people a week, so I've been forced into having a lot of experience with them. The cool thing is they are set up with an app called Send Studio which has a checker that runs the code on the rules for AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and Outlook '03 & '07. It's been great for learning what works and what doesn't.

In a nutshell, you have to use HTML 4.1 standards with no background images, neither CSS or HTML... thats right... our newest glorious edition of Microsoft Office doesn't support it even though '03 supports it perfectly. This means normal images and nested tables. I use tricks so that I actually don't have an image behind text. If I need it I make the text part of the image too.

Gmail doesn't support css before the BODY tag... so every single last style has to be defined for every single last element. Yes we are talking massive code bloat on major steroids. Another fun thing about Gmail is it doesn't recognize text styles, so as Ben mentioned you have to use the <font> tag. It's a trip.

Don't integrate ANYTHING with flash or Javascript. Way too little support. If its important, make a link button to it.

Its a pain, but that's the nature of the beast. It takes me 4x longer to make in an e-mail what I could make as a web page. It's been hard to get this across to clients but the ones that understand are enjoying really snazzy emails that don't break for nuttin.

Oh, and be careful how you got the names for your list and always ALWAYS ALWAYS have a way to unsubscribe. I think its the law. I think there are more laws too, regarding weather you have to put a physical address in the footer... I'm not precisely sure on that because the content and media people look into that and tell me what to do.

Really a lot of grief can be avoided if you make a simple e-mail that consists entirely of one or two images. Otherwise, congrats Adrian, you found another minefield in the realm of web dev. smile

Gosh that is  a lot of info. Info that I need. Thanks for taking the time to type that up for me. It is well worth the hassle in order for my site to reach a greater success. I will have to learn all that I can for this and I am willing to do so. The one mistake you made was replying to this. Now I will be coming to you for a lot of help. Thanks.

Re: Web email

Jonathan,  do you have a host specifically for emailing that kind of volume?  I know I've had issues with my webhost disabling email service after a considerably smaller amount of emails (we were testing Access to Outlook appointment creation) being sent.

Re: Web email

Now will I need software to do this. Also where will I have to send the emails from? This is going to be a long learning process, but I am up for it.

Re: Web email

From what my boss tells me, every email campaign you send out needs to have at minimum an address a phone number (phone # might be optional, not sure..), and a way to unsubscribe (usually by submitting an email, or an automated process which would be harder, using databases etc.).

Re: Web email

InfaredFog wrote:

From what my boss tells me, every email campaign you send out needs to have at minimum an address a phone number (phone # might be optional, not sure..), and a way to unsubscribe (usually by submitting an email, or an automated process which would be harder, using databases etc.).

Well there isn't physical address for www.thegdfc.com I just started it as a forum first, but I am trying to draw more members and get some of the existing members a newsletter. One of my goals for the next six months is to develop a newsletter for the site. There is no actual address. What must I have in order to be able to send out the actual newsletter?

Re: Web email

BaldGeek wrote:

Jonathan,  do you have a host specifically for emailing that kind of volume?  I know I've had issues with my webhost disabling email service after a considerably smaller amount of emails (we were testing Access to Outlook appointment creation) being sent.

I know what you mean. Not precisely sure how our server admin has us set up, but I know they have a pretty gravy Rackspace setup. I think they are sent from the same server that hosts the main site (unless they have a specific e-mail server, but I doubt that). But having dedicated servers on an ultra-fast backbone gets around those issues I guess.

"Bear 270, young man. Bear two, seven, zero, over." - Musings of a flight simulator guru, me.

Re: Web email

BaldGeek wrote:

You might check out Campaign Monitor, which, while it isn't free, is a very robust solution with lots of good reports and tools.  They also have lots of advice on creating the emails, and can facilitate the HTML and text versions of the email.

Is there a free alternative to this?

Re: Web email

Sort of. If you Google or dig around Hotscripts there are free little web apps you can put on your hosting that do MIME and all that jazz... I've tried a few in the past and never thoroughly liked one.

I was reading up yesterday on e-mail practice... apparently it is important to avoid spammy words in your emails, like "click here", and interestingly many of the filters read comment tags too, so you might want to be careful what you say or leave them out altogether. I also read that some filters use an image/text ratio calculation.... meaning of the e-mail is all images, or mostly images, it could be flagged as spam.

Craziness.

Last edited by Leovenous (2008-03-21 05:25:22)

"Bear 270, young man. Bear two, seven, zero, over." - Musings of a flight simulator guru, me.

Re: Web email

Leovenous wrote:

Unfortunately writing HTML e-mails has become one of my primary tasks. I work for a company that sends to tens of thousands of people a week, so I've been forced into having a lot of experience with them. The cool thing is they are set up with an app called Send Studio which has a checker that runs the code on the rules for AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail, and Outlook '03 & '07. It's been great for learning what works and what doesn't.

For Send Studio, have you encountered any specific issues with Hotmail mail not working? I read about an issue with Hotmail, but it's a few years old. It referenced  the issue that "Hotmail and other Microsoft services check back to the email server to see whether they support the SPF." I wasn't sure if it still applied.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud

Re: Web email

According to a web admin friend SPF is alive and... um... alive. He considers it a step worth taking to be on the safe side. In that case it may be advisable to see if it can be set up on your system.

My initial reaction would be that Hotmail’s receptivity has less to do with Send Studio itself and more to do with Hotmail users flagging your e-mails as spam and getting your IP or TLD flagged as spam. One of the ugly facts in the world of e-mail newsletters is that people will flag your message as spam just to get it out of their inbox... even if they knew they signed up to get e-mails from you. Thats probably one of the leading culprits, especially with web mail. In that case your course of action would be to somehow contact Hotmail about getting off their spam list, or pay their ransom fee for being a pre-approved mailer. Not quite sure how to do either but I know where to dig up some more info.

On the other hand, I have noticed that the Easy Accessible Contact Form plugin I use with WordPress ALWAYS fails to send to a Hotmail recipient... not flagged as spam... just filtered into oblivion. I've even tried from different servers. Could there be a relationship there? Maybe. To me it at least establishes that Hotmail is extra-mysterious. Isn't that ever scientific and helpful: "extra mysterious". It could be that none of the servers I was sending from had SPF and for sure my domains that go into the sender part don't, so that could be part of the problem and I'm glad you brought it up.

Now I'm involved with a company that will be providing an e-newsletter service (of a unique kind), so soon I'll be responsible for the code of not tens of thousands, but hundreds of thousands of HTML e-mails. Pretty intimidating! That to say I'm gathering every bit of information I can on the subject.

"Bear 270, young man. Bear two, seven, zero, over." - Musings of a flight simulator guru, me.

Re: Web email

Thanks! I'll follow up and find out about SPF.

"Change is inevitable, growth is intentional" - Glenda Cloud