Sending Email Newsletters

10 things you should know about sending pretty email newsletters.


  1. Emails with pictures in them are in effect mini web-pages.  These are written in basic HTML, the language of the web.

  2. You can create HTML emails using "what you see is what you get", or WYSIWYG tools, like the formatting toolbar in Outlook or Thunderbird, but such tools are limited in what they can output, and usually produce unnecessary code which just clogs up bandwidth and can upset spam filters.

  3. Anyone who is serious about creating a good-looking HTML newsletter should use a plain text/HTML editor.  Notepad will do, but something like Context is much more pleasant and efficient to work with.

  4. The pictures in a HTML email are never sent as attachments, but rather they exist on a webserver and code in the email requests them when the email is opened.  Similarly, PDFs, Word documents etc., should never be sent as attachements, but rather as links in the email to the proper file on a webserver.

  5. You can track open rates approximately by counting the number of times an image is requested.

  6. All the different email clients display HTML email differently.  Even different versions of Outlook display HTML differently.  For example, Outlook 2003 uses Internet Explorer to interpret HTML, but Outlook 2007 uses Word, which is far less sophisticated in its interpretation.

  7. The simpler the HTML the more likely it is to work in more email clients.

  8. Whilst it is possible to create a HTML email and edit the source code in Outlook Express, most other email clients do not include a source editing function.

  9. If using a standard email client, it is limited in how it sends mass emails, i.e. either you have a list of addresses in the TO box, the CC box or the BCC box.  People prefer not to be included in a long list of addresses.  It is better to send one email at a time.

  10. CRM systems such as Goldmine, Salesforce and Sugar CRM, and online mailing tools such as Aweber and MailChimp provide a way of sending personalised individual emails to vast mailing lists.  These tools have the ability to create HTML email and edit the source code.