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Using Forms in HTML Emails

Sometimes it can be very handy to include a HTML form in an email campaign. Whether it’s a quick customer survey or a subscribe form for another list, they can be a good way to interact with a recipient right there in their email client. We even use them occasionally to get feedback off you guys. While they can be useful, there are a number of precautions you need to consider before using them.

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Maximum Width for HTML Emails

You’ve probably noticed that the majority of email newsletters you receive these days are designed with a fixed width as opposed to a fluid layout. This is because the majority of email clients and web-based email providers don’t use the full width of your screen to display an email message. Whether it’s ads on Gmail, a menu in Hotmail or your Inbox in Outlook, a chunk of screen real estate is often already being used. Remember, your recipients are busy and impatient, so horizontal scroll bars are even more of a no-no in email than a web page. Because of this, it is a good idea to keep your emails to a fixed width of no more than 550-600 pixels. This should ensure that in most cases, your subscribers can view your email as you intended. What about height? Obviously the height of each email you send will vary depending on the amount of content. At the same time, it’s good to keep in mind that a lot of your recipients may scan your email in a preview pane before they decide to read the entire thing. The average preview pane is around 300-500 pixels high, so make sure you include any important bits of your email in this area. First impressions count.

Blog Post

Email Newsletter Design Resources

We’ve been seeing some great looking email newsletters being sent through our software of late. This got us thinking… are there any good resources out there that email newsletter designers can turn to for inspiration and insight? We’ve been looking around for a few days and haven’t come up with much. Sure there are some great resources for web design, but html newsletter design seems to have been largely ignored. Because of this, we’re considering posting some of these great designs here occasionally (with the designer’s permission of course) with a little review on what we liked about it. We also had a few other ideas, like the ability for you guys to submit, vote and comment on designs as well. What I want to know is, would you find this useful when looking for inspiration for your next newsletter design? Update: You wanted it, so here it is, the Campaign Monitor Newsletter Design Gallery.

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How Can I Ensure All My Campaigns Are CAN-SPAM Compliant?

We often get asked by you guys if your campaigns are compliant with the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) act of 2003, which went into effect in January 1 of last year. While certain aspects of the law still remain a little cloudy, there are some simple steps you can follow with Campaign Monitor to ensure you’re on the right track. To make things easy, we’ve compiled a quick checklist for our US customers that you should try and follow to lessen the likelihood of unknowingly violating any of the sometimes ambiguous CAN-SPAM laws.

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How Can I Ensure All My Campaigns Are CAN-SPAM Compliant?

We often get asked by you guys if your campaigns are compliant with the CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing) act of 2003, which went into effect in January 1 of last year. While certain aspects of the law still remain a little cloudy, there are some simple steps you can follow with Campaign Monitor to ensure you’re on the right track. To make things easy, we’ve compiled a quick checklist for our US customers that you should try and follow to lessen the likelihood of unknowingly violating any of the sometimes ambiguous CAN-SPAM laws.

Blog Post

Why Can’t I Permanently Delete Sent Campaigns or Subscribers?

This is a question we get asked a lot, but when you think about it, it does make sense. By not allowing you guys to permanently remove who’s in your lists or who you’ve sent campaigns to, we provide you with an audit trail that you can use to protect yourself against a complaint. If a subscriber complains about not being removed from one of your lists, you spamming them, etc, there is always a way to confirm the date they subscribed to your list and when they were removed from it. As long as you’re following best practice and have obtained permission, you’re covered. Of course, you can always set a subscriber as inactive if you don’t want them to receive any campaigns or hide any test campaigns from your clients with a single click.

Blog Post

What’s the Best Day and Time to Send My Email Newsletters?

A question we often get asked by our customers is “What’s the best day and time to send our clients’ newsletters?”. Firstly, let’s look at what some of the more popular research out there is telling us. Just keep in mind that this research is conducted across a range of markets, so it might not always be right for you or your recipients. In July 2004, delivery consultancy Return Path analysed over 3.4 million email messages and found that email sent on Monday is more likely to get opened, and anytime between 6am and 10am is the best time of the day to send. These findings were later confirmed by media company Marketing Sherpa. Today however, it was revealed that this might no longer be the case and that emails sent from Wednesday to Friday maximized open rates. So which one’s right for you? The truth is, the optimal delivery time will depend on what you’re sending and who you’re sending to. Luckily, one of email’s strengths is it’s just so testable (is that a word?). You should use the time of day and day of week as variables in your tests. Try splitting your subscribers into 2 separate subscriber lists and sending to one half at one day and time and one half at another. Run a comparison of your results in the Reporting section and learn from what you see. Running tests like this over the course of a few campaigns is the only way to really know when you should and shouldn’t be sending.

Blog Post

Using Style Sheets in HTML Email Newsletters

Update: Mark has published a comprehensive follow up to this article which takes a more accessible approach and includes a sample template to help you get started. Most people who’ve attempted to recreate a sophisticated design in HTML email have run into a wall when using CSS, either in the form of inexplicable mangling by email clients or a pronouncement by an email administrator stating that CSS is “against the rules”. If you’re not content to roll over and use font tags in your HTML emails, read on. Despite prevailing wisdom to the contrary, you can safely deploy HTML emails styled with good old-fashioned CSS. Yes, we really just said that. Not all attributes will be invited to the party, but many of them work flawlessly with this method.

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