July 2002 Newsletter
**** 4specs Quick Picks
How to Undermine Your Brand and Tax Resources with an E-Newsletter
Your e-newsletter may backfire if you are not careful.
[link no longer works]
More about controlling the spam getting into your email box next month. By visiting this site and giving them your email address, you will learn more about email filters that will block your e-newsletter. Send yourself a copy, and perhaps one to your web consultant or IT department.
**** The 4specs Perspective
Last month we looked at E-Newsletter basics and developing your email list. This month will be about sending the emails. There are two wrong ways to send an E-Newsletter:
A better way is to use a program that sends out each message addressed to the recipient. In addition, the message can be personalized. This is how I send out these newsletters with your website stats.
I am currently using Colorado Soft's World Merge program. Available as a trial for free and only $50 for a registered copy, this program will handle the merging of the data and conversion to the required text/HTML format.
[link not working, I am now using another program I will list here]
I understand that an email newsletter can be sent with Word and Outlook, sending out each message as a mail merge. I do not use Outlook, and have not tried that. In looking at the text of a message sent to me using Word/Outlook, the hidden formatting is complex and unneeded. For only $50 I think the WorldMerge program is a better solution.
Here are the steps I used to prepare this e-newsletter:
1. I drafted the e-newsletter using WordPerfect using no formatting. Word would work, but be careful that the formatting does not carry over.
2. I cut and pasted the text into FrontPage and added the basic formatting. I used a table 460 pixels wide and formatted the text. All images must fit in the table. While other widths will work, the AOL email window will start to scroll any messages wider than this. Also, this makes the message more readable on other email readers. If the text is too wide for the font size and spacing, your eye cannot scan the line and the text is difficult to read. I think you can see that this email is easy to read.
3. Using the HTML code generated by FrontPage, I cut and pasted the HTML code into the new message window in WorldMerge and added the merge fields.
4. I went to the HTML view window and looked at the message as it would appear. ( Message > Preview > HTML Preview )
5. I sent the message to my AOL account and my normal mail box to see what it looked like. I checked the message using both Eudora and Outlook. This may not be needed, and I wanted this to be correct.
6. I made any required changes in text and appearance using FrontPage and pasted the revised code in the WorldMerge window. While you can edit the code directly, it takes a lot of HTML experience not to make a serious mistake. I then sent the message again as a test.
7. Once completed, I sent the message to the email list.
1. WorldMerge has an option to use your ISP's SMPT server or to use the Direct Send. Use your ISP's (or company's) SMPT server as some ISP's will reject direct send messages, and perhaps not notify you. Think of the SMPT server as the blue box on the street corner where you send you mail. To control spam, some ISP's block untraceable mail servers, such as the one built into WorldMerge.
2. While you can make the email as fancy as a web page, I recommend a simple approach, adding formatting just for emphasis with just a few images. Recently Sweets sent me an email. When I went to view the email, it took 20 seconds to download and format the email. Many people would not have waited. I was curious to see what they were sending.
3. Not all email programs will be online while reading messages. If they are not, all images will be blank boxes. In the Sweet's case, I would have thought they had sent me a blank email message.
4. Keep it simple. I suggest using no images, or just a few images, and just bold faces with no fancy fonts. I suggest that a +1 font is the maximum size.
Publisher - 4specs