What Is HTML? HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is used by most web pages, especially those using HyperText Transfer Protocols (or HTTP, which is the first part of the web address at the top of this page). HTML is the programming that translates coding into the images that you see, embedding videos and images and scripts, structuring a page\'s content and providing the backbone for Benchmark\'s email marketing software. To properly code with HTML you will use HTML elements called tags. These tags are enclosed inside brackets. For instance, <h1> is the start tag for a large header font. At the end of the header or headline that we are encoding, we place an end tag, which includes a forward slash </h1>. These tags enclose the section or text that you want to format. Think of the start tag as an open channel. The code inside designates what will flow into that channel. The end tag closes the channel and locks the section into the code. The Benchmark Email Editor takes care of almost all of your HTML needs. But for those of you who like to do your own coding, or even for the curious who\'d like to give it a try, these tips will give you a working knowledge of how to code, one tag at a time. Today we\'ll focus on adding links to your email or newsletter. Adding links to websites can broaden the scope of your email or direct your readers\' attentions to your own sign-up boxes or landing pages. It is an invaluable tool when email marketing and today we will cover two methods of linking. First, open your Email Editor (Step 4 when creating a new email) and choose a template, preferably one that doesn\'t have too many colors or crazy designs already added. Find the section you want to edit and click on the pencil icon in the top left corner. Delete all of the body text. This will give you less code to sift through when you start experimenting with your own HTML. Now write a brief sentence with a word you want to use as a link. In my case I\'ll use \"Benchmark Email\". I want my users to be able to click on that word and link directly to my website. Once you have the word (and know which address you want to link to), click on the Code View button under the Insert Additional Elements box. This opens your document in HTML. What we\'re looking at is the same document stripped down to its code. Locate your sentence with the word you want to link. Right after \"Dear Bob,\" you will see two <br> tags. Remember from last week that these are line breaks. Because the code is all mashed together, the <br> tags indicate that I have left a space between \"Dear Bob\" and the body of the email (the body starts at the second line break). Now it\'s time for us to turn our word into a hyperlink. Remember to begin the code at the start of your word, not at the beginning of your sentence. My start tag will look like this: <a href=\"http://www.benchmarkemail.com\">. Leave no spaces between the start tag and your link word and make sure you have entered the full web address between the quotations. Leaving out a quotation at the beginning or end of the url can lead to an incomplete code and you may end up with a broken link. Also key to note is the space between the a and href. At the end of your link word, simply close the code with the </a> tag. See below. Save & Close your HTML window. If your url is accurate your word should now be linked. Always check your link once you have encoded it. First save your email. Then click on the highlighted word. The code we have used is a direct link. This means that when users view your email and click on the link their browser will take them directly to the url specified. This has its disadvantages. Most email marketers will tell you to keep your customers on your page - if you\'re linking to an outside source, a direct link will take them away. However, if you use a direct link at the end of your email or newsletter to take the user to a sign up box or special landing page, it may be exactly where you want them to go. The next code we\'ll use opens the link in a new tab or browser. This is my preferred way of linking. If the user is done with what they\'re viewing they will close or exit out of their first window. But giving them the option to toggle between two tabs leaves them free to navigate between their source page and the linked material. In the end, it\'s a matter of what works best for you. Open your Code View again and find your original start tag. The beginning is written the same, but after the quotation marks around your linked url, leave a space and write target=\"_blank\">. Each one of those elements is important and it\'s easy to skip a space or a quotation (and don\'t forget the underscore before blank). See below for how it fits into the code. If you have input the code correctly the linked word should not look any different. However, when you click on it it should now open in a new tab or new browser (depending on your internet settings). If it doesn\'t, go back to Code View and check your start and end tags. (When creating this blog I found that I had originally written three t\'s in http.) Details matter. And now that I\'ve illustrated how to use links I hope you\'ll give it a try. Until next time, happy coding!
New email marketing features are an exciting thing for us on the Benchmark Email team. On one hand, it’s exciting because we’re a bunch of e-nerds. To us, it’s like a new toy. On the other hand, we’re excited because we get to offer you even better services. Within our Editor, we now have a new feature that allows you to upload files like PDFs and Word documents, up to 10MB, and link them from your emails. In the Editor, highlight (left click and drag over) the word or group of words that you want to link to an editable PDF or Word doc. Then just select Insert Link in the left-hand column. In the Insert Link window that opens, click on the \'upload your files\' link under the \'Web Address option\' .This will open your Document Library. You can now click on one of the existing files to link to OR upload a new file This is a great way to share larger images, charts or diagrams with your recipients. It will keep your email looking streamlined and readable, while providing the best content possible. After all, an engaged and entertained email list is a happy list.
One of the keys to success in e-mail marketing is to reduce the number of spam complaints that you receive. Spam complaints can hurt your standing with your ISP or hosting provider, and even prevent your messages from being delivered to millions of users of popular web e-mail providers such as Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo mail. In spite of these potentially very significant consequences, many businesses that rely on e-mail marketing as a major part of their advertising efforts fail to understand the steps that you can take to prevent spam complaints from being submitted. The following tips will help you reduce your spam complaints: Confirmed opt-in: The best way to ensure that your subscribers want to receive mailings from you is by using a confirmed opt-in process. It requires your subscribers to confirm their subscription by replying to an e-mail before they can be added to your e-mail list. Your list only: It is no longer acceptable to purchase e-mail lists or use third-party lists. You should remove any e-mail addresses obtained from third party sources. Practice good list hygiene: Don’t get in love with your list. The quantity of email addresses in your list means little; it is the quality that counts. As a general rule, the older your list (or addresses in your list) the greater the chance that they may not be any longer interested in receiving mails from you. That said, there are no specific rules as all businesses are different. Some businesses will know that some of their best customers are their oldest customers, so the culling of all e-mail addresses obtained before a specific date may not be suitable for those businesses. Include the Unsubscribe Link: The first and most important step you can take is to include an unsubscribe link in every message. Beyond this, the unsubscribe link should be two things: obvious and painless. Customers who want your emails will ignore the link, and those who don\'t will find it easy to unsubscribe from your list, rather than hastily clicking the email as spam. Evaluate your Subject Line: Ensure that - especially when starting out - your company name is included in the subject line. You may be thinking that is not necessary, since your company name will more than likely show in the \"from\" field, however, this helps to convey professionalism. Be sure that the message in your subject line is actually conveyed in the email. No one likes to be duped, and doing so raises the chances of your e-mail being marked as spam. Familiar layout: Using a consistent e-mail template with the same colors, fonts and layout will help your subscribers to recognize your e-mail campaigns. Over time your subscribers will recognize your layout and with that familiarity they will be reminded that they have subscribed to your list. Familiar and consistent company name: Confusion and complaints can originate from subscribers being unfamiliar with your company or brand name. Consistent from address: Using a consistent ‘from’ e-mail address serves two purposes. First, using the same ‘from’ address over time is another way to ensure that your subscribers recognise your e-mails. It is best to use a from e-mail address that includes your brand or the company name that they subscribed to. Second, if different ‘from’ addresses are used it increases the chances that the subscriber’s local e-mail filter programs (spam filters) will block your e-mails. It is a good idea to ask your subscribers to add your e-mail address to their address book to ensure that your messages will get past any local filters. Frequency: A common complaint trigger is businesses sending too many e-mails to the same group of people. While a subscriber may like your products and your business, there becomes a point when your mailings become annoying when sent too often, particularly if you are sending essentially the same message over and over again. The frequency of mail-outs will depend on your business and the type of information you provide to your subscribers. By outlining the anticipated frequency in your sign-up subscription terms, your subscribers will know how often to expect your mailings. Few other tips: - do not write long email copy - go for “short and crisp”, then point to your website for more information; - don’t repeat your website URL over and over again — you are more likely to get more complaints than more sales; once or twice is usually enough; - run a spam-check on your messages before you send them out and fix any problems that it detects.