FAQs - Email design

Email designs

1. How to insert a Unsubscribe link?

To make the unsubscribe link in InstantBulkMailer shorter and look cleaner:
In the campaign editor place the cursor where you want to insert unsubscribe link and click insert unsubscribe option located below HTML content editior as shown in the pic.

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and you're done!
2. How to personalize emails with First Name, e.g. 'Dear Mr. NAME' or 'Dear Mrs. NAME'?

Yes, such personalized emails what we refer to as "Custom Fields". Custom fields can be created/managed from the List option. Custom fields like First Name, Last Name, Address, Phone, Birth date etc.. are available to you by default.
To begin, your email list (csv/excel) file must have custom field column as shown below.

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and you're done!

Step 1 - Import the contacts from a file. Watch video
Step 2 - Insert a custom fields into your email.

Option 1. You simply need to add the text such as %%First Name%% in your email content as shown below and they will be replaced when the email is sent.
Option 2. Click on the "Insert Custom Field" link underneath the WYSIWYG editor. A popup window will appear asking you to select the Custom Field you would like to insert.

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and you're done!

Keep in mind however, that when you preview a newsletter, i.e. Send it to yourself using the preview option, the custom fields will not be parsed, because your preview email address does not contain the custom fields. In order for the custom fields, including unsubscribe to work, you must send the newsletter out to a contact list.

3. Why are my images not showing when I create a new template from a file on my computer?

When you create the email template from a local file it simply grabs the HTML from the file that you are uploading. The images still need to be uploaded to the server.

In the email editor, just right click on the image (or image place holders that you can see) and then select insert/edit image option to upload. This will then open up the image selection window where you can then upload the image to your server.

Another way you could do this would be to upload the files somewhere else on your server and alter the image source url to point to the full location of the image (http://www.domain.com/image.jpg).

4. Create your email campaign using templates

The most important part of your campaign is the email you will send to your contact list. Let's now look at how to create a simple email campaign by choose a professionally pre-designed email template from those included in the system.

Move your mouse over the "Email Campaigns" tab and click the "Create Email Campaign" menu option:

Creating a simple email campaign in the system.

Complete the "Create Email Campaign form". Choose "HTML" for the format. In this example we will create a basic HTML-only newsletter with graphics and formatted text. Finally, choose one of the professionally pre-designed email templates from the "Email Template" box. Use the preview link to view all of the templates. Click the "Next >>" button when you're done.

Creating an email campaign using one of the many included professionally designed email templates in the system.

When the next page loads, type in a subject line for your email campaign. This is the text contacts will see when they look at the emails in their inbox, so make it short and to the point. Scroll down the page and you will see the email editor. You can type in text content for your email here. In this example we'll just copy and paste a few paragraphs of text from Microsoft Word using the editor's "Paste From Word" function:

Creating the content of your email using the built-in WYSIWYG editor.

Under the email editor you will see two links: Insert Custom Fields and Insert Unsubscribe Link. You should always include an unsubscribe link in your email, and if you don't the system will warn you when it saves.

To insert the value of a custom field in your newsletter just click the "Insert Custom Fields" link:

Inserting a custom field into your email campaign's content.

Choose the custom field you want to add and click the "Insert" button next to it. The custom field will be added to your content and will be represented by a placeholder variable, such as %%Email%% or %%First Name%%. When the email is sent, these values will be replaced with real values from your contact contact list. For example, %%Email%% might be replaced with user1@somesite.com and %%First Name%% might be replaced with John.

Complete the "Attachments" section of the form if you want to include file attachments with your email campaign. Before clicking the "Save And Exit" button to move on, send a preview of your email using the "Send Preview" section of the form.

Congratulations, you've just created your first email campaign! Let's now move on to send it to your contact list of contacts.

5. Create a subscription form for your website

If you want to offer visitors to your web site a way to sigup to your contact list, you can create a subscription form in the system to add to your site. You will need to have a little experience with HTML to add the form to your web site.

To get started, click the "Website Forms" link shown in the top right-hand corner of the system. This will take you to the "Manage Website Forms" page. Website forms are special forms that you can create. You can create website forms to accept contacts, for someone to unsubscribe, modify their subscription details or send an email campaign to their friends.

Click the "Create Form" button to create a form. Type in a form name and make sure you choose the "Subscription" option from the "Form Type" dropdown. If you aren't sure what any of the fields are, just move your mouse over the help icon next to that field:

Creating a form to accept contacts from your web site is easy.

Click the "Next >>" button. Depending on which form options you chose, you may or may not be required to enter more details. Again, if you are unsure of anything just move your mouse over the help icon next to the field and read the help text.

Once you've created your form you'll be taken back to the "Manage Website Forms" page. Simply click the "Get HTML" link next to your new form and paste that code into your website to add the subscription form to your site.

6. The Do’s and Don’ts of Email HTML

If you've spent much time creating and mailing email messages, you've probably noticed that email clients such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Gmail, etc., can display your emails in different ways. What looks great in Yahoo or Outlook 2003 may appear very different in Gmail or Outlook 2007.

The root of this problem is the variance among email clients in the level of support for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). There is no real standard for what an email client should support and how it should go about supporting it. Every email client takes its own approach to rendering HTML and CSS – which is why an email that looks fine in one email client can look different in another.

So how can you or your designer ensure an email design remains consistent and looks great across all these different email clients?

Don'ts

  • Don’t link to an external .css file. This will simply be ignored or stripped by many email clients.
  • Don’t use CSS within the "style" section of your HTML code. Similar to an externally referenced .css file, many elements from this section will be stripped or ignored by a number of email clients.
  • Don’t use Divs to manage your layout.
  • Don’t rely on background images within your design. These are sometimes ignored, so you’ll end up with a plain white background instead of one that shows off your lovely background image.
  • Don’t rely solely on graphical HTML editors, even great ones like Dreamweaver. They generally default to use external CSS or header CSS to style the design (which is only natural, since this is exactly how you should create the style and layouts for a website). So no matter how good the design looks within the editor itself, you’ll end up running into issues with various email clients.
  • Don’t post forms, such as opt-in forms or surveys, within your message. Many email clients lack support for forms, so the submit button won’t do anything when your recipient clicks on it.
  • Don’t include videos within your message. A number of email clients have trouble with embedded video, and this will lead to the video either not working or being stripped out of the email entirely.
  • Don’t rely on an image-only / image-heavy design. Many email clients turn images off by default, requiring the recipient to click a button or link to turn the images on. So too much image content could leave your email in a bad state when the images are off.
  • Don’t use Flash elements in your design. Most email clients ignore / strip Flash.
  • Don’t use Javascript. It will be ignored or even treated as a security risk. Once someone receives a security notice about one of your emails, they’ll be unlikely to ever open another one.

Do's

  • Do all of your styling via inline style attributes within the body of the document (i.e. < p style="border:1px solid #c00; font-size:12px;">).
  • Do use Tables for your layout. This is no longer common in web design and may sound archaic to anyone who has been designing web sites over the past several years, but it is the only way to be absolutely confident that your layout isn’t going to break somewhere.
  • Do use background colors, as they’re more reliable than background images. But even then, consider how your message will look against a white background, because it’s possible the background color will be ignored occasionally as well.
  • Do hand-code your own design. Or use our WYSIWYG editor if hand-coding is not something you know how to do.
  • Do link to forms that are hosted on your website, since these will always work just fine.
  • Do link recipients to the video on your site. A great method for doing this is to use an image overlaid with a play button (as you would see on a YouTube video before you start playing it) so that recipients automatically think to click the image to start the video.
  • Don’t rely on an image-only / image-heavy design. Many email clients turn images off by default, requiring the recipient to click a button or link to turn the images on. So too much image content could leave your email in a bad state when the images are off.
  • Do follow the 80/20 rule for balancing images with other content. If roughly 20% of your content is image-based and the roughly 80% is text / other stuff then you’re doing alright. You can certainly have a smaller percentage of images, this is just good to keep in mind.
7. How do I add video to a mailer?

Using the Source tab of the built-in WYSIWYG editor, you can view the direct HTML source of the emailer you're adding the video too.

From YouTube for example, you can copy the HTML code from the box provided. Once you copy this, you can then paste it into the Source tab at the place you would like it to be.

Once the code has been pasted there, you can click on the Edit tab to continue adding content until you've finished your mailer.

8. How to Setup an Autoresponder

An autoresponder lets you send an email to your subscribers a specific number of hours or days after they have subscribed to your mailing list. For example, if John signs up to your mailing list today, you can create an autoresponder to automatically send a welcome email to him 24 hours after he subscribes.

Autoresponders are often called the "marketer's dream tool", and in this article I'll show you how to setup a basic autoresponder to send an email to your subscribers 24 hours after they join your mailing list.

Important Note: You *must* have cron (the scheduled sending system) support enabled from the settings page in order to create and send your autoresponders, so make sure you check that before continuing. If cron isn't setup please contact your administrator and ask him/her to set it up for you.

To create an autoresponder, start by moving your mouse over the "Autoresponders" tab and clicking the "Create Autoresponder" menu option, like so:

To create an autoresponder, click the "Create Autoresponder" option under the "Autoresponders" tab.

The "Create Autoresponder" page will appear. Choose the mailing list you want to create the autoresponder for and click the "Next >>" button. Complete the autoresponder details form. The only required field is a name for your autoresponder, which is used to identify the autoresponder in the control panel. This name is not shown to your users.

You can optionally filter the email addresses in your subscriber list using the other options on the form, but for our example we will send to everyone on the list. Click the "Next >>" button when you are done.

The only required field is the autoresponder's name field. All other fields are for filtering the subscriber list, so we can skip those for now.

When the page loads, complete the form. Pay particular attention to the "Bounce Email" and "Hours Delayed" fields. The "bounce email" field is the email address where emails rejected by your subscribers mail servers will be sent. The "hours delayed" field tells the scheduling system how many hours after someone subscribes to your mailing list to send them the autoresponder email. "0" means it will be sent straight away.

Optionally, complete the rest of the form. If you're unsure about any of the options just move your mouse over the help tip to learn more. Click the "Next >>" button to continue.

On this page you can create the content for your autoresponder email. Enter a subject in the subject field. This is the email subject line your subscribers will see in their inbox. Enter the content of your newsletter in the editor too. Use the "Send Preview" option at the bottom of the page to send yourself a preview of the email before clicking the "Save And Exit" button.

Congratulations, you've just created your first autoresponder! Remember, you can create as many autoresponders for each mailing list as you like, so why not get creative and use autoresponders to your advantage?

Bonus section: Ideas for autoresponders

So how might you use an autoresponder in your business? Here's a simple idea that's quick and easy to implement. In this example let's assume you sell poker chips online from your eCommerce website.

Create a new autoresponder that's sent 24 hours after someone subscribes to your newsletter. In it, include text and images describing your top selling poker chips and at the end include a link to "See all Top Selling Products at MyPokerChipsSite.com"

One week later schedule another autoresponder to your subscribers. In it, include links to articles on your web site that teach them how to improve their poker/roulette/blackjack game. Nothing draws people back to your web site like free articles do.

Finally, create a new mailing list and autoresponder to be sent out after 48 hours to those who order from you. Include your customer support details, including how they can contact you for help, a link to your knowledge base and any product warranty details they might want to know. Of course this is just one example, but hopefully it's given you some new ideas as to how you can use autoresponders to improve your relationship with your web site visitors/customers.

9. How do I create a 'Send to Friends' link in my email campaigns?

To add a 'Send to Friends' link in your email campaigns you will first need to create a 'Send to Friends' form in the 'Create Website Forms' section of InstantBulkMailer.

To do this go to 'Create Website Forms' and select 'Form Type->Send to Friend'

Continue through the process in the same fashion as you would create any other form type. Once it's been created, you can now add this to your emails.

To add the 'Send To a Friend' to your email campaigns you simply add it in like any other 'Custom Field' and send it out -- Simply click on the 'Insert Custom Field' button on the editor or the link underneath the editor.

10. Can I add custom fields to my Email subject lines?

Yes you can. You simply need to add the correct place holder such as '%%First Name%%' or %%Email Address%% in your subject line and they will be replaced when the email is sent.

11. How do I add an anchor to my emails?

To add an anchor to your email highlight the text that you wish to make the anchor and click the insert anchor button. Name the anchor and click ok.

Next highlight the text that you wish to make the link and click the insert link. Choose your anchor from the drop down, click ok, and you should be done.

12. Can I create my own email campaigns or do I need to use an email template?

InstantBulkMailer lets you create email campaigns in various ways depending on how you work.

While InstantBulkMailer lets you create emails and email templates using the built in powerful WYSIWYG editor, you can also create them outside of InstantBulkMailer using a HTML editor such as Dreamweaver, GoLive, FrontPage etc.and upload it directly into InstantBulkMailer

You can also link to a HTML web page anywhere on the web and InstantBulkMailer will retrieve that file and use it as your email.

13. What are the different types of Website Forms and how do I use them.

There are 4 different types of forms that you can make use of.

  • Subscription Form
  • Unsubscribe Form
  • Send to Friends Form
  • Modify Details Form
  • Subscription Form
A subscription form is used to allow visitors to your site to add themselves to your contact list. It allows you to gather information on your contacts in the form of any custom fields that you have created and included in your form.

To use this type of form simply create the form through the website form creation process, including any custom fields that you wish to gather information on. When you have finished creating the form you will be taken back to the Manage Forms page where you will see a link to 'Get HTML'. Clicking this link will present you with the HTML needed to use for the new subscription form.

Now you simply need to place this form code on your website. You can edit this form to make it look as you want so that it will look like your site. Just be sure to leave the code marked "Do not edit" intact. From here you simply wait until visitors make use of the form and add themselves to your mailing list.

Unsubscribe Form
This form is created and used in much the same way as the subscription form except that you cannot add custom fields to it.

Once it is created and placed on your website you can direct your contacts or site visitors here so that they can unsubscribe themselves from your contact list.

If you wish to have your emails contain double opt out, so that your subscribers do not accidentally remove themselves from your list you can link to this form rather then using the built in custom filed %%unsubscribelink%%.

Send to Friends Form
This form is used in a slightly different way. You create the form using the same process as above but when you wish to use it you need to include it in your email campaigns in the form of a custom field.

The reason for this is that a unique link is created so that you can record which contact forwarded the email on and at what time.

You simply need to insert the custom field into your email campaigns and at the time of sending it will be converted into the link and sent on to your contacts.

Modify Details Form
Like the Send to Friends form above, you create this form in the same fashion as all the rest but you include this in your email campaigns as a custom field.

In the same fashion as the Send to Friends this custom field will be converted into a unique link so that your contacts can log in and manage any details that you included in the creation of the form. This may be which contact lists they are subscribed to, what details are stored for their custom fields, even their email address.

14. Can I use HTML from MS Word?

Microsoft Word uses a proprietory/ non-standard HTML code while saving any Word document to HTML. Thus, it is not supported by any email client such as Yahoo, Gmail and so on...

It's good to avoid saving documents to HTML from MS Word. It won't work.

So what do I do?

  • 1. Use built-in email templates, just customize it to your needs.
  • 2. Design your HTML template by yourself or employ someone.
  • 3. If you have received any news letter from someone in the past, just copy the code and reuse it
  • 15. Why attachment option is disabled?

    We have disabled attachment feature. Since major ISP like Yahoo, Hotmail, Gmail and AOL block or defer bulk emails with attachment.

    Avoid sending attachments in Bulk Email. Email attachments are a common tool for propagating computer viruses. As a result, some users are hesitant to open unexpected attachments. Senders of Bulk Email should consider posting files to an own hosted website and then providing instructions / link in the email to download the file. This provides some measure of authenticity.

    16. What is an Autoresponder?

    An Autoresponder is an email that you can set up to be a stand alone, or one of a series, that will be sent out at a set time after a person subscribes to your contact list.

    For example you can set up an autoresponder to be sent immediately (0 hours) after the person signs up to let them know about a promotion you are having for new users.

    You could then set up one to be sent 72 hours, or 3 days later see how they felt about your offer.

    17. I just imported my HTML and do not see any images. Why?

    If you create a new template or email and the images are not referenced absolutely, you will need to upload your images using the editor.

    18. How do I create my emails to look like my site?

    You can create your template, email campaign or autoresponder to look like your own site by first using the option to 'Import a file from a web site' when you create your email.

    This will draw your information from your site and make your email look exactly like it. You can then edit it to make it as you want.

    19. How to use trigger

    If you’re not familiar with trigger emails, they are aptly named. Trigger emails help you send highly personalized, segmented emails automatically to a recipient based on a specialized event. Common triggers are birthdays, holidays, news events, or buying history. Also, triggers can be used to add people to new, segmented lists based on their actions, perhaps clicking a link in your email or by simply opening the email.

    InstantBulkMailer will make this job easy, with many additional powerful tools that help automate your sales efforts using triggers. Let’s take a look at some screenshots.

    In the screenshot below we can see how easy it is to set up a trigger email based on a birthday. Why not send a discount coupon with a special Happy Birthday note? You may also choose to change the “on” to “before” or “after” and specify a number of hours or days before or after the birthday to send the email.

    We can also use triggers to create an action within the software, such as adding contacts to additional mailing lists. In the screenshot below we can see how to setup a trigger that will send a contact an email (in this case our “December Newsletter” campaign) and add them to a new mailing list as soon as they open our email campaign.

    In the final screenshot below we see how we can setup a trigger that will add a lead to two new contact lists and remove them from the list they’re currently on. In this case, it happens based on the recipient clicking a link inside an email campaign.

    It’s pretty easy to see how effective mining triggers can be for your email marketing efforts. Triggers are a phenomenally easy way to automate basic tasks and generate new leads for your sales people. For example, if a recipient clicks a link in your email about a new product, you could set up a trigger to add that person to a new list called “hot leads” for your sales team.

    Triggers are usually more specialized than your regular email campaigns and that’s what makes them so powerful. They can create a real sense of connection and urgency for your recipient to open, read and respond.

    20. I already have an email template. Can I use this in InstantBulkMailer?

    Yes, if you have an existing email template you'd like to use then you can simply upload it into InstantBulkMailer using the Create an Email Campaign option under Email Campaign menu.

    If your template is located on your computer you can select the option to 'Upload a file from my computer'. This will upload your template into InstantBulkMailer .

    21. The WYSIWYG Editor sometimes breaks my tables/columns/divs. Why?

    The most common reason for this problem is because you have invalid HTML code.

    Your HTML code cannot contain mismatching tags. The ..< table >, < tr >, < td >, < div > .. and other tags have to be opened and closed on the correct positions, as defined by the HTML standards. The HTML standards can be found on the W3C website.

    If you are having problems with your HTML, you could try cleaning it up by using this HTML Tidy and then use the resulted cleaned code in your HTML file.

    22. How do I change the look and feel of my website forms?

    When you create the form you will be able to view the HTML code for the form.

    You can then copy that HTML code to an editor where you can modify this to look how you would like for your individual websites.

    23. How to copy email campaign between two IBM accounts

    It is easy to copy email campaign between two accounts. To copy the existing campaign, Go to campaign page and click edit option as shown below

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    In the wysiwyg editor, click the "HTML" button and then press Ctrl + A to select all html source code as shown below

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    To paste the campaign in the second InstantBulkMailer account.

    First create a new campaign with no template option. In the campaign editor click the "HTML" button and paste (Ctrl + V) text copied from the first account as shown below

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    Click "Update" to save the campaign

    24. Why does InstantBulkMailer resize my images when I upload them?

    InstantBulkMailer automatically resizes images to have a maximum width or height of 400px to try to help users remain within their memory limits.

    25. Message only has text/html MIME parts

    So what does "Message only has text/html MIME parts" mean?

    It means that you need to create a plain text version of your campaign along with HTML. While most contacts will be able to receive the HTML version of your message, there are still contacts out there who can only get a plain text version. Most people view their emails in HTML (which means they can see images, links in the email are clickable, and text is formatted), but email clients can be set up to display only plain-text versions of email.

    When our system sends an email, it determines if the contact can receive the HTML version of the message or not. If not, the system will deliver the plain text version of the message. Plain text versions do not include any formatting at all, including bold and in some cases double-spacing.

    To create HTML and Text version email - Select HTML/Text email format while creating email campaign.

    26. When I send a preview newsletter, the unsubscribe and custom fields don't show up. What's going on?

    The unsubscribe link and all other custom fields do not show up in your newsletter when you send a "Preview", and only their respective placeholders will. This is because you are previewing the newsletter, and technically, there is no real data attached to this newsletter. When the newsletter is sent to your contact list, the unsubscribe link will show up, as well as all other custom fields.

    27. My subscription form isn't working. What can I do to fix it?

    Most likely if you've modified your HTML code for the subscription form, then you've probably removed required hidden fields, changed the form action path or broken the Javascript.

    The best way to find out what went wrong is to get the HTML code of the subscription form from InstantBulkMailer , test and make sure that its working and then compare what you've changed to what was originally there.

    Pay special attention to the hidden form variables, the form tag itself and the Javascript verification code.