In some cases, one needs to send some images or diagrams, flowcharts or any other graphical representation of data, which demands some extra utility to ensure the perfect delivery of the email content. HTML codes help achieve that but there are some procedures to be strictly adhered to.
Composing format : Multipart/Alternative MIME
An important fact one should be aware of about HTML emailing is, an HTML file and a handful of images cannot be simply attached to the email and sent right away. This is because, on majority of the occasions, the email applications of the intended recipients break the file paths for the images attached to the emails by moving the images to temporary folders on the recipient's hard disk.
Smartly thinking, one can not also possibly paste the HTML coding in the email body. Since most of the email apps are sending the email content in plain text format, the HTML will not be rendered but the recipients could only see the raw HTML code instead of the beautiful HTML layout.
Then, how one can send HTML emails? Well, there is an alternate method to send. Multipart-Alternative MIME – this format has to be used for sending HTML emails. If this format is used, it implies that the email transfer agent will bundle up the HTML code and a plain-text version of the message into one email and send. In this case, if the recipient is not compatible enough to see the beautifully designed HTML mail, the plain text version will be displayed, thus conveying the original message. Using this format requires a little technical expertise. So, many who tries to code themselves will end up with messed up things. To overcome this issue, it requires a programme script to send emails using multipart/alternative MIME format or by simply using commercial vendors who will deliver the email.
Adding Images in HTML Email
One of the main reasons for people to opt for HTML Emails is to add images to them. Can the images be directly attached or pasted to the email content? No, it's not possible. First the thing is, to host the images onto a web server. Then, writing HTML code in the email that downloads the image, whenever the mail is opened, will work. In HTML coding, the absolute path for the pictures must be given. By this method, tracking is also possible. When an image, which is tiny and invisible is added to an email, it will be downloaded whenever the email is opened. This tracking is possible only in HTML emails and not in text only emails.
Images need to be hosted on the web server before they could be linked through HTML codes. Free hosting services are not reliable. It's always best practice to have an own server for hosting the images, because, the first notable fact is, it won't give a spammer impression. Moreover, when heavy traffic is encountered, the providers of free hosting often use scripts in place to prevent the user from linking them in emails, as the free hosting services can not handle the traffic. Alternatively, one can go for email marketing services, which usually are equipped with newsletter builder tools with image hosting capabilities.
Delivery of HTML email
Delivering the HTML emails is equally a tedious process as creating one. Inexperienced and new email marketers do not know the etiquettes for emailing and just like that they add all the recipients, say for instance 5000, in the CC field. This is a blunder and will create unpleasant situations, especially, when 'reply-all' is clicked. It is not possible to track or personalize such a big group. Also, it is unprofessional to add all the recipients in the CC, and it causes serious privacy concerns. Moreover, it is impersonal when recipients could see the entire list of other recipients in this way.
When a computer linked with local ISP is used for sending the emails, usually it would be allowed a limited bandwidth per month, and it is very limited. A dedicated mail server should be used, and it will be capable of sending hundreds of thousands of emails per hour, one at a time to each recipient. Email marketing vendors use this type of servers and if needed one of such vendors can be availed for this purpose.
Bulk sending of emails always has concerns related to delivery. For example, if a local server is used instead of dedicated server, the ISP may control the outgoing emails or even the account could be shut down, for sending too many emails in such a rapid manner. Also, if the monthly bandwidth quota is over, then again the account will be closed.
Email firewalls and ISPs do not like to receive colossal volume of emails from one single IP at a time unless they have usually received such large volume emails from that particular IP. Controlling of email delivery will be possible from one single IP, for occasional email campaigns only. Otherwise, spreading the emails across multiple IPs will avoid accidental blocking. Email marketing exclusive services usually split up the emails into blocks and send them over lots of different IP addresses, thus enabling a smooth and successful delivery.
If desktop email program is used to send a high volume of emails, there are many chances for the emails to be sent via local ISP. If a local ISP is used, then the IP will be a dynamic one. ISPs and spam filters do not like to receive such huge volume of emails from dynamic IPs because it will give an impression of emails being sent from a hijacked home computer. So, a dedicated server must be used for sending a high volume of emails, or an email marketing vendor service can be availed for the purpose.
Some fundamental principles to follow
- Keep your message simple
- Post images on publicly accessible web servers and avoids free servers
- Use absolute path in HTML code ()
- Avoid relative path ( )
- Do not use background images and externally linked CSS
- Do not use single image for the entire message as the spam filter will block this, and the message will end up in a large size
- Use nested tables to create HTML email layout
- Include a plain text part of the HTML email message
- Styling should be done using standard HTML attributes
- Before actually sending the email, testing it several times would do good
Sending emails is an art that attracts the customers. HTML emails add colours to the art and utilizing the maximum power of HTML emails for the newsletters and other campaigns, will undoubtedly produce fruitful results.