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Are You Content With the Quality of Your Ezine? How to Send HTML-Formatted Emails in Outlook Express

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Dina Giolitto
November 17, 2006

Dina Giolitto
Dina Giolitto is a copywriting consultant and ghostwriter with 10 years of experience writing corporate print materials and web content. Trust her with your next e-book, article series or web project, and make a lasting impression on your audience of information-hungry prospects. Visit http://www.wordfeeder.com for more details.
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How many times has this happened to you: you've been slaving over that email newsletter for hours, perfecting the tables, checking and rechecking the copy, tweaking image files. You're finally ready to send, hooray! You take a deep breath, click... and what happens? Your email newsletter goes out to thousands of people looking like crap! WHY? There was a problem with the images being read. It's enough to drive a marketer over the edge...

Tip: Take this Article and SAVE IT to Your Desktop. Next time you want to send out an ezine, open this up and read the directions carefully!

1. Create your email newsletter in an HTML editor. If you don't have one, purchase DreamWeaver or go for a freeware version here: http://nvu.com.

2. Create the "tabloid" where your newsletter will live. Use the "insert table" or a similarly labeled function to do this. Think logically, and create tables inside of tables where your various sections will be placed.

3. Add stylistic elements. Choose a font for the text and another for the headline. Decide if your tables should have a border or not. Add cellpadding (10-15 pixels or so) to every table inside your main table. Cellpadding gives your table's text and pictures a border so they look cleaner and more professional.

4. This is important: Make sure that the page you created does NOT have a background color. If your page has a background color or file, it will create problems if you decide to pop the HTML code into an email or on a network page that you own. In the editor I use, you must click FORMAT and then "page colors and background to edit the background color. Set it to NONE.

5. Fill in the details. Add all of the remaining elements including great copy, images that have been properly named and uploaded to your hosting server, and live links that your readers can click to "learn more," "download," or "buy now". When you're satisfied with the results, save as an .html file to your desktop or a properly labeled folder and publish.

6. Prepare to copy the file. Open a new, blank email in Microsoft Outlook Express. Go to the three tabs at the bottom - Edit, Source, and Preview. You want to be in the SOURCE panel. Open up the html file you created in the editor, and click VIEW>SOURCE. Click Control-C.

7. Transfer the code to your email now. Go back to the email SOURCE panel and do a CONTROL-V. Your code should flow in from the file you saved. Save as a draft just in case you accidentally wipe out the file, at least it'll be in your DRAFTS folder.

8. Take a good look at your newsletter. Do this in the EDIT tab of your Microsoft Outlook Express. The graphics, tables and copy should appear here looking virtually the way they looked in the HTML page you created. If everything is shifted to the left, go back to the HTML document, click the OUTSIDE table, click PROPERTIES, and designate CENTER as your alignment.

9. FIX and SEND! Add the new code back to your email by repeating steps 6 and 7 and then view your email in the EDIT panel once again. When you're satisfied with the results, blind copy your contact addresses, a catchy headline that will be noticed in people's email boxes, and finally hit SEND.

As I mentioned earlier, sending out a newsletter that looks sloppy and contains missing pictures gets a slap on the wrist! Don't let it happen to you. If you keep these instructions handy, they may prove useful for you one day. I know I plan to use them myself!

Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.

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