So this is what I’m working on at the moment, a HTML email template for my work (Design a Cake),

here is a picture of the design for the basic template so far:

Email Template

This is a JPEG render from the photoshop file, which will serve as the backdrop for the email in my email campaign.

The Logo (in the header) was designed before I joined the company, but everything else in the template has been designed and coded by me. I’m trying to get out of the habit of using pre-made items in anything I create where possible, I want to be able to sit down and make things, not just cut and paste things.

When content is added  it should fill it out more, with products and offers being added into the top three boxes (which can be repeated infinite times), and main body of Text/pictures added into the middle dark blue large box, with all the usual unsubscribe and business info in the silver box at the bottom.

I’m not completely finished with it yet, as it is a work in progress, and I plan to do more with the green tapes on the left hand sides (and the text in them isn’t set in stone yet either, thats just currently in there as filler content).

Coding the template was a bit of a pain too, I thought I had it cracked when I did the whole thing with tables, then used inline CSS to style the background images into the tables, this worked great in windows live email reader, yahoo and our work email client, but when it was opened by outlook or googlemail it just fell to pieces, so I had to revert back to using tables with table backgrounds, by modern standards this is a total no no, but for emails it seems to still be the current standard! Text can still be styled using inline CSS, but no external/internal styles, only inline.

To send the emails, I’ll be using mailchimp, which is absolutely amazing, it has a google analytics style to it, being able to send out thousands of emails, and track each one, giving you real time data on which links were clicked in your emails, how many were opened, where in the world the people are who opened them, how many unique opens and clicks you get and a whole boat load more info besides that too. Its actually pretty frightening exactly how much data they can collect from the email, but its going to be invaluable to me, I mean, in the past, sending a mail shot out to people was pretty much as simple as just that, sending it out, then waiting to see if you get any sales back from it.

But now, we can find out exactly what products people are clicking on (and then seeing if they buy them or not), how many of our customers who have signed up to receive the emails actually read them, which is going to give us SO much data so we can focus on the good stuff, and cut out the stuff no one wants to read.

Real results, which are going to lead to better results for the company, and the customer, by seeing which products people like, and the ones they don’t, which means eventually, after a couple of emails, we’ll be able to put in more of what the customer wants, so they’ll be more likely to read the email, and get something positive out of it.

I know its sad, but I’m actually pretty hyped about this, hopefully it’ll do what its intended to, and I’ll get lots of positive feedback when it goes out over the next couple of weeks.

I’ll post up a picture of the finished newsletter when it goes out.

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