[intro] When you have completed this Guide, you will have created your own email newsletter with hyperlinks, images and text and will be ready to complete your first Test Send. Before you begin, you need to ensure that you have set up at least one Contacts Group in your EKM Email Marketing account. You can learn how to do this within this Guide. [/intro]

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Creating a Campaign

1. Returning to your EKM Email Marketing dashboard, you need to begin creating your first email campaign. To do this, click the Create Campaign button:

2. You will then need to give your Campaign a Name and a Description before clicking the green Create Campaign button:

3. As this is your first email newsletter, you need to select from either Theme or Blank. Selecting a blank email is a good choice if you have experience of working with tables as you will need to build your template from scratch.

Using a Theme

4. A Theme will allow you to use the Text Editor to select a template which has already been constructed for you - all you need to do is replace the text and the images on the template.

Click Select Theme:

5. You’ll then be offered a page full of Themes you can use for your email marketing campaign - by default, the newest Themes are listed first. I’d advise that you select one where the colour scheme and design is close to the Theme used on your EKM online shop - this will encourage brand continuity. Use the grey scroll bar to look at all of the different templates, the drop-down menu on the top right of the page numbers in the bottom middles to look through the available Themes:

6. When you see a template that you would like to use, click it to begin editing the content:

7. At this point, you need to note down the size of the images used in the Theme as you will need to create images of your own with these dimensions to include on your email. You’ll find the image dimensions listed within the default images:

8. The logo image on this Theme doesn’t have its dimensions listed next to it, so we need to look in the source code for those. Click the Manual Editor button, and then select Source code:

9. This will reveal the code that makes up the Theme in a popup window:

10. Then on your keyboard, click the CTRL and the F key at the same time. This is a ‘keyboard shortcut’ which allows you to find a specific word or phrase on the page, and it will open a little search box for you to type the word into:

11. Type the word ‘logo’ in the little search field and press the Enter key on your Keyboard. This will read all the code in the window for you and highlight where the logo image is referred to, like this:

12. You’ll notice within the code, there’s a value (in pixels) for the width and the height of the logo image. Note these figures down too:

13. You can close down the little search bar by clicking the X on the right-hand side, and close the Source Code window down by clicking Cancel:

[tips] The CTRL + F keyboard shortcut is incredibly useful if you’re editing code or text, or you’re looking for a particular word on a Webpage or website that has a lot of content on it. If you’re looking for the name of an image in some Source Code but you’re not sure of it’s name, simply run a search for ‘png’ or ‘jpeg’ as these are image file types and one of them should be the droid you’re looking for. [/tips]

14. Using this Theme, I need to create two images - one needs to be the logo of my own EKM online shop which needs to be no more than 200 pixels wide and 100 pixels high, and a Design Image which is 600 pixels wide and 300 pixels high.

I could, however, if I wanted my logo bigger than the default version on the email newsletter, increase the width to 600 pixels - so it’s as wide as the image below it - and that will create a better look.

You can create images by using EKM’s Image Builder, or sites such as Canva and Pixlr. When you have created images that are the correct dimensions for your email newsletter and optimised them, save them in a safe place as we will upload them later on in this Guide.

Editing the Text

[tips]

Words To Avoid

There are some words and phrases that no matter how clean your email, will cause problems due to them carrying their own spam scores directly. This is only intensified if the word/phrase is set in a large font, set as bold, italic or as a hyperlink etc.

Words and any associated words to avoid are such like:

Viagra
Borrow
Length
Finance
Nigeria
Replica
Gamble
Increase
Enhance
Improve
Loan
Free
Credit
Diploma
Quality
 

With phrases that should be avoided being:

Buy now
No risk
Special Offer
Risk-free
No obligation
Click here
Click to be removed
Sale now on
Have you been turned down
Money back guarantee

Following all the above will give your emails the best possible chance of obtaining inbox delivery, recipient engagement and ROI. [/tips]

15. To edit the text on your template, you simply need to click it, delete the existing Lorem Ipsum text and replace it with your own words:

16. When you have finished editing the text, click the Save button on the bottom right of the page:

17. Now scroll through the newsletter and check the details in the header and footer, changing the contact details to those of your own, and again, click the Save button at the bottom of the page:

[caution] When you are adding text to your template, do not copy it directly from a Word document, webpage or similar. This is so that any code that is used to format the text it is not accidentally carried onto your template and as a result will not display for your readers or ‘behave’ correctly when being edited. If you want to copy text from elsewhere, open the Notepad application on your PC (or if you’re on a Mac, use TextEditor) and paste the text there first, before copying it onto your template. Both applications will remove the formatting and ensure that only the text is copied over and not any superfluous formatting code. [/caution]

Uploading your Images to EKM Email Marketing

18. You then need to upload your images to your email newsletter. To do this, click the Campaigns tab:

19. Then on the bottom left, click File Manager:

20. The File Manager is where you need to upload any images you wish to use in your email newsletters. It’s a good idea to create a folder specific to your campaign first - this ensures that you can quickly find images from individual campaigns in the future. Click Create New Folder:

21. In the window that appears, give your New Folder a name before clicking the green Create Folder button:

22. You’ll then see your new folder appear in the File Manager. Click the name of the new folder

23. Here you can upload the images you’d like to use in your newsletter. To do this, click the Upload Images button on the top right-hand side:

24. This will open the File Explorer on your own computer for you to be able to locate and select the images you want to upload. When you have located the first image, click the Open button in the File Explorer window and the image will be added to your File Manager. Repeat this process until you have uploaded all of your images.

[tips] If EKM Email Marketing will not let you upload an image (as all images have to be under 200kb), use Tiny Png - simply upload the images to the website and Tiny Png will remove any superfluous data without affecting image quality. You then need to download your image from Tiny Png and upload it to your folder on EKM Email Marketing. [/tips]

Adding Images to your Email Newsletter

25. When you are done, click the Campaigns tab:

26. Click the Edit button on your existing draft:

27. Returning to your email newsletter, click the default logo image and then the Delete button on your keyboard to remove it, before clicking the image button:

28. This will open the Insert/edit Image window. Click the File icon:

29. This will open the Select File window. Click your new folder to open it:

30. Now click your logo image to apply it to your email newsletter:

31. Now you just need to click the blue OK button in the Insert/Edit Image window:

32. This will apply the logo to your email newsletter:

33. Repeat this process for your other images, deleting the default versions and replacing them with your own images from your File Manager.

Your next step is to reduce any negative space in the email newsletter. EKM Email Marketing Themes are built as a range of different cells and tables and often editing one will cause a knock-on effect on the template. To overcome this, you need to right-click a cell on the table to inspect the cell properties, like this:

I right clicked the area of the email newsletter where there was too much space, and then selected ‘Cell’ (which is the name of an area on your Theme), before selecting Cell Properties. I then clicked the Advanced tab in the Cell Properties window, so I could see how the cell had been set to display. You’ll notice I change the 50px to 0px - this is because I want all of the different details of my newsletter to be close together with minimum ‘negative space’ (this means empty space which is not used). 50px was the space below the cell I was looking at, so reducing this to 0px moved the logo image and the design image closer together.

34. Repeat this process to reduce any other spaces in your email newsletter. It’s useful at this point to know where the Undo button is so that you can take a step back if you amend a space you didn’t mean to! You can find the Undo button on the top left of the buttons:

Hyperlinking

35. When you have reduced the spaces on your newsletter, the next step is to add hyperlinks so customers can click from your email newsletter directly onto your EKM online shop. To do this, you need to open an incognito/in-private browser tab and visit your EKM online shop via the domain name, as a customer would see it. It’s very important that you use an incognito/in-private browser tab here, as not doing so can sometimes result in cookies from your own session on your EKM online shop being transferred via a link on your email template. To read about how to use incognito/in-private browsing, please click here. When you have opened an incognito/in-private browser tab and you’ve visited the homepage of your EKM online shop, you need to copy the URL and return to your email template. Click the logo to highlight it, and then click the Link symbol:

36. This will open the Insert Link window. You then need to paste your domain name in the Url field and click Ok:

37. Now you’ve linked your logo to the homepage, you need to repeat this process with the rest of your images; on the incognito/in-private browser tab, go to the relevant product page, copy the URL before returning to the product image and clicking the link symbol. You can do this with text too - highlight the words you would like to hyperlink, and again, click the Link button:

38. Repeat this process until all of the images on your template have been linked to your EKM online shop. The email header should always link to the home page, but you can link other images to both product and category pages according to the content of your newsletter. When you have completed this step, click the Save button on the bottom right of the screen:

[tips]

Email Marketing Best Practices

Don't

  1. Use Capital Letters in an unnecessary manner - Words that are written in all capitals translate as shouting and this is a known technique that spammers use, so not only does it not look good to your readers, but it can also see your email blocked by your reader's email provider.
  2. Use lots of unnecessary punctuation - what works on auction sites and social media does not work in the world of email marketing. Lots of exclamation marks ruin the quality of your newsletter.
  3. Use a lot of special characters - this includes @, £, %, * and $. Obviously, you will need to add a currency symbol before a product price, but keep these characters to a minimum to keep your spam score low.
  4. Use lots of different text formatting - A mixture of various fonts, very large text, excess use of boldness, italics and multicoloured text are all frowned upon as these are all techniques that spammers use. Keep the text within the email of a uniform style. For example, one font for all of the text, larger text only being assigned to headers/titles and perhaps two colours in use through all of the text. Keep the email pleasantly appealing to keep the spam score low.
  5. Make too many text alterations - Too many alterations to the text will add more and more snippets of code around that piece of text to determine it's format. For example, highlighting a title, setting it as bold and size 16 is fine, however, doing that and then removing the bold, then re-adding it and changing the font size to 18, then adding italic and removing the bold again will add lots of superfluous code to your email newsletter. This, in turn, will see your email blocked by email providers as emails that contain a lot of excess code are often classed as spam.
  6. Add too many links - Links within a template are of course one of the main elements of marketing emails. However, links can increase the spam score if too many are used or they have been added incorrectly. For example, a paragraph full of different hyperlinks will upset some spam filters, as will hyperlinking entire paragraphs. Use links sparsely and try to avoid the spammers' technique of a 'click here' hyperlink with something along the lines of 'view our store for more info' (with 'store' being the hyperlink) instead.
  7. Place white text on a graphical background - Although this is a technique required to make your design visually pleasing, it is also a technique that spammers use to hide text from the recipient but to help get around spam filters. When placing text against a background colour, contrasting colours are recommended so the spam filters can see the text is presented clearly for the recipient to read.
  8. Add a poll or a form to your email - If you want to use a form, such as a questionnaire, then you would need to place a link in your email to a page on your website that contains the form. It's not possible to add the actual poll functionality in an email newsletter.

Do

  1. Add Introductory text to remind the user why they are receiving your email - If the recipient is an existing customer, introduce the email with "As an existing customer, we would like to inform you of our current special offers" will immediately capture their attention if the subject and friendly from values failed to do so. If the recipient submitted their details via your EKM online shop several months ago but since forgotten, so "You are receiving this newsletter as a result of submitting your details on our website" will prevent the user from simply assuming the email is spam and potentially making a complaint.
  2. Include clear contact details - Receiving an email with contact details, address, phone number, web address etc will all contribute in reassuring the recipient that the email they have received is not "spam" and is something genuine. Emails that are seen at first glance which contain none of this info whatsoever, with the only content being a typical "spammy" type hard-sell pitch will simply provoke the user to just delete the email, or worse, report it as spam.
  3. Make sure the email is populated with correctly spelt text, grammar and punctuation - An email containing typos and sentences that don't make sense can be caught by spam filters, as they deem the email is unprofessional and therefore created by a lazy spammer.
  4. User a similar volume of text and images within your email - Too many images can upset spam filters, as can emails with too much text. Striking a balance between the two is important and under no circumstances should an email only contain just one large image.
  5. Enter a relevant subject and a friendly from value - The subject must be relative to the content within the email and attract the recipients' attention while the friendly from value needs to inform the recipient who the email is from. These values are very important and can mean the difference between your email being deleted or being saved to be read later on (if not immediately).
  6. Personalise your email if possible - The EKM Email Marketing platform allows you to enter tags that display the recipient's first name, surname or both in the email they receive. This gives a sense of personalisation and importance to the email, encouraging the recipient to open it and please the spam filters at the same time. However, if you do not have the recipients' names but still insert the tags, then a badly personalised email will only provoke the user to delete the email or even unsubscribe completely. Users of Macs with the built-in mail software are also more likely to receive the email in the inbox if both first name and surname is present within the email as per the anti-spam algorithms in the mail client.
  7. Create a clean coded email - An email with lots of excess or redundant back-end code can cause your email to be filtered by some clients. This is very common when users copy and paste segments of text from other sources such as a website or a Word document etc. Doing so copies the back-end code of the source, which is irrelevant for an email as it upsets mail filters and can cause difficulty when trying to edit that text when creating the email. Although easy to do and saves time, it is much better practice to create the tabular structure of your email, then manually enter all the text/images and leaving the formatting of the text accordingly to the end.
  8. Have a professional, custom template created for you - Having a custom template written means your email will not contain any poor, excess or redundant code and will look its best in all mail clients.
  9. Encourage the recipient to add you to their white list - Just because they may receive one email from you successfully, does not mean the next one won't arrive in their junk filter. Your email address or friendly from (if constant) values can be added to ensure future emails will arrive in the inbox.[/tips]

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[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity.  [/contact]