[intro] Before you begin this Guide, it is essential that you have created an EKM Email Marketing account and made at least one Contact Group to send your email newsletter to. After you have completed this Guide, you will be able to create an email newsletter of your own design from scratch using the Visual Designer on EKM Email Marketing.[/intro]

[summary]

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The following steps will take you through the process of constructing the content of a responsive newsletter - please follow the extra step at the end if you would like to make your finished newsletter fixed width.

[tips]Before you begin, bear in mind that your finished email newsletter should ideally be 50/50 text and images, so it’s worth sketching out a design on paper first that adheres to this guideline which in turn will help you quickly work out what tables you need to create and where. It’s also very beneficial to copy the text you wish to use on your newsletter into Notepad (PC users) or TextEditor (Mac users) so that you can easily copy the text directly into your newsletter. [/tips]

Uploading your Images to the File Manager

Before you construct your newsletter, you need to gather together all of the images you wish to use in your email newsletter, including the banner, Product Images and social media icons, and upload these to the File Manager on your EKM Email Marketing dashboard. It’s a good idea to optimise your images using TinyPng.com beforehand and cut them to size. For this Guide, my images measure:

  • Banner Image: 800 pixels wide by 200 pixels high
  • Product Images: 250 pixels square
  • Social Media Icons: 32 pixels square

1. To upload your images, click the Campaigns tab on the EKM Email Marketing Dashboard:

2. Then on the bottom left-hand side menu, click File Manager:

3. 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:

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

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

6. 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:

7. 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 it 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]

Creating your Email Newsletter

8. From the EKM Email Marketing Dashboard, click the green button:

9. You’ll need to give the Campaign a Name and Description before you click the green Create Campaign button:

10. Now you need to click the green Create Blank Campaign button:

11. You’ll then be presented with your blank template:

12. On the right-hand side are a number of buttons, which can be dragged onto the blank canvas which will eventually become your email newsletter.

[tips] If you would prefer to use the Text Editor to create your EKM Email Marketing newsletter, click the link above the Visual Designer and click here for the Guide. [/tips]

The Visual Designer Dashboard


1 Section - This is ideal for your header image or a large body of text.

1/2 Section - This cell is good for if you want to divide the space exactly in half to add different content to each side.

1/3 Section - If your newsletter is promoting three specific aspects, this cell is used to allocate equal space to each.

3/7 Section - Typically, this is used to allocate space for a menu. You can replicate your EKM online shop menu in the smaller of the cells, using the larger cell for newsletter content.

Button - This will add a button to a cell which can then be hyperlinked to a Product Page.

Divider - A divider provides an accent line between cells to split up the design.

Text - This will add a cell the width of the area it is added to for you to add text to.

Text Section - This will automatically add a header and some body text the width of the area for you to edit.

Image - This will allow you to add an image from the File Manager to your email newsletter.

Quote - This will add a centralised row of text which can be edited to suit.

Link - This will allow you to create a hyperlink within your text.

Link Block - This will allow you to create an internal hyperlink within your email newsletter.

Grid Items - This will automatically create a grid of cells for you, ready for you to populate with text and Product Images.

List Items - Like the Grid Items above, This cell will create a list of cells which are ready to be populated with images and text.

Adding your Content

The best way to begin your design is to drag buttons from the right-hand side onto your blank canvas and experiment with them until you have found your ideal layout.

13. Begin by dragging a 1 Section onto the canvas, and then by dragging and Image and placing it within the 1 Section. The green guideline that appears lets you know where the image will be placed:

14. This will place the image within the 1 Section. Click the 1 Section so you see the blue guideline surrounding it, before clicking the paintbrush symbol:

15. Click Typography:

16. Under the ‘Text Align’ header, click the button to centralise the image:

17. Now you need to click the square icon to return to the different buttons to add in other elements to your newsletter:

18. Now you have added a header, you need to add a body to your email newsletter. Drag a 1/3 Section onto your canvas:

19. Now you need to drag an image button into the left cell of your 1/3 Section, again selecting the relevant image from the File Manager and then add Text Section beneath:

20. You then need to edit that text by clicking it and then replacing the default words with your own content, by highlighting the default text before pasting your own in the same cell:

21. You can then centralise the image and the text by clicking the table to highlight it, then clicking paintbrush symbol:

22. Again, click Typography and then click to centralise the content of the table:

23. Return to the buttons by clicking the square icon:

24. Repeat this process with the other two cells in the 1/3 section, so each is populated:

[remember] Don’t worry too much about adding hyperlinks into your newsletter yet - we’ll go through the steps required to do this later on in this Guide. [/remember]

Adding Text

25. You then need to drag in another 1 Section, followed by a Text Section within it:

26. As before, highlight the default text and replace it within your own to populate this cell:

[tips] Loren Ipsum text is typically used to add content to a Webpage or a website to see what the design looks like before the real content has been written. If you need to use some Loren Ipsum text, simply click here and copy the text from this website into a Notepad file. [/tips]

[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 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]

[warning]

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. [/warning]

27. When you have finished editing the main body of the text, drag another 1/3 Section below, and add images and titles for three more Products, as you did before:

28. Now that your email newsletter consists of a header image, six product images and some body text, you need to create a footer. To do this, drag another 1/3 Section beneath your second row of Products:

29. You then need to populate these three cells with your telephone number (so customers can call you with any enquiries), your EKM online shop’s domain name, your physical address (if you have shop premises) and social media logos. You can add the text content into cells by dragging the Text Button into an empty cell, highlighting the default text and pasting in your own:

30. To add in your social media logos, drag in the Image button, and select the relevant image from the File Manager:

31. When you have added content to each of the cells here, your next step is to centralise them by clicking the cell of the table to highlight it blue, before clicking the paintbrush icon, selecting Typography and then by clicking the centralise button:

32. You now need to scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button:

Hyperlinking Content

33. When you have added your Tags to your email newsletter, the next step is to hyperlink any images or specific words within the text to your EKM online shop.

[warning] Before you swap between the Visual Designer and the Text Editor, be sure to click the Save button on the bottom right-hand side of the page to ensure that any amendments are not lost. [/warning]

To do this, scroll to the top of the page and click the link to switch to the Text Editor version of EKM Email Marketing:

34. Now you need to open an incognito/in-private browser tab and visit your EKM online shop via the domain name as a customer would.

Beginning with the upper part of your email, you need to hyperlink the header image - which is the largest image at the top - to the homepage of your EKM online shop. Copy the URL from the homepage of your EKM online shop and then within your email newsletter, click the image you would like to hyperlink to highlight it. Then you need to click the Link button on the top right, and paste the URL into the field provided, like this:

35. Repeat this process with any Product Images on your email newsletter, linking these to the relevant Product Pages on your EKM online shop. Use these steps to hyperlink text too, by highlighting the entire word and clicking the Link button to paste the destination URL into the field provided:

Adding Tags

Tags are pieces of visible code which display specific details, according to what information the EKM Email Marketing platform has listed against each recipient’s email address.

For example, inserting the Greeting tag will display the following:

This means that if you have a first name and a last name value for each of the contacts you send your email newsletter to, the email newsletter will display these values wherever the tag has been which in turn makes your email newsletters look a lot more personal.

[remember] The following two tags are mandatory for every email newsletter, in accordance with GDPR legislation.
Unsubscribe - ‘Remove your address from this mailing list by clicking here’;
Permission Reminder - ‘You are receiving this because you opted in at our website’.

Within every email newsletter, a customer needs to be able to ascertain why they’ve received the email (Permission Reminder) and how to remove themselves from receiving any more if need be (Unsubscribe).
[/remember]

Other Tags
Preferences - Update your details by clicking here.
View in Browser - Having trouble reading this email? Click here for a web version.
Forward to a Friend - Click here to forward to a friend.
Greeting - Dear [FirstName] [LastName]
First Name - [FirstName]
Last Name - [LastName]
Email Address - [EmailAddress]
Address 1 - [Address1]
Address 2 - [Address2]
Town/City - [TownCity]
County/State - [CountyState]
Country - [Country]
Postcode - [Postcode]
Telephone Number - [TelephoneNumber]
Custom Field 1 - 20 - [Custom1]

It is not necessary to use all of the Tags available in your email newsletters, especially if you don’t have first and last names saved against every customer. However, it is essential that the mandatory tags - Unsubscribe and Permission Reminder - are included.

36. To include a tag in your email newsletter, click where you would like the Tag to be placed, before clicking the Tag button on the top left and selecting which Tag you’d like to use from the list provided:

37. Repeat this process to add in the two mandatory Tags and any other Tags you wish to use, which of course will depend on the design of your email newsletter and how much information you have stored for each of your Contacts.

Previewing your Newsletter

38. When you have finished editing the content of your newsletter by adding hyperlinks and tags, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the Save button:

39. Then scroll to the top of the page and click the link to return to the Visual Designer:

40. To preview what your newsletter will look like on different devices, click the different icons on the top left-hand side of the Visual Designer:

Fixed Width

However, if you don’t wish for your email newsletter to be responsive - where the reader scrolls down to digest the content and instead scrolls to the right - you need to add a fixed width to the various different elements of your newsletter.

1. To do this, you need to highlight each cell and add ‘100%’ into the Maximum Width field. Click the cell to highlight it blue, before clicking the paintbrush icon and selecting ‘Dimension’. You’ll then see the Maximum Width field. Enter ‘100%’ and press the Enter key on your keyboard:

2. Repeat this process for each of the different cells within your newsletter, before clicking the Save button on the bottom right-hand side of the page when you are complete:

[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.
  9. Set hyperlinks to display the URL of the page you are linking to - For example, instead of creating a hyperlink like this: "Go to https://www.evestestshop.com to find out more", create it like this: "Go to Eve's Test Shop to find out more".

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 site but several months ago then they may have 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. Use 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 recipient's 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 backend 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 backend 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]

Spam Checking

42. When you have finished editing your content, you need to check it for spam. Click the Spam Check button at the bottom right-hand side of the page:

43. This will display a window where you will be able to your content checked:

44. If there are any issues highlighted within the spam check, it’s important that you rectify these before you send your newsletter; having issues with your content can prevent customers from being able to receive your newsletters.

After you have performed a spam check successfully, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save & Continue:

45. If you have over 500 Contacts, you’ll be able to use an A/B Split Test to send your newsletter. However, for now, click the green ‘Send Now/Schedule’ button:

46. On this page, you can select which of your Contact Groups you want to send your email newsletter to. However, before you do that, it’s always recommended you do a Test Send beforehand, so you can see how your content will be received. Add text into the Subject Line field, and then click ‘Send Test’:

47. Add your personal email address into the field provided, before clicking the green ‘Send Test’ button:

48. Your Test Send may take some time to arrive, dependent on what email address you have used and how it has been set up. Click the Save button:

49. When you have inspected the test send email and you’re happy with the content, you are ready to send your newsletter to one of your Contact Groups. Click here for the Guide.

Your Feedback is important to us

If you encounter any issues whilst using the EKM Email Marketing Visual Designer, please use the Feedback button to let us know. You’ll find the feedback button to the top right-hand side of the page whilst you are editing the content on your newsletter:

[more]

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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 EKM Community.  [/contact]