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Coding an HTML email for mailchimp?

Discussion in 'Website Coding & Programming Forum:' started by bigdave, May 3, 2012.

  1. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Morning all. It was my first day back at work yesterday and my job role seems to have completely changed since I went on holiday! I am now responsible for all of the company's web content (not a particularly difficult job as the CMS is very good)but the boss has also requested I create an HTML email/newsletter. He's subscribed to mailchimp to manage the database of email addresses but the free templates don't seem customisable enough for the layout we're after.

    I'm fairly sure I can code the basics of the email but I fall down at things like click-throughs, unsubscribe links etc.. how complex are these to set up for a custom template for mailchimp? If I'm hand coding the email is there a better way of sending it out to customers than through mailchimp?

    I get the feeling that today is going to be a real baptism of fire!!
     
  2. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, I missed a word in the middle there! It should have read:

    I'm fairly sure I can code the basics of the email but I fall down at things like monitoring click-throughs, unsubscribe links etc.. how complex are these to set up for a custom template for mailchimp? If I'm hand coding the email is there a better way of sending it out to customers than through mailchimp?
     
  3. richimgd

    richimgd Member

    I have never actually used mail chimp - but I've used similar programs before. Normally if you want to measure the click through and get statistics you would need to add some special code inside any links so that mail chimp can then read and understand it as a click. Take a closer look at the email templates and see if any of the links have any special code and if not have a look in the documentation about adding in links or tracking. In my experience you might need to import the template and then use the program to choose where you want a link - then the relevant tracking code is generated for you. An unsubscribe link should work in a similar way - it would be a case of writing unsubsribe, putting an anchor tag around it using the mail chimp to generate an email/campaign specific unsubscribe link. You are basically designing and building a static html template - but then using some special code for the links to track and the unsubscribe link. Someone else who has used mail chimp specifically might reply and me more specific and helpful!

    Other things to make sure of are any images are hosted online and you use are absolute paths to them (i.e http://www.website.com/images/image.jpg). Make sure all css style is inline and prepare for plenty of headaches with the likes of Outlook as the way it formats html actually borrows from Microsoft Word's html rendering engine which pretty much makes it the IE6 of email! You soon find out what you can and cannot do with emails. Keep things really simple is my one piece of advice!
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2012
  4. bigdave

    bigdave Moderator Staff Member

    To try and ensure I didn't miss anything out, I ended up downloading one of their templates and stripping it back to the bare bones. I'm now having issues with Gmail distorting the images by about 5% and a "View this email in your browser" link doesn't display properly (I may just strip it out all together). I have to say, I actually hate tables right now!... Just wish I'd seen the "inline your CSS" button in mailchimp before I started as it would have made life so much easier.
     

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