A collection of useful tips to improve how you use Business Catalyst solution in your business.

Your email marketing option is quite flexible in how you can set up your email campaigns. Before rushing in, take some time to plan how you want your newsletter to look and the content elements you wish to place in it.

In looking at your layout, first of all examine the structure for your banner, columns, footers etc. The illustrations below show more common structures to be found. The important thing to remember is, KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Simple eMail template layouts

Now give thought to those information elements you want to include in your newsletter content. A list of the more common elements you may choose from include:

  • Image for banner
  • Newsletter name
  • Issue number / date
  • View in browser link
  • Send to friend link
  • Unsubscribe link
  • Salutation content
  • List of Topics / Table of contents
  • Introduction paragraph
  • Your or editors photo
  • Your business contact details
  • Link to your website
  • Call to action graphics
  • Standard article content
  • Other article content
  • Closing / Signoff

What you now need to look at is which of the above elements remain fixed in every Newsletter that goes out and where in your structure each element is to be placed.

You now have the basis of your email layout and content. Those areas of your layout which contain fixed information elements will define what could form your template.

All information elements that vary between campaigns (or follow-ups) must belong in the “content” area which you edit for each email sent out.

Creating your template and content area is not quite so straightforward unfortunately.

In one of our other articles “Setting up your email marketing templates and layouts” we talk about the tricks and pitfalls of email design.

Using the built in email layouts

SIMPLICITER does provide you with some sample layout templates you can use if you wish. If you wish to use one of these you need to go to the Marketing menu option to crate your new campaign and do two things.

a.)In the campaign details you must choose to NOT use a template in the template selection field

b.)Option 4 of the campaign wizard allows you to now choose one of the system provided email layouts (if you are using a template of your own design you will choose ‘blank’ from the industry list of layouts)

You can now edit this layout changing images, colours and content to suit your own needs. The system layouts do not incorporate the notion of ‘fixed content’ (banners, footers etc). Your layout defines the newsletter in its entirety.

Working with your own templates

If you have decided to create and use your own layout designs you will need to do so with the editor of your choice using either SIMPLICITER or DREAMWEAVER ( or any other HTML editor of your choice). You will firstly need to build the complete email layout structure.

You will now need to decide if you are creating a newsletter layout based on a template with fixed content areas or whether you are simply going to palce the full layout within your email content area. If you creating a template you will need to access the ‘system templates‘ as found under the Admin menu.

We are getting a bit technical here and fore those who feel lost – skip this and contact me to discuss setting up a newsletter layout for you. For the rest of you, read on.

As you will realize, your email template is made of tables with CSS styling. What you will need to do is the following:

a.) Paste your full layouts into the system templates as a new template as copied code. Do not lose your full layout.

b.) That area which is to be variable with each newsletter, find the enclosing table row and cut this section of code and paste it to somewhere you can access later.

c.) In its place insert the text ‘{page_content}’ – this is a system tag telling the template to place your email content in its place. This will be replaced with the content area of your individual emails. Look familiar? This is how we build web pages.

d.) Save your template

e.) Now go to your email marketing option and set up a new campaign. You will use the template that you have just saved in the system templates so select this when at the ‘Campaign Details’ stage of the wizard. In the ‘Design Template’ step choose ‘Leave blank’ as the template. A bit confusing but bear with me.

f.) When you get to the ‘Provide Campaign Content’ step you will need to choose to view HTML code and paste in that code you saved previously as cut from the template you created (this should be a row or group of rows).

g.) Tidy up your content as required without yet putting any real content in place.

h.) Preview your final newsletter and if all is OK save it as DRAFT

You have now set up your system ready for your first Newsletter.

The actual newsletter is created by generating a “follow up” and editing the content of this. Never edit the draft you originally saved.

For those who know then way around HTML and advanced editing this overview should help.

My best advice however, talk to us about your needs and we can save all the headaches. We have a large bottle of PANADOR just for our use.


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