Email Basics and Hyperlinks
By Unknown


Basic email knowledge is critical to your success as a NetMarketer. Every email you send makes a first and/or a lasting impression. This lesson covers what you'll need to know in order to make every email you send a winner.

Tip #1-Using All Caps

How annoyed are you by those raucous auto dealership commercials where the guy with the obnoxious voice is screaming at you why you need to come on down and buy a car TODAY? I know that as soon as I see or hear one of those commercials starting, I change the channel.

The same is true for email. When you write in ALL CAPS, you are yelling. You may not think you are; heck, you're just trying to get the recipient's attention, right? Not only do people not like to be yelled at, but they will sometimes automatically discard emails that are written in all caps.

There are many marketers who say it's OK to use all caps in the subject line, but I believe the best rule of thumb is to be discriminating. If you have a catchy subject line, it doesn't have to be in all caps to be noticed.

Now there ARE times when using caps is appropriate. For instance, use caps when you want to emphasize a key word, such as FREE, HUGE, NEW, INCREDIBLE, etc. This can be done in the subject line and/or the body of the email. If you keep the caps to a minimum, you will be able to draw the reader's eye to the most important points of your email.

Tip #2-Spelling & Grammar

I can't emphasize this enough. Never, ever send out a sales letter or advertisement without spell-checking it first. I know it's supposed to be "human" to make errors, but spelling errors are inexcusable when you're using email to build a business

Read through your ad or letter several times to make sure your grammar is correct. Reading it out loud is the best way to make sure it sounds right.

Things to look for and common examples of bad grammar:

Do your subjects and verbs agree? (They was looking at that.)
Check your use of your and you're (Your going to love this!)
Did you type you instead of your? (Reply with you info.)
Check your use of there, they're and their. (There program is great!)
Check your use of its and it's. (Its going to be a hit!)
Are you over-using ellipses? (Look at this. . . .it's new . . . please reply)

If you have designed an ad, contact letter, or follow-up letter and you aren't confident in your grammar, ask a smart friend to proof it for you. Bonus: if it's an intriguing ad, that friend might become a client or a member!

Tip #3-Wrapping & Aesthetics

When composing email, you probably just type and type without using a hard carriage return until the end of a paragraph. It looks fine when you're finished because your email program automatically wraps the words in a nice legible format on your screen. This word wrap is usually done based on a line length of anywhere from 70 to 80 characters.

Well, let's say I receive your message, but my email program
either doesn't have
the capability of automatically wrapping incoming messages OR
it wraps them
at 60 characters. Since you performed no hard "end of line"
carriage returns
when typing your message, my email software thinks it's one
long sentence and
will either make me scroll left and right to read it OR your
email will look
like this paragraph.

Pretty awful, right?

So how do you avoid this problem? When composing email messages, use a hard carriage return before you get to the end of each line. A maximum line length of 56 to 60 characters works just fine.

Now, this can be hard to do if you are constantly making changes in your emails before you send them. Instead, type the entire email and then go back through and break it up by inserting hard carriage returns. Also, word processors (Word, WordPerfect) count the characters in the status bar as you type, so you could use that software to compose or tidy up your emails. The extra advantage of the built-in spell-checker is nice too!

Another reason people encounter "funny looking" email messages is called proportional character fonts. Like I mentioned earlier, all email programs are different. Therefore the fonts used by each program varies widely. Basically, there are fixed pitch fonts like courier (found on Eudora and most web-based email) and there are proportional spaced fonts (like AOL and Compuserve email).

With fixed-pitch fonts, all characters in a paragraph will line up directly above each other. With a proportional-spaced font, CAPS, space bars and other keystrokes are wider. Although a sentence may show the same length as the one above it, it could have 10 or more extra characters, especially if there is more use of letters like l, i, and t, which take up less space.

If you create a message using one type of font and send it to an email recipient using the other, the message will not look the same when they receive it.

Once again, the solution is to use a hard carriage return (Enter) after 56-60 characters. If you follow that rule, you can keep these problems caused by the difference in email programs to a bare minimum. If you plan on sending the same message to multiple recipients, consider testing the message with a friend on another service.

The last thing you want is an email message with great content, being dismissed simply because it wasn't "good looking" enough!

Tip #4-Email Hyperlinks

Sending hyperlinks inside of an email has become commonplace, but do you know what works and what doesn't?

For instance, AOL users cannot receive "clickable" links (hyperlinks) inside an email except when you add this html code <a href="http://www.yourgateway.com/Your_ID/FREE">Click Here</a> or <a href="mailto:email_address.com">Click Here For More Info</a>

Including your email address in an email isn't always necessary, since the recipient can simply hit Reply without knowing your address. Still, it's a good idea just to tack it onto the end of your letter, just for added credibility. But sometimes you'll include other email addresses besides your own in your emails, and you'll need to know how to create the link.

Email links can be made two different ways:

me@mymail.com
or
mailto:me@mymail.com

The "mailto:" prefix ensures that it will come through as a hyperlink (except to AOL users), so it's a good idea to use it.

Here's something that many people are not clear about. It doesn't matter whether you type your email address as Me@MyMail.com or ME@MYMAIL.COM or me@myMAIL.com. That's right. Even if you signed up for the email address of KimJones@mymail.com, you can be reached at kimjones, KIMJONES, and KiMjOnEs. Email addresses are not case sensitive! So, when you're filling out a hard copy form and you feel compelled to write "all lower case" beside your email address, it's not necessary.

Let's say you want to email an advertisement to a group of people. You want to send them to a web site by just clicking a link in your email.

For example:

Dear Friends,

Please check out this web site and let me know if it's something you might be interested in. Here's the link: http://www.xyzcompany.com .

Regards,
John

The http:// is not always necessary, depending on the recipient's email client, but just to be safe, you want to get into the habit of always including it as a part of your link. Better that than losing potential clients because they didn't want to take the time to copy/paste the link into their browser.

Now, here's another trick you will sometimes incorporate. Let's say you want to keep track of responses to a survey or question but you don't necessarily want to read them all, you're particularly interested in the "yes" replies, or you simply want a way to sort responses to an ad. Check this out:

Dear Friends,

Please take a look at this site: http://www.xyzcompany.com and let me know if it's something you might be interested in by clicking one of the two links below:

Yes, I'm interested: mailto:me@mymail.com?subject=Yes

No, I'm not interested: mailto:me@mymail.com?subject=No

Regards,
John

If you click on either of the two email links, you'll see that the subject line of the email is already filled out. That comes from that last string of "?subject=" after the email address portion.

Let's take that one step further. Say you want more than a simple yes or no answer or you want them to reply with "More Info" in the subject line. When you're asking for a subject line of more than one word, you need to type what's called an "underscore" between each word. An underscore is the result of holding down the Shift key and pressing the dash or minus sign. So after the ?subject= part of your hyperlink, you'll type More_Info. Here's what the whole thing looks like: me@mymail.com?subject=More_Info. You can't see the underscore but it's there.

When you take the time to put a subject line in your mailto links, you tend to get a higher response than if you ask them to type something specific in the subject line.

The most important thing to remember when creating your hyperlinks, whether in a classified ad, an email, or anywhere else, is that you spell them correctly. If you miss just one letter, you've wasted an ad or you've lost credibility in your letter if the recipient can't use your link.

The best way to test your emails is to first send the email to yourself. When you receive it, the link will be clickable (note that it's not clickable when you're just typing it in your email client--you first have to send and receive it). Actually click on the link to make sure it works!



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