Ingredient #6: HTML or Plain Text
The debate continues: HTML graphic formatting or plain text for ezines? We recently ran a poll, over on Denise’s BizTipsBlog. Here are the results of what our blog readers prefer after only a few days:
HTML – 79%,
Plain text – 21%
So where does this leave you? Experienced marketers know you get better deliverability with plain text, but your readers like to see graphics. If you deliver your newsletter in HTML format, make sure your readers have a way to access it online. Include a text announcement at the top of the ezine of where to read it online (the URL) for those people whose email reader does not permit viewing HTML formatting.
If you do use HTML, have the template professionally designed. Do not try this yourself, unless you have design skills. You want your template to appear uniform the way it is intended across many platforms and email systems.
You also want your ezine to coordinate with your website and other branding. Get a graphic designer to create the banner with the newsletter title and tag line. There are several standard formats for HTML ezine templates; one consists of a main column with the article and a side-bar with your marketing message and links to products and services. You can also put sections stacked, one over the other.
Do not include too much content in your ezine; too many links confuse the reader. One main article for each issue, and one promotional item or recommendation. Be sure, however, that you make it clear who you are, what you do and how someone can hire you or buy your products and services. Be sure you are CAN-SPAM compliant and include your contact information (more on that later).
If you decide to publish your ezine in plain text, there is still some formatting necessary. Use a formatting utility such as www.formatit.com to make the width 50 or 60 characters wide. Separate sections of your ezine with subtitles. You can set them apart by using line characters:
Subtitle Goes Here
In plain text, be sure to use http:// in front of www, so your links are active: http://www.domainname.com.
We recommend you always send a test issue to yourself and at least one other person before you send to your list. This allows you to make sure your message is coming across in the way you intend it and all your links are working.
Ingredient #5: Call to Action Trap
Ingredient #4: Ideas for Content, part 2
Ingredient #4: Writing Useful Content, part 1
Ingredient #3: Writing Email Subject Lines
Ingredient#2: Clarity of Purpose
Ingredient #1: Naming Your Ezine
Main Article: Recipe for An Ezine- Should You Publish an Ezine