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Marketing Emails in Disguise – Using HTML Custom Code in Constant Contact

Recently a client wanted to send a series of marketing emails. No problem, we do that all the time. Except this client didn’t want them to look like marketing emails but instead wanted them to look like he sat down at his computer and pecked out an email to each recipient from his own email.

I began by using the simplest, most basic template I could. I didn’t add any flashy images or logos but the email still had a “marketing” feel to it because the template appeared as a page inserted into an email. Then I discovered Custom Code. I am not a programmer and have never used HTML in my life but Constant Contact, along with a little Google research, allowed me to make this work.

Here’s how:

  1. When creating a new email in Constant Contact select “Custom code” instead of a Brand Template or any of the boilerplate templates.
  2. Now you have a draft for your email that includes the tracking image so that Constant Contact can track opens, clicks, etc. It looks like this: [[trackingImage]] Don’t delete it! (Though you may move it to another location in the body of the email if needed.)
  3. Constant Contact has made the next step easy by including this: <!–Select this line and paste your HTML here–> so you may simply insert your email copy here.

That’s enough to create a basic email! But perhaps you’d like to include a personal greeting or make some of your text stand out by using italics or bold text. You need to do a little more to make that happen.

  • To add personalization: Add your salutation (I.e. Dear), then select Insert and Personalization. Constant Contact will ask you to confirm the categories to use (for example: Contact Details and First Name) and offer a place to create a fallback (perhaps Client or Friend) in case the category is incomplete for a contact. Click here for a helpful article from Constant Contact on this topic.
  • To Bold a block of text: Add HTML code <b> at the beginning of the text string you wish to bold and place </b> at the end of the string.
  • To Italicize a block of text: Add HTML code <i> at the beginning of the text string you wish to bold and place </i> at the end of the string.

One more trick, try adding a dozen or so spaces after the signature line. This will push the required Constant Contact footer down on the page so that it is not immediately viewable to the recipient.

You can easily send to your entire mail list while maintaining the appearance of a personal email. By using these few bits of HTML code, you can create an email that harnesses the power of Constant Contact’s tracking metrics and have all the tools needed to analyze the results of your email marketing campaign disguised as a personal email.

This post is courtesy of MMC Accounting and Administrative Manager Beth Lane

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