When you are creating a text based email
newsletter or if you are including a link in any kind of email the tips
and tricks in this article will get more people to click on your link
because you are going to learn to make it easier on them.
What you need to know is that when someone receives your email newsletter, the link you put in may OR MAY NOT be clickable. Many email programs will recognize the link so all the reader has to do is click on it. Some people (AOL included) will have to cut and paste the link into their browser window and hit go, or press enter to go to the link.
Here's how to format the link so that most email readers will recognize it and turn it into a link.
http://www.antion.com You must put the "http://" at the beginning
and you must put a space at the end of the link for it to
work. Don't hit the return key. Don't put a period or a comma. IT
MUST BE A SPACE!!! Make sure you use the "space bar" to add a space at the end. If you use that format, you will have the greatest chance that someone will simply be able to click on your link instead of being forced to cut and paste it.
If you're going to put an email address in your E-zine, this is the format:
Mailto:email@example.com You must use the "mailto:" format and don't put any spaces in the entire string.
Again you must put a space at the end to help the recipient's reader recognize the fact that it is a link. In this case, when the email link is clicked on, it fires up the persons default email program and the email address is already in the "to:" line of the email. All they have to do is type their message and hit "send."
Go ahead and try it on my link in this paragraph. Even if you are not hooked to the Internet as you read this, your default email program should fire up when you click.
Advanced Link Tricks
When you really want to get fancy, you can make an email link automatically include the subject line too. Sometimes this is called a "forced link." This will presently work about 95 percent of the time. This is important if the filters on your list management company require a certain subject line. It also makes things easier for your clientele, which is always a good thing. Here's how you do it:
Following the main email address, put a question mark, then the word "subject," then an equal sign, and finally the information you want included in the subject line. You can't have any spaces in the entire string. Anywhere you want a space in the actual subject put "%20" . I don't know why and I don't want to. I just know it's a handy thing to know.
ahead and try clicking on the above link.
Here's another trick: On long clickable links like the one above ( I turned the actual link function off for illustration purposes), you should put < > symbols around the entire link. If you don't and they are so long that the recipient's email reader wraps them to the next line, it is very likely they won't work. The < > symbols
help keep them working in many cases. Again, I don't know why it's
supposed to work and I don't care. To be honest I don't trust the
brackets. It's better to keep things short. If you know you have very short links that are on the left side of the page, then you don't have to worry about the brackets.
When you don't use these formatting techniques, you are making it harder for people to do business with you. You want them to be able to click links and quickly go to your website to buy and/or email you.
Now it really gets crazy
When doing this forced link, the first forced item begins with a question mark "?" symbol. Second, third and fourth forces (I don't know why you would want more) each begin with an ampersand "&" symbol. The forced item itself is the header line name (or "body" to automatically fill in body
text), followed by an equals sign (=) and then the content.
So, if you want the "to:" address to be firstname.lastname@example.org with a carbon
copy being sent to email@example.com, using "Send speaking info" as the subject and body copy of "I want to be a professional speaker," your link would be:
I told you this would get crazy! :)
Notice that the blank spaces in the subject and body are replaced with the code "%20" For some reason, and don't ask me why, anything that is not a number or a letter must have a special code. To complicate things more, question marks, ampersands, percent signs, and equal signs all have specific meanings, so if you want to make them actually display, you have to give them a code.
The code is a percent sign followed by something else. I think they call it a hexadecimal equivalent . . . it's just too deep for me. :) If you want to display a space, you insert "%20" If you want to display a quotation mark, you insert "%22" and so on. Here are some common codes:
space = %20
" = %22
% = %25
& = %26
; = %3B
= = %3D
? = %3F
new line = %13%10 (you must insert both of these codes, and this only works, of course, in the body area)
Special Note about AOL
AOL is always a concern because their proprietary system can be troublesome sometimes. We do need to address AOL though because it has close to
33 million subscribers who we sure don't want to miss. The reputation of AOL is that many of the people using their system are not very Internet savvy, i.e., they are newbies. In some instances you may want to give extra instructions for these people.
For instance: The basic link tricks don't work in AOL so they
would see mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org and it would not be clickable.
Many of them would try to cut and past the entire thing into their email program. They don't know they only needed to cut and past the email address. So, they dutifully put the entire thing including "mailto:" in the "to" area of their email address and try to send the email. Well it just doesn't work like that. The "mailto:" is only designed to make an automatic system recognize the fact that this link is an email. You can't actually send an email with the "mailto: term in the address.
If you have quite a few AOL members on your list, you might have to put a note next to the link that says something like this: "AOL users just copy the email address -- not the 'mailto' into the 'to' line of your email program."
Or you can include an extra HTML markup that will allow AOL users to click your links. This is done as follows:
<A HREF=" http://www.yourwebsite.com/ ">AOL Users Click Here</A>
Remember if you do this, you will sacrifice some of the nice looks of your document because you'll have to put every link in twice just to satisfy AOL folks.
What You Need To Know
Don't freak out with what you saw above. You will learn the link tricks as you need them. Some of them you may never need. Just make sure you can format a basic website link and email address link in your E-zine.
topics for this section:
Plain Text Email
Getting subscribers fast
Getting content fast
How to make money with your zine
How to gain clout with your zine
How to maximize the signups on your website
Back to March 2002 Index page