Email attachments with hyperlinks

As a print artist, I’m not too familiar with the best format(s) to save files for use in an email marketing campaign. My file is created in InDesign and contains about a half a dozen hyperlinks to various web pages. Is there a preferred format (i.e., GIF, PDF, JPG, etc.) that can retain its hyperlink information and work well in emails?

Also, is there a way to ensure the file is placed as part of the email’s body and not as an attachment?

Any help or advice will be very much appreciated!

For email marketing campaign your looking for html, css, and raster image formats, so they aren’t attachments.

An attachment in an email marketing campaign is a little uncouth, I’d expect a very low open rate because of it.

Thank you for your input, kemingMatters.

Yes, definitely I don’t want an attachment (sorry I mislabeled the title of my topic) and need to place the image directly into the body of the email. Which of the formats you listed support hyperlinks? My file has selective text specified as hyperlinks to web pages. Can I export from InDesign to html or css?

There’s no quick, straight-forward answer to your question. Coding a good HTML email requires learning HTML because the HTML email is, in essence, a web page you send to someone in an email. There are other gotchas too, like hosting the images (You don’t actually include them in the email. Instead, they reside on a server that you link to using HTML code).

I’ve probably designed and coded hundreds of marketing-related HTML emails, so it’s not a big deal for me. But then I’ve been designing and coding websites for over 20 years. For someone just beginning, like yourself, there’s a very steep learning curve that would take far too long to get into here.

Fortunately, though, there are easier ways to do it than code it by hand. I’ve never done it, but, yes, you can create a basic HTML email using InDesign (or so people say). I can’t vouch for this, but here’s some instructions I found with a web search:

There are also lots of YouTube tutorials that might work for you. There are also do-it-yourself, drag-and-drop HTML email builders online that you might try too.

If you want to do anything fancy, though, there’s not much choice other than to learn how to do a bit of coding, and that requires time to learn. Just because you can build it in InDesign does not mean that it can be recreated in HTML. Simple stuff, yes, sort of. Complicated designs, nope.

I get marketing spam…er…html emails all the time that just look like templates, sometimes even saying such things as “insert header image here.”
My company email server is set to strip out all auto hyperlinks. We don’t see your images unless we manually load them, and believe me, I either have to know you and/or subscribe to your marketing for me to make that effort. Most just get binned unread.
Be darned sure you include an option to unsubscribe.
This junk is spam, no matter what it is called. Don’t piss off your potential clientele.

Thank you, Just-B. The information and background you provided is impressive. Since I don’t have enough time to learn coding for this particular project, I’m hopeful the link you provided will be helpful in my case. I’ve skimmed over the website and will give it a try tomorrow.

I appreciate your feedback, PrintDriver. Good point about html emails not being readable by some servers and to make sure to include an option to unsubscribe.

You could use an email marketing service like MailChimp (it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers). I’m not sure how much flexibility it provides in terms of using your design, but you should be able to find that out from their website.

Whit, Schweta mentioned a good idea. Lots of people use MailChimp, and it just might be your best and easiest option unless you really want to dig into this stuff.

I’d be concerned with how the coffee generated from InDesign rendered across a variety of email clients, I’d strongly suggest using a service like MailChimp with a web based WYSIWYG editor or templates to use.

Yes, unlike web browsers, there are dozens of email clients in use, and it’s a real hit-and-miss situation regarding how well they interpret HTML.

To make things render across the widest range of email clients, it’s necessary to keep things simple, revert back to using HTML3 and tables, then use CSS sparingly and only where it won’t make a critical difference in those instances where it doesn’t work.

It’s definitely a lowest-common-denominator environment. Using a service like MailChip and prebuilt templates helps avoid these glitches

I didn’t see whether you’re setting up an email for your use, or for a client. Nor did you ask about data security/privacy.

But if you will be sending it yourself, I would caution you to be careful about data privacy, in respect to the recipients of the email. Make sure to research email privacy laws in your country.

Or use a service like Mailchimp.

I think others have covered the design aspect so I’ll just add that you really don’t want to be sending out the emails from your mail server. I suppose this is more relevant for an internally hosted mail system but if you do send enough mail you can get flagged as a spammer. Once that happens all your email will be seen as spam and no one will get your mail. Getting off the spam lists is a pain. So go with a mailing service like MailChimp.

Thank you everyone for your feedback! I truly appreciate it!

A little more information since I wasn’t too clear at the beginning: the project wasn’t a personal endeavor. It started off as a simple request by my boss to create a file that could be emailed to our company’s prospective clients. I would not be involved with the actual emailing but just in creating the file. Originally, I planned on saving the file in JPG format but later learned there were (gasp!) hyperlinks. This is when I realized I was out of my league.

I followed the instructions that Just-B linked, got some things to work but it was not perfect. I had to admit to my boss that I couldn’t get the hyperlinks and formatting to work well in HTML and suggested using a service like MailChimp. I was determined to make it work but sometimes determination alone is not enough without the know-how.

Absolutely. Words to the wise.

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