Linking to Files in Your E-Mail Marketing Messages

Your marketing e-mail can deliver attached files of all sorts, but attaching files should be reserved for sending personal e-mails to a small number of people at a time. Most e-mail programs and e-mail servers have security settings that send e-mails with attached files to a junk folder when the program suspects that the e-mail is commercial in nature.

Even though file attachments are e-mail delivery killers, you can still use files by linking to a downloadable file (if your file is already accessible with a link on your website) in your e-mail:

  1. Open your web browser and navigate to the page that contains the link to your file.

  2. Copy the link:

      Windows: Right-click and choose Copy Shortcut.

      Mac: Control-click and choose Copy Link Location.

  3. Paste the shortcut into your e-mail program’s link-creation user interface.

      Windows: Right-click and choose Paste.

      Mac: Control-click and choose Paste.

If your file is not already on your website

  1. Upload the file to a public folder on your server.

  2. Type the location of the file into your e-mail program’s link-creation user interface.

    For example: http://www.yourdomain.com/public/site/public_files/filename.pdf

You can link to various types of files using various methods:

  • Video files: Video can be a powerful selling tool for some businesses, but instead of sending a video file in an e-mail, insert a screenshot image of your video and include a link to play the video on your website or on a social video site.

    If your video has sound, warn people before they click in case they’re reading your e-mail at the office or in a place where sound might cause a distraction.

  • Sound files: Sound files let your recipients multitask by listening to information while they scan and click the links in your e-mail. Like other files, sound files should be hosted on your website and linked to text or images in your e-mail. Links to sound files that contain soothing music or other mood elements can distract your recipient from more important clicks, so make sure that sound helps to communicate your main message.

    If the message itself is your sound file — say, you’re announcing your latest podcast or an archived radio show appearance — link the users to your website to play the sound file so they can surf all your valuable information while they listen.

    [Credit: Courtesy of The Mark Crowley Radio Show]
    Credit: Courtesy of The Mark Crowley Radio Show
  • Document files: Portable Document Format (PDFs) files are the most popular files for e-mail delivery. When linking to a file, make sure you tell your clickers that their click will result in a download.

    For example, if a short, summarized article in your newsletter ends with a link to the entire article in PDF format, make sure the link includes (PDF) in the text of the link or use an icon to indicate that clicking will result in a document download. If the document is long and the information the clicker wants to obtain isn’t on one page, tell the clicker where to find the information. For example: Read entire article (PDF page 3).

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