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Using A Custom HTML Email Template With FeedOtter

This guide will discuss and guide you through the process of using a custom html email with your FeedOtter account.

Overview

In addition to the included templates in your FeedOtter account, FeedOtter includes the ability to use custom HTML template.  We make this easy for customers by offering every custom one free import per year.  This includes the FeedOtter team Litmus testing, advising, and finally coding your HTML email file to work with FeedOtter's automated and curated products.  Business licenses include up to 10 template imports per year with additional support available.

This guide walks you through the process of preparing a custom placeholder HTML email and uploading it for use with your FeedOtter campaigns and newsletters.

The Template Import Process

Once you have become a FeedOtter customer you can upload your custom template file to the FeedOtter team for import.  Here is how the process works:

  1. You or your email designer/coder should create or identify a clean, responsive HTML email.  We recommend testing this HTML email with a tool such as Litmus to ensure that is it compatible with all major email clients.  This email should have your logo, footer text, and other static resources coded in place.  Areas where you would like blog posts and content to appear should be coded with placeholder text/images. (More on that in a moment)
  2. You upload your template files at: https://www.feedotter.com/import
  3. FeedOtter reviews your template and tests it for maximum compatibility using Litmus.com. This ensures your FeedOtter emails are always compatible.
  4. FeedOtter adds the necessary code to make your content display in your template.
  5. Your new template will appear in your FeedOtter account as a "custom template". You can now select it for use in any FeedOtter automations or newsletters.

Let's dive into each step further.

Creating A Great Placeholder Template

The only part of the import process you need to handle is to find and provide us with a HTML email file. So what makes a good HTML file?

Here are the major items to keep in mind:

  • Header Area: Your logo, and header images should be coded into the email and any links (to homepage etc...) coded in place. We will not touch this code so it needs to be 100% what you want on the final email.
  • Footer Area: The footer area is another area the FeedOtter team will not touch.  You should place any text, disclaimers, and links to your unsubscribe / email preference center pages here.  All links should be accurate and final.
  • Blog, Content, and Repeating Regions: These are the areas that our team will manipulate.  Please code areas of your email where content will appear with Lorem Ipsum text.  Any fake text is suitable the idea is that you want content formatted as expected for the final email.  If you will display the title of your post you may want to link it to the article's webpage.  Titles should be linked in your email file. Make sure any ctas buttons and images are also linked.  You can simply link to google.com or "#". Our team will update these during import.
  • Custom content FeedOtter has the ability to make an image, plain text, and simple html editable via our custom fields feature. A common example is a personal greeting paragraph that changes newsletter to newsletter.  Custom fields are most often used in Curated Newsletters where a human editor is curating the content but can be useful in large-scale automated setup

You'll need to ensure the above features are set in place in your email template exactly the way you want it to look. Here's a few customer examples that were sent in with all static content and content blocks configured into their template:

Demandbase Template Import example
Boulevard email template example for import

Important Considerations:

  • Design your placeholder email with the maximum number of content items you wish to have.  If you want 1 featured post and 3 sub posts.  Your design should have placeholder images and content for all 4 posts.
  • Ensure images, titles, and all links are coded in.  Links affect styles so these cannot be changed later.
  • Notice how our logo's image file is coded into the email.
  • Notice how we used a placeholder image sized to our specifications for each content block.
  • Title and description should be filled with long dummy text to ensure formatting is solid no matter the length of your title/desc. For example, we use real blog post titles that are long enough to format on two lines to ensure it doesn't break the spacing in our email.
  • Our CTA is a text link labeled "read more" this could be a button or the title of the post could simply be linked.  Ensure that any objects you wish to link (post image, title, etc...) are linked in your placeholder template. Links affect the styling of an email so it is crucial this is done when you code your email.
  • Notice the custom footer text, copyright and details.  You should also code in any unsubscribe links or tokens that are used with your marketing automation software.
  • Test, test, test! Ensuring your email template looks/acts exactly the way you want it to with all email browsers is crucial to a successful email template.

Testing Your Custom Email

The first thing FeedOtter does when you send us a custom template is test it with Litmus.com.  Litmus(and EmailOnAcid) are well-known email marketing tools that help ensure your emails are compatible with all clients and that your FeedOtter emails always look great.

If your email template fails to pass this compatibility check our team will notify you, provide a link to the Litmus test results, and ask you to fix the code problem.  For this reason it is imperative that you test your code before submitting it. Here are a few ways we test email:

Email Compatibility

Some marketing automation tools also have this testing capacity built-in. Feel free to use that as well but ensuring your emails are compatible is a mandatory step.

Recap: Steps for a Successful Template Import

Before sending, follow this checklist and ensure your email template is completely ready for import.

  • Does your template design look exactly the way you want?
  • Test it. Do your template (all links/buttons/images/text/etc.) behave as expected?
  • Run through Litmus. Does your email template pass a compatibility test for all email clients?
  • Placeholder content. Is there a place for all your content in your email?

If yes to all these questions, you're finally ready to request a template import.

Upload Your Email Template to FeedOtter

When you are sure your template is compatible and there are no broken links (other than content-related ones) you can submit your template to the FeedOtter team.

Upload your template for import

Import Timeframe

Now that you've sent us your template import request the FeedOtter team will handle the rest. A typical import takes 5-7 business days to be put into your account.

First, the FeedOtter team will review and verify your HTML code. We will do this using Litmus and return the template if there are any compatibility issues. If you're having compatibility issues, we'll ask that you re-evaluate the template and send it back to us once you've fixed the issue.

The FeedOtter team will also be in touch if there are any questions. Once we've completed the template import you will be notified via email and be able to access the template in your FeedOtter account.

The template will be located at the top of the Template Library in FeedOtter.

Considerations and FAQs

Here are some frequently asked questions that we get with requests for a custom template import. If you have any other questions or would like to import your own template please email us at [email protected].

Can I use a Marketo template?

Ideally, no. Marketo templates have oodles of extra "Marketo code" that make them less than ideal for use as a template in any other system. If you must, you can test and send your HTML file over and our team will review it and make a recommendation moving forward. Here's an article on how to import your Marketo template for use in FeedOtter.

Can I use a Pardot template?

Absolutely! Pardot templates integrate well with FeedOtter for use. Check out this tutorial on exporting your Pardot email template.

Does my plan cover free template imports?

We include a free custom setup/import with every plan.  If you have questions about bulk template imports. Please email us.

Can I make my own template?

Yes you can!  If you are familiar with the template and token languages used by popular ESPs you may have what it takes to roll your own.  See our FeedOtter Email Templates - Technical Documentation 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to our team at [email protected] We're happy to help!

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