Trying to help out my wife here, owner of www.thewoolshack.com.
She wants to send a graphically-rich newsletter using Campaign Monitor and we're not sure what is best practice in this regard (although we're experienced web people), i.e. the path of least resistance/stress to a quality end result!
We know that email clients don't always display graphics in e-newsletters (especially if the recipient has got "don't display images" turned on). and are prepared to wear this (perhaps with a text-only version attached).
For the sake of argument, let's say the e-newsletter we want to send out would look not unlike a 1-page promotional flyer for a band. So it'll be 'arty', and there could be any number of clickable hotspots (preferably with different shapes) on the graphic that takes people to the corresponding page - or product - on the website.
So a large part of our question is - how much of the work to do outside of CM (e.g. using Dreamweaver or other authoring tool) and how much to do inside of CM (over and above the sending bit).
So in order to achieve this effect, please can anyone recommend an authoring tool that plays most nicely with CM, i.e. where it's a simple step to get the output from the authoring software into a 'ready to send' format in CM? Or perhaps we can just produce a single A4-sized jpeg in Photoshop, upload the entire image into CM, and then create clickable hotspots using tools available inside CM (or am I dreaming now)?? :-)
Thanks very much for your guidance.
You should expect to spend a fair amount of time in Dreamweaver if you're looking for a nicely designed email. Your time in CM should be fairly minimal, just importing your campaign, testing, and sending.
In terms if which tool to use, I would suggest that you use the tool that you're most comfortable with. Designing an email should be somewhat similar to designing a single web page, there's just a bit more you need to think about.
I'd strongly suggest that you take a look at our design gallery for a little inspiration: