How can I make downloadable HTML email files for Outlook 2007?
September 14, 2009 5:03 PM   Subscribe

What's the easiest way to offer downloadable HTML emails for people to forward to their friends from Outlook '07? It should be easy, but Outlook doesn't auto-open .msg or .eml files, at least within our organization. Is there a better way?

So I work in the fundraising department of a large public university, and one major aspect of my job is making HTML e-mails and invitations for various constituent groups. We're really starting to ramp up emails so that we're not spending so much money on print invites, and so far our internal clients love them.

Most of our clients have large lists and so we set them up with mailers like MailChimp. However, we're starting to get requests from individual fundraisers to get the e-vites we've created in a format they can send to their prospects. Up to now, we've just been forwarding single copies of the emails we create on request, but as more and more requests start to come in it's getting onerous.

These fundraisers have their own private intranet-like website, and so what I'd like to do is offer a link that says "Download the suchandsuch evite here!" and have that pop right open in Outlook, which they all use.

When I save an e-mail from Entourage (I'm on a Mac), the file extension is .eml and when I click a link to it, it tells me right away that I can open it in Entourage. Cool. However, the Windows users are prompted to open it in Outlook -Express- (wtf?) which they don't even use. Most of them "can't computer good" so telling them to navigate through the "open with" dialogue probably won't fly.

I tried re-saving it as a .msg, which is what emails saved FROM Outlook '07 save as, but Outlook gives and error message that says it can't be opened, it might not exist, you don't have permissions to open it, etc. Ugh!

TL;DR - is there any way to provide a link to a file on a webserver that the average user could click on and have automatically open up in Outlook 2007? Is there another way to do this that doesn't involve setting up a bazillion accounts in a pro emailer program?

If it helps, we're a Microsoft shop and run IIS/.NET.
posted by m_lazarus to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is there any reason you can't just let them open the invitation in a web browser, on a web page linked from an e-mail message? That's simple and should work even for people who don't allow HTML e-mail.
posted by amtho at 5:30 PM on September 14, 2009


Amtho's suggestion is better though.
posted by holloway at 5:36 PM on September 14, 2009

...just let them open the invitation in a web browser, on a web page linked from an e-mail message? That's simple and should work even for people who don't allow HTML e-mail.

Any marketing plan that involves sending html email to clients and/or prospects will eventually run-afoul of clients/prospects which block or strip html email, either due to personal preference or corporate IT security. Further, using HTML email puts you in the position of eventually having your domain tagged as a spammer by one of the more strict mail filters companies use.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:31 AM on September 15, 2009

Response by poster: I think I haven't been completely clear - we do tons and tons of HTML email, that's not the problem. This isn't about HTML email not rendering right or anything, and this isn't about getting HTML email to end-users.

What I'm asking is, after I've sent an email campaign using traditional methods, how can I distribute that same campaign to a few outliers in our system who want to send the same campaign to their own small lists? They just use Outlook and aren't a part of our MailChimp system. Up to now we've been forwarding the email to these people, and they forward on to their propects personally.

Since we're getting so many requests, tho, what we really need is a self-serve system where they can go grab a recent email (the actual email file itself) we sent from a central location and open it up in Outlook and send it themselves.
posted by m_lazarus at 10:00 AM on September 15, 2009

MHTML will do that.
posted by holloway at 10:23 PM on September 16, 2009

Another satisfying ask.mefi answer.
posted by holloway at 4:49 PM on September 27, 2009

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