Tutorial: How to Add Anchor Links in Emails

Have you ever wanted to add an HTML anchor link in your email campaign? Anchor links in email are incredibly useful for newsletters that are long and content-rich. They give your subscribers a chance to quickly scroll down and directly skip to where they want to read. There is broad email client support, although not 100% (see email client support for anchor links).

Here’s a quick example from¬†Mobile Marketing Watch, which uses anchor links at the top of their daily newsletter so readers can use a table of contents to quickly navigate to each section.

mobile marketing watch anchor links in email

Today’s workshop

Good news! Adding an anchor link in your email campaign is easier than you think. All you need is a basic know-how of the HTML link structure of your anchor links. As we’ll¬†see, an anchor link is made up of two parts: the URL link and the actual anchor tag that the link¬†is “jumping” to in your email.

Let’s look at a specific newsletter example and show you how to replicate its anchor links by¬†using the BEE¬† editor,¬†so you can follow along.¬† Here’s a quick video recap:


Our inspiration: A nice example of anchor links in email

We regularly see anchor links put to good use in¬†Lenny Letter, a newsletter created by actor/director Lena Dunham and her best friend/director Jenni Konner.¬†Lenny focuses primarily on long-form¬†content, thought-provoking essays and stories, and provides that content within the email itself. The header includes colorful anchor links to each corresponding story within the email. Here’s how the links¬†look across¬†the top (starting with Jessica Grose and ending with Lena Dunham):

lenny header anchor links in email

Each color corresponds with the author’s¬†story, so if a reader wants to read Kaitlyn Greenidge‘s story first, for example, tapping her name (the orange anchor link) takes the reader directly to her story section (where the title, “I Love Betty,” is also in orange). Click here to see the entire newsletter (trimmed because of its length).


Getting started

Now that you’re familiar with the concept of anchor links in emails, let’s you walk through how to add them in the BEE editor. Follow along and open the free, online BEE editor.

Step 1: Build the email

To start, we’ll recreate the Lenny email in BEE. The header is simple: using a basic one-column design, drag in the Lenny image and add the text (in Courier) beneath it. Next, drag in¬†a four-column structure to arrange the top anchors.

lenny anchor links in email

Continue to add text and images to recreate the header, intro, and first story.

lenny anchor links in email

After formatting the color of the text, get ready to add the links.

lenny anchor links in email

Step 2: Choose an anchor link name and its position

Now it’s time to name and position the first anchor in the correct section of the email. For this step, we’ll be using the custom HTML content block in BEE from the Content menu to add our anchor (i.e. think of it as your bookmark).

screenshot1663

Drag and drop the HTML block to where you want the link to “jump” down to; in this case, it’s right above Grose’s story, titled “Namaslay.”

anchor links in emailThis is how the HTML block looks once¬†it’s in position but before we add code:

anchor links in email

To create the anchor, paste in one line of HTML code in the Content Properties field of the custom HTML block on the right:¬†<a name=”grose”></a><br />

anchor links in email

The name in quotes (“grose”) can be whatever you want, but keep it simple and easy to remember (ideally one word) as this is the keyword that you will use when linking to this anchor tag.

Step 3: Link the anchor

Now that the anchor’s position has been specified, the text in the header needs to be linked to it. Simply select¬†“Jessica Grose” and choose the Insert Link selection in the toolbar.

anchor links in email

In the menu, link to the anchor by entering #grose in the URL field.

Adding a link to an anchor in your email

For the link to work, it’s important to include the hashtag (#) before the name, and make sure the name matches the one you chose earlier. And, of course, the shorter and simpler the name, the easier it’ll be to remember!

Now, you have created the two parts of your anchor links: the anchor text and the link pointing to it.

Clone icon: duplicate that HTML content block, then copy it and drag it to the next section. Then, simply update the name contained within the quotes, and link the text at the top to the new anchors you have created.

anchor links in email

Step #4: Send a test email to test the anchor links

anchor links in email

Once you receive the email, click on the anchor links and watch the magic happen, as demonstrated in this short animation:

giphy anchor links in email

Voil√†! And that’s it. It works!

Email client support for anchor links

Anchor links are not supported by all email clients, so keep this in mind when making a decision of whether or not to add a table of contents to your newsletters. Here is a quick report with some of the most popular email clients (see a report of email clients by marketshare):

Email client Support for anchor links
Gmail (Web) YES
Gmail (Android app) YES
Inbox by Gmail (Android app) YES
Gmail (iOS app) NO
Apple Mail (iOS) NO
Yahoo! Mail (Web) YES
Outlook.com (Web) NO
Outlook (Android app) NO
Outlook (desktop) YES
Outlook for MAC NO
Samsung email app (Android) YES
Windows Mail (Windows 10) YES
More research to come. You can add to this table by posting a comment below.

Using anchor links in email? Go Pro!

Have you tried adding anchor links in your emails to create a table of contents? Email client support issues set aside, adding anchor links to your email can be a pretty effective and simple design tactic to help your subscribers scroll and read your content! Sign-up for a BEE Pro free trial and follow the instructions in the workshop above to see how easy it is to get this done.

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