Look for the positives in your unhappy subscribers

As you know, Campaign Monitor is directly integrated into the feedback loop for a number of large ISP’s like AOL, Hotmail, MSN, Juno, Netzero and a few others. This means that when any of your subscribers at these ISP’s mark your campaign as junk, we automatically remove them from your list and give you a detailed report about who made the complaint and when.

Derek Harding recently put together an overview of how feedback loops actually work and there are two points we think he covered really well. The first is an explanation of why even the most well maintained lists can still see a few complaints.

It’s important to understand that though your list may be 100 percent opt-in, it may still receive a substantial number of complaints. For years, end users have been told not to trust email unsubscribe links, so many users hit the spam button as a way of unsubscribing.

While we do take action when a customer receives a significant number of spam complaints, we certainly realize that many of your recipients are just taking the easy way out or might not trust your unsubscribe link. Then there was this beauty.

Too many marketers dismiss complainants as troublemakers and malcontents. The reality is there’s a wealth of data in who complains and what they complain about. Regardless of whether you believe the complaints are unfounded, if they complained they were dissatisfied. Smart marketers aim to avoid dissatisfied customers (or prospective customers).

In my experience, the majority of complaints are caused by a failure to meet expectations. A common case is high complaint rates among new subscribers. This can be caused by subscribers not realizing what they signed up for, subscribers not getting what they thought they signed up for, or a long delay between sign-up and the first mailing.

Just like the recent tips on getting the most out of your unsubscribes, there’s plenty we can learn from those marking our legitimate emails as junk. If you’re receiving complaints for any of your campaigns, it might be time to review your subscribe process and make sure you’re meeting and exceeding the expectations of your subscribers.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Gallery: Britton Creative Newsletter

See the complete email designToday we’re featuring another nice example of a simple monthly newsletter to keep your clients and subscribers in the loop.

Designed by Britton Creative, the newsletter highlights a few projects recently completed by the firm. The clean, simple layout makes it super easy for their recipients to read and the background image is a nice touch.

We also like the prominent placement of the Send This to a Colleague link in the top right corner to encourage current customers to spread the word and encourage new business.

Designer:  Gavin Nosler  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Gallery: Tonic Vision Newsletter

See the complete email designToday we’re showcasing a cool promotional email for the equally cool Tonic Vision, a London based moving image design firm.

The email does a nice job of promoting their various services and highlights a number of recent projects and successes. The large, text based header also does a great job of encouraging their recipients to read more and just as importantly, looks good with images on or off.

Designer:  Tonic  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

E-commerce and email marketing, an interview

See the complete email designI recently did a short interview with Varien, an awesome Los Angeles based e-commerce developer and happy customer of ours. The interview was put together for their excellent blog on all things e-commerce, and focused on the role of email marketing for those selling online. If you're selling products over the web, there are a few bits in the interview worth checking out.
Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Gallery: Remarkable Monthly Newsletter

See the complete email designWe loved the look and feel of this monthly newsletter sent for UK based PR and marketing firm Remarkable.

The email design is nice and consistent with their existing web site and the horizontal news layout at the bottom of the email does a great job of packing a lot into a small space.

Our only obvious complaint is the heavy us of images for title text, which we’ve more than covered before. Other than that, this is another great example of using email to keep in touch with your clients.

Designer:  Andy Bull  |  See the complete design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

5 tips to grow your list the right way

In recent weeks we’ve posted links to some great tips on how to write effective welcome emails and making the most of your unsubscribes and the feedback so far is to keep tips like this coming. There are plenty of great email marketing resources out there (we tell you a few of our favorites in our own resource center), and when we spot something that might help you or your clients, we’ll continue to point you in their direction.

Today we came across a great article (via the fantastic no man is an iland blog) filled with ideas to improve your subscribe forms and overall subscribe process. For many, your web site subscribe form is the single most important tool to grow your list and can always do with some tweaking.

Wendy Roth gives some useful suggestions on where we should be placing our subscribe form, setting the right expectations and making them feel welcome. We especially liked her second point about avoiding cheap tactics to capture subscribers.

Subscribers should be signing up to receive your email, not so they can download a game, get a report, or for a chance to win an iPod. Although these tactics may garner more subscribers, you’re also cueing them that the emails themselves aren’t worthwhile…

There are certainly examples where this approach can work, but in most cases this is so true. While you might see a short-term gain in your subscriber base, if they’re not genuinely interested in the content you’ll be sending them, they won’t be sticking around for long anyway.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 3 Comments

Hardware upgrade problems

A few hours ago we flicked the switch on a big server upgrade including a significant hardware boost and a brand new database server. Unfortunately the process hasn't gone as smoothly as we had hoped and something that should have taken 5 minutes is going to take much longer. At this stage, it's very unlikely that we'll have Campaign Monitor up and running before 6pm (CDT) this afternoon. We can't apologize enough for this, and please rest assured that we're doing everything in our power to get things running smoothly again. We'll post updates here the moment we're back online and you can access your account.

UPDATE - 12.45pm (CDT)

All sent campaigns should be displaying and working fine now. Link tracking is currently disabled but we'll switch that on soon. In the mean time though, your recipients won't notice a thing. We're now working on your subscribe forms and will post here as soon as they're back online.

UPDATE - 1.25pm (CDT)

OK, subscribe forms are back online now. This means your campaign recipients and any subscribers are no longer affected by this outage. Link tracking is also back online and we're now hard at work getting the application itself available

UPDATE - 4.45pm (CDT)

We're making plenty of progress bringing the application back online, but it looks like we won't make our self imposed deadline of 6pm (CDT). As it's coming to the end of the business day for many of you, we recommend waiting until tomorrow to get any campaigns out. A hardware problem managed to corrupt some recent data, so we're treading carefully to restore this problem before we open the application up again. It's tough to give accurate estimates on when this will be complete but we don't want to promise any less than 6 more hours (12am CDT). As usual, we'll be posting here the moment you can access your account and thanks again for your patience.

UPDATE - 2.00am (CDT)

Right now it looks like we're less than 2 hours away from bringing the application back online. All of our hardware issues have now been resolved and we're tying up loose ends before flicking the switch back on. Thanks for all the kind words we've been receiving too, your understanding is very much appreciated. More news to follow real soon...

UPDATE - 6.40am (CDT)

WE'RE BACK! Access to all accounts has been re-enabled and all the queued campaigns are getting delivered as I type this. We'll be closely monitoring everything, but please feel free to access your account. We can't thank you guys enough for the kind words of support and patience as we got to the bottom of this issue. We've seriously got the best customers in the world.

UPDATE - 8.20am (CDT)

While the application is back online and fully operational, the hardware failure did mean that a portion of our customers data needed to be restored from a very recent backup. Unfortunately this meant that anything added to those accounts during this window was lost. We'll also be restoring some data to these accounts to fill in some of these gaps over the next 12-24 hours.
Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 14 Comments
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