Web Directions — win an iMac from Freshview

Tomorrow and Friday some of the Freshview team will be at Web Directions South in Sydney, running demos of Campaign Monitor and MailBuild, meeting customers new and old, and also giving away some great prizes.

Win a new 24inch iMac at Web Directions

We have a serious stack of t-shirts to give away (the t-shirts you all helped to design), and every person who actually wears one of our shirts will be in with a chance of winning the spanking new 24 inch iMac we'll be using at the conference.

The prize will be drawn on Friday, and someone will be going home with an awesome new computer (if you can prevent me from taking it first!). We'd love to meet any Campaign Monitor or MailBuild customers who are going to be there, so drop by and say hello. It's also your chance to make a personal plea for that feature you really need.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 3 Comments

Coming Soon: Single-click design and spam testing

As I mentioned in my original call for standards support, "getting an email to display consistently in all of the popular email clients is by far the most frustrating part of the job". Our dedicated site for the push towards standards in email is coming along nicely, but we're also well aware that things won't be improving overnight.

To keep everyone sane in the mean time, we're putting the finishing touches on an awesome new feature that lets you do incredibly detailed design and spam testing with a single mouse click - all before you hit the send button. Here's a sneak peek at some of the cooler bits...

Screenshots in all the major email clients

See screenshots of exactly how your email will look in up to 18 of the most popular email clients like Outlook 2007, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Lotus Notes, AOL and many more.

Sneak preview screenshot of the design test tool

Image blocking and preview panes included

As you know, most of the popular email clients sport image blocking and preview panes these days. Not only will we take screenshots of your design, but we'll take multiple versions with images on, images off and even how your design looks in the horizontal or vertical preview pane. You'll have every angle covered.

Sneak preview screenshot of the design test tool

Your email tested against popular spam filters and firewalls

Instead of just scanning your content for "spammy words", we’ll pass your email through real spam filters and tell you exactly why you failed. On top of popular desktop spam filters, we’ll also run your email through a number of key spam firewalls - the gatekeepers for most ISP’s and large corporations.

Sneak preview screenshot of the spam test tool

Cheaper than doing it yourself

This new feature won't be free in your account, but will cost $10 (or 1,000 email credits) for each detailed report. This will include dozens of screenshots in all the major email clients and your email being run through a range of popular spam filters and firewalls. It isn't something you'll use for every campaign you send, but if you're working on a new design or making some big template changes, this is a great way to get piece of mind in minutes.

As we've explained before, proper email testing takes time. Serious time. We've got test accounts at all the major ISP's and have a few test machines to check different spam filters - we know how painful testing is. I've been playing around with this new feature internally for the last few weeks and I have to say, I'm never going back.

We're hoping to launch this some time in the next 2 weeks, and I'll post an update here as soon as it happens. If you're an Aussie heading to Web Directions tomorrow, make sure you swing by the Freshview booth for a sneak peek at this new feature in action.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 21 Comments

What stops your clients from using your email marketing services?

Our recent MailBuild and Campaign Monitor demo movies have proved super popular, and have been a great way to introduce designers to the product. In the past, and particularly since we released our demos, we've had several requests for videos that Campaign Monitor and MailBuild customers can use to sell the concept of email marketing and their specific services to their own clients.

We're starting to plan out exactly how something like that could work, and we'd love to hear from you all about the most common questions your clients (and potential clients) have when you are selling email services to them.

Perhaps they want to know whether email marketing is worth spending money on, or why they should use a special service to do something they can do themselves. The idea is that we could produce a video that covers some of these key questions in an engaging way, and help you in your sales process.

Obviously these videos would never mention Campaign Monitor or MailBuild directly, so you can use them for your rebranded services. This is your chance to have a powerful marketing tool built for you, so please do leave us a comment below.

What questions do your clients have about email marketing and email newsletter services?

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 12 Comments

Forum round up: API, design & your favourite tools

Since we launched the Campaign Monitor email design forums we've had over 350 people signup, and over 400 posts on the design and technical sides of HTML emails.

We like to highlight some of the interesting things going on over in the forums - here's some you might want to check out:

Are you a Flash developer (or do you know one?)

We don't have Flash developer skills here at Freshview, but we'd love to hear from any generous developers who have used the API to subscribe people with custom fields to a Campaign Monitor list. Check out Jason's post if you might be able to help.

Getting yourself registered for the forums is the work of a moment, so why not jump in and join us!

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 6 Comments

Thank you for your help with our call for email standards

We announced our intent to create email standards and asked for your help with establishing a baseline for support. The response has been outstanding. We've heard from the web-design community—your help has been invaluable and we're ready to take action.

In the coming weeks we will be developing a website dedicated to this movement based on the consensus of those who participated. Upon going live we will announce it here on the Campaign Monitor blog, so keep your eyes peeled. We are working to finalize our acid test and will collect final data on how our suite of email clients performed. This will be the foundation for our call to email-client developers for standards support.

Again, thank you for your kind words of support and participation. Together we can make a difference for web designers who design/build emails and for those who receive them.

Onward…

Read this post Posted by Administrator

Making it easy for your Hotmail recipients to unsubscribe

We mentioned a few months back that the Hotmail folks were about to launch a very cool new feature that allowed your recipients to unsubscribe directly from the Hotmail interface. As you know, if a subscriber no longer wants to hear from you they've got 2 options - mark it as spam or try and find the unsubscribe link.

This new feature goes a long way towards reducing false positive spam complaints by encouraging your recipients to take the unsubscribe option instead. If you've ever recieved spam complaints from your Hotmail recipients, you'll know just how important this is. Here's what your Hotmail recipients will now see:

A screenshot of the new unsubscirbe functionality in Hotmail

When your subscriber clicks the unsubscribe link, they'll be redirected to your unsubscribe confirmation page, just like they would if they clicked the regular unsubscribe link in your email content. The best part is, you don't need to do anything to set this up, it will work automatically for all your Hotmail recipients.

The unsubscribe option will be visible to every subscriber that's marked you as a safe sender (or added you to their contacts). Luckily this is a very easy process in the new Hotmail interface and is likely something a subscriber will do for any newsletters they subscribe to. Here's a quick screenshot of how this looks for all new senders.

Adding a sender to your safe list in Hotmail

The moment "Mark as safe" is clicked, the unsubscribe option will be available in any emails you send them. Props need to go to Microsoft for being the first major ISP to implement this great standard.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 2 Comments

Scheduled maintenance late Saturday night through Sunday morning

Apologies for the short notice, but we'll be taking the Campaign Monitor application offline for a total of 8 hours between 8.30pm this Saturday night and 4.30am Sunday morning (US Central time - see this in your own time zone) to make some key hardware upgrades and add some additional layers of redundancy to both Campaign Monitor and MailBuild.

Don't worry, the maintenance will have zero impact on your subscribe forms or campaign tracking, everything will purr along as usual - you just won't be able to log into your account. If you've scheduled any campaigns to be delivered in this time-frame, they'll be sent as soon as the application is back online.

Update: The updates have been completed successfully and as of 12.30am we're back online. Thanks for your patience everyone.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 2 Comments

Email marketing tees for the ladies

Our email marketing tees have been way more popular then we ever hoped. We've sold loads through the site, and also given plenty away to customers doing great design work or helping out in our forums. Taking the advice of the one and only Kathy Sierra, we've just added some sample shots of our awesome new ladies sizes.

Check out the girls tees in the store

The ladies tees are available from extra small through extra large and also feature a new colour scheme for the "I'm Single" design. If you're an Aussie heading to the Web Directions conference later this month, we'll also be giving loads away at the event (among other things), so make sure you swing by our booth and grab a free tee in your size.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

How to personalize your permission reminders

When you make a business call, you don't just launch right into the conversation without introducing yourself, right? Instead you say something like "Hi, I'm Mathew, we met at the Widget Summit and you asked me to give you a call". You should do just the same with your email newsletters.

Over at Clickz, Stefan Pollard has a great article titled "There's No Excuse for Trust Abuse", about doing permission reminders the right way. His point is that a vague permission message — "your address was subscribed to our list" — can be even worse than none at all. It makes you seem lazy and possibly suspicious. Your message needs to be as specific as possible, to help people remember how they actually did ask for your emails. This is particularly important for lists that grow regularly, as new subscribers have no background of newsletters to remember you by.

A great technique to make your reminder messages more specific is to keep track of exactly where addresses came from, and refer directly to that.

You are receiving this email because you gave us your address at the Widget Summit in September.

Or perhaps

You are receiving this email because you subscribed on our website to the Widget Newsletter.

With some smart use of custom fields, you can personalize that message for each subscriber. The first step is to keep track of where people came from. Create a custom field for your list called 'source' or similar. Now you need to fill in a value for 'source' for each person. If you are importing a file of new subscribers after a tradeshow, use 'gave us your address at the Widget Summit in September' as the source column for each subscriber record.

For your online subscribe forms, make sure you have a hidden 'source' field prefilled with 'subscribed on our website' as the value, so that each time someone signs up using the form, the right value is set (check out our step-by-step guide to do this).

Now in your campaigns, you can just insert something like this:

You are receiving this email because you [source]. If you are no longer interested, you can <unsubscribe>unsubscribe instantly</unsubscribe>.

It's that easy. Now your permission reminder messages are much more specific, and they will be much more effective in showing people you are legitimate and serious about having their permission. You can also use that same source information to start segmenting your list and offering different things to different groups.

Even though permission is not enough anymore, an accurate, specific permission reminder will go a long way to avoiding spam complaints, and help build up trust with your subscribers.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner
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