Drag your soap box over to the forums

We've had a ton of people signup on the Campaign Monitor email design forums recently, and there's been some great discussions taking place.

We've also noticed some regulars popping in like the guys from Cheers, which is great to see. One very helpful member, Stig, even has a free Campaign Monitor t-shirt on it's way to him thanks to his great answers. Stig also started a feature request thread to collect all your ideas and wishes for the future of Campaign Monitor.

That's a great place to start if you want to see what other people are asking for, and add your own requests. We're not promising to implement everything in that thread, but the whole team reads it and we love all the feedback we can get. So if you haven't registered for the forums, then why not register today, it's super quick. If you already have, then drop in and leave a comment or introduce yourself.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 1 Comment

“I will be naming my first-born Campaign-Monitor”

I will be naming my first-born 'Campaign-Monitor'. Thanks for a well-resolved, slick, fast and truly useful product.

Dave Baskind
Universal Favourite

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson

Why don’t I get my own test messages?

Why is it that sometimes you send a test message from Campaign Monitor to yourself or other team members in your company, and it doesn't arrive? Well, most of the time the email does arrive, but is filtered into a junk folder, or just takes a few minutes.

Sometimes though, it just never seems to get there. It can be incredibly frustrating, and worrying because you may think your own customers won't get your emails either. Campaign Monitor is sending them out - where are they going?

With love, from me to...me

The problem occurs when you are sending an email from Campaign Monitor to yourself, but defining the 'from' address to be the same domain as the 'to' address. So from clarkk@dailyplanet.com to loisl@dailyplanet.com for example. Some mail servers have built in brains that try to stop spam by checking for emails that claim to have been sent from the same domain as they are being sent to.

So the Daily Planet's email server might say:

This email for Lois says it is from Clark, but I did not send any emails for Clark, so this must be a dastardly fake.

The email is stopped by the mail server, and never delivered or bounced back. Campaign Monitor can't tell that is what happened, because no bounce message is sent. This problem will not affect your customers at all, because their email addresses are not at the same domain as your 'from' address.

How to make sure test emails get through

To prevent this problem, you just need to get your mail server administrator to specifically let emails from Campaign Monitor come through. Sometimes this is called 'whitelisting'. They will need to know the IP addresses we send from, and you can find them in our help page.

Then you will be able to receive your test emails and make sure everything is perfect before sending out your campaign, always a good idea.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson

Getting better results from competition lists

Campaign Monitor is used by people in all kinds of industries and for all kinds of reasons. Some businesses are more naturally suited to email contact, and some types of email contact are more welcomed than others.

One type of list that seems to get a disproportionate amount of spam complaints is competition entry lists. These are the lists where you have entered your email address to win some kind of prize, and at the same time agreed to receive email in the future from the company running the competition.

This is completely legitimate, assuming it is made very clear to people signing up that are giving that permission. However, even when it is clear we still see a lot more complaints from campaigns to these kinds of lists. It's reasonably apparent why that should be the case:

  • There can be a significant time lapse between entering the competition and the first email campaign.
  • A big chunk of entrants only signed up for the competition and never wanted extra email anyway.
  • It's often easier to hit the spam button than the unsubscribe link.
  • The emails often have no apparent connection the original competition.

So it's not hard to see why some subscribers would have forgotten that they signed up, or not understand why they are on the list at all. Fortunately, these issues are all quite simple to combat with small changes.

  • On the competition entry page, make it obvious what people are signing up to receive. Don't use vague 'offers from selected partners' language if you can avoid it.
  • Send the first non-competition email soon after signup. The longer you wait the less likely people are to remember giving permission.
  • Include a clear permission reminder in each email. It should state specifically that the subscriber signed up by entering the competition (link to the site if it is still available), and also let them get off the list easily.
  • Make the competition list double opt-in, so people have a second chance to understand what they are doing, and take a positive action to give permission.

If your clients want to run competitions and send to the entrants, you may need to work with them to avoid getting too many spam complaints on your account. These guidelines will help you, and help them only send to people who actually want to get their messages.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson

Performance improvement update

The changes we have put in place since the slowness and disconnections earlier in the week have made a big improvement. We are still progressing on our longer term changes though, to make sure we can maintain a reliable service as more customers come on board.

We know that you need to be able to rely on Campaign Monitor to be there when you want to send your campaigns, and that's our priority too. Thanks again for your patience, and your feedback.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson

More HTML email design inspiration

tomorrow's date JentleHands Hive Creative

There's a ton of different ways to approach an HTML email design, and we've added a few more great examples recently. If you need some inspiration, check them out!

See every new entry on the email design gallery's RSS feed.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 2 Comments

Slowness and downtime for Campaign Monitor

Last night, Sydney time, Campaign Monitor and MailBuild were both handling very high loads, and you or your clients may have experience slow response times, missing images and dropped connections to the server.

Our monitoring did pick this up, and our server support team began working immediately to improve performance. Thank you to everyone who let us know via email and phone, we appreciate that. We can only apologise for the frustration and inconvenience this has caused for you.

Our work on introducing new load balancing hardware continues, but it is a tricky process to get right, and we do not want to risk further problems by rushing the project. Although we have made several changes today to better handle the peak load, we are anticipating that during busy periods tonight (the US Wednesday business day) there could again be slowness when accessing both the applications and actual campaigns.

Please be aware that this is a possibility, and keep it in mind when scheduling and sending campaigns. We're doing everything we can to keep up with the demands of higher usage during that time.

The whole Freshview team thanks you for your business, and we want to provide you with a reliable, robust service for years to come. Your patience through these periods is truly appreciated.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 1 Comment

Inline CSS for Mac users

tamTam widget

Following on from our recent post on automatically generated inline CSS for email templates, another customer has come forward with a cool OSX widget to achieve the same goal.

It's called TamTam, and it's very simple to use. You simply paste in your html with CSS rules in the head, hit "Inline" and TamTam updates all your inline classes, tags and ids.

Thanks to Gary Levitt from MadMimi for a practical (and funky) designer tool.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 2 Comments

We do sweat the small stuff - login form tweaked

Do Sweat the Small Stuff book cover

We love getting your suggestions for new features and big improvements we can consider for the future, no doubt. That's not all - we also love hearing about those little niggles, things that don't stop you using Campaign Monitor but that are less than perfect, or just irritate you.

One customer at Web Directions last month told us about his pet hate with the Campaign Monitor login form. We try to be helpful by have the page set the focus to the username to save you some time. However if a script like Google Analytics was a bit slow to load, he would be halfway through his password and then the cursor would jump back to the username field.

It's annoying and frustrating, so we fixed it. Now the focus won't automatically be set if you have already started entering your username or password. Just a little change, but something that smoothes out the experience of using the product.

So if there is something that bothers you about Campaign Monitor, let us know, because we keep track of these things and we'd love to hear from you.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 2 Comments
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