Add personalized images to email campaigns with Daisy

As of February 2013, Daisy will be turning off their API to all customers. Stay tuned - should the developers relaunch this service, we’ll be sure to let you know via this blog.

Looking for a sweet way to personalize your email campaigns? Our friends at Motobias have very cleverly applied themselves to the task with Daisy, a dynamic image generator that pulls personalization data from your subscriber list and uses it to generate unique images for each of your subscribers. The results are really eye-catching campaigns and great opportunities for designers to get creative with their own custom images.

Personalized campaign using Daisy
While it’s still early days for Daisy, designers are welcome to generate images for their live email campaigns, for free. As any custom field can be used when personalizing an image using Daisy, its applications go beyond the gimmicky. For example, you can use it to generate personalized tickets to an event using ‘Name’ and ‘Ticket number’ custom fields in your subscriber list. In a similar manner, you can also create truly bespoke reminders and email invitations. Before we launch into the details, here’s an overview:

Powerful personalization for designers

Editable text layerIf you’re a confident Photoshop user, then you’ll find that creating an image for use with Daisy is a snap. Simply create a PSD featuring an editable text layer and enter the name of your custom field (pictured).

You can convert this text layer into a smart object to apply effects like blur - Daisy will still be able to detect it as long as it remains editable.

With your masterpiece ready and at hand, it’s time to upload your PSD file to Daisy. Upon import, you will be issued an AppID (like an API key), which you will need to access your images. You’ll also get a chance to verify that your text layers have been detected.

At this point, it’s time to use your newly-minted AppID, plus Campaign Monitor API key and Client ID to create magic. Swing over to Daisy’s Campaign Monitor page and go through the prompts to create a new custom field in your Campaign Monitor account and a unique image for each subscriber in a list. The latter may take some time if you’ve got a large subscriber list, so Daisy helpfully sends you an email once this is complete.

New custom field Once your images are ready, you can go to your subscriber list and subscriber snapshot to see the new custom field you created earlier. For each subscriber, this custom field includes a URL which, as you’ve probably guessed, you’ll use to source your images. Take note that this new custom field will be visible in your preference center by default - you can hide it in ‘Manage custom fields’ in your subscriber list.

From here, it’s all fairly straightforward. In the email above, we simply added <img src=”[chocolate-pic]”> to our HTML email code and sent a personalized email test. You can also set a fallback image URL, pointing to a non-personalized image - recommended, if you plan on sharing your campaigns.

Pretty as a Daisy?

To be honest, the Daisy interface may not be the prettiest in its ‘Experimental’ state, but it’s thorough, stable and full of possibility. Toying around with your own images brings a renewed wonderment towards email marketing - “How can I make my campaigns more exciting? Will my subscribers react to personalized campaigns?” - which I’m sure you’ll feel the moment you start sending wedding invitations for “*|firstname|* ♥ Justin Bieber” to your entire office. Either that, or you’ll be mobbed and killed quickly.

Not wanting to stop there, Motobias have also rolled out a well-documented API for dynamically generating images for both email and the web.

Down the track, Daisy will probably get rolled into their Visage service. But in the interim, try it for free and if you have any feedback, get in touch with the Daisy team. They’re keen to hear how they can make it even awesomer for designers… And Justin Bieber fans.

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

14 Comments

  • Anke
    26th November

    This is awesome indeed. Can’t wait to try it!! Yeee!!

  • Rhys
    26th November

    Excellent news!

    The reaction to personalised print has always been good so we’re very much looking forward to trying this out. Opens up a lot of creative possibilities.

    Would be good to know what future charging structure might be but we’ll keep an eye on Motobias for that.

  • Robert
    26th November

    Fantastic!  Can’t wait to use on our client’s email campaigns :)

  • Purchase Digital / email marketing
    29th November

    That really does open a lot of creative possibilities. I could imagine email marketers that aren’t aware of this, getting the email: “How did they… No, they didn’t… They couldn’t have made an image just for me… I’m so confused…”

  • WordPress Guru
    29th November

    This is great. Will try for sure.

  • Forrest / @daisyAPI
    29th November

    Hey Ros and Others-
    It’s Forrest, the DaisyAPI guy. Thanks so much for this write up. It is kind of fun to dream up all the different kinds of stuff you can do- changing the text is just the beginning. If you have any questions or anything, please let me know- this is early days, as Ros mentioned, and I’m happy to help anyone get started (and hopefully learn a few things myself).

    Cheers!
    Forrest
    @daisyAPI

  • Jimmy Rittenborg
    30th November

    This is magic.

  • Tim Tunbridge
    30th November

    Looks great Forrest.

    I have been receiving emails like this recently http://sandbox.rockingdesign.co.nz/email.jpg where my name Tim is personalised into the header. I wonder how this is done given the length of names vary?

  • Dale
    30th November

    Tim, we’ve been integrating this into our campaigns for clients using our in-house technology called ePIC. We set boundaries to limit the size of the text area which scales the text down when the data gets too long. See: http://www.dbg.co.uk/upload/ePIC_Brochure.pdf for some examples.

    Really nice work there Forrest, I hope this helps the idea of image personalisation in email get more traction.

  • Forrest / @daisyAPI
    30th November

    Wow- that’s really cool. You could do that a couple of different ways, but I think you’d actually need to use our API, and not the Campaign Monitor integration. One way would be build an “alphabet” of letters, then put them in a folder for ease of use. Duplicate that folder and move it over to where the 2nd letter should go. Duplicate it again, move it, etc.. until you have a folder of letters for each position in the name. You’d probably want to make a max of 12 letters or so. You could then use the API to turn on and off the layers visibility. “TIM” would be- layer T-1 is visible, layer I-2 is visible, layer M-3 is visible, etc..

    The Daisy API can replace Smart Object Layers with other artwork, so you could put placeholders for each letter, then do a find and replace for each letter in the name. I’ll try and do a tutorial on this- I think it’s an awesome idea.

    Thanks for the suggestion!
    -Forrest

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    30th November

    @Tim Tunbridge - wow, that’s very curious! While the text personalization is not so length-critical (I made up that term), with the image, I can only assume that they’re somehow segmenting their list by common names (eg. ‘Tim’, ‘Sally’ etc)? Either that, or they have some very clever code happening in the background :)

  • Vincent
    30th November

    Tried it. It’s great.

    @CM:
    The custom (image) field is visible and editable if the subscriber visits his ‘preference center’.
    In the future this should be avoided…

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    30th November

    @Vincent - thank you for pointing this out, that’s very important. You can hide this custom field in your preference center - I’ll update the blog post to mention this.

  • Heathsplosion
    19th December

    That totally blew my mind… dynamic PSDs. Genius.

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