Campaign Monitor forums — join the discussions

You're a web designer, you live on the web. You already know a hundred different places you can get a fast answer on your IE6 bug question, or some handy javascript snippets for your forms.

Maybe you've tried asking for help with html email though - half the replies are flaming you for even considering sending it, and most of the rest recommend sending it in one huge image. Just not helpful.

That's why we are launching the Campaign Monitor email design forums as a place for designers to discuss the unique problems and opportunities designing html and text for email. If you're wondering how Lotus Notes goes with forms, or how high your email header should be, this is the place for you.

You don't even have to be using Campaign Monitor, just have some passion for making email a better experience for everyone. We'd love to hear how you use html email, what works for you and what doesn't. Share your knowledge with other designers, and get help with your own problems.

We won't be tolerating pointless flame wars there, it's all been done before and there are better places to vent your spleen. Just good solid information, and a chance to have a chat with other people working in the same area as you. We would love to here from you all - we've kicked off with a welcome post, so take a minute to register and jump in and introduce yourself.

We'll be giving away one of our very-nearly-ready t-shirts to someone introducing themself in that thread too. Look out for more t-shirt news shortly.

Join the Campaign Monitor forums today!

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson

Forward to a Friend reporting updates

We've always had a very strict permission policy at Campaign Monitor with clear-cut rules about what does and doesn't constitute permission. There was however one piece of functionality which perhaps relaxed our high standards a little - forward to a friend reporting.

To date, we not only store which of your subscribers forward your email to a friend or colleague, we also told you exactly who they forwarded it to. We certainly didn't add these friends to a list or anything nasty like that, but we did expose their details nonetheless. To compound the problem, it wasn't crystal clear on the Forward to a Friend page that your friend's details were even being captured. Another slap on our wrists.

While we never had any negative incidents or complaints around this issue, it's clearly not best practice and we've gone ahead and stopped capturing exactly who forwards to who. Instead, you'll now see which subscribers forwarded your email and how many people they forwarded it to. This change has also been applied to any previous campaigns you've sent.

From personal experience, I know how interesting this data was, but individual's details were being exposed to the campaign sender without their permission. We need to put the privacy of these people first. If you're hoping to capture new subscribers via the Forward to a Friend feature, we recommend adding a prominent link in each email encouraging new subscribers to sign up, then link right to the subscribe form on your site.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 8 Comments

Quick update to the Campaign Snapshot

One problem we always had with the Campaign Snapshot is that it wasn't immediately clear which subscribers you sent that campaign to. Sure, you can see the total number of recipients, but not which lists those subscribers came from.

Today we did a little reshuffling with the Campaign Snapshot to make it easier to see exactly who you sent that campaign to. Even if you sent it to multiple lists, some segments and even manually added a few recipients, we'll show it all here. Here's a quick screenshot of the updated snapshot for a campaign sent to 3 different subscriber lists:

Preview and download the templates

By Clicking on the 3 subscriber lists link in the Sent to row, we reveal exactly which lists were sent to, including the number of subscribers in each:

Preview and download the templates

Finally, to make it a little clearer, we also moved the date sent under the Campaign Snapshot title.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner - 1 Comment

Recent designs from Campaign Monitor users

Benton Nyce Presents Dumbo Feather PPR Monthly Photographic Journal

The gallery of great designs by Campaign Monitor users continues to expand, showcasing lots of different email design approaches for your inspiration.

Follow the gallery's RSS feed and don't forget to check out our new free base templates.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 5 Comments

Quick template update

Preview and download the templatesAfter some great feedback from a few customers, we've made some further tweaks to the 30 pack of email templates we released last week. These changes improve the results in Outlook 2007 even further, while still maintaining a consistent look in all the other email environments.

Along the way we learnt about a number of key quirks in the Outlook 2007 (um, Word) rendering engine, which we plan on posting about in the next few days. We recommend downloading the latest pack to make sure all your recipients using Outlook 2007 get the benefits of these tweaks.

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

“Quite honestly one of the best tools I’ve ever come across”

Campaign Monitor is quite honestly one of the best tools I've ever come across. Having been asked by one of my clients to research this area for them and having spent hours Googling for information and becoming more and more confused and frustrated, I finally spoke to one of your existing customers who put me on to you - thank God he did.

Your service is a credit to the industry and I only wish that more companies would take the same approach. I'm not exactly a novice to web technology (but no expert either) and your clear and concise explanations made what is a potential minefield for someone like myself extremely easy to understand and to use.

Many thanks, and keep up the good work. I'll be taking full advantage of your service in the near future and have already recommended you to others.

Alex Barker, Alex Barker Design

Read this post Posted by David Greiner

Support for Animated GIFs in HTML Emails

We've updated our results for animated GIF support in email. Check out our latest post.

I’m not one for Flash, but many web designers obviously use it. Some for interactivity and others for animation. In the web environment the latter is a replacement for animation formats of days old: animated GIFs. But Flash isn’t supported in the email environment, so for web designers accustomed to using animation to communicate a message are left searching for alternatives. Enter animated GIFs.

I’m not going to argue about whether animated GIFs are a sufficient replacement for Flash or whether they are the devil or anything else of that nature. Rather, I’m simply going to share what I’ve learned about support for them in the email environment. The results are dizzying, so try to keep up.

The Results

Every single email client I tested supports animated GIFs. Well, except for one: Outlook 2007. Big surprise. Though if you carefully plan your animation, this news may not be so bad. Outlook 2007 displays the first frame of the GIF as a static image. So if your first frame works as a static image, you are in good shape.

Some Advice

I’m like a mother sharing advice you don’t necessarily want but that you do actually need. So I have some helpful tips for you regarding use of animated GIFs:

  • Don’t forget about accessibility. If you use animated images to tell a story, ensure everyone gets the message. Consider those with low or no visibility, slow connections and those who pay per kilobyte on their mobile devices.
  • Learn from history. Blinking, strobing or streaking text or graphics sucked in 1999 and they suck now, too. Leave the annoying animations behind.
  • Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Enough said.
  • Be creative. Just as any tool in web design, we can use animated GIFs to enhance our message in non-invasive ways.

So that’s where animated GIFs stand in the email environment. Enjoy if you must.

Read this post Posted by Administrator - 13 Comments

Fast access to email marketing information

If you have ever tried searching for information about email marketing, you will know that you can be lost in a sea of out of date, inaccurate or just plain dodgy information. That's why Mark Brownlow, the brains behind Email Marketing Reports, has put together, a custom search engine using Google Co-op.

It lets you search a collection of hand picked sites known to have reliable and useful information about email marketing (including our sites). Next time you are looking for some help with an email marketing issue, save yourself some time and head over there first.

Read this post Posted by Mathew Patterson - 2 Comments
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