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Tip: Weird Hotmail Formatting Tip

One of our customers recently spotted a strange and very annoying Hotmail bug that modifies the appearance of your email. If you include the word News in your campaign followed by a colon, so News:, Hotmail will automatically convert this into the following JavaScript link. javascript:ol('News'); When you think about it, this term can easily appear in tonnes of emails. Can anyone say Latest News:? The worst part is, clicking it will take you to a Hotmail 404 error page. We assume Hotmail is doing some kind of conversion thinking this is the news: protocol for newsgroups, but this doesn’t seem to actually work anyway. We’ve been in touch with Hotmail about his issue, so hopefully it’s something they resolve soon, but in the mean time, avoid using News: anywhere in your email content if you’re sending to Hotmail recipients.

Blog Post

Tip: Capturing Subscribers from an Existing Form

We’ve made it very simple to create a form on your web site where new subscribers can sign up to your list (we provide the code, you just have to copy and paste). But what about when you’ve already got a form, and you simply want to add a checkbox where customers can opt-in to your newsletter? This isn’t quite a copy and paste job, but it’s not far off. Lets take a look at a simple example. Your client’s site has a ‘Contact Us’ form, which sends an email to your client with the details of a customer enquiry. They’ve just decided that they want to add a little ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ checkbox. How are you going to integrate this with Campaign Monitor? Here’s a few ways: 1. Use an extension or plugin This is the simplest of all if you happen to be using a suitable CMS or shopping cart. We’ve got a bunch of downloadable plugins, extensions and modules for systems like Expression Engine, Joomla and FoxyCart. Over on the right of this page you’ll see direct links to some of them. Check there first because it may be someone has already done the hard work for you. 2. Using the API Lots of you already know about (and use) the API, and this is the obvious way you can achieve this. In our example, when a user submits the contact form on your clients web site, your already going to have some code in place to gather the contents of the form, and send them off to your client in an email (usually in something like PHP, ASP.NET, Perl etc). We just need to make a slight addition to this. Using your programming language of choice you can check to see if the user has checked the ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ checkbox, and if they have, make a call to our API to save this person to your subscriber list. And don’t worry if they’re already in there – we won’t add them twice. 3. Redirecting to specific URL’s If your not too keen on the idea of calling our API, there’s another method you can use, which works by redirecting to a URL on our server which will save the user to the list, then send them back to your server. So just like before, you gather the contents of your form, and send the email to your client. Now, to get the users name and email address into Campaign Monitor, we need to redirect the user to a specific URL. What this redirect stuff you keep mentioning? All server side languages should have an easy way to send the user to another URL. In PHP you would use something like: header( "Location: hhttp://www.urlhere.com" );and in ASP.NET it would look likeResponse.Redirect("http://www.urlhere.com"). So let’s get down to specifics. The URL that we need to send the user to, is the same URL that we use in the Create a Subscribe Form code. Check out this code and you’ll see something like: <form action="http://myclient.thisapp.com/p/a/t/tos/" method="post">. The action URL is what we’re after, so in this case http://myclient.thisapp.com/p/a/t/tos/. We’re almost done, but when we redirect the user to the URL we need to include their email address (and optional name). We do this by adding them to the URL in a format like this:?cm-4841-4841=sample@test.com&cm-name=Joe+Bloggs. So the full code in PHP would beheader( "Location: http://myclient.thisapp.com/p/a/t/tos/ ?cm-4841-4841=sample@test.com&cm-name=Joe+Bloggs" );. The important points to note are the question mark (?) to show the start of the variables, the ampersand (&) to separate the values we’re passing in, and the plus sign (+) which should be used to replace any spaces in the name. Of course, you’ll need to grab the name and address values from your existing form, and plug those in where we have sample@test.com for example. When the user is redirected to the above URL, they will be added to your list, but what happens next? Well, hopefully you’ve added a custom subscribe page (and if you haven’t, just jump into the “Create a Subscribe Form” options in your list and add one), and the user will be redirected back to the subscribe confirmation page you’ve specified. The best part is, both of these approaches happen so quickly the user won’t notice a thing.

Blog Post

The Best Christmas Emails of 2005

Check out some of the coolest and most original Christmas emails we’ve ever seen delivered.

Blog Post

What Does It Mean When a Subscriber Has Opened My Campaign Multiple Times?

There are several reasons why a subscriber may appear to have opened your email many times. It’s most often the case that your subscriber simply opened your campaign multiple times. If you’re sending interesting content, then more often than not your recient has come back to look at it multiple times. A subscriber could have a “Preview Pane” feature enabled in his or her email client. In this case, every time the campaign was clicked or scrolled to in the “Preview Pane”, the subscriber’s address displays as having opened the campaign. Find out more about how to design for preview panes. If the subscriber uses the email client to “forward” the email campaign instead of using Campaign Monitor’s Forward to a Friend feature, any subsequent opens by those recipients show as another “open” by your subscriber. The Unique HTML Opened count in your Campaign Snapshot indicates the total number of unique opens for that entire campaign and does not take multiple opens into account.

Blog Post

How Does Campaign Monitor Handle Duplicate Subscribers?

We often get asked if Campaign Monitor checks for duplicates when importing subscribers, so we thought we’d cover it here once and for all. The short answer, yes. We never allow duplicate emails to be imported into the same list and if someone tries to subscribe to a list that they already belong to, they won’t be added again. This way a recipient will never get the same campaign twice and you’ll never be charged for sending the same thing twice. Even if a recipient is a member of two lists and you send a campaign to both lists, they’ll still only receive one version.

Blog Post

Tip: Include Name in Your Subscriber Data

We know you’re not sending spam, but before your newsletter hits your subscribers inbox it most likely has to jump through a few pieces of Spam filter software making sure it isn’t. Here’s one quick and simple technique to make sure Spam filters don’t get the wrong idea about your email. When we’re sending out your campaign, we check if you’re storing the name of the subscriber we’re sending to. If you are, we include this in the To: address. Why’s this important? Spammers don’t know the names of their recipients, and filter software knows this, so if there isn’t a name and only an email address filter software will be more likely to give your mail a negative score. So when your importing subscribers, try to include their name, and it’s a good idea to include a name field in your subscribe forms as well (which is what we do by default).

Blog Post

Minimizing Subscribe Form Spam

Yep, you read that right. Not only have you got to worry about comment spam on your blogs, but your subscribe form could be the next target. We’ve had a number of customers let us know about this problem and have just made a small change to the subscribe form code to combat this. If you’re seeing any strange subscribers in your list (especially those that mention the .com domain in the email address), grab the latest version of the subscribe code from your account. We also updated the supplied signup code to include one with basic formatting, one with CSS formatting and a table based version. A big thanks to Ken Schafer from One Degree for helping us test this solution. Great guy and a great resource for Canadian marketers.

Blog Post

Best Practices for Sending to an Older List

Let’s say your client approaches you to send a campaign to Old Faithful, their house list that’s slowly grown over the years but hasn’t been contacted in 12 months or so. Hell, 12 months doesn’t sound that long. You put together the creative and start sending. Things start to get ugly The campaign’s sent. 40% of your list hard bounce right from the word go. Another 25% unsubscribe immediately. Old Faithful aint what it used to be. Problem 1: 30% is a big number Here’s a scary fact. Email address churn averages about 30% every year. This means that each year almost a third of your subscriber list will have moved on to a new email address. If you haven’t sent to your subscriber list in a while, you can see how quickly they can become out of date. Problem 2: Permission doesn’t age well Even if an old subscriber hasn’t changed their address, they might not even remember being added to your list. As web designers, we often forget that registering on a web site isn’t always a particularly memorable experience for most people. If you haven’t been in touch with a subscriber for more than 12 months, chances are the permission they once gave is now worthless. The solution – a permission confirmation campaign If your list hasn’t been contacted for at least 12 months, you should consider a permission confirmation campaign. This is a simple email that includes: An explanation of how, when and where they subscribed to your list. A compelling list of the benefits of continuing their subscription and a preview of what you’ll be contacting them about in the future. If you can’t say anything compelling then you shouldn’t be contacting them in the first place. A confirmation link the user must click to confirm their subscription. The best approach is to link to a subscribe form for a brand new list. Make life easier by using personalization to automatically populate the form with their existing details. Any subsequent campaigns should only be sent to the new list. Many will argue that this method will lose you a lot of subscribers. I say that if a recipient can’t be bothered to confirm their subscription, their unlikely to be opening, reading and responding to your campaigns anyway.

Blog Post

Reports Optimization and Speed Improvements

A number of customers with larger lists might have been experiencing speed issues with some of reports, especially the Recipient Activity Report. We’re constantly making small tweaks to our database to improve performance, but this update was a biggie. Thanks to a complete rethink of some parts of the database, you guys should notice significant speed improvements in the reporting section of Campaign Monitor. We’re rolling out a number of other improvements in the coming days, so stay tuned.

Blog Post

I Have Customers Who Have Subscribed to Multiple Lists, What Happens When I Send a Campaign to All T

Firstly, we remove duplicates for every campaign you send, so if a recipient is subscribed to multiple lists and you send a campaign to all of those lists, they will only ever receive one copy of your email. What about unsubscribes? If you send a campaign to multiple lists, and an individual is subscribed to more than one of those lists, they will be removed from each list if they unsubscribe from the campaign. If you send a campaign to a single list, and an individual is subscribed to multiple lists, they will only be removed from the list you sent to. They will remain in the other subscriber lists until they unsubscribe from a campaign sent to that list. This ensures your subscribers can join different types of lists, unsubscribe from one but still receive from the other. Also, when you upload subscribers into an existing list, all bounced and unsubscribed recipients WILL NOT be added to the list. We remember everyone that ever unsubscribed. The only way an unsubscribed individual can get back into your list is to subscribe again from your web site or if you manually change their status.

Blog Post

Quick Tip: Track Which Page Your Recipients Subscribe From

If you’ve got a subscribe form on more than one page on your site, Campaign Monitor provides a really simple way of tracking which pages or forms your subscribers are signing up from. Here are the steps: Add a custom field to your subscriber list called “source” (or something similar). Head into Create a subscribe form and make sure you select the new “source” custom field to be included. Save your changes and copy the supplied code for your subscribe form. Add the subscribe code to your site, but change the text for the source field from <input type="text" to <input type="hidden". Place this code on each of the pages on your site, and give the hidden field a value. For example, the front page could use value="frontpage" and the contact page could be value="contactpage". Every time someone completes these subscribe forms, they’ll be added to your list and the hidden form value will passed into the “source” field. This gives you an easy way to find out which pages on your site are converting the most subscribers.

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