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Email as Conversation, Not Invasion

Have you ever really thought about the way email campaigns are sometimes described? Have you heard your clients talk about “email blasts” and “mail shots“? Sounds less like we are emailing our subscribers, and more like we are declaring war on them! Without getting too carried away, it’s clear that names are important. If our clients, and we ourselves think about our email campaigns as ‘blasts’, big one way transfers from us to them, we’ll be tempted to act in ways we never would in a real conversation. The more we see our audience as passive receivers of a mass message, the less likely we are to think about what works best for them instead of us. Email is such a personal medium, at least on the receiving end, and it’s a dreadful waste of that intimacy to just throw out the same message to everyone. So what do we do instead? I’m suggesting two courses of action here: Stop using war metaphors like ‘mail shot’ and ‘e-blast’ right away. Encourage your clients to think about their emails as conversation starters and updates. It sounds small but it can really impact on their decision making. Make your emails more personalized by using tools like segmenting, custom fields and analytics. It helps you to stop thinking of your readers as a single mass, and start considering them as individuals. Treating people as individuals flows through to respecting their ability to unsubscribe at any time, and not hiding the link from them. It means wherever possible letting people email you back instead of discouraging two way contact. Email should be a conversation, not an invasion.

Blog Post

No More Currency Conversion Charges for the US

Although we are an Australian company (based by the southern beaches of Sydney) the vast majority of all of you designers are based in the USA, or are at least more familiar with US dollars. For that reason we have always priced Campaign Monitor in US dollars. However, when we came to actually take the payment, we had to convert the quoted price to Australian dollars. We have always been generous on the conversion rate, so that you don’t end up paying more, but sometimes banks on the customer end will charge foreign currency conversion costs. It’s been a frustration for some time, but in the last day we’ve improved things. From now on, every campaign will be priced and charged directly in US dollars. That means your accounts team won’t be hassling you because your invoice is 8 cents off the charge on the card! The price we quote is the exact amount you will see on your statement. Thanks to everyone who has given us feedback on this issue. p.s. You can follow CampaignMonitor on Twitter to get the fastest notification of updates like these, new features, and also give us your direct feedback.

Blog Post

Web Visions in Portland Oregon

It’s Web Visions time again here in my local town of not so sunny Portland, OR. I’ll be there both Thursday and Friday to enjoy some great sessions from speakers like Campaign Monitor’s frequent blog contributor Mark Wyner, Jason Grigsby, and Jeffrey Veen. So if you’re going to be attending as well, I’d love to hear from you. If you see a woman walking around in a Campaign Monitor t-shirt it’s likely me; no guarantees though! Come up and say hi, give feedback or ask questions (or all three!).

Blog Post

2008 Email Design Guidelines

In this article we’ll discuss the technical, design and information elements that make up a…

Blog Post

Does Yahoo! Mail Ignore Your Paragraph Tags?

If your emails to Yahoo! accounts have been feeling a little bit claustrophobic recently, we…

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Email Design Inspiration Time

The collection of great gallery entries continues to grow! If you’re having design block, consider browsing through the gallery for ideas and inspiration. Subscribe to the email design gallery’s RSS feed to see them all.

Blog Post

Campaign Monitor Drupal Module

A completely open source content management platform, Drupal is a popular choice for large scale, flexible websites. A key feature of Drupal is the ability to add on modules, plug in code that extends the core functionality to do any number of different things. Sydney based Campaign Monitor user Stephanie Sherriff has written a cool Drupal module to integrate Campaign Monitor newsletter signups with your Drupal website. Stephanie describes it in this way: a fairly simple module that just adds the ability to subscribe and unsubscribe from a newsletter using the API. It also creates a page that displays prior campaigns Here is how the module’s configuration page looks in Drupal: Once the module is up and running on your site, you can place the newsletter signup easily, creating something like the form shown here. If your site visitors are logged in, then the form will even be pre-filled for them using the details from their user account on your website. This could be an excellent way to grow your list, and also something to implement on websites you are building for your clients. Stephanie is still planning some further improvements to the module, and we look forward to seeing those too. Visit the Campaign Monitor Drupal Module page to find out more, and to download it.

Blog Post

Quick Tip: Choosing Google Analytics Tags

Now that you can automatically add Google Analytics tags to your emails, we wanted to remind you how you can easily edit the tags used for each campaign. Once you have setup Google Analytics integration (see the help topic) you will have an extra option when importing your HTML for a campaign. You can change the tag used for the source of traffic, and for this specific campaign. If you are using Analytics for yourself, you might use “Campaign Monitor” as the source, so you can tell which people came from your Campaign Monitor emails. However, if you plan to show the Analytics reports to your clients, it would be best to choose something more generic like ‘Newsletter’, or the name you use when rebranding the software. When you login to your Google Analytics account and browse by traffic source, you’ll see the name you set when sending the campaign: We recommend keeping the source the same for each campaign you send so you can easily see an aggregate for all Campaign Monitor campaigns in your Analytics account. Of course, you can also tweak the campaign name tag to make things easier to recognize too – for example, to remind you this was the campaign where you changed the subject line, or sent later in the day. That can make it easier to understand the impact changing different elements has on your eventual results. Let us know if you have any of your own Google Analytics tips and tricks for use with Campaign Monitor.

Blog Post

How Do You Bill Your Customers?

We often get asked by Campaign Monitor users how they should charge their clients when they send campaigns for them. The Campaign Monitor model is simple – we charge you based on our simple pricing model, and leave charging your clients up to you. Here is a few of the ways that other Campaign Monitor customers charge: Per campaign charges passed on to your client – the simplest way to go, you just add some fixed or variable to the price you pay us for each campaign, and charge your client that. A pseudo monthly fee – if you have clients who send roughly the same amount of emails every month, you can calculate a monthly charge that will give you pretty consistent income. Frontload a charge for template design – Some customers will charge a large amount for the template design and then just charge at cost price for the actual sending. A retainer model – If you do other consulting for your clients, you might build their email costs into your normal consulting charges, rather than splitting it out. You might have a different model for each client, if it makes sense, or for simplicity handle each client the same way. I’m sure that there is a lot of other interesting ways to handle pricing, so leave a comment with your ideas!

Blog Post

Video in Your Emails?

<!––> The growth of services like YouTube and Vimeo, and the availability of cheap video cameras and editing software has created an explosion in the use of online video. Your clients will start asking you soon if they can put their video into your emails, if they have not already. So can it be done? The answer is “no, not really”. Technically, videos just don’t work in email – most of the video players use Flash, which won’t play in your email client. That’s probably a good thing in reality, because email inboxes are already very crowded and busy, so adding even a genuinely fascinating video is not going to be welcome. However, email can be an excellent way to encourage people to visit your website and watch a video. Instead of trying to embed it right in the email, just take a static screenshot, and link that to your video page. This really works – in the recent Email Standards Project newsletter, we did exactly that for our Gmail Appeal video (see the image above). We linked the screen grab, as well as providing a text link in a couple of other prominent places. In our reporting, we can see that the screen grab was clicked on more than 5 times as often as the text link. People love to click on images, particularly images that look like they do something. This is a really simple technique, but it can be a great way to convince your clients not to keep trying to embed the videos directly.

Blog Post

Some Pepper with Your Email List?

Recently we mentioned our Google Analytics integration, which is excellent for keeping up to date with what your subscribers do after they read your emails. How about knowing when people signup to your lists though? You can already grab the new subscribers RSS feed (find it at the bottom of each list’s details page in your account), but today we’ve spotted a great way to keep an eye on your lists, while watching the rest of your sites vital statistics. Campaign Monitor customer Mark J Reeves has developed a plugin for Shaun Inman’s popular Mint software. Mint is a tool for seeing recent page visits, referrals, searches and all kinds of statistics about your website right now. We use it ourselves on all our sites. With Mark’s plugin (called ‘Peppers’ in Mint terminology), you can see a list of people subscribing to a specific list in the last 24 hours. All you need to do is plugin your API key and ListID to get started. Checkout the Campaign Monitor subscribers Pepper to download it. Thanks go to Mark for his development, it looks like he has plans to do more in the future.

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