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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.

Blog Post

Email Standards Project: Gmail Appeal

If you’ve been keeping up with the Email Standards Project you will know about our Project Gmail Grimace, where we asked designers to send us photos of themselves experiencing the frustration of designing for Gmail. We gathered them all together, and created a short, fun little video to try and get the attention of the Gmail team. That video has been posted today, and we’d love for you all to go and check it out. If you would like to help spread the message of the Email Standards Project, this is something you might blog about very easily, or send your designer friends too, it all helps. Watch the 2008 Gmail Appeal video.

Blog Post

Redefining Spam

Not long ago, spam was reasonably easy to define as unsolicited commercial email. Advertisements for things you never asked about, email from companies you had never heard of. Offers to increase the size of various parts of your body and claims of missing millions, yours for the asking. However, as the amount of email we are all receiving continues to grow, our tolerance level for each individual email falls. The definition of spam seems to be changing to something more like that old definition of ‘art’ as “I know it when I see it”. We’ve posted before about ISPs using a broader definition of spam, measuring not just permission but relevance. A recent survey by Q Interactive and MarketingSherpa has confirmed that this is a growing definition, not just for ISPs but for individuals. “underscoring consumers’ varying definitions of spam, respondents cited a variety of non-permission-based reasons for hitting the spam button, including “the email was not of interest to me” (41 percent); “I receive too much email from the sender” (25 percent); and “I receive too much email from all senders” (20 percent).” From an email senders perspective, this can seem unfair: We gather permission legitimately, they know who we are, and yet they still push the spam complaint button. Features like the Hotmail unsubscribe button can make it easier for people to get the result they want (less email) without having to accuse a sender of spamming, but until they become more common, we all need to be wary. It’s not good enough to have their permission, you also need to put yourself in your subscribers shoes. They signed up for information about one of your products, but does that mean they want email about your other products? Not necessarily. Also, making sure that you send emails soon after signup, and consistently can help subscribers remember who you are. If they do not get an email for 6 months after visiting your booth, it’s easy for them to call it spam. Finally, a clear permission reminder and prominent unsubscribe link will make it easier for a subscriber who is no longer interested to unsubscribe rather than reach for that spam button. As part of our approval process, we try to make this clear. If we hold up your campaign to check on the relevance of your emails, we are trying to help ensure you don’t end up with spam complaints, even if you are not sending unsolicited email. How do you define spam personally? How do these findings fit with you as an email recipient, and as an email sender?

Blog Post

Email Design Inspiration Time

The collection of great gallery entries keeps growing. Use them for inspiration when you need to spark an idea for your next design. Subscribe to the email design gallery’s RSS feed to see them all.

Blog Post

The Principles of Beautiful HTML Email

If you’re an experienced Campaign Monitor user and a regular reader of this blog, then you probably have a pretty solid idea of what makes a ‘good’ HTML email. If you need a refresher, or you are looking for a good introductory article, then read on. Over on SitePoint, which is a great resource for web designers and developers of all kinds, I’ve got a new article live. It’s called The Principles of Beautiful HTML Email and it covers the core principles of designing for email vs designing for the web. I want to give a special mention to some Campaign Monitor users (and their clients) who have been previously featured in our gallery and are examples in the article. Zurb Threadless Recycle Now WWF Future Makers HIVE Inside Packaging Please do check the article out, and consider bookmarking it for later to send it to that designer who still sends emails as one big image, or to your client who wants you to send them! Read The Principles of Beautiful HTML Email at SitePoint

Blog Post

HTML Email Coming Soon on the Blackberry

Some important news if you send to a lot of mobile subscribers, or view emails on your own Blackberry. While existing Blackberry devices and software only support plain text email rendering, RIM has announced that an upcoming software update will add HTML and rich text support to the platform. HTML and Rich Text Email Rendering – BlackBerry smartphone users will be able to view HTML and rich text email messages with original formatting preserved including font colors and styles, embedded images, hyperlinks, tables, bullets and other formatting. It is not yet clear whether this will be optional, allowing Blackberry users to select their desired format, or whether HTML will always be shown when available. In any case, sending multipart text+html will always be the safest option. The update is set to be released in ‘the first half of 2008’, and once it becomes available we plan to run our normal HTML/CSS rendering tests and post here about the results. Of course, if you do know your audience is mostly mobile, then you will want to ensure your emails are shorter, to the point and simpler than you would typically do for a an audience using a desktop client. A mobile context is very different, and even the type of content itself may differ considerably – information that is useful when at your desk may be pointless when sitting on a train or in a taxi. Are you looking forward to HTML on your Blackberry? Or do your clients send campaigns specifically written for people on the move? Leave us a comment.

Blog Post

Christmas Email Competition Winners!

As we revealed last year, we have some pretty good prizes lined up for the Campaign Monitor customer who sent (in our judgement) the best Christmas email. We were looking for a balance between creativity, design and practicality, for an email that works under the constraints of email clients, like image blocking for example. We saw a lot of good efforts, and sadly still a lot of emails that were just one big image, but a few emails really stood out to us, and we’ve showcased them below. Grand prize winner: Good Creative Congratulations to the team from GOOD CREATIVE who have walked away with this year’s prize. We loved the unique approach to a Christmas tree and the strong visual layout. Since there is actual text (not just images) in the email, it still holds together with image blocking on, and the content of the newsletter really sends a clear message about the agencies values. Well done! We’ll be in touch with the team shortly to arrange for their prizes: An iPhone A $100 Threadless voucher 50,000 Campaign Monitor email credits (that’s $500 worth) I’m sure they’ll have fun splitting that lot between them! Honorable mentions We’ve got three great emails to mention here, and the people behind each one will be receiving a solid chunk of email credits and a Campaign Monitor t-shirt of their choice. Pixel Magic From across the sea in New Zealand, the Pixel Magic team have created an email better suited to the decidedly non-white Christmases we have down under. A simple design that works really well, and does not try too hard and overwhelm the message. A great example of effective email design. Aegean Airlines Extra points for effort and bravery go to the creators of this plain text Christmas email for Aegean Airlines. Taking us back to the glory days of ASCII art, this email looks painstakingly constructed. We wonder how consistently it would render, but the idea is great and well executed, and it’s particularly interesting for such a mainstream product. 3blindmice From Sydney local Ben Manson, this fantastic design is almost all text. We love the right alignment, and particularly the way Ben has used custom fields to personalise his message for each client. Who doesn’t love a mouse in a Santa hat? Well done Ben. We’ll be in touch with all our winners very soon, and congratulations to you all. Thanks also to everybody who entered by using Campaign Monitor during this holiday season, and we hope to see you all back again next year with even better campaigns. We really appreciate your creativity and your business. Stick with us through 2008, we’ve got plenty of things lined up for you all!

Blog Post

More Answers about DomainKeys & Authentication

Midway through 2007 we introduced email authentication to Campaign Monitor, as an optional change you can make to increase the deliverability and security of your email campaigns. We’ve seen a huge amount of people setting up Sender ID and DomainKeys records for their ‘from’ domains. We introduced an email authentication FAQ for some common questions, but since then a few more common questions have cropped up. Can I still use Campaign Monitor without DomainKeys and Sender ID? Absolutely. If your host does not support TXT records, you can still use your Campaign Monitor account. It just means your campaigns may go through additional filters, and you miss out on the other benefits of authentication. Your campaigns will still be sent out as normal, and you will still see all the reporting. Do I have to change web hosts if my host does not support DomainKeys? No, you don’t have to necessarily. Instead, you can just switch DNS providers. Often your DNS records are hosted by the same people who host your site, but it does not have to be that way. Services like DNS Made Easy, ZoneEdit, easyDNS let you host just the DNS records with them, and keep all your sites elsewhere. This can be both faster and safer than hosting DNS and website together – it makes changing web hosts easier and also gives you more flexibility, so it is worth looking into. My DomainKeys are not verifying — what should I do? There are two main reasons this could happen. Either the DNS records have not yet propagated, or the records have not been correctly added. You can check how the records are appearing (or not) by using a service like DNSStuff. Go to the ‘tools’ section, and you can do a free DNS Lookup under ‘Hostname Tools’. Enter the domain name you are trying to verify (as in abcwidgets.com) and change the drop down menu to ‘TXT’. Hit ‘Lookup’ and you will be able to see if the records are showing up or not. If they are not there, then you need to talk to your DNS or web host and ask them to help you out. From our side, we can only see what is there, not make any changes. If it looks like the record is there and correct, then contact support. It will help if you mention the domain name you are trying to add records for. Email authentication can be a tricky area, but it is worth exploring as it is likely to become more important in the future. If you have any more questions, leave them as comments below.

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