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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.

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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.

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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.

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How to Avoid Looking Like a Phisher

In a promising move, some email clients are building phishing detection right into the software itself. Phishing basically refers to an email that fraudulently tries to get information off someone by pretending to be someone else. I’m sure that like me, most of you have received a few Paypal phishing scams in your time. Both Mozilla Thunderbird and AOL 9.0 now feature phishing scam detection that will impact on how you design your email creative. To determine if an email may be a phishing scam, the email client looks for a link in your HTML campaign where the display text is a URL. If the displayed link is different from the actual URL, the user is alerted. The problem Remember, Campaign Monitor changes every link in your HTML campaigns so we can track link clicks for you. This means that even when you have a link like: <a href="http://www.yoursite.com">http://www.yoursite.com</a> We’ll change that to: <a href="http://yourname.createsend.com/.aspx/l/14202/0/www.yoursite.com"> http://www.yoursite.com</a> This change will mean that your email may get flagged as a phishing scam. The solution To ensure you never look like a phisher, avoid using a URL as the display text for a link in any HTML emails. Instead, try and use a word or phrase which describes the link itself. Such as: <a href="http://www.yoursite.com">Visit our web site</a> Even though we’ll change that to: <a href="http://yourname.createsend.com/.aspx/l/14202/0/www.yoursite.com">Visit our web site</a> You won’t ever be identified as a potential phishing scammer.

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How Do We Stop Spammers from Abusing Our Software?

Every now and then we’ll get a question about how we ensure good delivery rates or how we make sure spammers don’t abuse our software. We’ve just added the info to our site, but it seems to be a topic of interest so I thought I’d echo it here. From personal experience, we know how frustrating it can be when you work hard on a campaign only to see it never get close to your recipient’s inbox. We take deliverability very seriously, so here’s a quick summary of some of the measures we have in place to ensure you never have to deal with this problem: Our delivery servers have been whitelisted by major ISP’s. Our team monitors blacklists daily. If a server is ever listed (and it does happen ever so rarely), we remove it from the cluster immediately and resolve the issue on behalf of our customers. Until a customer has been approved, every large campaign is reviewed by our team before it can be delivered. Any spammy campaigns are removed and the account closed immediately. Our team verifies all large lists that are imported and ensures they comply with our strict permission policy. Every email sent using our software contains a single click unsubscribe link. Our abuse email account is monitored closely and every complaint is followed up promptly. Our software is directly integrated into abuse complaint systems for some large ISP’s. If a sender receives an unacceptable number of complaints their account is terminated. We certainly don’t pretend to offer 100% deliverability, no-one can. What I can promise is that we take every step necessary to keep the bad guys from abusing our software and the good guys sticking to best practice. We apologize to any new customers who might experience a delay when their campaign is being approved, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it.

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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).

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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.

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