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Check out the latest and greatest product features from Campaign Monitor that you can use to make your email campaigns rock.
This is an update that has been requested quite a lot since we first introduced the Campaign Monitor API, and it is finally here: The ability to both create and send campaigns completely through the API. That means that if you have the development skills available, you can completely integrate Campaign Monitor into your existing applications, and have no need to login to the Campaign Monitor website to send emails. We’ve added two new methods: Campaign.Create and Campaign.Send, which are both now included in the API documentation. All you need to do is make sure that your account has a payment card setup, or sufficient credits, and the campaign will be sent. After that, it will appear in your reports just like your other campaigns. We’re also working with some Campaign Monitor customers on creating an all new PHP wrapper for the API, to make it even easier to get started. Watch out for some news on this over the next few weeks. Check out the existing API samples in the mean time. Again, thanks to everybody who has variously suggested, requested, demanded and pleaded for this feature!
Have you ever had one of your subscribers change their email address, and ask you to update it for them? In the past, they either had to get you to do it, or unsubscribe themselves and resubscribe. Or have you had subscribers who are happy to hear about your toy store’s new soft toy range, but are not at all interested in your BMX bikes? You don’t want them to have to unsubscribe totally, right? That’s why we’ve launched a new feature for all Campaign Monitor users today, which we call the Subscriber Preference Center. The idea is to give your subscribers more fine grained control over the information you store about them, including their name, email address, and custom field values. By adding a simple tag to your HTML and plain text, you can create a link to a preference page pre-filled with the subscribers existing details. They can change their details, add or remove subscriptions or unsubscribe completely, all without contacting you. Here’s an example we’ve created, just for demonstration purposes. Imagine that Twitter offered a variety of different newsletters – their preference center could look like this: Giving your subscribers this kind of control doesn’t only mean less work for you; it can reduce the amount of subscribers who completely unsubscribe, by letting them opt out of just a part of your emails. They might also feel more confident knowing they can check exactly what they are subscribed to at any time. How to get started with a Subscriber Preference Center It’s easy – all you need to include a link in your campaigns to the preference center is a simple tag: <preferences>this will be a link</preferences> and [preferences] for plain text That’s it. You can also jump into your ‘Manage Clients’ section and on each client’s page you’ll see the “Preference Center customization” link. That’s where you can change the background color, text colors and add a logo. There’s plenty you can do to make good use of preference centers, and for more ideas and details check out the help topic. Thanks to everyone who has requested this feature, we hope you find it helpful!
Campaign Monitor has always been well known for its great reporting features, because they make it so easy for you and your clients to see very quickly the results of your email campaigns. Today we released another new feature based on a lot of your suggestions and requests that can help extend that email campaign reporting right into your website. All you need to get started is a free Google Analytics account and a few moments in Campaign Monitor. If you aren’t already aware, Google Analytics is software for tracking your visitors as they move around your site. By placing a small piece of code on each page, you can see great reports about the number of visitors, where they came from, what they did and how long they stayed. With a little extra work you can even track conversions and sales data so you can see exactly how you’re generating customers and revenue. With our new integration feature, you can follow your visitors all the way from your email newsletter into your site, and hopefully right through to ‘conversion’ – an ecommerce sale, a consulting enquiry or whatever other action you might want to measure. Best of all, it is super easy to setup. Getting started with Campaign Monitor and Google Analytics We’ll assume that you’ve already got your Analytics code working on your website (or your client’s site), tracking away on that end. Setting it up on Campaign Monitor is a snap. To get started, jump into your ‘Manage Clients’ tab, and pick the appropriate client, and click the blue ‘Edit client’ link to access the Google Analytics setting. Here’s a complete walkthrough of the process if you need help. Now whenever you send a campaign for that client, Campaign Monitor will automatically add Google Analytics tags to each link to the domains you selected. During the campaign setup process, you can enter a useful title (the campaign name by default) and source name to help you find that campaign in Google Analytics later. Now whenever you send a campaign for that client, Campaign Monitor will automatically add Google Analytics tags to each link to the domains you selected. During the campaign setup process, you can enter a useful title (the campaign name by default) and source name to help you find that campaign in Google Analytics later. What can Google Analytics do for me? Some pretty cool stuff! Being able to connect the data from your email campaign with the same people’s data on your site gives you some great insight into how your campaigns convert into website traffic, customer conversions and even sales. Here are a few quick examples that show you the power of integrating with Google Analytics. For a complete walkthrough on how to access these reports in your analytics account, check out our complete guide. See exactly how much revenue your campaign generated As well as the total revenue generated, you can also see exactly how many transactions your campaign generated, the average value of each subscriber and the percentage of subscribers that converted into a sale. Learn more about tracking revenue with Google Analytics. Track how many subscribers converted By setting up conversion goals in Google Analytics, you can see how many subscribers completed a desired action, such as completed an enquiry form or adding a product to their shopping cart. Can I track individual subscribers? Unfortunately, the short answer is no – Google updated their Terms of Service to disallow the collection of any information which can be used to personally identify subscribers. So, the tracking and reporting of clicks by name, email address etc. in Google Analytics is no longer an option. This new feature is live in your account now, so if you’re already using Google Analytics for yourself or your clients, you can access these reports in a snap. We’ll be putting together a series of posts here moving forward to show you how to get the most out of this feature and hopefully some interesting case studies on how some of you are using it to improve the effectiveness and return on investment for your email campaigns.
We’ve updated the subscriber snapshot pages in your account. View the details. We’ve just launched a super useful new report that I think you’re going to love. Our campaign reports already provide you with a great overview of the results of your campaigns – opens, clicks, unsubscribes, etc, etc. But sometimes you need to zoom down past these general results and have a closer look at exactly how one particular subscriber is interacting with your email campaigns. Our new subscriber snapshot makes this easy by bringing your entire history with each subscriber into a single page. Here’s how it looks… As you can see, the snapshot provides a simple timeline of every interaction this subscriber has had with your emails. Quickly see precisely when they opened your emails, clicked on a specific link, forwarded the email to a friend or even unsubscribed. This data is especially useful for those sending targeted emails to a smaller list or segment of subscribers where you’re interested in the precise response from each recipient. We also provide totals such as emails sent, percentage opened and number of clicks so you can quickly gauge how interested this subscribers really is. On top of all this useful data, click the “Edit Subscriber” button and you can instantly update any of the data you have stored on this subscriber, including their custom field values. Not only is the snapshot available from any of your campaign reports, such as Recipient Activity or Opens Over Time, you can also access it at any time under Manage Subscribers. This is especially handy as you can quickly search your list for that subscriber and in an instant see your entire history with them. We think this is a really useful addition, and we hope you feel the same. Finally, big props go to Dan Bowden, our switched on intern that was the brains behind this new report. If you have any feedback, we’d love to hear it.
If you’ve created a new campaign in the last day or so you might have noticed something missing when selecting the format of your campaign. Previously, you had 3 options: HTML only, HTML and plain text, and plain text only. As of our most recent update, the “HTML only” option has now been removed. Moving forward, whenever you’re sending a HTML email, you’ll need to add a plain text alternative too. Why should I include a plain text version? Including a plain text alternative with your HTML email is best practice. It’s best practice for a number of reasons: Content-based spam filters like SpamAssassin look for a close match between your HTML content and plain text content. If there’s a significant difference, your email will be penalized. Some of your subscribers prefer plain text or use an email client that doesn’t properly support HTML email, especially if they’re reading it on a mobile device. Often they might have an email client but not a web browser, so they can’t access the web-based version of your email. One little point of clarification. We always included a plain text alternative for you, even if you sent a HTML only email. This was just a brief message with a link to the web-based version and an unsubscribe link. It was better than nothing, but didn’t get you any closer to solving the problems listed above. Why wait until now to make this change? Removing this option has been on our minds for a while now, but we were hesitant to remove it altogether until we made the process of generating your plain text alternative an easier process. Now that we’ve added the ability to pull the text out of your HTML version with a single click, we felt the time was right. I realize this adds a step to the create/send process for some of you, but please remember it’s in the best interests of you and your subscribers to include a well formatted plain text alternative whenever you send a HTML email. Also, don’t forget about our free plain text templates that provide a great starting point for a nice looking plain text email.
Today we added support for a much requested tweak to our segments feature, the ability to export only that segment of subscribers. As you may already know, our segments feature makes it a snap to target specific groups within your subscriber list. Let’s say you want to send a campaign to all your female customers, or only those subscribers who showed interest in Product x from your last newsletter. Segments make that easy. As well as sending campaigns to your segments, you can now export them straight to Excel or a tab delimited text file. This is especially handy for those of you using Campaign Monitor as your main data store. Now you can easily get subsets of your entire list out of your account based on any criteria you desire without having to export everyone and do some ugly hacking in Excel. We hope it’s a handy time saver for you.
If you’re a BlackBerry or iPhone user, you’re probably well aware of just how popular mobile email is going to be in the future. With the recent announcement of HTML email support on the BlackBerry, not to mention the iPhone’s already stellar CSS support, it’s clear that the challenge for us email designers might not be as daunting after all. If you consider the recent prediction that 20% of email will be accessed wirelessly in 2 years, that’s a comforting thought. That’s the future, but what about the present? Currently, the BlackBerry only supports plain text, Windows Mobile 5 does plain text too, and Windows Mobile 6 scrapes in with basic HTML support. It’s not the prettiest of pictures. With that in mind, we’ve just updated our design and spam testing tool to produce screenshots of exactly how your email will look on all 3 of these mobile platforms. Add to this the 17 other email clients we already cover across the desktop and web, and you’ve got some serious testing coverage, all for just $10. If you’re interested in learning more about mobile email, Email Marketing Reports have a great list of resources, particularly on mobile email design. Even if you don’t read your email on a mobile device, you can safely bet that some of your recipients do.
A few days back we quietly launched what I think is one of the most useful new features we’ve added to Campaign Monitor in a while. As we’ve written countless times before, getting some design consistency across all the major email clients is one of the biggest annoyances of the job. The sole reason behind this frustration is the lack of CSS support, which was the reason we launched the Email Standards Project recently. To get around these deficiencies, you really need to move away from web standards and stick with table-based layouts with all of your CSS done inline, instead of being separate to your content. The problem is, adding that CSS inline is fiddly and takes a long time, not to mention how depressing it is completely butchering your code. Be frustrated no longer. Now, by checking a single checkbox, we’ll automatically generate your inline CSS for you when you import your campaign. This means you can build your emails just as efficiently as your web pages (except for those nasty tables you need to add), and then we’ll do the heavy lifting for you automatically that will ensure the best rendering result across all the major email clients. See it in action The best way to demonstrate how cool this feature really is, is to show a few before and after shots. As you know, the biggest CSS hater is Gmail. Taking a few random samples from our email design gallery, here are the results you can get just by ticking that innocent little checkbox. The Tonic Vision newsletter Gmail before the checkbox Gmail after the checkbox The NZLive.com newsletter Gmail before the checkbox Gmail after the checkbox The results really do speak for themselves. Even though we quietly snuck this feature in a few days ago, it’s already proven extremely popular, with more than 600 customers using it for their campaigns. A big shout goes to Toby Brain, our superstar intern who developed this feature, and also a big thanks to Alex Dunae, the developer of Premailer who was generous enough to offer his own advice on the best way to approach inline CSS to get the best results possible for you all. Enjoy, and if you can think of any ways we can make this feature even more useful, please let us know.
You may have noticed in your accounts recently a new link under the ‘reports’ tab labelled ‘Compare campaigns’. This is a brand new feature we released recently, thanks to a lot of great customer suggestions, and to the efforts of our star interns. The idea is that you can select two or more past campaigns for a particular client, or even across all your clients, and compare their key statistics in chart and table form. The five measurements you can compare are: Opens Clicks Bounces Unsubscribes Spam complaints Each one is compared as a percentage. Once you’ve picked the campaigns you want to compare, you hit the generate button and the data is loaded in. The new graphs are pretty slick, and you will need to have a recent version of the flash player installed to view them. You can hover over each indicated point to see the relevant date and value for the statistic at that point. Below the graph is a table listing the data, and at the bottom, averages across all your campaigns. If you decide you’d like to change the graph, use the edit button at the top to add or remove campaigns or statistics to compare, and regenerate it. These graphs are also available to your clients logging in for their reporting via Client Report Access. Why compare campaigns? With this new ability to easily compare your campaigns, you can start to really get an idea of what is working and what needs improvements with your clients emails. Here’s just a few ideas to get you started – we’re looking forward to hearing how you use campaign comparisons. Testing different subject lines If you want to improve your open rate, changing the subject line is a great place to start. Use segmemting to target one part of your list, and send them your standard subject line. For another segment, try something different, like putting an article title in the subject. Then compare your open rates for two campaigns. (more ideas for subject lines) Change your ‘call to action’ Once you can easily compare your click rates, you can start to experiment with the links in your campaigns. What happens if you use a graphic button to link to your site rather than a text link? What about a photo of your new product as a link vs the normal heading? Does putting a link at the top get more clicks? Are competitions worthwhile for gaining subscribers? Sure, running a competition where people have to give their address to enter might gain a ton of signups, but are they worthwhile? Use compare campaigns to compare your open rates and click throughs before and after the competition, and see if those new people are really interested. Also check out your bounce rates to see if you just end up with a bunch of bad addresses. There’s plenty of other ways you and your clients can make use of simple comparisons between campaigns. If you have a great idea, leave us a comment. Thanks to everyone who suggested this feature too!
Hot on the heels of our integration into Comcast’s spam reporting tools, we recently finalized the integration of spam complaints made by Yahoo! Mail users. This means that any time one of your Yahoo! recipients marks your email as spam through their email interface, we’ll automatically remove that subscriber from your list and provide a full report on who made the complaint and when. It’s an awesome feature for keeping your list clean and identifying if your subscribers are no longer interested in what you have to say. This complaint integration works much like the same partnerships we have with other ISP’s like Hotmail, AOL, Comcast, etc but, there’s a catch! The catch – you need to be authenticated The Yahoo! team are the brains behind the DomainKeys authentication method. Because they see authentication as a crucial part of email (we agree), they’ll only tell you who marked you as spam if you sign your email with DomainKeys. Luckily for you, this is a pretty simple process that our authentication wizard can walk you through in a flash. So, if there weren’t already enough great reasons to embrace authentication, Yahoo! just gave you another one. Here are the basic instructions that walk you through the process of setting up email authentication for each client in your account. Once that’s been set up, we’ll let Yahoo! know that you’re authenticated and your account will be updated automatically in the unfortunate event of a complaint.
As I’ve mentioned before, your sending reputation and the relevance of your email are some of the most important factors that can determine if your email arrives in the inbox or the junk folder. In order to evaluate your sending reputation, more and more ISP’s are using their “Mark as Spam” button. It’s pretty simple, if you only occasionally get a spam complaint made against you and you don’t send to that address again, you should be OK. Get lots of complaints and keep sending to those addresses and you’re in trouble. Many of the popular ISP’s out there share these complaints with Campaign Monitor so we can monitor our customers and also keep your lists clean of those who clearly don’t want to hear from you any more. To date we’re reporting on such complaints for Hotmail/MSN, AOL, United Online, Roadrunner and USA.net. We have now extended our spam reporting feature to include Comcast, the largest cable internet provider in the US. This means that any time a Comcast subscriber marks your email as spam, we’ll remove them from your list and also provide a detailed report saying who did this and when. This integration means your list will stay clean automatically and you can gather indirect feedback from your customers about the relevance of what you’re sending them.
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