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As I mentioned in my original call for standards support, “getting an email to display consistently in all of the popular email clients is by far the most frustrating part of the job”. Our dedicated site for the push towards standards in email is coming along nicely, but we’re also well aware that things won’t be improving overnight. To keep everyone sane in the mean time, we’re putting the finishing touches on an awesome new feature that lets you do incredibly detailed design and spam testing with a single mouse click – all before you hit the send button. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the cooler bits… Screenshots in all the major email clients See screenshots of exactly how your email will look in up to 18 of the most popular email clients like Outlook 2007, Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Lotus Notes, AOL and many more. Image blocking and preview panes included As you know, most of the popular email clients sport image blocking and preview panes these days. Not only will we take screenshots of your design, but we’ll take multiple versions with images on, images off and even how your design looks in the horizontal or vertical preview pane. You’ll have every angle covered. Your email tested against popular spam filters and firewalls Instead of just scanning your content for “spammy words”, weâ€™ll pass your email through real spam filters and tell you exactly why you failed. On top of popular desktop spam filters, weâ€™ll also run your email through a number of key spam firewalls – the gatekeepers for most ISPâ€™s and large corporations. Cheaper than doing it yourself This new feature won’t be free in your account, but will cost $10 (or 1,000 email credits) for each detailed report. This will include dozens of screenshots in all the major email clients and your email being run through a range of popular spam filters and firewalls. It isn’t something you’ll use for every campaign you send, but if you’re working on a new design or making some big template changes, this is a great way to get piece of mind in minutes. As we’ve explained before, proper email testing takes time. Serious time. We’ve got test accounts at all the major ISP’s and have a few test machines to check different spam filters – we know how painful testing is. I’ve been playing around with this new feature internally for the last few weeks and I have to say, I’m never going back. We’re hoping to launch this some time in the next 2 weeks, and I’ll post an update here as soon as it happens. If you’re an Aussie heading to Web Directions tomorrow, make sure you swing by the Freshview booth for a sneak peek at this new feature in action.
We mentioned a few months back that the Hotmail folks were about to launch a very cool new feature that allowed your recipients to unsubscribe directly from the Hotmail interface. As you know, if a subscriber no longer wants to hear from you they’ve got 2 options – mark it as spam or try and find the unsubscribe link. This new feature goes a long way towards reducing false positive spam complaints by encouraging your recipients to take the unsubscribe option instead. If you’ve ever received spam complaints from your Hotmail recipients, you’ll know just how important this is. Here’s what your Hotmail recipients will now see: When your subscriber clicks the unsubscribe link, they’ll be redirected to your unsubscribe confirmation page, just like they would if they clicked the regular unsubscribe link in your email content. The best part is, you don’t need to do anything to set this up, it will work automatically for all your Hotmail recipients. The unsubscribe option will be visible to every subscriber that’s marked you as a safe sender (or added you to their contacts). Luckily this is a very easy process in the new Hotmail interface and is likely something a subscriber will do for any newsletters they subscribe to. Here’s a quick screenshot of how this looks for all new senders. The moment “Mark as safe” is clicked, the unsubscribe option will be available in any emails you send them. Props need to go to Microsoft for being the first major ISP to implement this great standard.
What if I told you that with a few minutes work you could instantly reduce the chances of your email being marked as spam, build trust with your recipients and protect your brand from being abused via email. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it. Well, that’s exactly what you can do with the new email authentication feature we just launched. What the heck is email authentication? Email was built in much more innocent times when spam came in a can and phishing was something you did on the weekend to relax. This meant the system was left fairly open, making it very easy to manipulate – it’s just as easy to make your email come from email@example.com as it is from firstname.lastname@example.org. Unfortunately this great flexibility has also been it’s greatest undoing. Enter email authentication, a simple method that proves you sent the email. While it’s by no means a silver bullet to the spam problem, authentication is an important first step in adding that much needed accountability layer into email. In a nutshell, it involves you adding some simple records to the DNS of the domain name you send email from that says who is allowed to send email on your behalf. Without getting into too much of the boring details, there are two main authentication standards out there you need to support called Sender ID and DomainKeys. What is important is that different ISP’s use one or a combination of both, so to get the best results we’ve made it dead easy to support both standards. What’s in it for you? All the large ISP’s like AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo! and Gmail are using email authentication as an important layer in their spam fighting arsenal. By setting up Campaign Monitor as an authenticated sender, you can instantly bypass certain filters, giving your campaigns a better chance of arriving in the inbox. Not only that, but many ISP’s like Yahoo! and Hotmail will flag your email as authenticated, which helps to build trust between you and your subscribers and improves the chances of your emails being opened. For example, here’s an authenticated and non-authenticated email in Yahoo! Mail: Authenticating your sending domains in Campaign Monitor I know the concept of authentication can make some designer’s eyes glaze over (mine included), so we’ve made the entire process as pain-free as possible. While I’ll give you an overview here, we’ve also put together a complete guide in the help system, along with instructions on updating your DNS records in some of the popular hosts (we’ll be adding more soon). To get started, select the client you’d like to set this up for under “Manage Clients” and click the big green “Add a domain to authenticate” button. Once you enter the domain name you want to authenticate, we’ll generate the 2 records to add to your DNS. Once you’ve added the records, we’ll automatically check them out and confirm that they’ve been added correctly. As soon as they have, that domain will be available as an authenticated domain when sending email for that client. That’s all there is to it! We’ll take care of the rest and make sure each ISP knows the email is definitely coming from you. You’ll now be able to bypass some spam filters, build trust with your recipients and ensure your domain name cannot be used fraudulently by others.
Our brand new suppression list feature was rolled out a few hours ago. All went very smoothly and you can check them out under your Manage Subscribers tab. You’ll notice that each client-wide suppression list is populated with all the unsubscribes from any previous lists in that client’s account. This ensures that moving forward anyone who previously unsubscribed cannot be added to any new subscriber lists. Quick Tip: Scrubbing your lists against the suppression list While we’ve populated your suppression list with any previous unsubscribes, we haven’t scrubbed all of your lists against it. If you’d like to scrub any of your subscriber lists against the suppression list, here’s a quick tip. Head into the “Unsubscribe Options” for that list and you’ll notice a new section where you can adjust how it integrates with the suppression list. If you turn suppression list integration off by selecting “Only unsubscribe them from this list”, save your settings and then turn it back on again, you’ll be given some additional options. The second of these options allows you to scrub all your “Active” subscribers against the suppression list. Here’s a quick screenshot of how this looks: By ticking that checkbox, we’ll automatically scrub your list and remove anyone who has ever unsubscribed from any lists for that client. We hope you enjoy the new feature, we think it’s a great addition and plan on adding it to MailBuild real soon too.
To keep things as easy to manage as possible, we’ve always kept unsubscribes at the list level, not the client level. This means that if a customer is subscribed to List A and List B and they unsubscribe from List A, they will still be subscribed to List B. This approach has worked very well for the majority of you guys. Most of you only have one or two lists per client and more often than not there isn’t much cross over anyway. The problem with this approach is that as your list management needs get more complex, the chances of an unsubscriber being accidentally sent to again increase. On top of this, there are plenty of other list management scenarios out there. You might want to ensure anyone who unsubscribed is never contacted again, no matter how many lists they’re in. What if you’ve got a big chunk of unsubscribers from a previous system that you want to ensure are never added to any of your lists in Campaign Monitor? The list really does go on. From tomorrow, all of this will be possible from your Campaign Monitor account. The Answer: Suppression Lists Tomorrow we’ll be introducing a new feature called “Client-wide suppression lists”. This is basically a client-wide do not email list. Here’s a screenshot of how you can access this list from your subscriber list index page: Any address in this list will never be added to your subscriber lists and you can add and remove addresses from it whenever you like. By default, any unsubscribes from each list will be added to the suppression list for that client automatically. Here’s how the page to manage your suppression list will look: This keeps you safe by ensuring you can never re-send to a previous unsubscriber accidentally. The best part is, you don’t need to lift a finger to start taking advantage of this feature, it will work behind the scenes automatically. Choose which approach works for you While the suppression list will be turned on by default for each list, we’ve give you the ability to turn it off on a list-by-list basis. If you’d like to revert back to the old approach, no problem at all. You’ll be able to adjust how this is handled in the Unsubscribe Settings for that list. Here’s a quick screenshot of the new options: I hope you all find the new suppression list feature useful. We think it’s a big improvement over the current approach and like any good update, works seamlessly behind the scenes without you actually needing to do anything.
We’ve always had a very strict permission policy at Campaign Monitor with clear-cut rules about what does and doesn’t constitute permission. There was however one piece of functionality which perhaps relaxed our high standards a little – forward to a friend reporting. To date, we not only store which of your subscribers forward your email to a friend or colleague, we also told you exactly who they forwarded it to. We certainly didn’t add these friends to a list or anything nasty like that, but we did expose their details nonetheless. To compound the problem, it wasn’t crystal clear on the Forward to a Friend page that your friend’s details were even being captured. Another slap on our wrists. While we never had any negative incidents or complaints around this issue, it’s clearly not best practice and we’ve gone ahead and stopped capturing exactly who forwards to who. Instead, you’ll now see which subscribers forwarded your email and how many people they forwarded it to. This change has also been applied to any previous campaigns you’ve sent. From personal experience, I know how interesting this data was, but individual’s details were being exposed to the campaign sender without their permission. We need to put the privacy of these people first. If you’re hoping to capture new subscribers via the Forward to a Friend feature, we recommend adding a prominent link in each email encouraging new subscribers to sign up, then link right to the subscribe form on your site.
One problem we always had with the Campaign Snapshot is that it wasn’t immediately clear which subscribers you sent that campaign to. Sure, you can see the total number of recipients, but not which lists those subscribers came from. Today we did a little reshuffling with the Campaign Snapshot to make it easier to see exactly who you sent that campaign to. Even if you sent it to multiple lists, some segments and even manually added a few recipients, we’ll show it all here. Here’s a quick screenshot of the updated snapshot for a campaign sent to 3 different subscriber lists: By Clicking on the 3 subscriber lists link in the Sent to row, we reveal exactly which lists were sent to, including the number of subscribers in each: Finally, to make it a little clearer, we also moved the date sent under the Campaign Snapshot title.
After some great feedback from a few customers, we’ve made some further tweaks to the 30 pack of email templates we released last week. These changes improve the results in Outlook 2007 even further, while still maintaining a consistent look in all the other email environments. Along the way we learnt about a number of key quirks in the Outlook 2007 (um, Word) rendering engine, which we plan on posting about in the next few days. We recommend downloading the latest pack to make sure all your recipients using Outlook 2007 get the benefits of these tweaks.
If you’re used to coding your email newsletters for Gmail, you’re probably an expert on inline CSS by now. As our recent CSS research highlighted, Gmail doesn’t support the <style> or <link> element. This means if you want your links to be in a size 11 font and a light blue color, you’ll need to code something like… <a href="https://www.campaignmonitor.com" style="font-size:11px;color:#4fb5e9;">Visit the web site</a> to find out more OK, kind of annoying but it works. But what about our automatically generated links for unsubscribing, linking to a web-based version and adding a forward to a friend link. As you know, these are generated after you import your design from the tags present in your HTML, such as <unsubscribe> and <webversion> and up until now you couldn’t add your own inline CSS to them. Well, not until today anyway. Introducing the style=”” attribute By adding a style="" attribute to the unsubscribe, webversion and forward a friend tags, we’ll automatically add that inline CSS to the personalized links we create for each recipient. Using our example above, let’s say we want to make our unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email blue and in size 11 font. <unsubscribe style="font-size:11px;color:#4fb5e9;">Unsubscribe</unsubscribe> from our monthly newsletter list We’d get <a href="http://www.unsubscribeaddress.com" style="font-size:11px; color:#4fb5e9;">Unsubscribe</a> from our monthly newsletter list You can use exactly the same technique for the web version and forward to a friend tags too, such as <forwardtoafriend style=""></forwardtoafriend> and <webversion style=""></webversion>.
We’ve just pushed an update live that’s been a long time coming. From today, you can now include a single click unsubscribe link in the following automated emails: The double opt-in verification email – When a new subscriber completes your double opt-in subscribe form, we automatically send them a customizable email with a link they need to click to confirm their subscription. The subscription confirmation email – When a new subscriber is added to your list (either single or double opt-in), you have the option of sending them a customizable welcome email (check out these tips on writing good welcome emails) Including a single-click unsubscribe link in both of these emails is a great way to add another layer of trust with any new subscriber and show them right off the bat how commited you are to respecting their preferences. As always, you can customize the unsubscribe confirmation page that anyone sees when they click this link so they’re redirected to your own (or your clients site). You can head into your “Unsubscribe Settings” for each list to set this up.
We recently made an update to reduce anxiety, but this one is aimed purely at reducing frustration. Previously, when making changes to either the HTML or text component of your email creative from the Campaign Snapshot, you’d be forced to go through the update steps for both. This became all the more frustrating when you wanted to make a small tweak to the text component of your email, but were forced to re-import your HTML version first. Today I’m pleased to say this annoyance has been removed and as per the screenshot below, you can now make quick changes to either your HTML or text versions in a single click. This was one of those annoyances that kept getting delayed for bigger updates, but enough was enough!
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