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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!
Since we released the Campaign Monitor API way back in July 2005 we’ve seen it used in ways we never anticipated. On top of the way you guys have been using it, we’ve also been incredibly lucky to have many customers put together API kits in their language of preference (such as Ruby on Rails, PHP, .NET and Flash). For those of you familiar with the incredibly popular Drupal content management system, Campaign Monitor customer Alexis Bellido recently put together a free Drupal module that makes it easy to integrate Campaign Monitor into any form on a Drupal managed site. Install the module then drop in your API key and List ID and you’re done. Judging by the comments, a number of further improvements to the module are in the works, so if anything eventuates we’ll be sure to post about it here. A huge thanks to Alexis for putting this module together, we’re looking forward to seeing where he takes it from here.
I don’t care who you are or how many emails you’ve sent in your time, you’re not human if you don’t get that horrible anxious feeling in your stomach right before pressing the “Send” button on a big campaign. Wait! Let me just triple check the creative one more time! Is this definitely the right subscriber list? Maybe I’ll get the boss to give it one last look over. You know the drill. This anxious feeling is only compounded when the software you’re using doesn’t make the final sending process crystal clear. I’ve used plenty of email apps in my time where you’re never really sure which button or screen would actually start the send process. It’s always been a priority of ours to make this step as clear as possible and take any surprises out of the process. Even so, there’s always room for improvement. We just pushed a number of small tweaks to the create/send process live. Among other things, I’d like to introduce the “Big Green Button”… Hopefully this and a range of other small tweaks can take the old anxiety dial down a few more notches when sending your Campaign Monitor campaigns. We just pushed the same updates live in MailBuild too, which should help those nervous clients of yours when sending their own campaigns.
Each time you send a campaign, it’s important to keep the from name and sending email address consistent for each issue. This helps receivers recognize you and also reduces any filtering/image blocking issues if you’re in their address book. To make this process easier from now on, we just pushed a nice little update to the first step in the Create/Send process live. Here’s the new layout, followed by an explanation of each change. So what’s new? The “Choose your client…” option has been moved up to it’s logical home at the top of the screen. As soon as you select a client, we automatically display the last subject you used for that client. This is especially helpful if you’re sending a series of emails or use a consistent subject for most campaigns. e.g. ABC Widgets November Newsletter. We realize many of you mix up your subjects for each issue, so instead of pre-populating the field, we just display the previous subject above it. As well as pulling out the last used subject, we also pre-populate the last from name, from email address and reply-to address you last used for that client. No more guess work required. This update wasn’t so much based on customer requests as more of a common sense decision. From personal experience sending the Campaign Monitor and MailBuild newsletters, I always used the “Edit and Resend” feature to ensure I used the same sender details for each campaign. This update wipes out that step and encourages those already not taking this approach to stick to best practice.
We refrain as much possible from discussing other product news in the Campaign Monitor blog, but this one was just too juicy to resist. Late last week we pushed out a big update to MailBuild that allows your clients pay for campaign delivery with their own credit cards. Not only that, but you can even set your own marked-up rates for each client and that’s what we’ll charge them. We’ll then take our cut, put your profit aside and send it to you each month via PayPal. Here’s a quick screenshot to give you the idea. This new update makes it so much easier to manage how your clients use their account and is also a great way to create a new revenue stream without lifting a finger. If you’ve got any clients that would like to send their own emails based on templates you design, now’s a better time than ever to create your own MailBuild account.
In a continued push to support as many languages as possible, we’ve just pushed a small update live that improves our support for foreign characters in your campaign subject line. This update ensures all Asian character sets like Chinese, Japanese and Korean are fully supported. As usual, we’re using UTF-8 encoding for both the subject and campaign content. As you can imagine, it can be difficult to test all the different language variations out there, so if you ever spot a discrepancy, please let us know and we’ll continue making tweaks and improvements to make sure everyone’s covered.
A while back we made it easy for you to create custom fields with multiple pre-defined options. Let’s say you have a field for interests. You can easily populate that with options like surfing, reading, movies, baseball, etc. Once you’ve created your custom fields, it’s easy to create a subscribe form for your site that captures what your subscribers are interested in. All good so far, but it’s when you actually try and import multiple value data that things would start getting ugly. From today, we’ve made it very easy to import and export your multiple value custom field data using double pipe characters as a divider. Using my previous example, here’s how data might look like for me when you import your data from a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. Name, Email, Interests, Country David Greiner, email@example.com, Surfing||Movies||Reading, Australia By separating all your multiple options with a double pipe, we make it super easy to import your subscriber data and marry it up with the custom fields in your subscriber lists. We use the same formatting when you export your data as well, making it easy to export, make any changes you want and re-import back into the same or other lists.
If you’re using double opt-in for your subscriber list (which we recommend), you’ve now got the option of seeing which subscribers have completed your subscribe form, but haven’t actually clicked the verification link. Unlike single opt in, double opt in requires your subscribers to validate their email address before being added to your subscriber list. When a new subscriber completes the subscribe form on a web site, an email is immediately sent to the supplied address containing a verification link. To complete their subscription, that person must click the verification link. From today, you can quickly see if any potential subscribers have failed to take that final step and click their verification link. This is handy for spotting potential form entry errors like a mis-typed email address. This feature also helps to identify any potential delivery issues with your confirmation email. We allow you guys to specify your own from name, from address and email content for the verification email. Make sure you always use valid from details and avoid potentially spammy words in your email content.
We’ve just made a few small updates that should keep you schedulers out there happy. From today, as well showing the date, time and time-zone your scheduled campaigns will be sent we’ll also be including how far away that actually is from right now. So instead of seeing something like 1.55pm on Friday, 25th August (Central Time), you’ll also see about 4 days and 3 hours. This comes in especially handy for those scheduling multiple campaigns in multiple time zones. On top of this, we’ll also warn you when you try and schedule a campaign in the past. Previously we just assumed this was deliberate and sent the campaign immediately, now you’ll get a confirmation message just to make sure.
When you import your content into Campaign Monitor, we automatically download all your images and convert all your links so they can be tracked through the reports. Works well. Everyones happy. But, what if on the odd chance you didn’t want us to do that? What if you’ve got a dynamically created image that you want to be different for each recipient (perhaps using data you pass in through a custom field). Well we’ve just added a couple of simple attributes you can add to your code that let us know to leave certain bits alone. What do they look like? All you need to do is add either the cm_dontimportimage or cm_dontconvertlink attribute to your image or link tags. As a quick example, here’s the image tag in action: Turning off image importing <img src="http://www.myserver.com/filename.jpg" width="20" height="20" alt="alt text here" cm_dontimportimage> Turning off link tracking <a href="http://www.myserver.com" cm_dontconvertlink>this is a link</a> Although we don’t do any conversion when we detect these values, we do remove the cm_dontimportimage and cm_dontconvertlink values when we actually send your campaign.
Just under a year ago we made a small change to the Campaign Monitor subscribe forms to ensure they weren’t vulnerable to any nasty comment spam and other types of form spam. This was a pretty simple change and has certainly done the trick to date. Having said that, there are still some old school single opt-in subscribe forms out there, some of which are capturing unwanted and bad email addresses. To prevent these annoying spammers from filling your lists with unwanted email addresses, we’ve just added an extra step in the subscribe process that only impacts these older forms. This simple extra step is a small form that requires the subscriber to enter a 6 digit number, like the screenshot on the right. This way we can prevent spammy subscribers joining your list. How to avoid this verification step Again, this only affects older subscribe forms that were created more than a year ago and submit to the campaignmonitor.com domain instead of the cmail1.com domain. If you’re a customer using this older subscribe form code, we recommend updating it to the latest version available in your account. As soon as you do this, this second step will be removed and your forms will continue working like they always have. If you have any questions at all about this, please fire them our way.
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