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Tip: Should You Personalize Your Subject Lines?

Campaign Monitor makes it really easy to personalize the subject of your email with your subscriber’s name and email address. The big question is, should you do it? Here’s some nice research from MediaPost’s Melinda Krueger on some recent tests she performed on this very topic. The results were very positive. So positive in fact that every campaign that had a personalized subject achieved a better open rate and often click-though rate. But before you start personalizing every email you send, she also had these important words of advice: “Beware of forcing personalization. Gratuitous personalization can make you sound like a huckster and detract from your message and your brand. Even though these results are pretty impressive, this client did not use personalized subject lines 100 percent of the time.” Let’s also not forget that the option to even consider personalization depends on the quality of your list. There aren’t many bigger email marketing mistakes than to receive a personalized email with someone else’s name. Our recommendation. If you’re confident in the quality of your subscriber name data then try this for your next campaign. See if there was an improvement in your open and click-through rate and make a judgment call yourself.

Blog Post

New Feature: Segment Your Email Addresses By “Contains”

Since we launched segmentation back in February, the most requested improvement by far was the ability to create a segment based on a wildcard or “contains” condition. We’ve been listening. As of today, you can now use the “contains” and “does not contain” clauses in the email address field to narrow your segments for even more targeted emails. For example, now you can send an email to all your recipient except those at Hotmail or target only those at educational (.edu) addresses.

Blog Post

Introducing MailBuild

You guys might have noticed the posts have been a little thin around here lately. Unfortunately, it’s not because we’ve been surfing in Indonesia. We’ve actually been hard at work on a brand new email marketing application called MailBuild, which is launching some time next month. Just like Campaign Monitor, MailBuild has been built for you guys – web designers and email marketers. But the similarities stop there. We’ve built MailBuild for those clients of yours that want to create their own emails and manage their own subscribers, but still send great looking emails. Here’s a quick screenshot to give you a taste of what’s coming. You can use MailBuild to: Create a separate account for each of your clients – which they can log-in to from your own site. Completely customize the app so it looks like your own tool. Like Campaign Monitor, it’s completely private label. Design great looking templates for your clients or re-use any from our growing gallery. Your clients can use MailBuild to: Create and send awesome looking emails in seconds with no knowledge of HTML – see this in action (1 minute, 6.3MB) Manage their own subscribers – we handle unsubscribes and bounces for them. Check out attractive reports on the results of their campaigns. The best part is, the pricing model will be just like Campaign Monitor, so you can easily charge your clients a marked up rate to use the software. We’ll be officially launching some time in July, but we’re currently accepting applications to join our beta program. If MailBuild sounds like something you’d be interested in, apply for an invite code today. OK, one last screenshot, we couldn’t resist.

Blog Post

Can I Include a Print Stylesheet in My Campaign?

We’ve published a follow-up post with more recent results – view it here. We recently had a few customers approach us about print stylesheet support and whether or not they can include them in their campaigns. We weren’t sure either, so we did some testing to get to the bottom of it once and for all. What is a print stylesheet? Quick background, print stylesheets basically allow you to set a different set of CSS rules when you print the page to the one you see when viewing it on screen. By specifying a print stylesheet for our newsletters, we could ensure when a subscriber prints our email they see a much more print friendly email that might use simpler formatting and even hide some elements of the email itself. The test Because most email environments won’t let us link to an external CSS file, we used the @media rule to specify our print only styles (more on this here). Here’s a quick sample of the code we used: <STYLE type="text/css"> @media print { p.printme { font-size: 10px; color: #f00; } } @media screen { p.printme { font-size: 40px; color: #000} } </STYLE&gt The results Email client @media print { … } media=”print” Apple Mail 4 Yes Yes Outlook Express/2003 Yes Yes Outlook 2007/2010 No No Thunderbird Yes Yes Yahoo! Mail No Yes Gmail No No Windows Live Hotmail Yes No As you can see, the results were quite varied. None of the web-based email environments supported the print-friendly version, but most of the desktop environments did. Ultimately, we can put this down to lack of support for the @media rule. Unfortunately, since none of the web-based environments support the use of the link element for embedding external stylesheets, the @media rule is the only option available. Conclusion From our quick tests it appears that including print styles via the @media rule doesn’t do any harm in email environments that don’t support it (as they are ignored completely). If you’re sending an email like an invitation with specific details or any other kind of email your recipients are likely to print, you may want to consider adding a few print specific styles if it will make your email easier to read. If any of you guys have had other experiences with print stylesheets and have anything to share, I’d love to hear it.

Blog Post

HTML Emails – Taming the Beast!

I recently put together an article on email design for the awesome web design resource Vitamin. This was a combination of ideas I’ve covered in previous articles in this blog and some new recommendations to boot. Check it out and while you’re at it be sure to take a peek at the top notch content on the rest of the site.

Blog Post

Update: Improved Spam Complaint Integration

We’ve just launched our completed integration into the Microsoft Junk Mail Reporting System. This means that you can now keep track of anyone who flags your campaigns as spam across all Hotmail and MSN accounts. Whenever you receive a spam complaint, that recipient is instantly removed from your list and we provide you with a detailed report on who made the complaint and when. Just like the existing AOL spam complaint integration, we’re also using this data to monitor complaints for all our customers to make sure everyone is sticking to best practice. If one of you guys is getting complaints greater than 1 in every 5,000 emails, you’ll more than likely be hearing from us. Having said that, we certainly understand (as do most ISP’s) that some of your recipients may forget opting in to your list and occasionally mark an email as spam instead of just unsubscribing. At any rate, here are a few tips to follow to reduce the chances of an unjustified spam complaint: Using our double opt-in subscribe process to ensure a high quality subscriber list. Inform your recipients why they are receiving each email and how you obtained their details in a clear location at the top of each email. Including our single-click unsubscribe link in an obvious, prominent position. We’ve got a few other features we plan on adding to our spam reporting soon that should certainly please our bigger senders. We’ll announce them here as soon as they’re live.

Blog Post

New Payment System Good, Amex Problems Bad

Yesterday we finally moved our payment system over to a US based provider, doing away with messy currency conversions and that word that scares book keepers worldwide – “approximately”. Unfortunately our merchant provider is having problems processing payments for our American Express customers. They’ve promised us the situation will be resolved within 24 hours (by 6pm CDT on Tuesday) – and we’ll post an update here as soon as that’s the case. Update: The problem has now been resolved, so our Amex customers will have no problems sending campaigns or buying credits. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding throughout this issue. Now, I need a beer.

Blog Post

Ruby on Rails API Wrapper Class

We’re always pretty happy when we push a new update live or make improvements to Campaign Monitor, but nothing’s more flattering than when a customer does all the hard work for us. Jordan Brock of Australian based Spin Technologies has just announced the release of an open source Ruby on Rails wrapper class for the Campaign Monitor API. If you’re developing in Rails, this makes it a piece of cake to interface with our API from your own applications. They’ve set up a RubyForge project with documentation, as well as a trac install for bug tracking and to browse the source. A huge thanks to Jordan and his team for getting this project off the ground. We’ve also got some significant updates planned for the API real soon.

Blog Post

Update: Improved Bounce and Unsubscribe Exporting

We’ve just made a quick update to the Export Subscribers tool. From today, whenever you export your Unsubscribed or Bounced subscribers, the date and time they unsubscribed/bounced will also be included in the file. This should make it much easier to synch with another database if you’re doing these exports all the time, as you can now include those subscribers that bounced/unsubscribed after a certain date. A big thanks to Grant Young for clipping our heels about this one.

Blog Post

“The Reporting Has Made Me a Hero… The Perfect Email Tool for Us”

We love getting feedback from you guys (when it’s good, and especially when it’s not). This one was just too damn good not to share. “I am extremely impressed with your product, the more I use it, the more I know that I made the right choice. I looked at a few other solutions, but none were as easy for us to use with the way we do business. The reporting has made me a hero and makes it dead simple to follow progress and track metrics. The client model works perfectly for us, allowing us to segment our clients and user access. Client access it great, the whole company can track response without having full account access. The API allows us to use our proprietary tracking systems as well as keep our lists constantly, automatically updated. Campaign Monitor is the perfect email tool for us. I just wanted to let you know.” Dylan Thomas, Potrero Media Corporation We plan on putting a few case studies soon showing how Campaign Monitor has helped you out, made your job a little easier or generally helped you kick ass, so if you fall into any of these categories, please let us know.

Blog Post

Update: Sort Your Recipient Activity by Subscriber List

This one sure has been a long time coming. Up until now, when you send a campaign to multiple lists, the reports don’t tell you which specific lists it was sent to. To top it off, you couldn’t break your reports down into list-specific results. As of today, we’ve updated the Recipient Activity Report so you can see which lists your campaign was sent to, as well as display results such as who opened, what links they clicked, etc for each list separately.

Blog Post

Confirmation: Your Cover Isn’t Blown

As far as we’re concerned, your clients never need to know you use Campaign Monitor to send their email campaigns. We never touch your email content, let you add your own confirmation pages and generally avoid mentioning campaignmonitor.com like the plague. There was however always one thing that bothered us – our generic confirmation pages. If you don’t provide your customers with their own landing page for new subscribers, unsubscribers, etc, we provide generic pages as a fallback. Only problem is, these pages were referencing the campaignmonitor.com server. No more! From today, your generic landing pages will be referenced at your customized sub-domain. For example, your client ABC Widget’s unsubscribe confirmation page will now sit at http://abcwidgets..com/ If you guys can think of anything else we can tweak so we don’t blow your cover, please let us know.

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