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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.
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.
Ever created a really nice looking campaign with hip and snappy copy, sent it out and for some bizarre reason there are a bunch of weird square looking characters scattered throughout the content? What the hell!! I’m sure I didn’t put those in…did I? No, you didn’t, Microsoft Word took the liberty of inserting them for you. When you copy and paste from Word, a whole lot of crap comes with it. Pasting it into a text editor usually strips everything out, but some characters, like smart quotes, still hang around. There are HTML values for smart quotes, but if you’re like us you can’t always remember what these are, let alone remember to double check your copy for any invalid smart quote characters. So we’ve made things a little easier. If you accidentally paste one of these smart quotes into your campaign content, don’t worry, we’ll replace it with the HTML equivalent for you. And if it’s a text email your sending, we’ll roll back your smart quotes to dumb quotes to make sure they still look fine in all email clients.
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).
Plenty of you guys have been taking advantage of our Forward to a Friend feature, so now we’ve made it even better! Now you’ve got the ability to completely customize the look of this page to match your clients branding. We’ve tried to keep this pretty simple, so it’s very similar to the current Client Report Access. On a per client basis you can add a header image, change the default font, give the page a new background color etc. So how do you get started? Jump into the ‘Manage Clients’ section, click on the client you want to update and you’ll see a new ‘Customize the Forward to a Friend page’ option. And if you couldn’t be bothered changing anything, don’t worry, we’ve made sure it still looks good for you too.
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.
Let’s say your client approaches you to send a campaign to Old Faithful, their house list that’s slowly grown over the years but hasn’t been contacted in 12 months or so. Hell, 12 months doesn’t sound that long. You put together the creative and start sending. Things start to get ugly The campaign’s sent. 40% of your list hard bounce right from the word go. Another 25% unsubscribe immediately. Old Faithful aint what it used to be. Problem 1: 30% is a big number Here’s a scary fact. Email address churn averages about 30% every year. This means that each year almost a third of your subscriber list will have moved on to a new email address. If you haven’t sent to your subscriber list in a while, you can see how quickly they can become out of date. Problem 2: Permission doesn’t age well Even if an old subscriber hasn’t changed their address, they might not even remember being added to your list. As web designers, we often forget that registering on a web site isn’t always a particularly memorable experience for most people. If you haven’t been in touch with a subscriber for more than 12 months, chances are the permission they once gave is now worthless. The solution – a permission confirmation campaign If your list hasn’t been contacted for at least 12 months, you should consider a permission confirmation campaign. This is a simple email that includes: An explanation of how, when and where they subscribed to your list. A compelling list of the benefits of continuing their subscription and a preview of what you’ll be contacting them about in the future. If you can’t say anything compelling then you shouldn’t be contacting them in the first place. A confirmation link the user must click to confirm their subscription. The best approach is to link to a subscribe form for a brand new list. Make life easier by using personalization to automatically populate the form with their existing details. Any subsequent campaigns should only be sent to the new list. Many will argue that this method will lose you a lot of subscribers. I say that if a recipient can’t be bothered to confirm their subscription, their unlikely to be opening, reading and responding to your campaigns anyway.
A number of customers with larger lists might have been experiencing speed issues with some of reports, especially the Recipient Activity Report. We’re constantly making small tweaks to our database to improve performance, but this update was a biggie. Thanks to a complete rethink of some parts of the database, you guys should notice significant speed improvements in the reporting section of Campaign Monitor. We’re rolling out a number of other improvements in the coming days, so stay tuned.
The feedback keeps pouring in and the API continues to grow. We’ve just added a much requested PHP sample to get anyone familiar with PHP started, plus 4 new methods: Campaign.GetSummary Gets a statistical summary, including number of recipients and open count, for a given campaign. Campaign.GetUnsubscribes Gets a list of all subscribers who unsubscribed for a given campaign. Subscriber.AddAndResubscribe Adds a subscriber to an existing subscriber list, or re-subscribes one previously un-subscribed. Subscriber.AddAndResubscribeWithCustomFields Adds a subscriber to a subscriber list, or re-subscribes one previously un-subscribed, including adding custom field data from the subscriber.
While the majority of web based email environments are slowly improving their HTML rendering skills, some are still pretty far behind. I’m talking to you Hotmail and Gmail. Because of this, it can be a good idea to include a having trouble reading this email, click here link in the header of your email. If you’re sending really long newsletters, this is also a good option. Some of your recipients might prefer the screen real estate afforded by a web browser as opposed to an email client. Up until now, you had to create your own web based version and link to it manually. Well, not any more. Introducing the <webversion> tag From today, you can use a simple tag to generate a personalized link to a web based version of your campaign for every recipient. This means that even if they’re viewing the web version, we still track how many times they checked it out, what links they clicked on, etc. In your HTML code, just use the tag <webversion> and </webversion> and we’ll do the rest. For example: Having trouble reading this email, <webversion>click here</webversion>. If you’re sending a multi-part email and you’d like to include a link to the HTML version in your text version, you can use the [webversion] tag. For example: Click the link below to read this email in your browser: [webversion] The link will be to our server but will use your personalized subdomain. We’ll also be tracking the clicks on all web version links, so if you’re recipients aren’t using them, you know it’s safe to remove them.
Firstly, we remove duplicates for every campaign you send, so if a recipient is subscribed to multiple lists and you send a campaign to all of those lists, they will only ever receive one copy of your email. What about unsubscribes? If you send a campaign to multiple lists, and an individual is subscribed to more than one of those lists, they will be removed from each list if they unsubscribe from the campaign. If you send a campaign to a single list, and an individual is subscribed to multiple lists, they will only be removed from the list you sent to. They will remain in the other subscriber lists until they unsubscribe from a campaign sent to that list. This ensures your subscribers can join different types of lists, unsubscribe from one but still receive from the other. Also, when you upload subscribers into an existing list, all bounced and unsubscribed recipients WILL NOT be added to the list. We remember everyone that ever unsubscribed. The only way an unsubscribed individual can get back into your list is to subscribe again from your web site or if you manually change their status.
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