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Minimizing Subscribe Form Spam

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.

Blog Post

Best Practices for Sending to an Older List

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 If you haven’t sent to your subscriber list in a while, you can see how quickly they can become out of date.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.

Blog Post

Reports Optimization and Speed Improvements

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.

Blog Post

Update: New API Methods and a PHP Sample

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.

Blog Post

New Feature: Linking to a Web Version of Your Campaign

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.

Blog Post

I Have Customers Who Have Subscribed to Multiple Lists, What Happens When I Send a Campaign to All T

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.

Blog Post

New feature: Resubscribing an Unsubscriber

It’s now a much simpler process to resubscribe someone who has unsubscribed from your list. Up until now, the only way someone could get back into your list if they had previously unsubscribed was to resubscribe from your web site again. This process makes sense in the real world, but a lot of you guys have been testing the unsubscribe process for campaigns or had customers contacting you when they accidentally unsubscribed. Resubscribing someone is now a piece of cake. Just display the “Unsubscribers” on your “Manage Subscriber List” page and check anyone you want to set as active again. Once you change their status at the bottom of the page, you’ll need to confirm that you have the individual’s permission. Once that’s confirmed, the subscriber is active again and will receive your next campaign.

Blog Post

Why Should I Test My Campaign before I Send It?

Since there are a wide variety of tools people use to read their email, it’s a good idea to test your campaign in several different environments before you send it. The two main types of applications people use to read their email include desktop applications, such as Microsoft Outlook Express, and web based email such as Hotmail and Yahoo!. Each of these environments render HTML emails differently and should be tested for every campaign you send. Desktop Email Applications The most common desktop email applications include Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express and Thunderbird for the PC. On the Mac, you should be testing with Mac Mail and, depending on your target audience, Eudora. To make testing more complicated, they all come in various versions across multiple platforms. The most common problem caused by desktop applications involves the images in an email not being displayed, so it’s a good idea to check your campaign in at least a few of these applications. Web Based Email Many users also have email accounts through services such as Hotmail, Yahoo and Gmail. Using Hotmail as an example, when you view an email it is surrounded by various parts of the Hotmail interface, such as the navigation and banner ads. Some web based email accounts will even modify your email by removing any stylesheet elements you have included, so it’s a good idea to check that your email will still be displayed appropriately despite these issues. Here’s a great article to check out on designing your emails for these different email environments. The quickest way to test your campaign through Campaign Monitor is by using the Test Campaign Design tool, pictured above. This feature allows you to quickly send a preview of your campaign to any email address. If you want to send your test email to a number of addresses simultaneously, just separate them by a comma. This feature also comes in handy for sending iterations of a design to a client for approval.

Blog Post

Update: Removing Test Campaigns from Your Account

If you send lots of test campaigns for your clients (which you should) then you’ll love today’s update. We’ve now made it easy to delete any test campaigns that might be crowding your interface from your account. As we mentioned earlier, we were hesitant to give you guys this functionality because it provided an audit trail against any potential complaints, plus keeping a record of everything is just plain old best practice. We think we’ve found a happy medium with the new approach. You can remove test campaigns from your account, but we’ll keep an archive of everything on the server just in case. If you ever require this data, just let us know and we can chase it up in the archives.

Blog Post

Quick Tip: Track Which Page Your Recipients Subscribe From

If you’ve got a subscribe form on more than one page on your site, Campaign Monitor provides a really simple way of tracking which pages or forms your subscribers are signing up from. Here are the steps: Add a custom field to your subscriber list called “source” (or something similar). Head into Create a subscribe form and make sure you select the new “source” custom field to be included. Save your changes and copy the supplied code for your subscribe form. Add the subscribe code to your site, but change the text for the source field from <input type="text" to <input type="hidden". Place this code on each of the pages on your site, and give the hidden field a value. For example, the front page could use value="frontpage" and the contact page could be value="contactpage". Every time someone completes these subscribe forms, they’ll be added to your list and the hidden form value will passed into the “source” field. This gives you an easy way to find out which pages on your site are converting the most subscribers.

Blog Post

New Feature: Subscribe Confirmation Emails

We’ve finally added support for the middle man between single and double opt-in subscriber lists. Known as ‘confirmed opt-in’, you can now send a confirmation email to any of your new subscribers when they join your list. Doesn’t sound all that exciting does it, but this little email can be a great way to get off on the right foot or encourage more subscribers. Here’s a few ideas you can try: Start by welcoming your new subscribers and encourage them to add your sending email address to their address book. This can dramatically increase the chances of it being delivered and displaying as intended. A great way to encourage new people to join your list is by offering a free white-paper or other resource. By using confirmed opt-in, you can qualify their email address and send them the link to their reward from the confirmation email. Develop that relationship a little further. Remind each subscriber why they signed up and let them know they should be looking forward to when they receive your next newsletter. It’s also a good idea to show each new subcriber how much you respect their privacy by linking to an unsubscribe form where they can remove themselves from the list. You’ll find that hardly any will ever use this option and it builds confidence in how you manage their details.

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