Top

Most Important Tips to Choose Email Marketing Service

I’ve been asked several times in recent weeks to manage email newsletters for people, and I’ve turn most down. Why? Because for many, the needs are bare minimal and I’d feel bad about taking their money. Instead, I’d rather teach them to do it themselves.

TopTenReviews.com has a very helpful comparison chart of email delivery service features.

I’ve managed dozens of campaigns over the years and used many systems that cost from $25/mth – $10k/month. I honestly don’t prefer any one in particular — all have quirks. If I had to choose one, I’d probably recommend Blue Sky Factory, who cost a bit more than the average DIY services. But that’s for you to decide – there are many factors to consider ranging from quantity to feature set.

It’s All About Delivery

FrustrationDelivery is such a challenge because you can get flagged as spam by:

  • The Internet Service Providers (ISP)
  • The recipients email service
  • The corporate email system
  • The end-user’s own filters

So regardless of the service provider, the most important features I recommend you look at for your evaluation purposes have to do with helping you get delivered to the inbox. They include:

  • Relationship with the ISPs — Critical because it can help get your messages delivered and lower the risk of hitting the junk box.
  • Delivery Testing — the appearance of your HTML email can vary so dramatically in client applications (i.e. Outlook 2000 vs Outlook 2003, Apple Mail, Thunderbird, etc.) vs Web browser-based email clients (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.). Many services offer some sort of cross platform testing so you can work out the bugs before sending to your list. It also helps to send to a seed list of your own accounts as a safety check.
  • Delivery Scoring — some providers have functionality/algorithms to make you aware of concerns that could get you flagged as spam so you can fix before sending.
  • Reporting — Make sure all the basics are covered: delivery, undeliverables, open rates, click stats. Integration with Google Analytics is a plus.

Obviously I could add more, but to me, these are the most critical to get delivered to the inbox – and that’s just the first half of the challenge. The next is getting your email opened and your recipient to take action. But that’s a story for another time.

Please share your experience with us.

What’s your favorite Email Marketing Service and explain why. Thanks in advance!
-Roland

Worthwhile Reading – Week Ending 04/06/2008

Here are some topics of interest I’ve read in the past week. Definitely worth your time to read. Read more

Google Analytics: New Tracking Code Required For New Features

Tracking code not detectedI was setting up two new Websites in Google Analytics when I noticed they’re suggesting that users begin using a new tracking code on all pages of a Website you want to track. According to Google: Read more

Google Analytics Rolls Out New Interface and Features

I just received an email from Google informing me of the new enhancements being rolled out to Google Analytics.

If you haven’t used it before, Google Analytics is an amazing, free Web analytics application. Originally developed as Urchin and acquired by Google in the fall of 2005, Google Analytics is a full feature Web analytics application.

Hello from Google Analytics,

We are happy to announce the release of a new version of the
Google Analytics reporting interface. Since you are an existing
user, you will automatically be upgraded – there is no action
required on your part. To access this new version click the “View
Reports” link next to any profile in your account by logging in at
http://www.google.com/analytics.

For a smooth transition, we’ve listed some helpful resources and
notes below. Also, you will still be able to access your old
reporting interface for at least a month by clicking “Previous
Interface” below the “View Reports” link for any profile in your
account. Other than a few improvements detailed in the version
notes below, your data and configuration settings remain
unaffected by your choice of interface and your data continues to
be tracked in the same way as it was prior to this redesign.

*What is new?* In the new version, your reports have been
redesigned for clarity, greater visibility of important metrics,
and ease of use. Here are just a few of the features you’ll
notice:

– Email and export reports: Schedule or send ad-hoc
personalized report emails and export reports in PDF format.

– Custom Dashboard: No more digging through reports. Put all
the information you need on a custom dashboard that you can
email to others.

– Trend and Over-time Graph: Compare time periods and select
date ranges without losing sight of long term trends.

– Contextual help tips: Context sensitive Help and Conversion
University tips are available from every report.

The new interface has everything the previous interface had and
more. In addition, links within reports make it easier to navigate
related information and explore your data.

The following resources are available to help you get the most
from the new Google Analytics interface:

– Report Finder Tool: will help you see where data from the
previous interface is located within the new version (it is
also linked to from within your reports on the left
navigation menu):
http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/static.py?page=v1v2map.cs

– Product tour:
http://services.google.com/analytics/tour/index_en-US.html

– FAQs for more details about the new version:
http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/bin/static.py?page=FAQ.cs

– Help Center: includes articles related to the new version:
http://www.google.com/support/googleanalytics/

– Support: if you encounter any issues with the new version
that you can’t resolve with the help center, you can contact
our support team through the Contact Us link at the bottom of
the help center web page, or receive higher-touch support
through a Google Analytics Authorized Consultant. Find one
here:
http://www.google.com/analytics/support_partner_provided.html

– Analytics Help Forum: If you would like to discuss the new
version or get tips from experienced users, please visit the
Analytics Help Forum in English within Google Groups at:
http://groups.google.com/group/analytics-help

A few notes about the new version:

– The new version works best with Flash 7 or higher. Most
browsers have this installed already, if yours does not,
please download it at Adobe.com .

– Google Analytics now uses the same geo-data source as
AdWords, therefore, map and geo-location report results may
vary slightly between the previous interface and the new
interface. For those of you with filters designed for
geo-data, you may want to verify the results and edit if
necessary.

– Limiting the Available Reports for a profile by specifying
which Report Dashboards and Report Categories are available
has been removed from the product in favor of the new
customizable Google Analytics dashboard. If you would like to
limit the availability of data within a certain profile for
certain users, we recommend removing those users from the
profile and instead scheduling an email to deliver data to
them.

We hope you find the new version even more useful and thank you
for using Google Analytics!

I only spent five minutes digging around and I am extremely excited. There was a lot of reorganization to put more data points on a single screen — extremely helpful to reduce the amount of clicking to gather a complete picture of certain metrics.

It also “feels” like the data loads much faster than before. I’m blazing through these screens.

The feature I don’t see yet is the ability to add comments on certain dates/milestones. That would be helpful to identify historical events tied to traffic spikes.

Definitely check out Google Analytics if you haven’t done so already.
-Roland

Bottom