Express Import

Our development team have been at it again and this week they've released a truly amazing upgrade that will
change how we import our contacts into NewZapp forever, we call it Express Import.

NewZapp Express Import
Click for PDF [580kb]
We've all done it, written our email first then trundled off to find our Excel file second. Now we have to sit and wait, not always patiently, for our subscribers to be imported.

Like a kettle that we can't help watch saying 'are you ever going to boil?' importing subscribers can take ages, especially if there are lots of them!

In NewZapp's defence, it's a lot to do, uploading, updating and checking records takes time and you wouldn't want to send to someone who's previously unsubscribed. Now, your subscriber tab, has something different under the bonnet...




Express Import

If your Excel file follows a few simple rules your subscribers will be added using our Express Import. Perfect for large databases or if you’re in a hurry! Express Import will add your contacts up to 10 times quicker than the standard import queue.

The Excel file (.CSV is recommended) must contain no more than 4 columns. One of these has to be Email Address, the others can be a combination of Title, First Name and Last Name. For Example:

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 Inside your NewZapp account, during the import, you’ll be asked to match the column headings, if they go green, the file will be added using Express Import.

All Green? Go for Express Import!
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If they go yellow, the file will be added using the standard import queue

Column not one of the Fantastic Four? Standard import time!
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Time to hand it over to our tamed subscriber importer.

Some say he's uploaded more Excel files than you've had hot dinners and that he's got the same tattoo on his arm as rock legend Jon Bon Jovi. All we know is.... well, it's me.

I've got an Excel file with 10'000 email addresses, first names and last names. It's time to see how Express Import compares to standard without a developer watching me, back in a tick...

OK

Standard Import, you did it in........ 27 minutes 33 seconds.

Express Import, same file, same conditions, you did it in..... 3 minutes 4 seconds.

We have a new leader!

So what does that all mean?

With import times like these large database headaches will be a thing of the past, millions of email records can be imported and sent to in the same day. Small databases will be added in the time it takes to refresh your screen and managing targeted groups will take minutes rather than hours.

Infographic - the amazing journey of an email campaign

A little infographic we made that shows the humble email campaign can put Santa himself to shame ...

The amazing journey of an email campaign


Any thoughts? Stats to add? Feel free to comment below!

Cutting and pasting from Microsoft Word

Back in the day, when I was a fresh faced email marketer filled with hopes and dreams, we only had Outlook 2003, Hotmail or Yahoo to worry about. Life was good, emails looked great, everything was rosy in the garden.

Then things changed....

Microsoft launched Office 2007 and with it came the nightmare that still haunts Email Marketing companies and customers alike, cutting and pasting from Word.

In a nutshell, HTML code and Microsoft Word just don't get along, fact. Whilst your email looks fine and dandy to the naked eye, behind the scenes it's a turf war to decide how the email you've crafted will look once delivered. Will it be 'Arial' and black like it looks or 'Times New Roman' and blue in the inbox? There are even websites dedicated to this turf war like fixoutlook.org a place for all email designers to vent our frustrations!


The Solution

For years the question to the eternal support query of "why does it look different?" has been "did you cut and paste this content from anywhere?" now NewZapp will ask a different question when you hover over the CTRL + V keys (or right mouse click), "Paste as plain text?"

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(screenshot from Google Chrome)

Clicking 'OK' adds your copy to the editable area as clean as a whistle, regardless of where it came from. Yes, that means you CAN cut and paste from Microsoft Word, Websites, PowerPoint and Excel if you like, as long as you click yes here, the garden will once again be rosy!

Click 'Allow access' to paste in the copy
(Internet Explorer only)


Internet Explorer will ask you for permission to access your clipboard, this is perfectly fine so select 'allow access'. You will only have to click this once per login.







What if I want to add HTML code?

For Email Marketers who want to cut and paste complete HTML, on the first dialogue screen select 'Cancel'. This will present you with the following option:

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(Screenshot from Google Chrome) 

Selecting 'OK' here will add the entire contents of your current clipboard. Text, code, HTML, the works.

By checking the 'Prevent this page from creating additional dialogues'  box you will paste as HTML every-time you click 'Cancel' on the first dialogue during this login period.

So in conclusion, the NewZapp rebels are fighting back against the Microsoft Word empire. Your account is joining the fight in stopping your emails looking different in inbox's by blocking unwanted font code. 

This new feature means you can now cut and paste from Microsoft Word (I know, that's CRAZY! It's like being told it's now OK to stick your fingers in a fire*) and not have to worry about odd fonts creeping into the bosses email! R.I.P notepad, you were a great servant, but it's time to move on...

*Please do not stick your fingers in a fire, that will still really hurt and not give you any dialogue warnings before hand.



Mobile Responsive Email Editor

This week sees the launch of our mobile responsive email editor. This free upgrade to all NewZapp Email Marketing accounts marks a step towards capturing your subscribers attention via mobile devices.


Your subscribers' world has changed, a recent study claimed we look at our mobile phone every 6 minutes, checking it on average 150 times a day!

This begs the question, does your Email Marketing campaign look good on mobile?

Thanks to NewZapp LIVE! Client you can see email trend in action on every campaign you send. Now you have the power to preview and edit your campaigns in a mobile device before sending.

NOTE: The Mobile Responsive Email Editor does not preview correctly in Internet Explorer, but the templates do respond correctly on sending.

Inside the Email Editor

We've introduced a slider at the foot of your Email Editor enabling you to switch from Desktop to Mobile view. The default view is Desktop.

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If you are creating an email using a Responsive Template* you can switch at any time to the mobile view to see how your campaign looks in a smartphone or other HTML capable devices like iPod's and tablets.

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View does not display correctly in Internet Explorer, we're working on a fix!

No fancy HTML knowledge is required, our design team have taken care of everything. The responsive templates are specially designed to render differently in a desktop or mobile environment. Text can appear bigger for mobile devices for example to allow easy reading whilst images scale to fit the window given.

NewZapp LIVE! Client

Next time you login take a look at the LIVE! Client analytics on your last campaign. Here you'll see how important responsive email campaigns could be you your database. Armed with this knowledge you can start to target your subscribers with more tailored campaigns suited to the device.

*Only templates with the word 'Responsive' in the name are designed to be used with this free upgrade. If you'd like a free responsive template adding to your account, or details about a more bespoke version speak to a member of the NewZapp team on 0845 612 5544.

A Christmas Campaign check list

If you, like thousands of other businesses, have been making a decision on the best way to send festive greetings this year, then we’ve drawn up 5 tips to help you make the best impression with your subscribers this season.

1. Plan your diary

Bearing in mind the nature of your business, what’s the best angle for you to take with a seasonal email campaign?

  • Personal shopper - If you offer a product or service, give your contacts some suggestions. Eg. The most popular items in your range or those suited to the season, and grouped in particular categories or in price brackets.
  • Here to help - If December is a quiet time for your business, try an offer to encourage end of year spending or stocking up for the New Year.
  • Last orders - information about cut off dates for Christmas and New Year deliveries and/or your opening hours if applicable.
  • Thank you - an email that’s purely sent with a thank you message for past custom, membership or loyalty
  • Look what we did - Summarise the achievements of your organisation over the last 12 months.
  • Look what we’re going to do - Looking forward to the New Year with news on plans and ambitions, particularly if they will benefit your subscribers. 

2. Get the right outfit

Christmas has the tendency to give us all a bit of Dutch courage when it comes to choosing an outfit that we’d (quite rightly!) not be seen dead in at any time of year. So keep that in mind and be careful not to do anything rash with your festive email designs.

  • Don’t ruin a year’s good marketing by sending out a corny or risqué, cartoon or piece of stock imagery.
  • Don’t Google ‘Christmas card’ and use an image that you don’t have the rights to use! Even if an image is labelled as royalty free, check the Ts and Cs as you might find this doesn’t include for commercial use.
  • Do concentrate on the staples like a good subject line and headline.
  • Do add some Christmas effects to your usual branded template design
  • Do take advantage of our designers having done all the hard work for you, and use one of our free seasonal eCard templates 
     

3. Pace yourself

The length of everyone’s ‘To Do’ list is going to vary enormously, as are the dates when your subscribers take their own Christmas holiday. So while we’re not suggesting you send the same email twice a week, don’t worry about how many times you send an email to your contacts during December. Just like any other time of year, you shouldn’t see any fall in subscriber numbers if you send useful, friendly and informative content every time.
  

4. Don’t forget Aunty Whats-her-name

We’re big fans of adding a personal touch to any email. It doesn’t have to be as embarrassing as a “Dear John…” letter, just relaxed and professional mentions in your subject line and/or content. Why not try personalisation from the other side of the fence, by including a sign off from everyone in your team, either as a typed list or an image of their hand written names - or if you have time, put faces to names with some team mug shots!
  

5. New Year - new diet!

Once the frenzy of Christmas is over, it’s time to take stock and evaluate your past year’s email marketing and cut out what’s been slowing you down, or do more of what’s been giving you the best results. Using hindsight (or better still, using NewZapp LIVE!) drill down to just what it was that worked best for you, in terms of engagement, clicks, sharing, direct revenue etc. If you’re not entirely happy with how you’re shaping up, then it’s time to challenge yourself to trying different approaches and ideas.

Whether it’s in a series, or a one-off campaign, a festive greeting will make your subscribers feel valued, bring a little light relief, and round off your year of email marketing nicely.



Common email bounces and how to deal with them

Common email bounces and how to deal with themBounced emails are unavoidable in email marketing, what matters is how you deal with them. In this article we look at the different bounce categories and what actions you should take if you get them.

Hard and soft bounces


To keep your subscriber list up to date and to get the best results from your email campaigns, we recommend you clean the bounced emails from your database following each campaign you send. How you will manage these will depend on the type of bounce you have.

There are two categories of email bounces - hard and soft. A hard bounce will indicate a permanent issue with the recipients email address (e.g. the email address doesn't exist any more). A soft bounce can indicate a temporary or resolvable issue with the email address (e.g. the recipients mailbox is full).

Automated bounce handling


Some email services providers (ESPs), like NewZapp, will automatically handle your bounced emails for you. If you're a NewZapp customer we will automatically remove hard and soft bounces from your database. Hard bounces will be removed after a single bounce, however soft bounces will be removed after 3 bounces. If you have a NewZapp account you can customise your soft bounce threshold.

If you don't have automated bounce handling or would like to go through your bounced email addresses manually to update the contact details in your database below is some information to help.

We've taken a look at some of the most common bounce messages and what you should do with them:

4.4.1 - host not responding

  • category: Soft bounce.
  • issue: The recipients email host is not responding. This could be due to a temporary issue with their network.
  • action required: We recommend resending the email as it's possible the issue is transient. If the email continues to bounce back you should then consider contacting the recipient to update their contact information or remove their email address from your database.

5.0.0 - undefined status

  • category: Hard and soft bounces
  • issue: This type of bounce is generic and can include bad mailbox, inactive mailbox, policy related, routing errors, etc.
  • action required: You will need to delve deeper into the bounce message to identify the reason the email bounced. Generally speaking the bounce reason will appear somewhere within the full bounce message, as highlighted in the example below:

    "Status: 5.0.0 (undefined status) Remote-MTA: dns;domainname.com (12.123.1.123) Diagnostic-Code: smtp;550 unknown user X-PowerMTA-BounceCategory: bad-mailbox"

     
    Once you've identified the reason, you should then take action appropriate to that bounce type.

5.1.1 - user unknown

  • category: Hard bounce
  • issue: This message indicates the email account doesn't exist at the organisation or domain the message was sent to. For example if an email sent to
    username@domainname.com
     came back with a 5.1.1 bounce, it indicates the 'username' part of the email address is no longer valid or is incorrect.

    If the bounce was sent to a business email address this could be because the recipient has left the company and their email address is no longer in use. If it's to general email client address, such as a hotmail.com email address, the bounce could indicate that the users account has been deactivated.

    Alternatively the email may have bounced as the username is incorrectly formatted. For example, it should be
    user.name@domainname.com
    or
    user@domainname.com
    or it could be due to a typo in the email address.
  • action required: As this is a hard bounce you should remove the bounced email address from your database. We would then recommend contacting the recipient or organisation to confirm the correct email address or get up to date contact details.

5.1.2 - no such domain

  • category: Hard bounce
  • issue: This message indicates the domain the email was sent is incorrect or does not exist. For example if an email sent to
    username@domainname.com
    came back with a 5.1.2 bounce, it indicates the 'domainname.com' part of the address is not valid. This could be because the organisation is no longer in operation or has changed their domain name or it could be due to a typo.
  • action required: As this is a hard bounce you should remove the bounced email address from your database. We would then recommend contacting the recipient to confirm the correct email address so you can update your database.

5.2.2 - mailbox full

  • category: Soft bounce
  • issue: This bounce message indicates the recipient's mailbox has reached its storage limit so your email was unable to be delivered. This could simply be because the recipient has been out of the office and has received a lot of emails or could possibly indicate the account is no longer in use but has not been deactivated so emails are not being read and deleted.
  • action required: As this is a soft bounce we would recommend trying to send to this email address again. If the email address continuously bounces back you should consider contacting the subscriber to confirm if it's still the correct address to send to or removing the email address from your database.

5.7.1 - delivery not authorised

  • category: Soft bounce
  • issue: This bounce message indicates the recipient may have mailbox restrictions which mean the delivery of your email is not permitted. For example their mailbox may be set up so it only accepts emails from senders on a safe senders list.
  • action required: As this is a permissions issue we recommend contacting the recipient to request they add you to their accepted senders list. Once you have been added to their permissions list you should be able to successfully deliver emails into their inbox.

For a full list of all the bounce messages and what to do with them visit the Microsoft website.

Keep your data clean for better results...


In order to maintain your data hygiene, it's important to regularly go through your bounce emails and update or delete any out of date contact information. If you don't maintain your data you are potentially wasting your time and resources on out of date email addresses or worse losing valuable contacts by not keeping their information updated. By keeping your database up to date and clean from any redundant email addresses you will achieve better open and click-through rates.

Three principles that can help improve your email marketing campaigns

Every company has the potential to achieve fantastic results using simple principles in their email campaigns. In this blog post we look at three principles that could help you achieve your email marketing potential.

Subject lines


The subject line is one of the most important elements of your email. Start by identifying the length of your email campaign. Are you sending a stand alone email or will it be a regular update?

Monthly newsletters and regular updates can benefit from using a fixed subject line like, "This month's [companyname] news". If you want a more flexible subject line ensure you include at least one consistent or easily recognisable element. Many studies have identified that using a brand, company or product name in the subject line can increase readership. The main aim should be to make your email easily identifiable.

The art of subject line writing is similar to writing headlines. Seek inspiration from your favourite newspapers and read articles related to your target market. This will help you learn what inspires your market. Don't be afraid to apply this to your campaigns and be open to trying something new.

Text to image balance


A recent article by eMarketer identified that business-to-business campaigns achieve higher click-through rates when the email has more text than images. However, business-to-consumer campaigns achieved higher click-through rates when the email included more images than text.

Test different image to text balances in your campaigns. You can even try using the same links on images and text to see which performs better. Do your readers prefer to click on the text or the image? I tested this recently on a sample of our own regular email campaigns and found that some text based links outperformed links on images. However, what works for one company may not work for another so test to see what is your optimal text to image ratio.

Testing for perfection


Email marketing is not an exact science. You need to test your email creative and try out different approaches. Always take a deliberate approach to your marketing. Plan what you are going to do and why you are going to do it.

Only change one or two elements of the campaign at a time. For example you may start by testing new subject lines. Does using your brand name or product name improve readership? You can then test something else. For example the From (name) you apply to your emails. Do you get a better response using individual names like "Trevor Munday" or does your brand name have a greater impact?

Monitor the changes and try to find a winning structure. Once you have your winning structure you can concentrate on writing great content for your emails. Don't forget to review your strategy at least once a year. Time spent on analysing results and testing new approaches will always be time well spent.