A few tips to get you started...

So you've got your NewZapp account, you've got a template, you've written your content and you're raring to go! Let's make sure your emails look great every time you send with some best practice tips to get you started.

If you're copying and pasting content, keep it clean!
Whenever you copy and paste from an external source such as Microsoft Word or a website, you could be bringing additional coding into your email. Some email readers will refer to the code hidden behind your content instead of the text styles and colours that have already been pre-set for you on your NewZapp template. Outlook 2007/10 for example uses MS Word as it's html rendering engine.

The effect this can have on your email in some readers, is that content looks very different to how it looked when you were composing it, and in worst cases, actually disjoints or breaks the whole layout.

So whenever you're pasting anything into NewZapp and it asks you if you want to paste as plain text always say YES!

Use descriptive links instead of full links or email addresses
If you include full links or full email addresses as text within an email, you run the risk of being caught in a spam filter.  This is because the filter may detect that the link is not going directly to the link destination, but via the NewZapp servers first in order to provide you with tracking data.

  • To avoid this try using a descriptive link instead eg. Read more online, Visit our website, contact us.  

Using a descriptive link can also help you create a much stronger call to action, generating higher click-through rates.

For example, "Read here why our customers made the decision to use NewZapp" is a more inspiring and concise link than "Read why our customers made the decision to use NewZapp at http://www.newzapp.co.uk/aboutus/whatcustomerssay.html"

Be polite
No one likes being shouted at, so follow the basics of email etiquette and avoid SHOUTING YOUR SUBJECT LINE as a means to make your email get noticed (it won't) or SHOUTING ORDERS AT YOUR RECIPIENTS like CLICK HERE!!!! (they won't).

Use a genuine and monitored "From" email address
Firstly, why would you not want to use a genuine "From" email address? If you've taken the trouble to invest time and money in email marketing, with presumably the purpose of engaging with your database and gaining new business, then anything they might want to tell you by clicking "reply" (good or bad!) should be important to you.

No, you are not going to be bombarded with bounced email server messages, NewZapp catches any for you.

Yes, you are going to receive some "out of office" replies on this email address, but if you use this address for other correspondence then consider setting up a rule on your inbox so that replies from your email marketing land in a folder of their own for you to review separately. This is also a great way to gauge responses from your email campaigns as it should help determine where the enquiry originated from.

If you try using a non-existent "From" email address then your email is pretty certain to be rejected by the recipient's mail server. So resist the urge to use one that doesn't exist like theresnoone@home.domain it just won't work!

If you don't want a personal email address as the sender, consider setting up a "friendly" non-offensive email address, like updates@, enews@, newsletter@ etc. These should be more readily received by recipients and email filters than sales@ or info@ and look a whole lot more polite than donotreply@!

Use a "From" name that your subscribers will recognise
If your recipients don't know who the email is from, they're unlikely to open it. Within NewZapp, you can set the "From" name of your choice for every email you send. The question to ask is, do your subscribers know you personally? (e.g. John Smith) or do they know your company, brand or product? (eg. Smith Ltd). We'd advise that you use whichever would be most recognisable to your subscribers.

How to get your emails into the inbox

There's no question the most important part of any email campaign is ensuring your email makes it into the inbox. Sadly there's no guarantee you'll be able to deliver one hundred percent of your emails, however, there are a number of techniques you can use to help avoid being caught in filters.

Here are our top tips to avoid the spam filter:

Watch out for the trigger phrases and words
To give your email the best chance of being delivered try to avoid including any words or phrases that might cause you to get caught in a spam filter. A few things to avoid include: over use of words like free, guaranteed, investment, and pharmaceutical. Overuse of phrases such as free delivery, money off and special offer.

Monitor delivery to accounts like Yahoo!, Hotmail and Outlook
When you set up your test group it's worth including a Yahoo!, Gmail, Hotmail and Outlook account. These email clients cover up to 83% of all the major email clients used so you have peace of mind knowing your email will deliver and render correctly across the board.

Ask your subscribers to add you to their safe list
Asking your subscribers to add you to their safe senders list will help ensure the subscriber's server won't catch your email in a filter and block it. Filters are updated and learn subscriber behaviour so being on a safe senders list will help ensure your emails are delivered every time.

Avoid using upper case font for entire sentences
Excessive capitalisation and punctuation is the equivalent of shouting at someone. It's also standard practise of spammers so avoiding this will help you get past the filers and into the inbox.

Don't over use bold text  
Unfortunately another standard practise of spammers so it's a good idea to avoid doing this. If you want to highlight a particular area or phrase of text, linking it to a relevant website page or PDF will serve you much better. This will underline your text and you can change the colour of it, helping it to stand out. A descriptive link will also help improve the click through rates.

Avoid using very large or very small font sizes
Large fonts size are again the equivalent of shouting at someone. Although they may get their attention, it might not be for the right reason. Small font sizes is another common practice of spammers where they are also trying to avoid the filters.

Never embed images in your email
This makes the emails very large and difficult to deliver. Arrange for your images to be downloaded once the email has been opened. Most Email Service Providers should do this for you quickly enough that your subscriber won't notice the difference.

Email service providers like NewZapp achieve higher delivery rates...
There are many ways to ensure high delivery rates. The most important thing you can do is choose a reliable email marketing service provider, they're able to achieve much higher delivery rates. Make sure your email service provider supplies you with the following:
  • Email templates tested for high delivery
  • Servers with excellent reputation
  • Regular server reputation monitoring
  • A team of experts who can advise on best practice
  • Feedback loop monitoring
  • Excellent relationships with major Internet Service Providers
  • Automated bounce cleaning to assist delivery rates
  • HTML coded for you in an optimised style by the system.

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

We all know that testing can help improve our marketing campaigns but sometimes it's hard to know where to start. So we've come up with three simple tests you can try.

Before you start, take a look at your current situation. What are your open, click through and conversion rates? Once you have these clearly identified you can start. It's important you only test one element at a time. Make sure you know what you've changed and the impact it has on your results.

With this in mind, here are three simple tests to try:

Test one: subject lines
"Description" versus "desire". A simple way to test subject lines is to split your database into two segments. To the first segment you will send an email using a "desire" led subject line. To the other, you send the same email with a "descriptive" subject line. It's important that you only change the subject line. Keep all the other elements of the campaign consistent.

The subject lines could take a structure similar to below:

  • "July Newsletter - Three simple sales techniques"
  • "You'll have more sales than ever before"

Notice the difference between the two subject lines. The first sets the scene and describes what the email is about. The second subject line plays on the recipient's desire to grow sales but doesn't clearly state what the email covers. When analysing this test we suggest you compare the figures for open rates and click-throughs to see which performs best overall. It is possible that changing the email subject line can increase opens but reduce click-throughs. It's important you analyse as many elements as you can. This will help you form a clear view of what works and what doesn't work for your industry.

Test two: email length
Many tests have been conducted on length of copy and the affect this has on marketing success. Many of these tests conclude that there is an optimum length for copy. However, they rarely prescribe a specific length for a specific target audience or campaign type. With this in mind, ask yourself if you have ever tested email length to see what works best for your business.
You can test short copy versus long copy in the following way. Segment your email database into two segments. try to make these segments as similar as possible. You'll then need to create two email campaigns. The first campaign will be the long version. It will have most of the information on the email and will almost certainly require the recipient to scroll down in order to read it. The second campaign will need to be much shorter. Preferably limiting the scroll to an absolute minimum.

You can reduce the amount of copy on an email by using landing pages. For example, rather than writing the whole paragraph, simply summarise it into one or two lines. Then have a "read more" link through to a landing page. Finally, you should send the campaigns to your segments at the same time in order to keep the test fair and consistent.

Analysing these campaigns can be difficult as the benefits of short and long copy are not always easy to identify. We suggest you look for the following key indicators of success:

  1. Number of opens per subscriber and as a total of all subscribers
  2. Conversions (the number of sales or enquiries generated)
  3. Contacts (number of people that reply or contact your business as a result of the email)

Click-through rate is likely to be misleading as the short email will inevitably have more links than the long email, but on the longer one you could try including a call to action link at the end of the email as an indicator that the whole email has been read.

Test three: image versus text based links
This test is extremely popular with email marketers. Research into this area has identified that there can be a significant difference between the performance of text links and image links. This depends on the environment in which the email is sent and the psychology of the recipient. Even though the environmental and psychological elements are difficult to control this test is still a very useful one to conduct.

Split your database into two segments. Make sure the characteristics of your segments are similar. You then need to create two email campaigns. The first using text links and the second using image links. These image links could be pictures or buttons. It really depends on what will fit with your email design. Deliver these two campaigns at the same time, on the same day and then analyse the results. Which campaign has the highest click-through rate? Which produces the most conversions or contacts?

There is another way to structure this test. Design one email, but next to every image link place an alternative text link (linking to the same destination). Positioning the images and matching text close together will help you identify which performs best.

In our experience text links often out perform image links, but until you try you won't know if that's the case with your particular industry and/or database of subscribers.

The 10 commandments of B2B newsletters which are read, not deleted

Article by OneFish TwoFish.

It’s fair to say that both hard and soft copy newsletters have been rather overused. If we’ve read ‘Welcome to our Spring newsletter!’ once, we've read it a zillion times. This kind of Newsletter-For-A-Newsletter’s sake leaves us as cold as it does you.

So the trick is to take a completely different approach. Here are the 10 commandments of effective newsletter writing. Flout them and join a thousand other wasted words in the spam folder….

1. Don’t call it a newsletter
We hate newsletters. You hate newsletters. So don’t call it a newsletter. See Commandment 2 for alternative ways to describe your newsletter.

2. Make it useful
At work, we focus our time on activities that provoke thought/interest; make us look good in front of our boss; help us do our job better, or save time/effort on an existing activity. We’re in survival mode. If your newsletter doesn't tap into at least one of these, it is unlikely to survive.

Classify your newsletter into a high business-value communication which clearly signposts it as being for your particular niche e.g. Small Business FD business bulletin, Change Management Monthly Resource Book, Managing Sales Teams: Inspiration and Insight.

For example in the Results International newsletter, we title it ‘Ideas for Inspirational Leaders: 60 seconds on…’. As it’s pitched to Director/CEO level, we make it clear it’s for their level and highlight how quickly they can 'onboard' the new idea. The idea is for a member of your target audience to consider it so useful to their work, they just HAVE to subscribe.

3. Theme each edition
Unplanned newsletters can be a bit of a random jumble of whatever information is easily gatherable at the time of publication. This is confusing for the reader and not very memorable. By planning themes, you will signpost the great content much more clearly and also leverage future topics at the sign-up stage.

Let’s take the Change Management newsletter as an example. Possible themes might include: effective change programme communication, stakeholder management, project management, avoiding typical derailers, measuring success.

If I was a Change Manager I would be much more likely to subscribe to a newsletter which clearly laid out the content of upcoming editions. And when I received the newsletters, I would read more of each of them, knowing they knit together into a comprehensive concept.

4. Use regular features
The theming concept works well in partnership with regular features. This means a layout of article types which is repeated in each edition. These might include a thought article, an interview, a top tips section, a news feed, a case study, an interactive poll etc. The format depends on the focus of your newsletter.

A trick gleaned from successful magazines is that regular features help the reader navigate and quickly absorb the information as well as keeping their interest, edition after edition. To avoid ‘me-too-ism’ make sure you create sections that will work well for your content and give them interesting names. For example in the Xancam newsletter, we call the interview section ‘The Big Three’ and ask each VIP three killer questions on the topic for that edition.

5. Turn content gathering into prospecting
Use the process of pulling together content as an opportunity to engage with your target audience. For example if you have a very senior and strategic contact who is difficult to sell to (or to get on the phone for that matter), you could interview them for an article. It always surprises me how willing scarily-important-people are to speak when they know they’re not being sold to.

If you’re feeling particularly brave, why not pitch to a number of people you haven’t met but know by reputation. Tell them you think they’ll have something useful to say on the subject and would they consider contributing a quote, a piece of insight or a tip? With just five of these you’ve got yourself a pipeline – or at least the potential for one.

6. Don’t oversell or undersell
Ok, there are two ends of the spectrum to avoid. At one end is a pure advert. At the other is a newsletter full of fascinating content, all provided for free with no indication of the company behind it and what they do. Steering a course between advertiser and sucker can be tricky –here’s how:

  • If you have something very relevant to sell on the back of the theme, you can insert one advert for this. But it should be in the style of ‘find out how to…’ rather than ‘buy it here!’.
  • Always include a 'call to action' at the end of each click-through.
  • Make sure that as many sections as possible link through to something on your website.
  • Once people have clicked here, they will often click around to find out what you do.
  • Include your contact details and a short description of what your business does in every newsletter
  • Make sure all content links clearly to something you do. Be wary of writing anything which is interesting, but doesn’t conceptually link to something you can sell. 

7. Absolutely, positively no parish news
We’ve all done it, but we can definitively confirm that parish news makes you look small, inward looking and local. So no matter how great the Director’s wedding photos are, or how fun that Fun Run you all did for charity really was, keep it out of your client newsletter.

The only exception is if you can tie it clearly into the theme. But the link should be good and strong. Not tenuous (and definitely not tedious).

8. Make it look fantastic
There are lots of awful looking email newsletters out there – mostly created by non-designers using online newsletter building tools. If you refuse to pay a designer to lay out each issue for you, then the bare minimum is to use a system like Newzapp which will create a really solid template in your branding which makes whatever you add look good.

A key issue is monitoring how the newsletter will look in the preview pane, before the images are loaded. At this crucial download/don’t download stage, the newsletter has to look great or the decision will not go in your favour. Some recipients will read newsletters without ever downloading the images – so if yours is readable without images, so much the better.

9. Build your subscriber list
Size isn’t everything, but the larger the number of the right kind of subscribers the better (obvious really!). Optimising the organic growth of your list is a given. This means having a clear sign-up page (with all your forthcoming issues listed, plus examples of previous editions) on your website. Add ‘calls to action’ which link to this page from everywhere you can think of: your email signature, relevant articles on your website, other people’s newsletters, forum signatures, marketing collateral, press releases and so on.

Proactive growth of your list is optional – but it can be the only way to get started. If you have a list of people who already know you one way or another, send them a ‘premail’ explaining that you think they would be interested in your newsletter and that they can subscribe/unsubscribe below (your choice as to whether you force them to opt in, or opt out). You can do the same with cold contacts – but expect a far lower response rate. Don’t deploy ‘opt out’ for cold contacts – only opt in.

We have worked with organisations who just send their newsletter to bought lists and wait for people to unsubscribe. Technically this is not spamming (as long as it is a business email address, there is a clear unsubscribe option and you are using a list which permits this type of communication). However, this can often be perceived as spam with important brand implications – so treat this course of action with caution.

10. Be proactive with the clicks
Your newsletter provider should furnish you with a clever report explaining who opened your newsletter and who clicked each link. If your newsletter is non-salesy and insight-based, then any direct selling on the back of clicks will be poorly received (e.g. Hello Mr Burns, Big Brother tells me you innocently clicked on an article in our newsletter just now – I am now going to assume you’re happy for me to enthusiastically sell our services to you.). So don’t do this.

However, a bit of clever and targeted follow up can work wonders, for example:-    a follow up email to those who clicked on a particular link e.g. ‘If you liked this article, you might be interested in our webinar on 24th April.’ Or a follow up call for feedback to those who downloaded something e.g. ‘I saw you downloaded our white paper and wondered if you’d give us some feedback when you’ve had a chance to read it’.

To find out more about Onefish Twofish, visit their website here.

4 reasons why you need an ESP (Email Service Provider)

Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools available but only when it’s done right. Using your standard email account (e.g. Outlook, Hotmail or Gmail) to send mass messages is not the right way to do it. Why not? Because your standard email account is not designed for email marketing and therefore has limitations that can actually undermine your email marketing efforts.

Here are four reasons why a good ESP (Email Service Provider) is a must for sending mass emails:

1. Higher deliverability
Because your typical email client, Outlook or Gmail for instance, is not built for email marketing, the messages you send out may end up labelled as spam by ISPs (internet service providers), not even arriving into your recipients’ spam folders, much less their inboxes. Most ESPs are whitelisted, or approved by ISPs as a legitimate permission based email delivery service. ESPs also offer easy methods to authenticate your email, which will prove to ISPs that you are who you say you are, a legitimate non spammer sending emails to those who want to receive the information.

2. Comprehensive tracking and analytics
Most ESPs provide customers with comprehensive tracking for all of their email campaigns. You can find out the number of people who opened your email, which links were clicked and by who, deliverability success and track your unsubscribes.

Some ESPs such as NewZapp will also provide you with Google Analytics integration, social media tracking and information on which email clients are being used to open your emails and whether your subscribers are on a desktop or mobile.

3. List management 
Trying to manually keep all your data up to date can quickly become a time consuming task. ESPs will store all your subscriber details, updating them as you import, removing the duplicates, unsubscribes and invalid email addresses.

Bounce management is also included with most ESPs - automatically removing hard bounces and soft bounces after a bounce threshold has been reached. Bounces often occur because the email address you're sending to is invalid or the mailbox full.

4. Easily create HTML emails
With WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editors, creating a professional HTML email is a breeze. There’s no need for HTML knowledge as the coding is automatically created for you. Most ESPs will also include several well designed HTML templates for you to customise and use for your own campaigns. There are also options for you to have bespoke templates created to suit your needs.

5 tips for a successful email marketing campaign this Christmas

It’s true that as Christmas approaches, email volumes rise, so it’s more important than ever to get your campaigns in top-notch condition and leave a lasting impression with your subscribers.

1. Embrace the season
It’s the season to be jolly so ensure your copy and images carry a Christmas theme. This is the time to drop your professional guard and put some personality into your emails. Lets be honest, who doesn't love a dancing Santa animation?

2. Timing
It’s important to have a look at your calendar and think about the best days and times to send your emails. Try and ensure you miss the potential days off and work Christmas party lunches, and deliver your message when your subscribers are most likely to have the time to read and engage with them.

3. Provide an incentive
With all these promotional emails landing in their inbox, subscribers are going to be hunting for the best deals possible, and this is where incentives can give you an extra edge. Your incentive can be anything from free delivery or gift wrapping to 20% off an order, just make sure you add that little extra something to make your campaign more appealing.

4. Don’t overdo it
Although Christmas is a great reason to get in touch with your subscribers don’t start sending more emails than you would normally. Recipients get used to your communication patterns, a sudden more aggressive strategy can irritate and may lead them to unsubscribe.

5. Don’t forget to send a card
Be sure to send a thoughtful, non-sales based ecard to your subscribers as it’s a great way to show the friendly face of your business. It’s also a good opportunity to include other bits of helpful information such as your holiday opening hours.

If you’re a NewZapp customer you can have one of our fantastic Christmas ecards uploaded to your account for free.  There are 40 designs to choose from and each one has editable areas for you to insert your own message and/or logo.

Including video in emails

There’s no doubt that using video engages your subscribers. It’s attention grabbing and adds a new dimension to your message that can generate more interest than text alone.

The millions of training, product, presentation, tutorial and demonstration videos out there testify to this.

But should you embed videos in your email campaigns?

Most Email Service Providers (ESP’s) have the facility to do this. The technology does exist and ESP’s aren't technically speaking against you using video, but as with most things, just because you can doesn't mean you should!

Why we wouldn't recommend using video in emails just yet:
  • You need the technical know-how to add the necessary code to your email which embeds video.
  • Very few email readers that will allow a video to play in an email.
  • The code used to embed the video will mean your email is more likely to get caught in filters and not even make it to your subscriber's inbox.
  • Video can take time to download, or as mentioned above, not work at all. In this time your subscribers could become frustrated and bored and delete your email without seeing your video content or clicking on other links.
  • You won't gain valuable click-through information that you would by recipients needing to click to view the video.
What you can do instead:
  • Use an image of the first frame of your video and use that as a clickable image link to the video online (your own web page or a page on your YouTube channel etc).
  • Make sure the image has a "Play" button/icon included to make it as clear as you can that clicking will enable you to view the video.
  • Double your chances of a click by including a text link as well, such as "Follow this link to view our video" (never worry about stating the obvious with hyperlink wording!)
As images aren't embedded in your email when using NewZapp, using this method of linking from a static image, instead of embedding video, means your email is "lighter" (smaller in file size) and easier to deliver.

Want to be a little more adventurous?

If you have the resources, try an animated gif as your image link, with some movement that reinforces the topic or just to get attention!

Points to remember with animated gifs:
  • If well made, animated gifs are usually relatively small in file size (KB), but keep an eye on this in case you drift towards the "slow to load" zone that we wanted to avoid by not embedding video in the first place.
  • Not all email clients will let the animation play. For example Outlook 2007-2013 and Lotus Notes will only show the first frame of your animated gif instead.
  • Weigh up the pros and cons of the time you'd be investing in making an animated gif, by checking what proportion of your database use Outlook 2007-2013 or Lotus Notes. Check the Client data of a previous campaign. If it's a really high percentage then you may decide to use a non-animated image to link from.
  • If you do go ahead, make sure that whoever is making your animated gif is aware that some email readers wont see the animation so that they can put the most important part of your message in the first frame.

As a summary - providing links to view your video will give you best chance of deliverability to the inbox, and a much clearer understanding of who is interested in seeing the video, thanks to the click data in NewZapp LIVE! Reports.

Recommended additional reading: 
An introduction to common email rendering issues and how to deal with them

Branding guidelines: Your links to social media websites

In my last blog I posed the question ‘Do you have branding guidelines?’ and just in case the answer was no, I set out some basic tips on how to start documenting your preferences as a starting point. This was because, in my personal opinion, you should never consider your company or organisation to be too small to require guidelines which others should respect.

Respecting branding guidelines is my next topic, and in particular when linking to third party websites. It’s a topic that has come to the fore recently with our own marketing material when it was brought to our attention that we were using icons on our website and digital material that might not be adhering to the owners’ brand guidelines.

The owners in question being rather large and well known brands such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Along with Pinterest and Instagram these are arguably the six most relevant social media outlets for businesses to reach out to and engage with customers and prospects, and communities in general. 

So what’s the problem as long as the brands get traffic?


Good question and probably what’s at the back of most people’s minds. "What’s the harm if my links are driving traffic to my page on a third party website, they should be grateful."

Don’t get me wrong they probably are! But let’s turn it around and look it from the other side of the fence. If a third party website wanted to link to your business and in doing so, took your logo and completely changed it to match their own colour scheme and style – how would you feel? Not really bothered? Well you should be (naughty step now, take five!)

Joking aside, there are reasons trademarks are registered and we are all at risk of being in breach of these when we publish graphics which don't conform. I'm not sure about you, but that's a fight we'd rather not pick!

Knowing where to look


Apologies for stating the obvious, but googling a brand name followed by the words "brand guidelines" should give you the page link you need as the top search result. Then when you find them, guidelines aren't necessarily as daunting as they may at first seem.

Here are a few examples of the type of rules you might find in relation to correct logo use:


  1. The 'Facebook Product Assets and Identity Guide' specifically states (page 67):

    Don't: Modify the “f” logo in any way, such as changing design or color. If you are unable to use the correct color due to technical limitations, you may revert to black and white. "

    A screen shot from Facebook's Product Assets and Identity Guide


     
  2. Likewise Twitter keeps it refreshingly simple:

    " Our logo is always either blue or white. The Twitter bird is never shown in black or other colors. "

    An excerpt from Twitter brand guidelines


     
  3. YouTube offers two formats - the version that you would recognise as their logo (eg the words YouTube) and the new-ish "play button" style of icon. This icon is useful where space is limited or if you want to provide a link to your YouTube channel in a "social media lineup" (row of little square icons).

    " The YouTube icon should be used in social media instances where the standard YouTube logo does not work because of size or format restrictions. "


    A section from "Using the YouTube Logo"


    Hands up anyone brave enough to let YouTube know that they need to update the Facebook icon in their example!
     
  4. LinkedIn is one of those brands where it starts to get tricky, with lots of requirements quoted in terms of size, clearance. A factor that often seems to get conveniently missed is that their logo had a Trademark (TM) or Registered (®) symbol next to it, according to where the site hosting the link is geographically based. There are also definite preferences to what background colours you can place the logo onto:

    " The preferred background color for the logo is solid white. When a solid white color is not practical, it may be used on a solid, light background color."

    LinkedIn brand guidelines


  5. Pinterest offer a really clear and comprehensive set of guidelines (covering the use of their logo and their badges), that kick off straight away with buttons to download high resolution copies - which makes absolute sense if they want to avoid seeing fuzzy copied and pasted icons appearing online.

    Pinterest brand guidelines with a range of do's and don'ts


     
  6. Whilst some brands are clear about the difference between a logo and an icon/badge, Instagram use the word 'logo' to describe three of their assets - the Camera Logo, the Glyph Logo and the Instagram logo. Camera and Glyph will be the ones of most relevance (and both downloadable from the  Press Center) if you're simply offering a link to your own Instagram account, and the rules are quite simple as to which of these to choose.

    " Where color is limited, use the Glyph Logo in any color "  Easy as peas.


    Instagram have a Press Center for downloading their logos 


Keeping up to date


Once you're happy that you are meeting brand guidelines for all third party links, keep an eye open for updates and brand re-brands (yep, this branding lark is never ending!). Things like using a lower case "t" as a link to Twitter, or a birdie with a tufty fringe, are so 2008!

Summary


One day we might all be famous enough to be known by the use of an icon that is made up of just the first letter of our name, but until then, we’re voting to show a little arrgh-eee-es-pee-ee-cee-tee, and staying on the right side of the law suits.

They might be cute and cuddly, but we’d like to see  a little less of this…



And little more of this please …


 
And yes you can get down now, but play nice!




NewZapp Update: Yosemite OS for Mac

Important information for all Mac lovers out there. The Yosemite OS, which includes an upgrade to Safari 8.0, is not playing nice with online applications such as Dropbox and Netflix. Unfortunately NewZapp has been effected too.

NewZapp users who have upgraded are finding they are unable to navigate around and the Safari browser crashes.

Our technical team are working on a solution to this Safari 8.0 bug, in the meantime, if you experience issues using NewZapp after installing Yosemite we recommend temporarily downloading Chrome for Mac via your app store or by following this link.

In-house data: Use it or lose it!

Building a customer and prospect database is one of the most important things you'll ever do for your business. In this article we look at why your own organic database, as opposed to a purchased list, is the best money can buy and tips for collecting customer data.

Why is your in-house database better?
  • The people on your in-house list have already shown an interest in your business.
  • You'll be communicating with the right person - this helps avoid wasting time and money.
  • People who have purchased a product or service from you before are more likely to buy again or recommend you to somebody else. 
Ask yourself, do we really use our list? Do we collect data at every opportunity? If you're not using it, you're losing it. People and businesses are always changing, this can result in your database going out of date extremely quickly. A simple email once a month can help you monitor any changes in your database. Spotting changes to email addresses is quick, easy and very low cost. You can then use this information to check that the person is still contactable and update your database accordingly.

What data should you collect?
You should always collect as much as you can but the most important data to collect is:
  • First and last name
  • Postal address (or simply a city or county)
  • Email address
  • Telephone number
If you're one of the lucky ones and your customers are very open with their information then collect more. If they're not, collect a small amount of data at the first opportunity and then build on this over time. People will often tell you more at a later date because they have built trust in you and have a better knowledge of how you will use their data.

Above all else, keep it simple, you can always ask for more. Ensure that you can store the data effectively and that you will use it. The more data you collect the more data management you'll need to do at a later date.

Infographic - how old email campaigns can still be active ones

Just because you sent that email campaign last month doesn't mean it's all over ... keep an eye on the stats, you may be surprised what you find ...

Old email campaigns never die ...


Free webinar: How and Why Mobile Responsive Design is essential to today's email marketing

With the majority of marketing emails now opened on mobile, it has become vital to ensure your email marketing templates and creative are effective on smartphone and tablet devices.

In our next webinar, Darren Hepburn will take you through the key questions to discuss with your agency or email designers to ensure the emails meet your goals. Darren will explain the options for effective mobile responsive emails and share examples from a range of sectors including retail, B2B and service organisations.

Join this interactive webinar live on Wednesday October 29th 2014 at midday. It will also be available as a recording if you register via the BrightTALK webcast channel.



Essential responsive email code: useful element modifiers

As our series on Essential responsive email code draws to its triumphant conclusion, our thoughts turn to the varied but ubiquitous snippets of CSS that help spice up an otherwise merely adequate email experience.

So lastly, but by no means leastly, may we present ... 

... undeniably useful element modifiers.


Essential responsive email code: useful element modifiers

To scale or not to scale? That is the question ...

It is often the case that your carefully-formed images and graphics may look decorous lounging across the ample acres of a desktop email, but shoe-horned into the microcar-like confines of a mobile screen they may come across as somewhat sub-optimal. Fortunately, the intrepid email designer has a number of options at their disposal.

You could of course simply hide those elements that are not particularly useful on smaller screens - adding class="hide-me" to an <img />, <td> or indeed even a whole <table> should leave smartphone users none the wiser.

Or you could ensure each image is no wider than 280px in the first place, thus allowing them to fit comfortably on even the narrowest of 320px-wide screens at their original dimensions. As a useful accessory to this, Sir/Madam could also perhaps consider making use of class="img-own-ln-cntr" on the table cell, so that each image will move onto its own line rather than attempting to squeeze text content around it like a ticklish elephant.

But for the more generously-proportioned graphic like banner images and full-width adverts, inserting class="scale-me" in the <td> is definitely the recommended route to take. This way, the image will scale fluidly to fit whichever screen width it may find itself on.

What what? There's more?

From experience with building these slippery responsive beggars we also entreat you to always build the structure of your email first and test rigorously to be sure everything works to your satisfaction. Then you can safely go to the trouble of adding other paraphernalia such as styles, hyperlinks and other frippery.

Thus endeth the lesson. You can still view the other blogs in this series here:


 

Should you find yourself craving all this responsive email code wisdom 

in one magnificent instalment - then please step this way ...


Branding guidelines: Do you have any for your business?

As a business, or organisation, you know how important your brand is to your identity - or do you?

Before any new project gets off the ground, a good Design Team will always ask you for your branding guidelines, especially if they haven't created work for you before. Even if your initial reaction is that you’re not nearly corporate or large enough to have guidelines, if you have a think about your identity basics, you’ll soon be able to state a list of “do’s and don'ts” ... and before you know it, you have guidelines!

Here’s an example of how branding guidelines for your logo might start out as you jot down your preferences (and their practicalities) ...
  • Where possible our logo sits on a white background
  • But if you really must use the logo on a coloured background we have an alternative white version that can be used.
  • According to the type of media that the logo is being produced with (print, screen, etc) the logo colour is: Pantone 3165, CMYK 100/53/53/53, RGB 0/78/78, Hex #004E58
  • The logo should never be squished, stretched, or sit too close to anything else on a design. As a guide use the "oh" of the logo as a guide to the amount of clear space we like to maintain aound all four sides.

Examples of how you might want your logo to be used and how much clearance it should have
 

Now we're on a roll, let's add some more to the mix!
  • Our company name when written in text form should always be shown spelt with a lowercase leading letter and never with a capital.
  • The font used to make the logo is Calibri and we like to use that for stationery, marketing and day-to-day email. For digital work where you can't use Calibri, Helvetica or Arial are the preferred alternatives.  
  • We never present ourselves in bright colours, or in black & white if possible, we like earthy and muted tones  
Rules and guidelines such as these might just save you time and money when you hope that the designer working on your new piece of marketing will "just know" the kind of thing you like.

As you develop a range of marketing material you can start a collection of examples to refer back to and to show to designers and marketers working for you (an online storage like DropBox would be useful for this purpose, and for quick and easy distribution to others).



Essential responsive email code: fluid content alignment

Like a cool, clear, misty dawn yet another in our Essential responsive email code series peeps coyly over the horizon as we roll up our collective sleeves and get involved with the mystical voodoo of re-arranging the metaphorical furniture on mobile devices using little more than tables and a handful of floats.

Gentlefolk, please be upstanding for ... 

... fiendishly fluid content alignment.


Essential responsive email code: fluid content alignment

A brief note about why you should be careful not to 'float' orff ...

If anything is ever going to cause you to pull out your chin hair and rend your shirt in twain, CSS 'floats' are the very things - ask any web designer.

Within the confines of HTML emails especially they must be treated with the greatest of respect and used very sparingly. Always be acutely aware of which exact element you are applying what exact style to.

More sage wisdom

We also advise adding the rspnsv-elmnt and both of the rspnsv-elmnt-ctr classes together as a group to your Media query. This makes them handy for applying to table cells to make them into block-level elements and to align table cell content centrally. Again, use sparingly.

Wither the next blog? Pray patience, good people. 

Meantime, there is much to be learnt from our other blogs in this series:


Reach for the stars, not for the benchmark

Benchmarks can help us make the right business decisions, however, far too often we say things like "we're above the industry average", when we should really be asking:
  • Did we return on our investment?
  • Have we achieved our campaign goals?
  • What can we improve?
Benchmarks help us protect our investments and set realistic, achievable goals. The truth is, performance against benchmarks means very little if we fail to meet our internal target.

With this in mind here are our top five tips to setting realistic email marketing targets:

Break your target down into individual goals. Try to quantify your goals wherever possible. This way you can quickly see where you are achieving and where you are not.

Break performance down into set areas. For example, you may break your email marketing performance down into; delivery, read, click-through and conversion rates. This will help you review performance against your goals.

Clearly identify the final action you want your readers to take? Should they reply to your email, fill in a form or buy a product? Once you know what you want them to do, calculate how many conversions you need to return on your investment.

Set your target and then review it against the required performance. If your target is to achieve sales revenue of £1000 and to do this you need to sell 100 units, ask yourself:

How many people will I need to convert from email to final action? 
If your website converts at a rate of 1 in 10 you will need to convert a minimum of 1,000 people from email to website.

Now ask yourself... Is this a realistic goal? 
Use past performance and benchmarks to help you decide if your target can be realistically achieved

Never limit your target to achieving one specific goal. If you're struggling to identify your goals try to break your target down into its component parts.

If your target is to achieve 100% growth in sales, then in order to achieve this your goals may be to
1) Increase your conversion rate by 50%
2) Raise the average order value by 100%
3) Increase website visitors by 10%.

These goals can then be monitored to ensure that your overall target is achieved.

iPhone 6? Nothing to see here...

It's bad news for lovers of cold sweats and palpitations I'm afraid. The launch of the brand spanking new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus devices may well have some people whimpering into their keyboards but round here it's business as usual.

In a break from tradition Apple have introduced 2 new screen sizes and a new rendering method for the iPhone 6 Plus, which both scales up and downsamples the content it displays. If this sounds like it might give you a headache, fear not! The design team at NewZapp have coded responsive templates from the outset to cover all bases and these comfortably encompass the parameters of the new devices, meaning everything still looks perfect whichever device you use.

In a nutshell? Your emails already look great on the new iPhone. Carry on.

Essential responsive email code: fluid table widths

We're back again with some more HTML and CSS code goodies straight from the NewZapp email designers' ever-so-trendy dispatch-style satchel. This time we deal with an email's very skeleton, the elements truly critical to any HTML email layout: tables.

No sniggering at the back please, web designers.

So, on wider screens these have nice and stable fixed widths, all perfectly normal. But once opened on any the plethora of mobile devices that come with sadly much narrower screens, these same tables must be made to transform and flow sinuously down their slimline LCD visages.

How is it done, pray tell? Wonder no more as we present to you ...

... fabulously fluid table widths.


Essential responsive email code: fluid table widths

A brief note about how CSS styles are declared here

Although this code will have been inserted into a Media query in order to limit its effects to narrower screens only (see this article) some upstart email readers (*koff* Yahoo! *koff*) will still ignore this and attempt to render all of the CSS regardless. This generally produces an email layout most displeasing to the eye ...

There is, happily, a neat workaround. It turns out that using the attribute selector method of creating a  class or id is ignored by those very email readers, yet still recognised by all the mobile devices that need to use the styles they contain. Happy days!

You will also notice the use of a tilde '~' (otherwise known as a squiggly', can't think why) alongside the normal equals '=' symbol. This effectively means 'containing' - that is, the CSS looks for any of the specified elements that contain that particular class.

The upshot is you are able to use multiple classes on each element in the email rather than being restricted to one, e.g.
<td class="rspnsv-tbl scale-me text-to-14px" > ... </td>


And why the !important declaration?

This has been found to be useful in overriding any proprietary stylesheet rules that email readers may try to impose upon your beautiful code. And they will, make no mistake ...

Can't get enough wisdom? Why not peruse the companion blogs in this series:


 The magical Media query

Fiendishly fluid content alignment

Undeniably useful element modifiers


Apple and the iPhone 6 – what’s all the fuss about?

Every year it happens: Apple introduces a new iPhone, and, like salmon returning to the river, throngs of faithful fans start forming lines outside Apple stores. Today saw the release of the iPhone 6 (4.7 inches) and iPhone 6 Plus (5.5 inches) which according to Apple, it isn’t just bigger – it’s better in every way.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering about Apple fans and their penchant for line waiting. You can easily order yourself the latest phone online or visit any one of the hundred other stores that sell iPhones, but no, the Apple hard-outs queue for hours, even days so they can be the first to get their hands on a shiny new Apple toy.

(Apple fans queuing at 7.30am outside the Exeter Apple store on release day. 19.09.14)

I’ve since come to the realisation that it isn't about the gadget. No, it’s about the brand. Apple’s brand is so powerful, and so compelling, that people want to attach themselves to it, or attach the brand to themselves. They want people to see them standing outside the Apple store. They want to be identified with Apple, and what Apple represents. 

The demand for this latest release has beaten all previous records with more than four million units sold as pre-orders in the first 24 hours of going live, double the number for the iPhone 5 when it first went on sale to pre-order. In fact, the number of orders appears to have caught the technology giant off-guard, as the firm stated that some devices might not reach customers until next month.

In terms of the phone itself, Apple has overhauled the squared off design which has been with us since the iPhone 4, with the iPhone 6 sporting a more rounded, slimmer body. In fact, the 6 is just 6.9mm thin, making it one of the slimmest smartphones on the market. It's slightly heavier than the 5S at 129g, while the body measures 138.1mm x 67mm.


The power/lock key has been moved from the top of the handset to the right hand side, making it easier to hit during one handed use. On the left hand side you get the separated volume keys below a mute toggle switch.

Apple hasn't revealed the exact battery size but it claims that the iPhone 6 can keep going for up to 250 hours on standby, 12 hours of talk time, 11 hours of internet use or 50 hours of audio playback, which sounds like a modest upgrade over the iPhone 5S.

Running Apple's latest platform offering, iOS 8, it does add some useful new features and improvements. For example it includes third-party keyboard support, improved OS X integration, more interactive notifications, a new Health app and the ability for third-party apps to use Touch ID.

To find out more about the iPhone 6 click here

With Apple’s latest release and the constant stream of bigger (or smaller in some cases) and better smartphones entering the market from rival brands, all capable of sending and receiving emails on the go, it’s now more important than ever that your email marketing campaigns look good on mobile. In fact, according to Litmus, 51% of email opens are now on a mobile device, and some brands see upwards of 70% of their emails opened on a mobile, while 80% of people will delete an email if it doesn't look good on their phone. Begs the question, how good does your email look on the new iPhone 6? 

Essential responsive email code: the Media query

Straight from our multi-coloured corner of the office, we of the Design team at NewZapp are keen to share some titbits of HTML and CSS that we have so far been keeping safely in our burrows. This is actual code that can be used to create your very own responsive emails!

And you can rest assured dear people, for this is the very same code that is used day-to-day by our good selves to craft the multitude of bespoke email templates sent forth from NewZapp acres to brighten the world. As such, they have been been rigorously tested to display correctly in all of the most popular email readers and devices.

Without further ado, first up for your delectation ...

... the magical Media query.


Essential responsive email code: the Media query

A brief note about @media declaration and nested curly braces

Using a media query in your stylesheet means that you will likely be nesting multiple sets of curly-braced style declarations within another.

Do not be alarmed. This is all fine - in fact, if you're using an HTML editor such as Adobe Dreamweaver, you will probably find the @media{ ... } declaration will be given it's own colour anyway to distinguish it from the usual class and id declarations e.g.
<style>

  table td {width:600px;} //CSS as usual
 
  @media screen and (max-device-width: 479px), screen and (max-width: 479px)
  {
    table td {width:100%;} //woo! nested curly braces
  }

</style>
Splendid stuff!

Want more? Then step this way for our other blogs in this series:


 Fabulously fluid table widths

Fiendishly fluid content alignment

Undeniably useful element modifiers


How not to annoy your subscribers with your email campaigns

No doubt you don’t intentionally set out to annoy your subscribers with your emails, however, it is possible to unwittingly partake in marketing behaviours that can undermine your credibility with your subscribers causing your email campaigns to be branded as “annoying”.

Here are a few tips to make sure that doesn't happen to you.

Only email people who have given you their permission
Surprisingly, many email marketers still send to purchased lists which is a sure fire way to get reported as spam, which can also hurt your future deliverability. Contacts from a purchased list have never heard of your company, and most of them will be confused and annoyed that they are suddenly receiving updates about products and services they’re not interested in or signed up for.

Avoid sending only promotional emails
Unless someone indicates they are ready to buy (maybe they signed up for a trial or asked to be contacted by a sales rep), it’s not a good idea to start marketing to your new leads as if they are ready to buy. By only sending emails like “start your free trial today” and “48 hour sale starts now!” you will turn most people off and give them a good reason to unsubscribe.

Ensure all your links work correctly
There’s nothing more frustrating for you or your subscribers than when a link is broken. Think of all the time and effort you put into copy writing, getting your formatting just right, segmenting your list and building your landing page. If your call-to-action link is useless, the email and landing page are useless and your subscribers aren't going to hunt the information out for themselves.

Don’t use deceptive subject lines
I know it’s difficult to get people to open your emails but using deceptive subject lines to encourage email opens will only lead to angry unsubscribes once the recipient realises you mislead them.

Make it easy to unsubscribe
The key to ensuring customer satisfaction is to make the unsubscribe process easy. The link should be visible, underlined and a one click unsubscribe process.

Don’t forget mobile users
Almost 45% of all emails are opened on a mobile device. If you fail to make your emails mobile responsive you’re just asking for your mobile users to unsubscribe from your email list. Don’t expect your subscribers to zoom, pinch and scroll all over their smartphones or tablet in order to read your email – they won’t.

Deep fried whitespace

Much ado about nothing
Recently I was introduced to the joys of whitebait. With no previous experience or desire to eat tiny fish whole and knowing all the ick that slops around inside a regular fish, I wasn’t hugely keen. Turns out I was missing out; whitebait are quite delightfully crunchy and the fact that you can see their little eyes bulging as you bite them in half isn’t off-putting at all.

Whitebait, however, are mostly unrelated to whitespace. Both are liable to be misunderstood and can even be considered controversial, but delightful when used appropriately.

Whitespace (definition)The areas of a page without print or pictures.

Whitespace is the absence of things, the space between elements, the gaps that let the eyes "rest" between images or sections of text. It's the breathing space of the page, the elbow room in your design, an ocean between continents. Within images and logos a near identical phenomenon can be found in negative space, best described as the part of the design created by the rest of the design. One of the most famous examples of negative space is the arrow (shown in red below) within the FedEx logo created by Lindon Leader in 1994.



Why use whitespace?
How about increased legibility and audience attention? Do you need a powerful way to imply elegance, openness and freshness? Whitespace creates an aura of classiness and calm, yet draws attention better than a design crammed with information.

Getting an eel for it 
I believe it's important to consider the use of whitespace in every design; even if you're making something that doesn't have an excessive degree of whitespace, you'll always be using it to some degree. The gaps between words and characters is sometimes referred to as 'micro whitespace', the handling of which can make or break a design.

These 'gaps' between lines (and carriage returns) perfectly highlight the importance of whitespace - you don't even notice it's there, but it's creating balance and breathing room in the text. If it works so well here, it's only a tiny jump to using space throughout a page for a similar effect.



Fun fact: Whitespace doesn’t have to be white, the name is simply a throwback from the origins of the term in 1946, when the majority of publications were printed on white stock. 

Sea water mean?
Whitespace is an extravagance left over from the old days. Look, it says, we don't need your money; we're so wealthy and confident we'll make our message small and waste the rest of this paper. You'll buy from us because you can tell we must be the best at what we do. 

Overfishing
The danger with whitespace is to overdo it and end up with a design that looks unfinished, untidy or broken. Sometimes this can be a fine line to tread, but within an email all you need to do is to keep a relationship between elements and keep this relationship consistent. For instance, a carriage return between paragraphs creates a nice pause, but 3 carriage returns might lose the relationship between them and make people think the topics are separate.

Consistency is key with good whitespace management. If you have a carriage return between heading and body copy, keep it that way throughout. If your images are 250px wide and centred, continue in this format. It's always good to have a friend or colleague look over your work and judge it as unflinchingly as your intended audience will.

Fin.
Without a doubt a consideration of whitespace is vital to every design. In our day to day life in email design we're constantly striving to achieve the right balance of content and space for every client. Good use of whitespace is all about balance, so it takes practice to get a feel for how much to use in any given situation, but it's always worth spending the time.

Product photography? Easy.

I’m not a professional photographer, or even a gifted amateur. Occasionally I get lucky and snap something amazing, but mostly I spend my camera time experimenting and learning. As a result, I’ve discovered some pretty cool stuff, some of which is even relevant to my work. In this post I’ve got some simple tips to share with you on how to improve your product photography.

The assumption for all these tips is that you’re using a basic point and shoot digital camera, handheld, with no access to image manipulation software.

Hold it right there
This may seem obvious, but you need to hold the camera as still as possible when you take a photo. Depending on the camera you're using, it may also be good to hold it still a second or so after you press the button, as some older cameras have a bit of lag time until they actually take the photo. Try and press the button down as gently as possible - you should have it halfway down already for the autofocus, so squeeze it down the rest of the way like you're taking out the last Jenga block!

The technique: Get into a comfortable position, hold the camera with both hands and breathe out slowly. As you breathe out, gently press the shutter button down fully.

Up close and personal
Detail is key if you’re looking to buy something, so be prepared to get a few close-up shots. My tip here is to watch your angles, ensure there’s enough light (more on these subjects shortly) and consider using Macro mode (usually a flower icon) on your camera. This lets you focus closer to an object and limits your depth of field, so the parts in focus are very sharp and everything else is blurred. This helps, well, focus your audience on your subject matter of choice.

Composition
It should go without saying that your product needs to be in the frame. Unless you’re doing a close-up detail shot you should ensure that your product is in the centre of the shot (more or less) with a bit of space from the edge of the image. If a shadow of the product is in the frame try to ensure this is not cropped off either.

The angle of the dangle
It depends on what kind of product you’re shooting, but angle is important too. Let’s take the humble coffee mug. Ideally you’ll take several angles – dead straight with the handle out to the right showing the design on the front, from directly above, showing the shape of the container, and maybe one from the back too. If you wanted something a bit more interesting you could take a shot of it full of coffee in someone’s hand – for this you’d want to consider the angle on both the person and the mug.



Try it: Shoot your product close up on a bare table at a low angle (so your camera is level with the object) with a plain, preferably white wall behind it. Use Macro mode and try fill-in flash before you resort to reflectors (see Lighting section below)

Background
A big part of composition is the background, or other objects in view. If you’re not shooting on a plain background, you should try and throw your background out of focus. The key to this is the Aperture, which you can quite often control, but it’s a bit fiddly so we’ll stick to the easy way, which is usually to use Macro mode and get as close as possible! If your camera has optical zoom, try zooming in as this will likely help blur out the background too - you may need to step back to keep the same composition!

Tip: Never use digital zoom for anything, ever. All this does is crop the image, leading to poor definition and blurry or blocky images. Most cameras will tell you which you’re using, and some let you disable digital zoom in the menu settings.

Lighting
Adequate light is essential for the best professional-looking images. Because of the way the human eye works, what looks like enough light to us isn’t enough light for a camera. The easiest way to enhance your lighting setup is to use the sun and at least one reflector (a sheet of aluminium foil shiny side up is fine as a reflector, although it’s easier to manipulate if you wrap it round something sturdy), preferably more. You can prop these up around your object. What you’re aiming to do is get overall even lighting and removing any shadows on the object itself. If your camera has a ‘Fill-in Flash’ setting experiment using this in addition to reflectors.

Tip: On the whole (unless the fill-in flash method works well for you), you'll want to turn the flash off. The light it produces will usually be too harsh and overexpose the image. If you must use it, try to diffuse it a little. Gently tape some greaseproof or tracing paper over the flash bulb and do a few test shots.

If it’s a dark day and you need to use a light, feel free – try a desk lamp with a bendy neck – but use a reflector to direct it onto your object to soften the light and eliminate shadows, and remember to change your White Balance settings to compensate. Older ‘normal’ lightbulbs are covered by the Tungsten setting which usually has a lightbulb icon, but energy saving bulbs are often whiter, so you may need to use the fluorescent tube setting if you have one.

White balance
Most people (including me) get all lazy over this one. White balance is a measure of the ambient colour temperature of the scene – ranging from red, through orange and yellow, visiting pure white, then out to blue and purple. Ideally you need to use ‘Custom White Balance’ and hold a sheet of paper in front of the camera to get a reading, but most cameras come with presets that do the job well enough in most circumstances. Try several and aim to match the conditions – for example if you’re shooting outside on a cloudy day, most likely you want the Cloudy setting.

Consistency
This is more about how you display your product shots. It’s good practice to keep lighting, composition and background consistent across your product range. I find it helpful to take a photo of your setup and make a note of all the settings used.

Size does matter
Most cameras come preset to their highest detail settings, usually measured in Megapixels. For most people it's best to leave it on the highest setting as it gives you get the highest possible quality, the biggest photo sizes for prints, and also the ability to crop the image (to get a better composition) and still retain good quality. My advice is to always shoot in the highest quality you can and resize afterwards as required.

Having said that, I don't mind resizing images - I use software or batch-process them online using free resizing tools. However, if you find this step onerous and if you only ever want to use these images on screen, for instance on a website or in an email, then it is possible to cheat. The image size option is usually buried in the menu system rather than instantly available and you'll need to experiment a little, but try using the several smallest Megapixel settings. Take test shots with each, then transfer them to your computer and compare the file sizes. It could be that the file size is small enough to upload to websites and emails without resizing at all, but do check the images against high Megapixel ones to ensure you're happy with the quality.

And don't forget to change the settings back to high when you're finished!

4 tips for resending to non-openers

If at first you don’t succeed – try and try again. It’s a message that’s been drilled into us since childhood but how well does it stack up when it comes to your email marketing?

For a long time it has been argued that resending emails to recipients that didn't open the first time round could do more harm than good, but there is also a lot of evidence to suggest it can be an effective way to re-engage with your subscribers so long as you proceed with caution.

1. Only resend the most important email campaigns
Suppose that every time a subscriber left one of your emails unopened, you resent it. Imagine how annoyed your subscriber would get. It probably wouldn't be too long until they unsubscribed from all of your email marketing messages. So pick your most important email campaigns and limit your resending to just those ones.

2. Change your subject line 
The subject line plays an important part in capturing your reader’s attention and enticing them to open the email. If it didn't work the first time, what makes you think it’ll work the second time? Tweaking the subject line also has the added bonus of letting readers know this email was not resent by mistake.

3. Change your sending time
When it comes to timing your resend, make sure you give people enough time to open to your original email – we usually recommend waiting at least 3 days. It’s also helpful to resend your email at a different time of day to your original send. Someone might not have had time to read your email when you sent it at 9am but they might have time after lunch.

4. Measure the impact
The entire goal of resending your email is to encourage a few more opens and clicks in hope of driving additional conversions but this can come at a cost. Some people may respond negatively to the additional email in their inbox and unsubscribe. So be sure to measure the unsubscribe rate of your email resend and weigh this up against the additional conversions that it creates. If too many people are dropping off your list because of the resend, it may not be worth it.