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 People and businesses are always changing, this can result in your database going out of date extremely quickly.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.