Some users have been experiencing display problems with the CyanMailer system this morning, particularly with graphs. Here is an explanation as to what is going on and how to resolve the issue:

TECHNICAL ISSUE

We call in jQuery, a commonly used website library, from Google’s servers. This is common practice and countless other websites do the same. Unfortunately a commonly used DNS provider OpenDNS has this morning incorrectly labelled the servers from which Google serves this library as phishing sites. The result is that anyone (like us) who calls in this library from Google may also be suffering phishing warnings in some browsers that use OpenDNS’s servers.

We have been monitoring OpenDNS’s forums and can see plenty of other complaints from users of other websites. We are confident this will be fixed by OpenDNS very soon, but in the meantime we have also now hosted the library itself on our system so that this should no longer be an issue.

RECOMMENDED SOLUTION

Please try logging out, clearing your cache and then logging back into your account again. You should find that any display issues you were experiencing no longer occur.

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One of the key elements of your Social Media Strategy should be creating a consistent brand image across all platforms. This is often a daunting task due to the various limitations of each platform but in this article I’m going to show you how a consistent image can be obtained easily.

I’ll lead with Facebook as this is the least customisable platform.

You have very little to work with except the profile picture. You can add custom boxes to the left sidebar, but that is another topic entirely!

The profile picture can be up to 200px wide and 600px high, giving you plenty of screen real estate to work with. You should aim to fit your company logo into a 175px x 175px space, as this is the maximum section of your image which will fit into the thumbnail shown next to your posts.

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Twitter gives us more customisation options, but is limited by an 800k file size on the left aligned background image.

Twitter allows us to change the colours of the sidebar, text and links as well as the dividing line between the main content and the sidebar itself. You can set these up to match your company colours, but beware of the contrast ratio if using a dark sidebar and light text as this may make your centre content less readable.

When creating your background image you need to be aware that the image will be left aligned, while the main content is centre aligned. This means that depending on the screen resolution the content could sit anywhere across your background giving you have very little room to place content.

On a 1024×768 display you have about 120px to work with either side of the main content, while on 1280×1024 you have around twice that.

To make sure everything lines up correctly, set up a new document 1280px wide and 1024px high. Mark three vertical lines, one at 125px, one at 885px and one at 1050px. Now mark a horizontal line at 60px from the top. This gives us our three margins and ensures that the smaller text will be hidden beneath the top of the centre column.

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Like Twitter, YouTube allows us to change the colour scheme and add our own custom background. With YouTube however, the background image is centred and the file size is limited to 256k.

Because the background is centred and so is the content we can make our image any size and have everything stay in the same place. A 1900px square should ensure that there is no overlap on larger screens.

Create your image with vertical lines at 195px, 345px, 1305px and 1455px.  The two thin columns created are where your content should sit to be visible either side of the centre column. Again, style the colour scheme to match your site, but be careful of making text unreadable by choosing poor contrast.

 

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Following on from our 10 reasons you should have a Facebook page post, we thought it entirely appropriate to talk about Twitter as well. Below we list the top 10 reasons your business should have a presence on this fast paced and rapidly expanding social media site.

1. Over 200 million tweets are sent every day, so it’s time to get involved and be part of the tweeting revolution.

2. You’ve only got 140 characters to play with, helping you keep your message clear and concise. No one likes waffle!

3. It’s easy to post links, videos and photos here, ideal for making your tweets interesting and engaging.

4. Consumers are more likely to speak positively than negatively about a brand on Twitter. While you’ll never be able to stop some people complaining, they’re also likely to share their love of a brand here.

5. You can easily customise the appearance of your page so that it’s in keeping with your branding. This is really important as it will help customers recognise that your Twitter page is an official communication channel for your business.

6. It’s an informal and conversational way of speaking to people interested in your business.

7. Twitter hash tags allow people to easily search for tweets by topic and areas of interest to them. This increases the likelihood that interested parties will find your tweets for themselves.

8. It’s great for keeping tabs on breaking news stories – whether it be global news, or industry news relevant to your business. It’s the place to find out what’s happening in real time.

9. Followers can retweet your posts at the touch of a button, suddenly spreading your message further and to a fresh set of followers.

10. From a personal point of view, as a consumer it actually feels like less of a commitment to follow someone via Twitter than to like them on Facebook. This increases the chances of me doing so, and the reality is that I’ll rarely unfollow again, certainly not within a short time frame.

As general advice we would recommend maintaining a unified presence on both Facebook and Twitter (as well as utilising email and SMS marketing) to form a well rounded and far reaching marketing strategy. Need further assistance? Leave us a comment below or email us at  info@cyanmailer.co.uk

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Marketing Automation is a revolutionary way to automate many of your most important email marketing actions, so you can build better relationships with your subscribers and get more from your marketing, for less effort.

How does Marketing Automation work? It’s a handy tool within CyanMailer that allows you to set up rules which perform actions automatically when a subscriber acts in a certain
way.

There are lots of ways you can automate your marketing with this new tool, making it easy to get even closer to your subscribers.

Here are a few ideas of ways you can put marketing automation to use for you:

- Send an email or SMS message to a subscriber on, or before, their birthday – perfect if you’d like to give them a reward or discount.

- Receive a notification email if someone clicks on a link within your email – for example you might have different salespeople who deal with different product areas.

- Send an email or SMS message to a subscriber if they open your email or click on a specific link. This is a great option for sending follow up product information emails.

Marketing Automation is available in your account now, under the Send tab, ready for you to try out. If you don’t currently have a CyanMailer account why not get in touch today to get started? Email us at info@cyanmailer.co.uk

There are endless opportunities with Marketing Automation and it’s a system we will continue to build upon in the coming months.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback so please leave your comments in the box below or drop us an email at info@cyanmailer.co.uk. We look forward to hearing how you’ll be using Marketing Automation for your business!

 

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Running a permission marketing program always starts from the same place – getting people to raise their hands and ask to hear more from you.

With the media saturated with news of smartphones and social media it’s easy to overlook some of the simpler methods which can be used to engage with your audience.

Offering a text-to-subscribe service is a quick and low-cost way to allow people opt-in to receive SMS and email alerts from you.

Text-to-subscribe enables people to opt-in wherever they are, using a technology everyone is familiar with (SMS) and gives the marketeer a number of tricks that they can use to engage people in more depth and measure return on investment (ROI).

According to reports, 89% of the UK population have or use a mobile phone and in 2009 the average number of SMS messages sent was a staggering 1700 per person – that’s nearly 5 per day. All of these phones have SMS capability, whilst under 30% of them are smartphones – so SMS has fantastic reach.

A text-to-subscribe service is a simple mechanism for people to use – they simply text in a keyword, optionally followed by additional information like their email address to a shortcode.

By using additional keywords on different adverts you can measure your response rates and return from different placements and messages, giving you real feedback on the success of your campaigns.

You can also automatically send back SMS and email responses, allowing you to send customers further information or even vouchers immediately. According to a recent survey, 71% of UK consumers would like to receive vouchers to their phones so it’s a great way to incentivise response and reward people who take the time to show an interest in you.

We can set you up with a text-to-subscribe service in no time. Get in touch with us at info@cyanmailer.co.uk to get started!

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SMS messaging is a great way of reaching subscribers while they’re on the move; so we’ve come up with 5 ways that you can use SMS marketing for your business, all from within your CyanMailer account. This post is designed to give you some practical ideas, so we’ve given examples for each concept.

1. Ask people to text you their email address

The CyanMailer platform lets you capture email addresses straight from an SMS message; all the subscriber needs to do is text you and the data will be stored. How are you going to get people to subscribe? Well, how about incentivising the process or giving them a reason to get in touch with you?

Customer call to action example: “The first 20 people to text us their email address will win a 20% discount card”.

2. Sending out bulk campaigns

Bulk SMS campaigns are a good way of spreading your message further, so perhaps you could use this for announcing a new product or advertising events coming up soon. In making your messages consistent and the content interesting your subscribers may begin to anticipate their arrival.

Customer call to action example: “Text us your favourite band/singer and we’ll tell you all their exclusive news first!”

3. Send appointment reminders

As well as sending out bulk campaigns you can also send individual, one off messages. You may like to use this to remind customers of appointments they have with you; or if you’re a hotel you may like to text them the day before their stay and tell them what’s on the menu in your restaurant.

Customer call to action example: “We haven’t seen you in the last few months; come and see us soon and we’ll give you a 10% discount.”

4. Mobile subscribers come first

If you’re someone who often announces events, gigs, shows or exhibitions etc, why not set up a ‘mobile club’ where people can text in their details and hear your news first. It’s a guaranteed way of increasing engagement, and if people are signing up then you know they’re interested in your business and what you have to say.

Customer call to action: “Want to hear about our exclusive events first? Text us your details and join our mobile club!”

5. Viral campaigns

Asking your customers for their opinion is always a sure-fire way to boost loyalty; they’ll appreciate being asked for input. Why not take advantage of this by setting up campaigns where you ask people to vote, or voice their opinion on a new product or service you’re thinking about offering?

Customer call to action: “We’ll soon be adding new dishes to our menu; text us and tell us what you’d like to see on it!”

These are just five examples but there are hundreds of ways you can use SMS marketing for your business. All of these ideas can be nicely tied in with email and social media marketing . If you’d like some advice on setting these ideas up in your CyanMailer account drop us an email at info@cyanmailer.co.uk or leave us a comment below.

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There’s lots of detailed information out in the world wide web about how great Facebook is but we thought it high time to break it down a little. We present to you our top 10 reasons why you should have a Facebook page, and we’ve avoided too much detail!

1.   There are 800 million people on Facebook. That’s a lot of people!

2.   Facebook allows you to upload photos into a simple gallery format. This can be a great way of showcasing your product range.

3.   It’s a direct and public way of speaking to people interested in your business. There’s an element of transparency which can help develop your brand.

4.   It’s an easy way of gaining new email subscribers. If you have a CyanMailer account you can add a data capture form to your Facebook page.

5.   Reports suggest that for each new fan you gain you’re likely to have 20 additional visits to your website. That’s big potential for new business.

6.   You can create events which you could use to publicise a special offer or new product launch. Events can quickly become viral as Facebook users can share them with their friends.

7.   There are some great Insights available, allowing you to understand who your fans (and potential customers) are.

8.   There are tabs for almost everything, helping you create a custom page that stands out from the crowd.

9.   Your competitors are most likely already there, gaining customers that could have been yours.

10. Facebook fans can purchase products directly from your page using the shopping functionality.

So go forth and set up your Facebook page! If you have any questions about Facebook pages please get in touch with us.

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It’s the beginning of a new week, you’re at your desk, drinking coffee and analysing the performance of your recent email campaign and thinking eek, my email open rates aren’t great, why aren’t people opening my email? Fear not, we’ve listed some of our top tips for boosting your open rates.

Are your opens being accurately tracked?

First things first, are opens being accurately tracked? Within the CyanMailer system we track opens by the images that are loaded. If there are no images it rests on links being clicked. It’s good email practice to include a balance of text and images within your email and it’s especially important if you want to get an accurate picture of who is opening your email.

Plan of action: ensure you have a healthy balance of images and text in your email (this is also good for ensuring your email doesn’t get marked as spam!).

How obvious is it that the email is from you?

Before a subscriber opens your email the first thing they see is the subject line and from name, so a huge weight of importance rests on this information. We recommend running a split test to see what resonates with your readers, it’s a great feature and allows you to see what factors influence the success of your campaigns. Be sure to be consistent with your name and address, the company name is always a good place to start.

Plan of action: first check that your from name and address is recognisable, and then run a split test to see how different subject lines perform.

When are you sending your campaign?

Do you have a set send time and do your subscribers know when to expect your email? A common trait we often spot is that emails are sent at random times of the day, and infrequently. There is a lot to be said for structuring a time of day on a specific day in the week. People like routine and they will learn to expect your email at a certain point in the week. The more they come to expect it, the more time they are likely to make for your email.

Plan of action: look at previous results, what time and day saw the best results? When is a suitable (and feasible) time for you to be ready to send your email?

Is it landing in the inbox?

You’re happy with your email, you think it looks good and yet the results across the board are low. This may indicate that your email is being spammed, meaning that people are sadly missing out on your email. We offer a spam test report which will offer you guidance on any potential problems in the email you’re about to send.

Plan of action: test, test, test your email before sending!

Is your email engaging with subscribers?

The key with your emails is that they should be building a relationship with subscribers, your potential customers. As such you need to ensure that you’re giving people a reason to open your email, engaging content is at the heart of email success. If you’re unsure what your subscribers want to hear from you, ask them. A little bit of honesty as well as asking for their opinion might add a nice tone to your emails.

Plan of action: give the people what they want! Is your email interesting enough to make people open future emails from you?

Are you benchmarking?

All of the above tips are really important but it’s also vital that you benchmark yourself against others in your industry. This will give you an accurate picture of results you should be expecting. Within your CyanMailer account you can compare yourself against others in your industry – just make sure you set your industry type!

Plan of action: gain an accurate picture on the results you should be expecting.

These are just a handful of pointers and we hope they will prove to be useful to you.

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Do not fear the dreaded unsubscribe link. It can be a good thing for your email marketing. Unsubscribes aren’t generally something we wish to see when managing email marketing campaigns, but they can actually be good for you, so don’t be afraid of making it easy for people to opt out.

People’s needs change. Your newsletter might once have been relevant to their job or hobby, but if they’ve moved on, it may no longer be of interest.

When needs change, there are 3 possibilities:

1 – They just stop reading. They ignore your emails when they arrive, leaving them languishing unread in the inbox or simply delete them straight away.

2 – They flag your emails as spam. Hotmail recently revealed that a staggering “75% of the email messages that people reported as spam were really legitimate newsletters, offers, or notifications that people just didn’t want anymore”.

3 – They unsubscribe.

Of these three, unsubscribing is the route you want to encourage people to take. The other two options mean you’re wasting time and money sending emails that are never read or reacted to. That’s why you should always make it simple for people to opt-out. CyanMailer automatically adds unsubscription links to your email and in the headers, so that certain email services can enable their own unsubscribe links, but you can also insert your own unsubscription links anywhere you like using our email personalisation tools.

When people don’t unsubscribe but stop engaging, your email becomes what’s known as Bacn (pronounced Bacon), or ‘graymail’ – something that someone legitimately signed up for, but no longer wants. These days, email filtering is so good that on average less than 2% of the email in an average inbox is real spam. Instead, graymail is the new challenge for keeping the inbox relevant. In the same blog post mentioned earlier, Hotmail just announced a new set of tools to help consumers deal with graymail, by automatically filtering newsletters and the like into a separate category of email.

Many email services also look at how many of your recipients open and interact with your emails and use this to decide whether your emails get delivered to the inbox or the junk folder in future – not just for that person, but for all recipients at that provider. That means that you want to ensure that as may of your subscribers as possible engage with you regularly and that those who don’t unsubscribe instead.

The good news here is that as graymail filtering becomes more intelligent, relevant, engaging email marketing has more chance than ever to stand out in the inbox and get positive reactions. In fact, according to the DMA’s “Power Of Direct (2011)” report, email marketing delivers an average ROI of 4,000% – or $40 for every $1 spent – a long way ahead of the 2,200% return from search and 1,970% return from display advertising.

So – don’t be afraid to let go of a subscriber when it’s not working out. However, if you start to see large shifts in your interaction and unsubscription rates, it’s time to take a look at your strategy and see if you need to rethink your approach.

That’s something for another post though…

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Last week we were very proud indeed to announce the launch of our brand new CyanMailer Share section. The new business class Social Marketing tools represent a gigantic step forward for our application and now we’d love nothing more than to help you supercharge your social marketing tool.

So without further ado, here are the seven new wonders of the social marketing world, which have been designed to help turbo boost your approach.

1. Manage multiple Twitter accounts and Facebook pages

OK so you can integrate multiple accounts into programs like Tweetdeck too, but we allow you to move between them really easily and have all of your Facebook and Twitter accounts comprehensively housed within CyanMailer. No mucking about with setting up tons of columns here.

2. Post to your accounts, exactly when you want to

Not only does our new Share section allow you to simultaneously post to as many accounts as you want across Facebook and Twitter, you can schedule these updates to be posted in a calm and controlled manner. So set up your social marketing for the day/week/month (or even year if you’re really on top of things) and leave yourself free to do more important things, like read emails and drink coffee.

3. Add notes to a user

Say someone tweets at you and tells you that they bought the super-duper version of whatever you offer and they love it, they really want to know about your next big thing as soon as it’s coming. ‘Great’ says you, add a note to this user and then you’ll know to contact them personally next time around. It’s a private function, so you can safely leave notes if someone is being difficult and they need never know.

4. Add Vibe sentiment to posts

Rate comments and posts from your users as positive and negative and you’ll be able to see these ratings on a user’s CyanMailer profile. This allows you to keep an eye on how a particular user feels about your social presence. Again this is private, so any negatrons that post at you won’t be told that you are monitoring their misery. It also opens up a whole world of analytics for your posts and pages which we will move on to swiftly…

5. Analyse your post performance in Social Outbox

Analytical excitement part one comes in the form of Social Outbox. Here you can view a complete list of your updates that have been posted to all of your accounts through CyanMailer. You can filter this by account or by timeframe to make things more manageable and you can see all sorts of lovely statistics here on the performance of each of your posts. This includes details such as reach (your followers, plus those of anyone who RT’d), number of comments or likes, link clicks and of course that all important Vibe sentiment. Your scheduled posts also sit in this section, so you can monitor and cancel any of those.

6. Analyse your page performance in Social Media Analysis

Analytical excitement part two is provided through our Social Media Analysis section; visit it to partake in stat-based joy for each of your integrated social media accounts. Here you can view detailed information on your fan or follower counts and interactions, and see overall Vibe sentiments. Also you can cast your eyes over some account activity averages and see breakdowns of your most lively, positive and negative users. Remember those notes you left on your users earlier? These are in this section too and can be reviewed, edited or binned with ease.

7. Get your Facebook fans signing up for your emails

Now don’t get me wrong, you know we love social media, but sometimes you want to get right in there with an direct email to your brand aficionados. Our new CyanMailer Form Manager app lets you seamlessly add a data capture form to your Facebook page and this allows your fans to effortlessly sign up to your email lists. Everyone wins.

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All these things and more are available in every monthly billed CyanMailer account, please let us know if you’d like to open or amend your account type.

Have you had a go with the new tools yet? We’d love to hear what you think. As always you can leave us a comment in the box below, but why not tweet at us or leave a message on our Facebook wall instead!

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