E-MAIL CAMPAIGN DESIGN , MANAGEMENT, AND COST

The bottom line: there’s lots of detail in this article, but we know you are mostly interested in the cost, so an up to date price quote is at the end of this page, and here’s a link to our e-mail campaign portfolio where you can see samples of some launched campaigns.  We also have a blog post explaining the three types of campaigns that are working currently for our clients.

The initial set up and design takes some time and thought, but once up and running, e–mail campaigns are a great way to keep your brand in front of your customers, drive people to your web site, promote your business and events, and as well as attract new customers.

E–mail campaign designs should:

  • be designed and coded in such as way as to not get caught in spam filters,
  • be coded so they render cleanly in any e–mail client, on any system, including tablets and smartphones,
  • be concise,
  • drive people to your web site, on-line store, or appointment forms with links,
  • use graphics intelligently so they don’t hinder load time, readability on all devices, and deliverability,
  • carry your branding throughout,
  • contain calls to action, and
  • be designed so you may use the same template for each launch, making simple edits to text, colors, and photos without re-coding each time.

The initial steps in the process are:

  • deciding upon your e-mailer design,
  • how to manage your e–mail list,
  • designing and coding your email template (this same template will be used from e–mail to e–mail, making updates easy and providing your recipients with consistency),
  • collection of e–mail addresses, and
  • the account set up.

These above steps are discussed in our initial meeting and are not repeated after the first e–mail campaign.

Costs

One time set-up costs:

  • Design drafts, half an hour to two hours depending upon type of e-mailer.
  • E–mail template coding, one hour to three hours depending upon type of e-mailer. The simpler the template design, the faster the code is written.
  • Set up of e-mail campaign service provider account, half an hour including collection of your contact information.
  • Cost of initial e–mail address list set up depends upon how much training is needed. A good estimate is one hour for someone computer savvy, but needing a little support with their e–mail client and with Excel.

Here are the steps which are repeated with each following campaign:

  • Entering content to the template, half to one hour. This assumes a few graphics and several paragraphs of text copy, and also that the content provided is publish-ready and fits to the e–mail template already coded.
  • Entering html to e-mail campaign platform and sending you a test e–mail, half an hour.
  • Formatting the address list and uploading to e-mail campaign platform, fifteen minutes.
  • Launching e-mailer, fifteen minutes.
  • Reporting, FREE! A few days after the e-mail is sent to your address list, we will e–mail you a report with information which can be helpful to your future marketing. Report will include how many clicks the e–mail generated to a linked web pages, who has opted off of your mailing list, your open rate, which e–mail addresses are not valid, and if any of your e–mails were forwarded and if these recipients added their address to your mailing list.
  • Also no charge, lot of tips along the way on how to produce an effective e–mail campaign, and how e–mail campaigns can help your web site’s search engine optimization.

The final summary is that the first campaign will take 4.5 to 8.5 hours to produce, and that following e–mails will take 1.5 to 2 hours of work. Our rate is $120/hour. The charge from the e-mail campaign platform will depend upon the size of your mailing list. Please contact John with any questions.

These prices do not include a “post to Facebook” sharer link. Cost for this vary.  If interested, let us know.



SIGNAGE FOR NUEVA SCHOOL’S INTERSESSION

Nueva School Signage

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been working with Hope Patricia Daly Public Relations on a class catalog and signage for Nueva School’s annual Intersession.  Intersession is a two week “experimental and intellectual feast” which engages the students in an interactive way on topics not found in typical high schools.  I’ve pasted a capture of one of the posters we made so you can see some of the amazing seminars and activities offered.

Thanks, Hope, for bringing us into this eye-opening project.

blog-intersession-signage2

TEAR-OFF REFERRAL CARD

 

Tear Off Referral CardWe worked with a new printer, PrintingForLess.com, to make this referral card.

Referral cards are difficult.  They need to be small enough that someone would carry it around.  Nice enough that people will pass them onto their friends.  They need to track the giver and the receiver so that the rewards can be passed on and so you can track your ROI.

Our client has been handing these out all holiday season.  We’re looking forward to finding out if they do bring in new clients – it’s a great offer for the giver and receiver, so they should.

E-MAILS WORKING FOR OUR CLIENTS

E-mail Campaign Design

There are many ways to approach e-mail campaign development and production. We’ve narrowed it down to three options to cover all our clients’ budgets and all the devices out there.

We also include enhancements to our e-mail campaign services that our competitors skip. We usually do all the graphics and copy writing. For each campaign, we also produce a web page version which our clients use as landing pages for online ads or social media posts. A week after launch, we provide a free report on the campaign’s success.

And finally, because we don’t like to just do a one-off campaign with a short lifespan of value, we add the web page version to our client’s site on a news archive page so all that work put into making the e-mail campaign continues to pay off as a boost to site search engine optimization and additional information for site visitors to enjoy. Here are a couple of news archive pages we maintain using our e-mail campaigns: http://www.gleimjewelers.com/gleim_jewelry_news.shtml and http://www.palacecafe.net/about-us-newsletter-archive.html.

Reporting shows that around 55% of all our clients’ e-mail campaigns are being viewed on smartphones. This is a higher percentage for retail businesses and a lower percentage for B2B and service businesses. Because of this, the non-responsive e-mail campaign designs we were doing just a few years ago were dropped – a business’ e-mail must be readable and actionable on a smartphone.

Here’s what is working for our clients right now:

Mobile-friendly campaigns render cleanly, but not responsively, on all devices from smartphone (landscape and portrait) to desktop computer. Mobile-friendly is a term we made up to go with the code we developed. These are the lowest priced options since they do not need complex responsive code or an e-mail campaign platform’s design interface.

They work well on all devices and on a smartphone do not require pinching or side-scrolling.

Here’s a mobile friendly e-mail campaign.

Mobile Friendly E-mail Campaign

Responsive e-mail campaigns render the same code/design on any device. For these, we use a template provided by an e-mail campaign service provider, but prevent them from looking “from a box” with custom graphics.

Different e-mail campaign providers vary in quality and services. We like Vertical Response the best for its same-time-zone customer support and list management features, which we find to be the most adaptable to split-list campaigns and the way our clients wish to manage lists. However we have been recently surprised and pleased with how Constant Contact has improved – no more phone-tree nightmares when calling for support and great reporting. Of the main providers, MailChimp is our least favorite as the list management is non-flexible and there’s no phone support.

Here’s a sample of one of our responsive e-mail campaigns, produced through Constant Contact.

Responsive E-mail Design

Custom, responsive e-mail campaigns require a lot of work. Two versions of each campaign are produced: a desktop version and a smartphone version. These are the best looking and performing types of e-mails as the design is specific to the device.

Our company campaigns are coded in this way.

Custom Responsive E-mail Design

We work closely with our clients to make sure we are providing the best fit for their needs, and their budgets.

Our e-mail campaign portfolio.

WHICH WEBSITE FOR ME?

Which Website?

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF WEBSITES AVAILABLE AT MPS?

Up until a few years ago, websites were static in that they displayed the same layout no matter the type of device upon which they were viewed. As you have all experienced, these sites do not work well on smartphones; the text is too small and screen pinching and side-scrolling is required.

Content Management Systems (CMS) sites allow for anyone with administration access to make basic edits. For example, putting in a new product photo or changing the business’ open hours. This always seems exciting to a business as they feel they will save money by managing the site internally, but all of our clients who have CMS sites pay us to work on them – work which costs more as edits are done in an interface, rather than using website coding software.

Mobile websites are coded completely differently from a business’ main site. It’s designed to render on smartphones in landscape or portrait modes and to feature information a mobile user is most likely to need. The main site continues to render on desktop and laptop computers and tablets. Mobile sites are “seen” as responsive by search engines.

A responsive website is designed to recognize the device the viewer is using and render the page’s content in the most attractive and readable manner by responding to the device’s screen size, platform, and orientation. This means the same website content will display at its best from desktop computer to laptop to tablet to smartphone.

 

WHICH IS BEST FOR MY BUSINESS?

We don’t push any particular type of site. We have experience and understanding of all types of website coding for businesses going back to 1999. As new technology is developed, we integrate it into our service offerings as soon as it is well–supported. (Many developers jump on selling new code too early, leading to websites that don’t function very well, have a short life, and cost too much.)

We clearly explain your options and by gaining an understanding of your needs, budget, and business goals, we can make a good recommendation. If we do code a responsive site for you, we use the well–supported codebase named Foundation, used by companies such as Yahoo! and National Geographic.

 

RESPONSIVE SITES SEEM THE BEST CHOICE. IS THERE A DOWNSIDE?

  • A user viewing a responsive site on a phone will see the exact same content as a user on a computer. Since phone users are generally visiting your site for different reasons than a user on a computer, you may wish to keep a separate mobile version of your site geared to smartphone users’ needs and behavior, instead of having a responsive site.
  • Responsive sites require more maintenance, testing, and security and Javascript upgrades since the technology and coding is newer and more complex. Whereas our non–responsive and mobile code can go months without needing attention.
  • Potentially slower page load time.
  • Generally a responsive web site is coded for smartphones first, so with computer users coming in second they may find the content over–simplified.
  • Coding and updating a responsive site is more expensive.

 

AND THE UPSIDE?

  • Users are now familiar with responsive websites and expect all businesses to have a site that functions well and looks attractive on all devices. Businesses with a responsive or mobile site are going to look current.
  • Search engines “grade” a site as being more worthy of higher organic search results if it is device-responsive.
  • Since the user will be viewing a site which performs perfectly on the device he is utilizing, they are more likely to move around your site, finding the information they are seeking.
  • We found the following info when we created a client’s website traffic report for October, 2015. It’s based upon visitors to one of their services pages, on a site without a mobile version. 67% of smartphone users — mostly iPhone and Android phones — bounced off the page without clicking a link to any other page versus a 43% bounce rate for visitors using a desktop computer, tablet, or laptop.
  • As of winter 2015, 30–35% of our clients’ website visitors are using a mobile device. Your numbers are probably similar. Since around one third of your site’s visitors are using a smartphone, a mobile version will give these visitors a better experience and therefore keep them on your site.
  • If you wish to link to a page and have a separate mobile website, you will need to note two links – one for mobile and one for regular.  For example, if you wish to link to your web page with your business hours, you’d need to call out the link for smartphone users and the link for non-smartphone device users.  With a responsive website, the same link will work for any device.

 

YOU TUBE CHANNELS AND VIDEO

Youtube Header Graphic Design

YouTube is the second largest search engine. Make sure you have a channel — optimized and hosting your optimized videos. We’ve set up a few: Halo Blow Dry Bar Channel and Palace Cafe and Catering Channel.

But keep in mind that you have to either create your own videos or have copyright permission from the owner of the video to post to your channel.

We recently came across videos hosted within Vimeo and embedded on a client’s site. But we recommend YouTube over this.  Vimeo puts a link to their site in the footer of the video, so you could potentially lose a visitor to the Vimeo playlist.  Plus, with YouTube being the second largest search engine in the world, going with Vimeo does not seem to make sense.

The specs for the header graphic (see above) can be tricky as it needs to render from smartphone to desktop to TV and all devices in-between.

blog-you-tube-channels

And even better for search engine optimization and for visitor engagement, be sure you add any video to your site, as we have done with this Palace Cafe & Catering video of wine pairings, appetizers, and setting the perfect event. Once you have created and posted your own videos to your YouTube channel they can be embedded on your website which saves you money — no need for custom coding — since you can generate the code to embed right from your YouTube channel.

Video on your web site

RESPONSIVE E-MAIL CAMPAIGN

Jewelery Responsive E-mail CampaignWe’ve just finished our first e-mail campaign for Gleim the Jeweler.  They have had a long-time account with Constant Contact – a platform we have not used for years.  We’d mainly dropped CC due to their terrible customer service and horrible phone system.  But they have dramatically turned that around.  The interface as also the best we’ve worked with – if you are not doing custom html e-mail campaigns, this would be a good option.

Our client has traced sales back to their store and their online store from this campaign, so hopefully we’ll be doing many more of these campaigns in the future.

We’re grateful to all our clients, of course, but Rachel especially enjoys working with Gleim so she can see the photos of beautiful jewelry.

INSTAGRAM ANIMATION

Instagram Animation

This graphic is just an animated gif, but you can’t post a gif to Instagram.  If you need an animation for Instagram, you need to render a video and post that.  To see this one, you’ll need to visit our client’s feed, for which we produce content, run contests, and keep maintained, at instagram.com/haloblowdrybar.  It’s pretty easy to do – this one took only a few minutes once the five photos were selected and prepped.