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/haloblowdrybars.  It’s pretty easy to do – this one took only a few minutes once the five photos were selected and prepped.

OWN YOUR NEWS – PDF VS. OUT-GOING LINK

PDF vs. Out-going Link

It’s great marketing to be mentioned in print.  But if you simply link to the online version of the article, you are not getting the full benefit of the piece.

When you link to the article or post on the publishing website:

•  You are directing your visitor off of your site where you can lose them to the distractions of ads, other articles, post comments, or mentions of your competition.  (Look at all the distractions in the webpage capture of the article on the left side of our graphic above.)

•  The publisher may remove or change the link at any time.  Your article is lost and you have a dead link on your site.  (BTW, if you do go this route of simply linking to an article, put a reminder in your calendar for a few times a year to test all the links on your site so you can fix any that are broken.)

• Out-going links do not help search engine optimization (SEO) at all.

We recommend putting the content of the article to a PDF which is uploaded to your website’s server.  That way, you can control the content and remove ads, mentions of your competitors, and all distractions (see the clean article on the right side of the graphic above.)  You always have possession of the story.  And while PDFs may not be optimized for SEO the way a regular web page may be, they do help SEO.

To see samples:

HAWAII ISLAND ENERGY COOPERATIVE Click on any of the articles on this page.

SKINSPIRIT SKINCARE CLINIC AND SPA In this PDF, we removed all distractions, including mentions of our client’s competitors.  Here, we highlighted the relevant information and greyed-out the rest of the article.  Note that the URLs show the page is on our clients server.

HPD PUBLIC RELATIONS Here, we integrated press articles with items related to this event: postcard and poster (MPS designed and produced), photos, social media, blog posts, and the press release put out by our client, Hope Patricia Daly.

Send John a line for more information.

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO PHOTO SHOOT

Photoshoot at Spa in San Francisco

The Hayes Valley, San Francisco location of Hayes Valley Medical is gorgeous.  It’s a beautiful facility, made even better by the artwork of Elizabeth Gorek.  We’ve been working with them on print and online marketing.  These shots have been posted to their web site.