Monday, January 7, 2019

An Announcement and Review of Campaign Monitor Services

Hi All! I have some very exciting news--I have relocated to Switzerland! More on this later!!

For now, I had an exciting opportunity to announce this using an email marketing platform provider called, "Campaign Monitor," that allows you to send emails to your subscribers. If you are on my subscriber list, you would have received this announcement over the weekend. If not, please sign up now by clicking this link.

Campaign Monitor is this awesome, easy-to-use platform to send emails to your subscriber list or customer base that can feature an important announcement, distribute a newsletter, send deals or offers on products you sell, obtain feedback, announce events, or confirm an action taken on your website like a hotel booking. It's really cool! It has beautiful templates that you can work with so that even those who are not that tech savvy (like myself!) can create gorgeous, eye-catching emails in very little time.

So, I designed an email to announce my move to Switzerland. Here's how it worked:

First, I answered some questions about my business. I indicated that my contacts were stored in a csv file that I was able to pull from Feedburner and I indicated that I was the only person using this account. Done.

Then, you have the option to watch a five-minute video on how to get started, which I did. I thought it went a bit too fast as I wasn't able to catch everything, but it was a nice quick overview to show me that this process would not be too difficult.

Then, you must choose your plan. For just $9 per month, you can send 2,500 emails across campaigns, receive customer support via email, access all core email marketing features, and have access to the insights analytics suite. That sounded sufficient to me! There are other options for $29 and $149 per month that offered features I truly didn't need.

Once I signed up and paid the $9 fee, I was able to sign up for a 30-minute webinar that is offered once a week. That sounded great, but the next webinar was scheduled in five days and I was anxious to get this email out, so I skipped signing up for that.

To begin, you choose who you would like the email to come from, i.e., which email address, what the subject line will be, and whether you'd like the subject line to include your subscribers' first names.

Next, you choose a starting point by choosing a design. I chose an Announcements design and was shown many cool templates.

Once I double clicked the template, I was able to start customizing it. I was amazed at how easy it was. You can keep all the predefined fields in the design if you like or you can swap them out for other types of content. For example, you can keep a text box as text or change it to a picture.

You have a bunch of options on the left-hand side that allow you to customize as you wish.

I used mostly text and picture buttons. I had to play around with the text options to get the look I wanted. There are lots of options for fonts and colors.

For the pictures, you could resize them within a limited range. I was surprised that you could crop images, but not rotate them as one of my images was accidentally taken upside down and I couldn't use it because I could not flip it right-side up. 

I had a little trouble sizing two pictures at the bottom of the announcement as they were set up to be next to each other in one row, but they were different sized pictures, so when I made one the same size as the other, there was a lot of white space remaining in the picture box surrounding the picture itself. I figured out how to change the background of this white space to gray and then it looked a lot better.

I also thought this would be a great way to collect feedback from my subscribers on what they like about my blog and any suggestions for improvement, so I inserted a feedback survey. Campaign Monitor partners with getfeedback to allow you to create a simple survey for free. For more robust options, you must pay. So, I created a four-question survey as well and linked to it in my email.

In the end, after fully designing a simple email announcement, the only thing I couldn't figure out how to do was change the color of the top header and bottom footer, which I wanted to do. Oh, well.

The header serves as the place you can put your logo. The footer allows you to link to all your social media accounts using the nice little logos--looks very professional. I loved this feature.

Once completed, you can preview your campaign to see how it will look via email and mobile. This is another great feature.

Even after previewing it, I sent myself a test email and then I saw what really needed to be changed.

Once I was sure I was ready, I went to the Define Recipients screen. I uploaded my csv file with no issues. Then, I got to choose to send the campaign now or schedule it to be sent in the future. I just went ahead and sent it Now!

Then, I waited. There are two more things I wanted to do following this campaign:
  1. Check my insights to see how many people opened my email
  2. Check the results of my survey on gofeedback
The next day, I checked my Insights on Campaign Monitor. This is great information. It showed that 26.5% opened the email, 3.23% clicked the links and 10% bounced. The information is displayed in a really easy to understand format.

I also check my gofeedback page, but no one had completed the survey yet. I completed it myself, then reviewed the results and it looked like an easy-to-understand format. Very basic for the free version.

In the end, I'm really excited about Campaign Monitor and may continue to use it going forward. I think it's a great platform, is easy to use and user-friendly, and offers great insights to understand the effectiveness of your campaigns. To learn more, click here.

Full Disclosure: Although I was compensated to review Campaign Monitor, that in no way influenced my veracious opinion.