Monday, November 28, 2011

Leverage your Reports into better email campaigns

At JangoMail, we’re all about email, of course. Compose your message, build in all the bells and whistles of personalization, send quickly and efficiently, and then watch the results come into your Reports.

Reports, on the surface, contain really great information. At a glance, and in real time, I can watch my campaigns go out and see the tallies of opens and clicks mount up. More opens/clicks, the better my campaign is doing, right?

That is a part of the picture, but only a part. Taking it one step down the road, you can complete the picture by really analyzing how these results can be leveraged into better email campaigns, with greater ROI.

The same lists, with better return? That’s what we’re all looking for. There is a lot of data there for the taking, so I’m going to do a few posts on what you can glean from your current campaigns to make future ones even better.

Let’s start with the basics. We all like to look at our open and click reports over time. Are they improving? How did the latest email do? But how many of you actually do something to try to improve your open and click rates?

Are your Opens low?

Look at your subject line and find out what works best for you.
  • Is it short and concise? Is it longer and descriptive? Is it so long that it gets cut short in some email readers?
  • Do you include your company's name?
  • Do you include your recipient' name?
  • Do you keep your subject line consistent or change it up?
  • Do your subject lines vary based on your customer demographics? One company doubled open rates by catering their subject lines to a recipient group's age demographic.
  • Does it look spammy to you? Would you open it?
There's no one way to best format your subject lines, so test different formats. You'll surely notice that your recipients find certain subject lines more appealing than others.

Segment out your inactive customers. 
  • Did they ever open? Find out what made them open your email. 
  • Look at the data you have. Send an email catered to each customers' preferences and demographics.
  • Send a reactivation campaign. Ask them their preferences. Would they like less email? Something different? Encourage them to unsubscribe if they no longer want to hear from you.
  • If your inactive customers remain inactive after a number of attempts, it may be wise to remove them from your email list.

A note about Open Tracking -

Open Tracking works by tracking the display of an invisible image. Many email programs turn that off by default. If your message contains no other images that your recipients would want to see, they have no reason to enable images, possibly throwing off this metric. Plain text readers can't report opens either, so always evaluate this, along with Click Tracking, to look for trends over time.

Are your Clicks off?

Work on a strong CALL TO ACTION.
  • Are you telling your recipients to click?
  • How many call to actions do you have? Try to minimize the number of calls to action so that it's clear where you want your recipients to go.
  • Do you have social media buttons? Encourage your recipients to join you in the social sphere. One study found this to increase click through rate by 30%!
This process should get you in the habit of using reports to improve your email campaigns. Test constantly! There are few guaranteed best practices. Find out yourself what works for you.

Next I'll talk about using geotracking and browser data to improve your emails.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Why URL shorteners and email don't mix

As you may know, a URL shortener is a service that allows you to input a long URL, and receive a much more concise address. This shortened version redirects the user to the intended location. There are two main benefits of these services:

1. The shortened address can be more easily shared with others. This is especially helpful for mobile text messaging.

2. Many allow you to track statistics on the number of visitors to that address.

A few examples of commonly used URL shorteners are,, Google's, and Twitter's

Here's the big problem with using these in your emails:

Spammers use them too!

They are attractive to spammers because the address of the true destination page is masked by the shortener.

When you send an email, the receiving server scans the message to try to determine whether or not it is spam. One item that is commonly checked is any URLs within your message. Therefore, because spammers have damaged the reputation of these URL shortener domains, including them in your emails can hurt your deliverability.

The good news is that it's easy to avoid having to use URL shorteners in your emails. If the full URL is unsightly due to its length, send your emails in HTML format and hyperlink the full URL with some short descriptive text. If you require statistics on visitors to your links, JangoMail includes a click tracking feature that can be branded with your own domain name.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New personalization option: a mail-merge tag for the Email List name

You can now personalize broadcast emails with the name of the Email List.  Use this special merge-tag:


You can use this notation in any of the fields that support personalization, including Subject, HTML Message, Plain Text Message, SMS Message, and the From Display Name.  For example, if you're sending an email campaign to three lists, and they are named "Press Contacts", "Corporate Contacts", and "Friends", your email might look like:

Subject: Hey there %%EmailListName%%


Dear %%EmailListName%%,
How are you doing? ...

Of course, if you can personalize with the recipient's first name, your email will have more of an impact, but personalizing with the Email List Name is now possible.  We added this functionality at the request of a JangoMail user.  Do you have a special request?  Let us know.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Can JangoMail do that?

Every now and then we get an inquiry from a prospective customer that speaks to a wide variety of JangoMail capabilities.  Sometimes, but not often, I like to give my sales team a break, and post the answer in a blog post for the world to see!

Here is an recent email from a prospect:

We're looking for an e-mail provider that has robust API's and
segmentation capabilities. Triggered e-mails are also a high priority to handle transactional type data. We're also in need of dynamic content features and potentially regional targeting.
We would love to see a demonstration of your product.

And here is the answer.

Robust API - we have one of the most robust and flexible.  Multiple methods can be used to accomplish the same task.  See our full API at

Segmentation capabilities - if you're storing your data with us in Email Lists, then this doc is all about segmentation:  If you're storing your data in your own database and just using JangoMail to connect to it, then you can use any SQL query you wish to segment your data.

Triggered emails - emails can be triggered when a recipient joins your list, opens another email, clicks a URL, or lands on a particular web page.  For more information on triggered emails, see

Transactional emails - JangoMail has one of the most robust, feature-rich, and flexible transactional email platforms available.  Connect via our transactional email API or via SMTP relay.  More information here -

Dynamic content for regional targeting - There are a couple of ways to create dynamic content.  Want each individual email to pull content from a URL on your own server?  Use our content-pull feature.  More information here -  Want to script your email to deliver content based on a recipient's individual profile?  Use a subset of VBScript to "program" your emails.  More information here -

Most of our features are developed after requests from our users.  Have an idea for a neat feature?  We'll likely build it for you if you tell us about it.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Two API methods to manage IP addresses for SMTP relay

JangoMail's SMTP service now allows you to manage authenticated IP addresses via two new API methods. The methods, SMTPRelay_AddIP and SMTPRelay_DeleteIP, simply take an account's credentials and the IP address that the user wishes to add or delete to the SMTP service.