In a Net awash with unsolicited junk mail and SPAM, it's getting increasingly difficult to send legitimate marketing information to people who have actually asked for it. If you do manage to get your newsletters or e-brochures through, it's hard to judge how effective it's been.
There are bulk mailing programs and newsletter-sending CGI scripts but they do take considerable time and effort to set up and manage.
Enter, Campaign Monitor. Campaign Monitor is a Web-based email marketing program aimed specifically at Web designers and agencies which makes subscriber management and mail delivery incredibly easy and also providing valuable reports on every aspect of the campaign.
Using a very simple 'wizard' interface, you can set up campaigns for yourself or for your clients. Subscriber lists can be single or double opt-in, giving you the options of importing an existing subscriber list from a database or putting a set of subscribe/unsubscribe links on your Web pages.
Double opt-in asks each subscriber to confirm that they have subscribed and keeps you on the right side of the law should someone subsequently try to claim that you have spammed them.
Once you have set up a campaign and linked to the 'brochure' – a HTML file at a specific URL on the Web or a set of files on your local machine – you can send test copies to yourself and to your client for approval. Then, it's just a matter of choosing a delivery time, based upon international time zones, and pressing the 'send' button.
Having sent the emails, you can then measure the effectiveness of your campaign with the reporting feature. It gives a breakdown of how the subscribers responded to your message – who looked at it or didn't, who clicked links and when and, heaven forbid, who didn't like what you sent them and unsubscribed.
One of the realities of sending mass mailings is that there are inevitably lots of bounces. Some are temporary glitches – full mailboxes, out-of-office situations – some are 'dead' addresses. With Campaign Monitor, you can set how many bounces are allowed before the subscriber is removed from the list making your next sending even more efficient.
The campaign reports are provided in an attractive graphical format so that you can point your client to them online to demonstrate how well they have done. All this information is archived, so you, or your client, can go back to it at a later date and make comparisons with earlier or later ones. Very useful!One thing missing from Campaign Monitor that I would very much like to see is the option to send emails in plain text format. Some people prefer not to clog-up their mailboxes with unnecessary HTML bloat or maybe they have spam filters that block anything but plain text.
Currently the program only supports HTML but the makers tell me that a text option will be available in the next update.
Campaign Monitor has a very fair pricing model. To send a campaign, you pay five US dollars plus one cent for every subscriber, so sending out two thousand emails would cost only $25 – you only pay for what you send. If you want to try it for yourself, there is a free trial that allows you to test how simple it all is and send up to five emails. Give it a go!
|Ease of Use||95%|
|Value for Money||80%|
|'Must Have' Factor||85%|
|Price||$5 + 1¢ per email|
|Summary||Well thought out and a joy to use.|