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Check out our email design in this months .net magazine Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Great Marketing / Advertising, Toddle, design

net_mag_spread_blog

net magazine toddle email designCheck out our work that is featured in the July issue of .net magazine on the shelves now. I believe the magazine is called Practical Web Design in the US and Australia. What ever the name look for the cover to the left.

Alan designed a fictional email offer for the real web application Finetuna.com. This is how he described it:
net_mag_finetuna_artwork“Finetuna.com is a real web application run by the team at Spoiltchild. It’s for sharing feedback on concepts between a designer and client. However, it doesn’t have subscriptions or even an email newsletter, so I thought it would be fun to see what one might look like.

I approached this email as if it was one edition of a newsletter that’s been going out regularly. With that in mind, the subject line is ‘Finetuna.com – WIN a lifetime subscription’. The hope would be that the Finetuna brand name would have built up recognition and trust over previous emails, making a subscriber pay more attention when they see it.

The design is consistent with the look and style of the website, except for the main competition piece, which has large formatted type, an off-brand contrasting colour and big call to action button so there’s no doubt this is the most important part of the email. Entry is as simple and quick as possible because a subscriber’s attention span won’t be that long with this mail.
I also deliver on the established trust by providing links and an article that would be of value to a designer reading it.

Finally, while I love email newsletters, I realise they’re just one part of a wide marketing mix, so I’ve included links to the other channels where a subscriber may prefer to interact instead.

Overall, the design and art direction captures the brand and personality of the service. It requests instant action from the subscriber, but doesn’t sacrifice the long-term relationship in favour of a quick win.”

Alan also gives a break down in the article of the the individual sections of the email design but i will not give those away so that you go out and buy loads of copies!
Check it out now on your magazine stands.

Easy is hard to do Business, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Toddle, design, feedback

Toddle wordle cloud

A few months back we ran a survey to track how Toddle.com is performing for our customers. From the results of the survey, we created a Wordle cloud of terms most used to describe Toddle’s benefits.

As you can see, the words easy, use, newsletters and professional jump from the graphic. This got me thinking – easy is hard to do. We built Toddle to ease the pain of newsletter design and sending for small business. And to make sure your message looks great, we test it in over 30 email clients. We take the pain you get the gain. We are really thrilled that Toddle is benefiting our clients every day and thank you all sincerely for your feedback and referrals.

What’s next then?
We are working on new template designs to add to the template gallery and new payment pathways to make payments easier. Find our two newest template designs here. Exciting times indeed!

Two new email newsletter designs available Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Toddle, design

Two great new designs are now available in Toddle and to be very biased I believe they are our best yet.
As always they look great in Outlook, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, Gmail etc, even with images disabled. We hope you love them as much as we do!

                         Birmingham Roller                                               Bremen Tumbler
Email Newsletter Template - Burmingham RollerEmail Newsletter Template - Bremen

Log in and get started now.

Customer survey results Business, Email Newsletter Templates, Toddle

On the day we hit over 10,000 user mark, a big milestone for us, we bring you the results off our recent survey. You have spoken and we have listened. Thank you all for taking the time to take our survey. The information is invaluable to us as we plan on how we can become (and stay) the best darn email marketing service for you.
The survey we used is called Survey.io from the brilliant Sean Ellis and KissMetrics. I really recommend you try it yourself with your own customers. So for the curious and nosey (me usually) among you I have some results below.

How did you discover Toddle?

Great, relevant content is still the best source of traffic online. Looking at the results above, the Blog and Search Engines results can be combined together, as most search traffic lands on the Blog. I will dig a little deeper into Google analytics and see which source converts better  and get back to you. Thank you all  for reading and commenting. Expect more great tips, advice and research from the team this year and more often.

How would you feel if you could no longer use Toddle?

Of all the questions on the survey this is the most important result to us. According to the research behind this survey a result of 45% and up indicates something special. So thank you for making Toddle something special. It is only from your constant  feedback and input that we are on this path.

Caelen King gave a great talk last year on online business and subscription models. He explained that a churn rate of 20-30% of your customers is to be expected each year. (In his words, “people die” and their focus and circumstances change). A must see talk if you have a few minutes. I remark on this because the number of users above who nolonger use Toddle back up his point. I am just happy to see that we are on the low end of the churn rate.

What is the primary benefit that you have received from Toddle?
Primary benefits

Survey.io has a great feature where they create a word cloud of the most repeated words across all answers. It gives a great visual snapshot of how your product or business is viewed.
“NONE” in this case is due to the number of people who skipped this question as opposed to them getting no benefits from Toddle :)
“Easy”, “Design” and “Good” are great responses to the key benefits of Toddle. From the beginning we sought to make email marketing easy, simple and fun with great looking professional newsletters that signals you out from the competition. We are more than delighted that you our user agrees with our vision.

Have you recommended Toddle to others?

Half of you have recommended Toddle. WOW! Sincerely once again, thank you so much. We are honoured and humbeled that so may of you love Toddle so much to refer it to friends and colleagues. We will do our utmost this year to continue to make Toddle a must have business resource that you will be glad to recommend!

What type of person do you think would benefit most from Toddle?
What type of person do you think would benefit most from Toddle?

Once again your feeedback to this question was music to our ears. We built Toddle to ease the pain point of email marketing for SME’s, Consultansy professionals, small organisations, individual business owners and anyone who wanted to DIY their own marketing material. We are delighted that Toddle has gained such an amazing foothold in this our target market thanks to all of you. The best, most creative response we got to this question  was: “A Breathing one.”

How can we improve Toddle to better meet your needs?
How can we improve Toddle to better meet your needs?

Well this was pretty clear, you want more and it is coming.
Right now we are preparing to move Toddle to new, bigger, faster servers for the next phase of development. Expect a speed boost in about two weeks when the move is complete.
We have more newsletter designs coming out, better integration with your other services, more marketing advice and a few killer features to make your life much much easier.
However,  we are being very careful about what features we are adding to Toddle. As our goal is to make Toddle the simplest, fastest email newsletter application on the planet! The results above show that you guys agree with us. Each additional feature we add to Toddle makes it a little more complicated, so please be patient with us as we test and refine each one to make it the best experience possible for you.

I know I have said it previously, but 2010 is going to be a great year and I am so happy you are taking Toddle on the ride with you.

Kind regards,

Alan and the Toddle team.

Are you a hotel? Grab your TOP 10 email marketing checklist. Checklist, Email Marketing, Hotel, Tips & Tricks, Toddle

We have been working with the hotel and hospitality industry developing email marketing strategies and designing custom email newsletters for some time now. Over the course of working with many hotels, travel sites and hospitality services we realized that key information necessary to run successful campaigns was being missed on a regular basis. For example not getting the email addresses of both parties who book a double room or not getting contact details for a whole team not just the person who books the rooms.

In response we designed this easy monthly checklist to make sure you are harnessing the potential of your email marketing campaigns. So download, print it off and hang in your office. This way you will never wonder again how to structure your campaigns and if you are gathering emails from every possible source, client booking and referral.

If you think you could do with some more information on how to get started or improve your email marketing campaigns sign up to our free email marketing course. More useful tips and tricks are found on our monthly newsletter so feel free to sign up. We design fantastic custom newsletters for the hotel industry so give us a shout and we will be sure to help you.

Keep us posted and let us know how the checklist helped your business! We will showcase replies right here on the blog.

10 TIPS TO ATTRACT NEW SUBSCRIBERS 9 Happy users, Business, Email Client Tips, Email Newsletter Templates, Seminars, Sending Newsletters, Tips & Tricks, Toddle

Business cards

1. Ask
Sounds simple and it is. You will be surprised how your customers, partners and friends will happily agree. Make it a part of your normal business interaction. A sales call, a first meeting, a network event, before you say goodbye tell then you have information you believe would be useful to them in your newsletter and can you add their email. Now you have promised to deliver good, useful content so make sure you deliver or your customers won’t be long unsubscribing.

2. Blog / Site
I heard recently that up to 80% of a website’s visitors do not return. People simply forget or think they have found the information they need and move on. Email is a great way to hook them in and remind them to come back when you have new news and updates. Your customers have done the hard work and found you among the millions of sites on the web. So grab them and don’t let then go too easily. VERY prominently on your blog or site put up an email subscribe box with a GREAT reason to sign up.

3. Offer a free course
Seth Godin has a great story of a wine merchant, who used free information provided to him, to create a wine appreciation course by email. By putting a single ad in his local paper users subscribed to his course. Newsletter by newsletter he explained the virtues and characteristics of the wines in his shop and along with it, gained the trust and confidence of would be purchasers. The information he gave out was free provided by the wine makers. The upshot: He became known in his locality as an authority on wine; he converted readers to purchasers and ultimately grew his business. Like our wine merchant think of the expertise you have in your field and see how you can repackage it to your subscribers. Keep it simple and relevant to the needs of your clients.

4. eBooks
Very similar to the free course above. For readers who prefer books to courses package up your information into a downloadable eBook. As part of the download process ask them to subscribe to additional information and advice from your newsletter.

5. Competition
I noticed in a local restaurant a big fish bowl by the cash register offering a years free membership to a local gym as a prize. All you had to do was drop in your business card and agree to get a healthy living newsletter monthly.
What a great idea. The restaurant gets a free prize for their customers and the gym gets a list of people who have indicated they want to get more active and healthy. You can offer a competition via your website, local newspaper or try and find out who else is sending newsletters to your target market and team up with them.

6. Free stuff
Incentivise people to sign up. Offer something free. An eBook, as above, a free 30 minute consulting session or a special offer only for subscribers. I noticed a tourist office recently offering USB drives for the first 100 people who signed up. An expensive promotion but it worked with me! Whatever it is make sure you have calculated that you will get the returns. Something else to consider, is your incentive is believable? At this years Marketing Sherpa conference in Boston, a great case study highlighted how a GUARENTEED incentive of $250 received only 12 responses. That is, a guaranteed payment of $250 dollars if a subscriber responded. However, when the same company offered the same subscriber list $7 per sign up they got over 500 responses. People simply did not believe the $250 offer.

7. Ask for referrals
Similar to point 1. Just ask. Most of us are more then happy to refer other people to services, sites or information that they will find useful. If your customers and subscribers are happy with you, then they will only be too happy to refer your newsletter to someone else. Make sure you have a nice big “Forward to a friend” link in your newsletter.

8. Give a talk / network
Events and seminars are great places to meet new people. When you are exchanging business cards ask if you can send your newsletter to them and mark their cards for adding their details later. If you are standing up in front of these people then you are already perceived as an expert in the field and someone worth listening to. So at the end of the talk, tell the audience you can send them more information on a particular point or topic, they just need to drop up their business card.

9. Make your subscribe box pop
You are going to need to test this. Play around with the location, colour and wording of your email subscribe box on your site. You will be surprised but some very minor changes can increase sign ups by up to 400%.

10. Email Signatures
You are sending out hundreds / thousands of emails every year. How many of your emails promote your email newsletter in your email signature. Look at doing the same on discussion forums and social networks.

For every point above there are a few things to keep in mind to make the process more effective:

A.  Tell people how often they should expect the newsletter (people are afraid they might get overloaded with mails daily)
B.  Where possible show them an example / link to the type of mail they will get
C.  Send them a welcome mail as soon as they sign up. A month down the line they might not remember you and unsubscribe or mark you as spam.

Got any more tips? What works for you? Let us know.

Image thanks to atomicShed

Create your Email Newsletter in 60 seconds. Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Features, Stuff, Tips & Tricks, Toddle, Video Guide, design

A simple video guide showing how to create your email newsletter in Toddle.

Start creating your email newsletter here.

Once your email marketing newsletter is ready you have a huge number of ways to send it. Choose one that you feel most comfortable with.

You can find handy guides on sending with a range of email marketing software here.

Same price, new US Dollar currency. Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Pricing, Stuff, Toddle

We are announcing a small change to our pricing today. It now costs $9 to send your email newsletter instead of €6. The end cost to you is roughly the same.
To date we have been charging just €6 in the EURO € currency. That was great when we began building Toddle.com as most users were relatively local. However over the last 6 months our user base has grown wonderfully (Thanks to you guys) to where most of our users are based in the US.
Unfortunately for those US users when it came to converting from Euro into Dollar they were never sure exactly what conversation rate was and what the final charge would be.
Now the cost in US$ is set at exactly $9. This is roughly equal to the previous price of €6.

So in summary:

  • What is happening?: New currency, same price.
  • Does it effect me?: If you are based in the US your payment is now a few Cents cheaper. If you are based in Europe your payment is now a few Cents more.
  • When is it happening? Early this week.

If you have any questions just leave a comment below.
Thanks, and here is to more low cost, stress free email marketing.

Alan
(CEO, Toddle.com)

Spam is in the eye of the beholder 9 Happy users, Avoiding Spam, Business, Email Newsletter Templates, Toddle

Spam Email - Is it spam?
A recent discussion on Spam on the Enterprise Ireland eBusiness list caught my attention.
The jist of it is, if you send a really wonderful, relevant special offer to someone who did not subscribe but is interested, is it spam? It is a question that comes up again and again, and it is a realy good one. Sender is happy, receiver is happy. How can you lose?

From a person in the discussion:
>> If an Irish hosting provider sent targeted “special deal” emails to
>> Irish companies offering them great savings on their annual hosting,
>> what certain people would classify as “spam”, how many companies do you
>> think would object to being informed about the deal? I’d
>> say very few. <<

It is a strong and valid point. But it is flawed, short term thinking. I replied with the following and posted it here as it is worth sharing.

There are three definitions of Spam.

1. The Law in Ireland
You can send to another business or customer without permission. You must provide unsubscribe information and remove them if requested.
See also UK andUSA CAN-SPAM Act.

2. The ‘Subscriber’
If the person receiving the email thinks it is spam then to them it is spam. This can be because they didn’t sign up, they don’t remember signing up or they are just no longer interested. Unfortunately, for the sender email clients now have a big shiny “This is spam” button.
Statistics have shown that more people click the “Spam” button then the “Unsubscribe” link if they want to stop receiving a mail. Unfortunate but true.

3. The Hosting company, The ISP’s, Spam Filters and the Email Client.
If enough ’subscribers’ hit the “This is Spam” button then to all those listed above your email is spam. This then means that any legitimate email from your company and domain might also be marked as spam.

My thoughts on the above
While you might get away with sending unsolicited email for a while, it seems to me that the numbers are against you over time. Secondly, I don’t understand why you would risk annoying even some of your customers. Don’t you want them all to buy from you? It doesn’t make sense when there are better ways to market your product or services to them.

Thirdly, why on earth would you risk damaging a vital communication channel to your business. The thought that legitimate emails, quotes, and especially invoices being sent to the spam folder (if they even get through) is a scary one.

Now just after posting the above comes a report that shows that one third of consumers admitted to responding to a message they suspected might be spam. The report from MAAWG (Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group) is the result of an eight hundred person survey conducted in December of 2008. 1 in 3. That’s a big market. So does that mean everything I wrote above is rubbish? Not quite.
You business needs to survive past one mail shot and one sale. You need to build a relationship with your customers to get them coming back. The more you build your reputation and trust the more a customer will buy from you and the more they are willing to pay in one transaction.

A client of ours tried the Spam route in a previous life. And the amazing thing is that it worked… for a while. He and his business partner started a dating site. A great business. Low maintenance and pretty much runs itself after a while generating revenue. Now the problem with dating sites is to attract customers you need lots of potential dates in the database. But you can’t get the dates in the database without having dates in the database. And no one is going to pay for an empty site. It’s a vicious circle.
So they took what seemed the obvious and easy route and bought a list of 1 million email addresses and sent them an email. Response was about 1% which was fantastic for them. Instantly they had a database of dates and the business was up and running.
But then the complaints started, blog and forum posts started about the spamming warning people to stay clear of this company. These sites and blogs were around a lot longer then my clients site so they started to rank above his listing in search results. In the end the effect was devastating and the site had to close.

Now my client is not a bad man, he didn’t think it was spam, just a great offer. The people who responded thought it was a great offer. Who knows, some of them may have found love, got married and had kids. However enough people did think it was spam to bring the business to its knees.

We always say to clients, spam is in the eye of the beholder. Forget what you think of your email, what will the receiver think of the mail. If you have any doubt, do not send.

Free email marketing course – by email! 7 Training, Seminars, Sending Newsletters, Tips & Tricks, Toddle, Workshops

Toddle.com is running a free four week email marketing course to show you how to get the best from it. Four emails over four weeks covering all the basics.

You can sign up here.

Image cc David Erickson