Using Animated GIFs on E-mail

Interesting article from MailChimp on using animated GIFs on e-mail .

They demonstrated some features on e-mails with animated GIFs. They look very nice, and more importantly, clearly show how these features work.

I do wonder how well these work for people with data plans. Even though they are very short, just these two add up to more than 200K. Just to compare, my lower resolution flash demos had more than a minute of content and had a few hundred Ks (Instant Demo is quite nice that way).

Even so, I still like the idea, and might use it when talking about new features on my products in the newsletter.


MailChimp and Mandrill

MailChimp is unifying their regular e-mail data and Mandrill data. Uh, why would you care? You probably don't, but if you have e-mail newsletters and e-mail notifications, there is some pretty cool things you can do with their new system.

Mandrill is MailChimp's general e-mail sender. So if you have any web app, you can either just change the SMTP address or use their API and send through them.  Why is Mandrill better? You get notifications of who opened and clicked what in those e-mails, with minimal work on your part. It can even notify your web apps. There is some impressive stuff, too – such as automatically modifying e-mails your system already send to change templates or add Google Analytics tracking.

With the new integration, you get a lot of extra possibilities. Whenever you send a new e-mail to your lists, you can just send to people who received, opened or clicked (or didn't) any other e-mails you sent through your app. And there are a ton of other filters – such as near a location, part of a social network or a specific e-mail client. For example, you can easily filter out or in people who bought a specific product from you (if you use a tag on your e-mail), and send a follow up cross sale. Or if they didn't, you could send a discount.

Pretty cool stuff, specially considering their very low prices – and the first 12000 e-mails are free!


MailChimp – Behind the Scenes

MailChimp recently posted an interesting article about how they did their own e-mail marketing for a new app.

What I liked the most was the view on how they segment their list to maximize the impact of the e-mail they sent, while at the same time having minimal unsubscribes.


New E-mail Newsletter

Some time ago, I decided to move the e-mail newsletter from PHPList – which is nice but very limited in features, as well as by my server – to Mailchimp.

I did stall it a lot, but this friday I finally sent the new newsletter .

Overall, MailChimp's system is pretty neat. They have nice templates, and it's easy to add Facebook's Like Buttons (and many other social sites), archives, and track links. Their reports are pretty cool, and not only show your Open/Click/Unsubscribe/Bounce rates, but also have click maps of what links were most clicked, as well as a per country map of where your e-mails were opened. There are many other features, most of which I didn't use yet.

However, the tracking system doesn't work well with how my extra domains ( and are set up. So both of these (which add to 87% of the clicks) failed. 🙁

I was able to fix this for the STGThumb link, but not for the FolderPrint link, yet. So, to any customers that got the newsletter, I apologize for the inconvenience!


Research on Spammy E-mail Design by MailChimp

MailChimp recently posted an interesting article on how some designs look spammy to people. The research was done using Amazon's Mechanical Turk, and turns out some e-mail campaigns get flagged as spam even though they weren't.

Site Reviews

MailChimp new features

As I prepare to e-mail the newsletter to my users (yes, it has been quite a while…), I logged in on MailChimp – which I'm going to use instead of PHPList, which is nice and free but very limited – and I learned that since the last time I went there a whole lot of new features were added.

Facebook Comments – which allows any post to have user comments, that optionally appear on their Facebook walls and thus carry the conversation (and product ads) farther.

A whole bunch of stuff with version 5.3 – including free Social Pro add on for 6 months.

Pretty impressive!

Site Reviews

Text-to-speech on e-mail newsletters

I'm looking into changing my e-mail newsletter from PHPList – which is pretty good for a free tool, but obviously lack features compared to pricy ESPs (e-mail service providers), and deliverability is of course smaller, as the ESPs spend a lot of time tuning theirs.

I'm checking out several ESPs, such as Mailchimp and GetResponse. One pretty cool feature added by GetResponse recently is E-Mail to Speech. It allows your clients to hear your e-mail instead of just reading it.

The quality of the speech is pretty good. I still prefer to read (which is much faster), but I can see busy customers – or customers on the move – opting to use it.

I'm pretty sure they'll post statistics eventually (unless they are awful ), and I'm very interested to see what the exact effect of this will be.