Response to the Heartbleed issue

Posted on Tuesday April 15th, 2014 by Tom Chiverton

It's not often that news about IT makes the first headline on the national news, but the 'Heartbleed' bug was one of those that has really has caught peoples attention. You've probably read or heard about it by now as it was a serious issue with a large number of sites that use 'https://' to encrypt information flowing between you and the web site.

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5 reasons you shouldn’t still be using ‘click here’ as link text

Posted on Friday April 4th, 2014 by Joel Jarman

We’ve all done it, but there are several good reasons why you should take a few seconds and think of more descriptive link text and avoid using ‘click here’.

Out of context it contains no information
People tend to scan websites rather than read them fully, ‘click here’ links often rely on a preceding chunk of text to put them into context, if people don’t read this, they won’t click the link.

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Why your email marketing isn't working

Posted on Monday March 31st, 2014 by Jenni Malley

It's great that in 2014 email marketing is back in fashion and being taken very seriously again by digital marketers. It might be because of the use of smart phones but really it’s down to the ROI it produces - £21.48 for every £1 spent according to the DMA .

But last week I spoke to an old client who said ‘we’ve dropped our email marketing program – it wasn’t working’. This is not a good strategy! If your sales force weren’t hitting their targets you wouldn’t disband the whole team would you?  You would figure out what was wrong.    

Email marketing works. For every industry. And, if done right, it can achieve most marketing objectives. If it’s not working, don’t conclude that it’s not effective. Here are some of the things you might be getting wrong. 

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Extravision - 10 Years On

Posted on Friday March 7th, 2014 by Jenni Malley

Extravision celebrated its 10th birthday this week.

Although our email platform began life in about 2001, Extravision only became a stand-alone company in 2004. So, feeling nostalgic, I was thinking about the email marketing industry now compared with how it was in 2004. With the speed of change in the industry now, my memories are of it being in black and white compared with the current market!

So what are the main differences? Was it really black and white?

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A true Renaissance figure?

Posted on Tuesday February 4th, 2014 by Rebecca McCormick

Like most offices, conversation here is normally about sport, holidays or the previous night’s TV. However this week, we’ve been discussing what it means to be a Renaissance figure.         

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Real time dynamic content in your inbox

Posted on Tuesday February 11th, 2014 by Simon Hill

There used to be only one type of dynamic content. This is created before the email is sent and is based on what you already know about the recipient to create a custom email. For example, you are a retailer and you want to show the recipient in your email the details of their nearest store. Normally this would be done using a customisation based on information you have about the recipient such as their address or postcode. The system sending the email builds a different version of the message at send time. This all works perfectly well but relies on your information being accurate.

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Bionic email marketing

Posted on Wednesday February 26th, 2014 by Rebecca McCormick

I’m going to show my age here but it’s exciting times at Extravision and in a recent presentation by my technical director, I found myself reminded of the opening catch phrase of one of my favourite childhood TV programmes,

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Don't delay, start your cart abandonment program today

Posted on Thursday January 23rd, 2014 by Simon Hill

The January sales are almost over and its time to prepare for the inevitable slump in online revenue over the coming months.

If you have an ecommerce site and don't have cart abandonment then now is the time to implement it. With our very cost effective solution we can have your cart abandonment up and running in hours. Every day you delay you could be losing precious revenue. You start with a simple cart abandonment email sent within 30 minutes and then over time you can look to develop your program and implement multi stage campaigns, segmentation and browse abandonment.

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5 ways to put an immediate end to batch and blast

Posted on Wednesday January 15th, 2014 by Jenni Malley

When I ask a client who they are sending their email campaign to I often hear this: ‘just send it to everyone’. Batch and blast – the default setting of sending every campaign to all your data. If you and your team are still guilty of a one dimensional email marketing plan then make 2014 different. Targeted campaigns can produce a 208% higher conversion rate over batch and blast. 

Here are 5 things you can do right now to end 'batch and blast' for good. 

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Automatic online versions of your email just got easier

Posted on Monday December 9th, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

The concept of an "online version" of an email is something that was started way back when email clients often struggled to display html emails correctly. Hence it became "best practice" to provide the recipient with a link to a web base version of the email. This meant the email would then be displayed in the recipients browser of choice which would show the content as expected.

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It ain't what you say, it's the way that you say it

Posted on Wednesday December 11th, 2013 by Rebecca McCormick

I’d like to proactively reach out to you and share our knowledge base regarding our efficient remotely automated communication programming that synchronises seamlessly generated communication of your logistical options, global strategic projections and mission-critical B2B and B2C content.
                                                                                                                                                             Asleep yet? Or just confused? Don’t worry I’m not trying to impress you with my superior knowledge or even worse, baffle you with science. Believe it or not all the above phrases have been used to describe, yes, you’ve guessed it, email.

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Tailored content in emails: be clever but be human

Posted on Tuesday December 17th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

For the world of B2C Retail email marketing it is now technically possible to send some really cleverly tailored emails. The days of batch and blast are truly over for the leading edge of B2C marketing.  For example you can now include images in your email that change according to the weather when the recipient views it and geolocation services can display the nearest branch of your shop or restaurant based on your location.

So how can, and should, this technology be used? 

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TV adverts: story vs slogan?

Posted on Wednesday November 13th, 2013 by Alastair Campbell

I like being sold to and am a total sucker for a good slogan-driven advert. I know Gillette razors are the best a man can get, that ladies love milk tray and that you can't get quicker than a kwik-fit fitter. These messages are ingrained in my psyche and, like it or not, they influence my buying decisions.

Conversely, modern TV adverts just don't sink in with me. Advertisers seem to have ditched simple, catchy slogans, instead opting for obscure slogans and complex narratives, and for me many just don't work. Often I like the story and sometimes I feel engaged, but invariably I don't have a clue what they are actually selling.

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Segmenting your data

Posted on Wednesday November 6th, 2013 by Rebecca McCormick

I'm lucky enough to have a lovely independent book shop in my neighbourhood. They host readings from visiting authors, have a book club circle and hold a regular Saturday morning children's club… And they've just made their first foray in to email marketing.

Through some hard work and good business practice, they've built up a great database of both store and online customers. They know where their customers are based, when they last visited or purchased and where possible, what they purchased, and they can safely assume that their customers are interested in reading and the books they sell.

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Real time marketing: an explosive concept

Posted on Thursday October 24th, 2013 by Rebecca McCormick

In August 1883, the volcanic island of Krakatoa in the Pacific Ocean erupted. The entire island was blown apart, and the resulting tsunami killed tens of thousands of people on other islands in the vicinity.

The volcanic dust thrown into the atmosphere created climate shifts around the world, and people as far away as Britain and the United States witnessed startling red sunsets caused by particles in the atmosphere.
 
It was one of the deadliest and most destructive volcanic events in recorded history, with over 36,000 deaths being attributed to the eruption.

But what made Krakatoa perhaps so distinct from other major events was the introduction of the transoceanic telegraph cables.

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Using dashes in email and web design

Posted on Monday October 21st, 2013 by Joel Jarman

Are you checking which dashes you use in your emails and web pages?

When writing in packages such as Word or Outlook, you’ll usually have the inappropriate usage of hyphens corrected for you, but when it comes to email and website design, these can get missed as they require HTML special character codes to be inserted.

It’s not important for some people, but for others an email littered with hyphens instead of the correct dashes could be jarring and affect how they perceive your message and company.
 

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Split testing and special characters

Posted on Thursday October 3rd, 2013 by Jenni Malley

It’s that time of year again when we release our new Corporate Christmas e-card designs. They are all now nicely displayed on our christmas ecards microsite and so we turned to the business of designing and sending the first of our email campaigns to promote them.

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Like or loathe? What makes a technical brand unpopular

Posted on Thursday September 19th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

People in technical job roles are a discerning bunch. I’ve always worked in a commercial/ marketing role but alongside technical teams. They often develop attachments (or strong aversions) to the tech brands they are involved with.

Whether it’s tablets, smart phones or the software they use in their job, I think they’re less likely to tolerate poor products than their non-technical colleagues. They expect technology to be bug free, user friendly and made by a company/brand that they can get on board with.

So, technical companies need to bear this in mind when planning a marketing strategy. They’re selling to a smart, savvy group who are happy to go and find things out for themselves and don’t like to feel they’re being ‘sold to’.  Companies such as VMware know this and have put a lot of effort into more subtle forms of marketing such as community. Good content marketing is vital and can be more successful than an ‘aggressive’ sales push.

So what have some technical brands done to find themselves on the list of unpopular brands? 
 

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Loyalty - does it exist?

Posted on Wednesday September 4th, 2013 by Paul Latham

So this summer’s football transfer market has been busier than I can remember. Websites and newsstands are rife with - who’s leaving? Who’s staying? Who’s handed in a transfer request? But also, who has promised the fans that they love their club so much they will never leave? Surely no one actually believes that these mercenaries can be loyal?!
 

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‘Tis the season… To start planning your Christmas campaigns

Posted on Monday September 9th, 2013 by Rebecca McCormick

I don’t know about you, but no sooner have I brushed the sand off my beach towel, that with a slightly heavy heart, I hear the sound of sleigh bells jingling in the distance.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I even enjoy Christmas shopping and cooking for what seems like 300 relatives, but the beginning of September? Really?

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Cart abandonment emails work - trust us

Posted on Thursday September 26th, 2013 by Simon Hill

We all know that email marketing works as a "batch and blast" marketing channel and revenue generator. A simple last click attribution model across your channels will show this. Although true attribution is a lot harder but that is a completely different blog post.

Behavioural email marketing on the other hand is still really in its infancy. It requires a degree of integration and the numerous triggers available can make it appear more confusing than it really is (although it can get very complicated if you want to be really clever).

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August Reports updates

Posted on Wednesday August 21st, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

Recently we had a couple of occasions where clients experienced a spike in their bounce rates and wanted us to help investigate this. While we were looking into it, we noticed that a lot of the things we were looking at were not visisble to clients and would make great additions to Reports.

So this month we have updated Reports with this and a couple of other new features.

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Intelligent email marketing - shopping cart abandonment

Posted on Thursday August 8th, 2013 by Paul Latham

Intelligent email marketing has evolved more than ever in the last couple of years. Online experts, many bloggers and more importantly facts and figures tell us how effective it is. Companies are realising its full potential and appreciate what a vital sales tool it really is. Meaning the topic of ’Email Marketing’ is finally getting more airtime than ever before in board rooms all over the world.

Something that had an impact on me recently was actually a strategy that I’ve been talking to clients about for a while…’shopping cart abandonment’ emails. Millions of pounds are lost at that point where you have to enter credit card details, or simply lose your connection, get distracted etc. Although not all is lost as with an email you can still make the sale.

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Will there ever be a world without email?

Posted on Wednesday August 14th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

In ‘The times they are a- changin’’ Bob Dylan said ‘The first one now will later be last’ and this rings true in the world of technology. Often an early innovator begins to congratulate itself on its market leading position only to be overtaken on the inside by a new kid in town. Just ask Lord Alan Sugar as his Amstrad organisation failed to see the charge coming over the Atlantic in the early 90s first from Apple and then Microsoft. Apple did it again recently to mobile phone manufacturers like Nokia who seemed frozen and unable to fight back.
 
This story fits in well then for those that began to predict the demise of email from the turn of this decade onwards. With the arrival of Facebook and Twitter many thought that the writing was on the wall for email and that, at best, it would remain a business tool only and could even be wiped out completely. 

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Use your brand to create trust in your emails

Posted on Monday August 5th, 2013 by Simon Hill

Recently I received an email from European Football Association, UEFA. The subject line was "Welcome to UEFA.com". I don't remember receiving emails from them in the past but I have tried many times on their website to get Champions League final tickets so I know I have subscribed to receive emails. As a brand I'm interested in, I open the email in anticipation of what latest news or offers they are going to give me.

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Bounce categories

Posted on Friday August 23rd, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

In Reports the bounces from each campaign are broken down into categories to help explain why the email you sent wasn' delivered to its intended recipient. Below is an explaination of each of these categories.
 

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Who clicked that link ?

Posted on Monday July 29th, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

Recently I saw a post from Laura Atkins about one particular type of spam filter following links in emails before the intended recipient even has a chance to open the message. She concluded:

"I expect more filters will adopt this behavior over time. Some ISPs may even start following links to some URLs."

There have been some interesting updates in this area recently that it might be worh thinking about if email open and click rates are important to your marketing.

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To do, or not to do

Posted on Tuesday July 16th, 2013 by Alastair Campbell

I could do it myself, but should I? It may be tempting to save a little money by keeping things in-house but this can be false economy, especially when things go wrong.

You could drive around the country to hand deliver your letters, but you wouldn't. You could grow all your own food, but very few of us would. You could build your own email marketing system to send crucial exam results… but surely you wouldn’t?! Would you?

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Summer Email Marketing - Don't let up

Posted on Tuesday July 23rd, 2013 by Jenni Malley

We’re reaching that time of year again when the schools begin to break up for summer. I'm guessing you're either dreading the childcare headache or looking forward to a quieter and quicker commute to the office. For all marketers it’s time to forget about email campaigns for a while, because everyone’s on holiday and you’d be wasting your efforts – wouldn’t you?

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How to handle a boss who doesn’t 'get' email marketing

Posted on Thursday July 4th, 2013 by Paul Latham

Trying to run professional email campaigns but can’t get the boss or colleagues to understand how things should be?

You’re not alone.

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Line height issues in Outlook.com

Posted on Wednesday July 17th, 2013 by Joel Jarman

Since Hotmail has now been replaced by Outlook.com, there has been an issue with line spacing has increased considerably which may affect your campaign. On various examples, the increased line-spacing forced unwanted space to appear and skewed email campaigns. This notably affected emails that were specifically designed to have a set amount of text next to an image.

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What is your company's email sign-off process?

Posted on Friday June 21st, 2013 by Joel Jarman

Email sign-off is a topical subject here at Extravision, because we’ve recently handed the management of account usernames and passwords over to clients. This means an administrator for each account can now allocate the appropriate level of access to each team member, giving full submission rights to those who need to send them and restricting others to setting up campaigns or simply being able to view reports.
 

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B2B Email clients in the UK [Infographic]

Posted on Wednesday June 26th, 2013 by Simon Hill

Statistics about which email clients people are using to open emails have been around for a few years. Thanks to companies such as Litmus these stats are readily available and most ESP's including Extravision give you the ability to report on the opens per email client for each campaign you send.

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Can Facebook work for B2B?

Posted on Thursday June 27th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

Facebook is where people go to chat with friends, to see what people they know are doing, to organise meeting up. It’s a social environment where people might be receptive to consumer brands that are part of their personal life – but is it a place where they are likely to be interested in B2B messaging?

That depends.

If you have something to say that might feed into personal interests, you could attract a following.

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What is content marketing and are you getting it right

Posted on Monday June 3rd, 2013 by Paul Latham

The term ‘content marketing’ has to be one of the most frequently-used marketing terms of recent years  - but what does it really mean? The best definition I’ve come across is from the Content Marketing Institute:

“... creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience, with the object of driving profitable customer action”.

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The rise of the 'Twintern'

Posted on Tuesday May 28th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

Twitter. Oh, that’s social media. Young people are naturals; digital natives - they’ll know what to do.  And so management of the Twitter feed is instantly delegated to the most junior member of staff or even a work experience student.
 
Sensible?
 

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Do you have an email strategy?

Posted on Tuesday May 7th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

We’re often approached by potential clients who want us to help them run ad hoc, one-off email campaigns. Whilst we get very good results from an individual campaign like these, the outcome can never be as good as if the emails form part of a longer term email strategy.
 

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Perils of the 'Cc'

Posted on Wednesday May 15th, 2013 by Alastair Campbell

If you are reading this, the likelihood is that you are an experienced email marketer and would never consider pasting your entire database into the ‘Bcc’ field in order to send an email campaign. In fact, you are probably thinking that no one serious about email would – so why write about it? You’d be surprised…

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Is your sales process too rigid

Posted on Friday May 31st, 2013 by Paul Latham

Here at Extravision, candidates for a sales role we were recruiting for have been telling us how their companies control their new business prospecting.  It seems that in some organisations, the emphasis is very much on the process rather than the results. One candidate, for example, told us that every day without fail they had to make 50 calls, send 10 emails, and post 10 letters.  Targets were rigidly enforced even on days when the sales people had been out of the office for a client visit. 
 

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What is community and could it help my company?

Posted on Monday April 29th, 2013 by Paul Latham

The term ‘online community’ is widely used these days to cover all those who engage with a brand via social media channels. Interactions here are rarely more than casual conversation, and are generally between participants and the page administrator rather than between followers.  But there’s another sort of online community that predates social media, and could potentially offer much deeper levels of engagement. It’s the sort of online community that gets things done. And not just small things. Online communities have, for example, created all of today’s major open source web platforms.

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Are we all becoming too familiar?

Posted on Thursday April 25th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

In a recent Guardian article, Katherine Whitehorn argued strongly that first names should be just for friends and that she didn’t want everyone from Starbucks to cold callers addressing her by her first name. The article stimulated hundreds of comments and talking points on news shows and got me thinking about whether we as email marketers could be accused of being over-familiar with our customers.
 

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How NOT to brief your marketing/digital agency

Posted on Thursday April 4th, 2013 by Joel Jarman

When deadlines are tight, jobs get rushed. Best practice goes out the window, mistakes happen. But when time is short, it’s even more important to get things right first time. To help you achieve just that, here are five key things NOT to do when briefing your agency – plus advice on alternative approaches.

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Introducing My Accounts and permissions

Posted on Tuesday March 5th, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

We recently released our latest update to Reports and one of the key features added was the ability for you to manage your own users via My Accounts - everything from resetting lost passwords to creating new users. You can also control the users ability to download data, remove replies and other important tasks.

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Scared to submit?

Posted on Monday March 25th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

You’re sending a campaign to a large section of your database and your directors have asked to be on the list to receive a copy. You know there’s nothing to worry about. You’re sure you’ve tested everything. Your boss has signed off the copy and the design.  So why does your finger still hover over the submit button? 

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Don't get hung up on your email open rate

Posted on Tuesday March 19th, 2013 by Simon Hill

One of the great things about email as a marketing channel is that the results can be measured in almost real-time. Other more traditional channels such as TV and print don't give you this. You don't know if someone is sat in front of their TV watching your new advert or reading your advertisement in the paper. You can do research afterwards to try and judge the success of your campaign but there are no tangible figures.

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Using email marketing for prospecting in international markets

Posted on Tuesday March 26th, 2013 by Paul Latham

If you have international clients, you probably stopped sending them brochures and letters a long time ago, and switched to email as a low cost, low hassle and trackable medium.  But the flat cost of sending an email worldwide means it’s a great way of finding new export customers.  But before you get started, there are some issues to consider.

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Should you be sending email campaigns linked to topical events?

Posted on Thursday February 28th, 2013 by Paul Latham

February brought us three calendar events in a row: Chinese New Year, Pancake Day, and Valentines’ Day– and online retailers had a field day. It wasn’t just the usual suspects. Even Screwfix got in on the act, with a Valentine’s campaign featuring a half price offer on a gleaming circular saw and a ‘forward to your loved ones’ link.

We like this example from Red Hot World Buffet for valentines’ day:

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Flash is still everywhere

Posted on Tuesday February 26th, 2013 by Tom Chiverton

About a year ago, as we were preparing to release the new version of Reports, we reported on why we choose to use Flash for this, and also looked into which versions of Flash Player our users had.

Now that 2013 is well and truly upon us we thought it would be a good chance to look at how the landscape has changed.

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What's happening in email marketing ? EEC 2013 - Part One

Posted on Wednesday February 13th, 2013 by Simon Hill

Last week I attended the Email Evolution Conference in Miami. It is one of the leading email conferences and it brings together hundreds of people who are passionate about email and who are collectively shaping the future of email marketing. Not only that but it was based at the Fontainebleau Hotel in sunny Miami. What more excuse did I need to escape a wet and snowy Manchester ?

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DOs and DON’Ts for creating the perfect e-newsletter

Posted on Tuesday February 19th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

There’s no doubt that an e-newsletter can be a fantastic business tool, if done well. The problem is that far too many company newsletters don’t do anything for the business concerned, because no-one reads them.

Here are some simple DOs and DON’Ts to help you create the perfect newsletter - one that actively promotes your business and doesn’t become just one more piece of inbox clutter.
 

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A good time for a refresh?

Posted on Monday January 14th, 2013 by Jenni Malley

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and to get bored with the same routine. We will carry on doing things the same way regardless, until someone else questions our actions or gives us the drive to change. However at this time of year we are usually in the mood for change and  a new start. 
 
So why should you update your email template if your current one works fine, why bother? Sometimes you can find it looks old and dated very quickly as fashions change and keeping the coding correct can be a tricky job. But it can help to keep your prospects on their toes as something new lands in their inbox.

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Unsubscribe is better than "report as spam"

Posted on Friday January 4th, 2013 by Simon Hill

One of the most interesting stats of 2012 in Return Path's intelligence report was that 70% of email reported as spam is legitimate. This means at some point the recipient opted in to receive the email in some way.

The "report as spam" option is prominent in most webmail clients so for the recipient it is easier to mark the message as spam rather than search through the message for an unsubscribe link.  Even if you make the unsubscribe very prominent and put a link at the top and bottom of your email, some recipients are very wary of clicking an unsubscribe link in an email because they believe it shows you are a valid recipient and may cause more spam.

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What can B2B learn from the retail sector?

Posted on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 by Jenni Malley

Which sectors use email marketing most effectively – and what can we learn from them? There’s a huge variation in the way companies use email as a marketing tool. Many B2C retailers – in particular some of the big fashion brands – have embraced it, making it a core sales channel. In the B2B sector, results are perhaps more mixed. So are there lessons B2B can learn from B2C? Absolutely. The approach to marketing might be different, but the same tactics get results in both sectors:

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Online Surveys - Less is more

Posted on Friday January 25th, 2013 by Paul Latham

Want to find out what people think? No problem. Today’s online survey tools are quick to set up, cheap to run, and simple to analyse. But beware. Just because you can ask a question, doesn’t mean you should. A few surveys we’ve come across recently have reminded us of the pitfalls.

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Special characters in email subject lines

Posted on Thursday January 31st, 2013 by Joel Jarman

You might have noticed UTF-8 special characters (★ ✈ ♥ ) being used more and more often in email subject lines, as companies strive to increase email open rates and subsequent click through rates (CTRs). Below is an example of two emails I received yesterday. This gives you an idea of how the subject line characters look in your inbox:

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Christmas in the Office

Posted on Wednesday December 19th, 2012 by Paul Latham

What’s Christmas like in your office? Has it changed much in recent years?

Glancing at our ‘to do’ lists, we’ve been reminiscing about Christmas in the early days of Extravision. Then, December could be a quiet time, giving us a few weeks to wind down, clear out our desks, get round to all those jobs we’d been meaning to do and enjoy the odd unrushed mince pie. Things have moved on.

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Digital Media and Email: Top Trends for 2013

Posted on Friday December 7th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

As we head into 2013, the pace of change in digital marketing shows no sign of slowing. Here’s a quick look at some of the top digital media trends for 2013:
 
Focus on Mobile
With the explosion in the use of mobile devices, people will need to pay ever more attention to optimising digital material for mobile use. If your content can’t be easily read on the full range of mobile devices, it’s time to act.
 
ROI

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Google Plus: Failure to Launch?

Posted on Wednesday December 5th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Under pressure from enthusiastic businesses, Google quickly followed its public launch in September 2011 with the roll out of new business pages. But did that early enthusiasm translate into ongoing action – or has Google Plus still to take off?

Google tell us there are 400 million Google Plus users, of which 100 million use the service once a month. Using Google Plus once a month can’t really be said to make someone an ‘active’ user in any meaningful sense. It’s also quite likely many of these users are only there for free video chat.

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Pinterest - what is it? And what does it mean for brands?

Posted on Tuesday November 6th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Once an invitation-only site, Pinterest is now open to all. It’s a simple concept. You create pinboards and organise them into categories. On these boards you ‘pin’ images from your own website or from elsewhere on the web, adding a brief comment to each. Other people can follow all your boards, or choose specific ones.  Followers can write comments on your images, and repin images on their own boards where their followers can see them.  Every image captured with Pinterest’s ‘repinning’ tool comes with a link back to the original source.

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The Christmas e-card versus the traditional card

Posted on Monday November 12th, 2012 by Simon Hill

It is that time of year again when Christmas is in people's minds. Lights are being switched on in the streets, shops are setting up their Christmas displays and here at Extravision we have started to fulfil some of the many Christmas e-card campaigns we run at this time of year.

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Ten email marketing mistakes to avoid

Posted on Monday November 19th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Email marketing is a cost effective, quick and powerful marketing channel.  But as with all types of marketing there are plenty of traps for the unwary. Here are our top ten email marketing mistakes to avoid if you want to get your message across to your target audience.

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For a smooth running event ... communicate

Posted on Thursday October 4th, 2012 by Rebecca McCormick

There is nothing worse then taking time out of your work day to attend an event that no longer exists, where the speakers have changed and are no longer of any interest to you or worst of all being the only delegate in the room! It’s happened to all of us and we’ve all made awkward apologies and excuses about ‘last minute meetings’ we had to get to before flying out the door quicker than free tickets to see Caitlin Moran!

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How to get your personalised email campaigns right

Posted on Thursday October 18th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

At Extravision, as well as seeing the campaigns we produce for our managed service clients, I am also a recipient of the info [at] extravision [dot] com address and so see the prospecting email campaigns that come in from people trying to sell to us. 

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Networking…..worth it, or just an excuse to get out the office?

Posted on Thursday October 11th, 2012 by Paul Latham

It seems as though a day doesn’t pass without me receiving another invite to a ‘unique’, ‘not your average’, ‘brand new’ networking event - any day, anytime, somewhere in the city you will find a networking event. Recently I even read about one that takes place on a Sunday.
The email said ‘Paul – get out of bed and get Networking’. If it involved a pair of tracksuit bottoms, a full English, a copy of the Observer and highlights from the weekend's football I may be tempted.
 

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Has Apple fallen from the tree of style ?

Posted on Monday October 22nd, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

Some companies sense of style seems to come and go, while others become a byword for elegant and well-designed products.

If you go to buy an Aston Martin, you know you'll always be getting sumptuous leather seats and a refined driving experience. You wouldn't expect to need to use anything as old fashioned as an actual key to unlock the doors or start the car either - these are the hall marks of normal cars and Aston Martin sell a bigger experience than just the car.

The same is true of popular consumer companies too.

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The future's bright for 4G and email marketing

Posted on Tuesday October 30th, 2012 by Joel Jarman

We now have the launch from the EE network (Everything Everywhere the company that owns Orange and T-Mobile) of their 4G services in 11 cities from 30th October 2012. These cities include Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton. A further six cities are expected to come online before the end of the 2012 (Derby, Hull, Nottingham, Newcastle and Southampton). It should also be available on the other networks from mid-2013 after Vodafone and O2 finally catch up.

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Has your email timing changed?

Posted on Friday October 26th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Everyone has their own opinions about email marketing, particularly what works best when it comes to choosing an appropriate time to send out campaigns. Traditionally the rules have been:

  • The best time to send a campaign is between 10am and 4pm
  • Don’t email on Mondays because everyone is busy
  • Avoid sending campaigns during lunch hour
  • Don’t email on Fridays because everyone is winding down for the weekend

 
Well I think these myths are well on their way out because unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years then you’ll know that the world of email has gone mobile.

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What is a smart inbox?

Posted on Tuesday September 11th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Do you have a smart inbox? The likely hood is that if your email is with Gmail, Hotmail (now Outlook.com), Yahoo! or AOL then yes.
 
How do they work?

Well Gmail’s priority inbox measures how users interact with emails from different senders and whether or not they should be considered a priority. Usually emails from friends and colleagues are flagged at top of the inbox.
 

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Getting at your campaign data

Posted on Monday August 13th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

In the final part of our series on the main features of Reports, I'd like to very quickly talk about ways you can retrieve your campaign data from the system. If you have already logged in to the new Extravision Reports you will have probably already explored around the campaign section, and found the Download tab.

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Do you scan your inbox for special offers?

Posted on Tuesday August 7th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Its mid-week, you fancy going out for tea but you’re not sure where to go. You quickly scan your inbox to find an email from the restaurant offering the best deal. There’ll be £10 off here or a buy-one-get-one-free there, lots to choose from. Easy, simply print off your voucher/save it to your smart phone, head to the restaurant, present it to your waiter/waitress – get your meal and enjoy!
 
Not a new concept by any means, but I was at an event last week where somebody said “Have we become trained to only look for special offer emails?” and it really stuck in my mind.

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Hotmail to become Outlook.com

Posted on Monday August 20th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Microsoft recently announced that its webmail service Hotmail is due to be replaced by the brand new Outlook.com and according to the BBC the move will help tackle the problem of ‘cluttered’ inboxes.

But on simply hearing the name ‘Outlook’ I’m filled with dread at the thought of an inbox brimming with unwanted irrelevant email intertwined with important actions from the boss that you have to carefully filter through and find! It’s fairly controversial to rename a personal consumer based email service, to something that has negative connotations with business users – but ultimately it’s a name we are all familiar with and trust.

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Email design for mobile [Infographic]

Posted on Friday August 10th, 2012 by Simon Hill

Following on from my previous post about designing emails for mobile devices, we have put together this informative infographic that contains all the main points you need to consider in your design.
 

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Don't miss those August email opportunities

Posted on Wednesday August 22nd, 2012 by Jenni Malley

It’s a little sleepy August isn’t it? The schools are shut and your commute to work is a lot more bearable than usual. If you look at the stats for your email marketing campaigns you can see that the number of autoreplies is through the roof.  

So if you are sat there in a deserted office you need to take advantage of the quieter time rather than taking your foot off the gas.  In 2-3 weeks’ when people return to work en masse we will be into the busiest period of the year for many businesses. 

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Disposable email addresses in your subscriber lists

Posted on Wednesday August 29th, 2012 by Simon Hill

This post was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog

Disposable email addresses, sometimes referred to as anti-spam addresses, are email addresses that people use for a period of time and then disappear causing emails sent to that address to either bounce or get automatically filtered to the trash. No email address lasts forever but these types of addresses can have very short life spans.

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Are benchmarks missing the point?

Posted on Tuesday July 3rd, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Interpreting the results of your email campaigns can be a tricky job and new clients often ask us 'what are good results?' This is closely followed by 'can you provide me with some benchmark stats?'

Thanks to the DMA, email industry benchmarks are available but to be successful at email marketing you should always look deeper than your reporting statistics. There is a lot to interpret but simply comparing your results against industry standards will not provide you with the answers you are looking for. The key to examining your campaign is to look outside the report statistics and at other vital elements of your email. 

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View your campaigns in more detail

Posted on Monday July 9th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

We've already talked about the overall idea behind the new Reports as well as the ways you can compare different campaigns. But once you've identified a particular campaign that did really well, you'll obviously want to understand what drove that engagement so you can replicate it next time.

This time I'll be showing you just some of the ways you can look deeper into an individual campaign by talking about our new campaign overview screen.

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Understanding your bounces

Posted on Monday July 23rd, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

One of the key metrics in any email marketing campaign is deliverability - are you actually getting your message to your intended audiences inbox ? If your message isn't getting that far, then even the most exciting and engaging message wont be acted upon. We've now expanded the information available in reports to help you understand this important point.

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Email design for mobile devices

Posted on Thursday July 5th, 2012 by Simon Hill

In April 2012, according to stats produced by Litmus, the number of mobile opens in a month exceeded the number of desktop opens for the first time ever, emphasising how important it is to consider mobile devices when creating your campaigns. If possible, start by designing for both desktop and mobile devices rather than designing for desktop and then trying to adapt it for mobile.  If you know mobile devices are used by a high percentage of people that read your email then it might be better to design for mobile first, rather than trying to squeeze your desktop creative onto the small screen. This is effectively what Yahoo! did with the latest version of Yahoo! Mail. They realised a high percentage of their users were using a tablet to read their email so they designed the new mail application for the tablet and then ported it over to the desktop afterwards.

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A customised email template for every client

Posted on Friday July 13th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

We don’t believe in generic email templates.
 
We could easily offer a series of standard email templates for you to pick from, but we believe that if you’re serious about email marketing you shouldn’t settle for second best.

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See how people interact with your email campaigns

Posted on Friday July 27th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

With the rollout of our new Extravision Reports, we've already mentioned our overview screens and how to compare campaigns, and shown you how to begin drilling down into your statistics. One of the biggest changes we've made is how you interact with your engaged customers. Read on to discover the most important features of the CRM widget.

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Hotmail – problems with Symbols solved

Posted on Tuesday June 5th, 2012 by Joel Jarman

Last month Hotmail (for some strange reason) started to replace symbols like ©, ® and ™ with 19px X 19px (emoji) GIF image.

Copyright Registered Trade Mark

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When a data offer is too good to be true

Posted on Wednesday June 6th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Alarm bells always start ringing when a potential client comes to me saying, "I’ve bought a million email addresses for £600 – can I use Extravision to send a campaign?"
 
For one I can’t believe there are data brokers out there who are willing to rip people off by selling such a large amount of data at such a ridiculous price. Secondly I can’t believe people buy into these deals and don’t realise that if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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Welcome to the new Extravision Reports

Posted on Friday June 8th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

In the first of a series of posts about features of our latest Reports release, I wanted to start out by talking about the login screen and the main company overview screen. I'll be posting further articles shortly covering some areas in more detail.
I know a login screen sounds a bit boring, but we've actually made a number of improvements to make your life easier, while still keeping the familar flow from the previous release. And that's just the start...

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Comparing campaigns and downloading form's data

Posted on Friday June 29th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

Last time I spoke about the new features of the company dashboard, like a list of your recent campaigns and the important data about them. But one thing we hear people asking a lot for was 'How well am I doing ? Am I getting more click throughs ?' The first feature we'll look at today shows how you can now answer these sort of questions, and then we'll also look at how the new Reports makes downloading the data entered into forms easier.

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The 100th Extravision email marketing blog

Posted on Tuesday May 8th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

We wrote our very first blog over 2 years ago and since then we’ve written an astonishing 100 articles in total!
 
I doubt you’ve read all 100, and congratulations if you have… but in brief we mostly like to share our email marketing top tips, give our opinion on industry news and let you have a little sneak peek as to what goes on behind the scenes at Extravision.
 

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Innovation at Yahoo

Posted on Tuesday April 3rd, 2012 by Simon Hill

Last month I attending the technology for marketing show, TFM&A in London and one of the keynote speeches was by Jon Myer of Yahoo. He talked about how they innovate at Yahoo and what they see as the challenges they face. He used a very interesting graph from Gartner research that shows new technologies and when they can be expected to be widely accepted.
 

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Email and social network surveillance

Posted on Wednesday April 4th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

You might think that the idea of email and social network surveillance is some sort of April fool's joke, but believe it or not it’s actually true.

This Big Brother style proposal is not the first time there has been an effort to introduce communications montioring. In 2009 an unsuccessful attempt was made by the government to try and collect communication data - when costs were estimated at £2 billion to implement the project the plans were droppped. So what does this new threat of potential government surveillance mean?

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A simple solution to the stamp price increase

Posted on Tuesday April 17th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Planning on beating the stamp price hike by buying your stamps in bulk? Or trying to work out where the extra money for postal costs will come from? 

Then forget about awkward trip to the post office and switch to email instead!

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Email authentication and the new DMARC standard

Posted on Wednesday April 18th, 2012 by Simon Hill

This post was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog

I think most marketers have heard about email authentication and the use of Domain Keys Identified Mail (DKIM) and the Sender Policy Framework (SPF). If your using an email service provider then its likely that they will handle the authentication for you and you don’t need to worry. But why do emails need to be authenticated ?

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Gaming the market

Posted on Tuesday March 27th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

Everyone in the industry thought it was odd when the popular high street chain Game announced that it would no longer stock or take preorders for popular games.
Read on to see what this tells us about the rise of digital content.

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Prevent any Olympic email marketing mishaps

Posted on Thursday March 22nd, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Tempted to use the London Olympic Games as a hook for your upcoming email marketing campaigns? I recommend treading very carefully indeed. Make sure your email doesn’t breach the strict Olympic Games branding guidelines to avoid any potential marketing mishaps.

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Lengthy tables adding unwanted space in Outlook 2007 & 2010

Posted on Friday March 16th, 2012 by Joel Jarman

If you didn’t already know, Outlook 2007 and 2010 use Microsoft Word for rendering all html emails. This handles the html in different ways and also brings in some unwanted properties from Word such as print boundaries.

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How does social media support email growth?

Posted on Monday March 5th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

I keep seeing the question, "is social media killing email?". And I think it’s about time I addressed the issue.

The answer is no. In reality social media is enhancing and supporting the growth of email. In 2011 email marketing platforms and services grew by an estimated 15.5% in the UK, and have grown consistently over the past 8 years – see Econsultancy’s Email Marketing Platforms Buyers Guide 2012.

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Why is email treated like a commodity?

Posted on Thursday March 1st, 2012 by Jenni Malley

In our personal lives we make constant choices between luxury and no frills products. I buy a lot of own brand products but there are certain things I will not compromise on like baked beans, tomato ketchup and washing powder.

In general we follow the rule ‘you get what you pay for’. It seems in the marketing industry though there is one area where people are always prepared to cut corners: email marketing.

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Simple is smart

Posted on Wednesday March 21st, 2012 by Alastair Campbell

I have always been an advocate of simplicity.

If I want to promote something in an email campaign I would strive to make the offer and the call-to-action clear and simple. In marketing it is all well and good to be clever, but not if you’re the only person “clever” enough to get the message.

An email I received today demonstrated this point perfectly… well it at least proved too clever for me to “get it”.

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What does it mean to be a beta ?

Posted on Monday March 12th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

As you may know, we're in the process of launching our new reporting tool and at the moment it's in beta for our existing customers.
But what does 'in beta' mean exactly ? Find out by reading on...

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The changing face of emails - literally

Posted on Friday February 24th, 2012 by Simon Hill

This post was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog

At the email evolution conference in Miami last year, Yahoo and Hotmail announced that they were looking at allowing dynamic content within an email. ISP’s are concerned about users leaving their site when they follow links in an email. The idea is that when a user clicks on a link they don’t leave the ISP’s site but the content of the link is displayed in the email. This was an encouraging sign that ISP’s would start allowing us to do more with our emails.

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What's in a version

Posted on Tuesday February 21st, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

You wouldn't think the question about what makes a new version new would be very complicated or lead to lengthy debates, but that's just what is happening at the moment, and it has implications for everyone. Read on to see what a version means to companies like Google, and also us here at Extravision.

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How to save your subject line

Posted on Friday February 17th, 2012 by Paul Latham

It’s Friday afternoon, and the pressure is on to send the final campaign of the week. You have spent a long time perfecting the copy, no spelling mistakes - check. You’ve inserted the links and tested them; they are all live and working - check. The correct data set is in place - check. The sales team are prepared for the promotional campaign to be delivered – check.

Phew, the campaign is sent. Time to pack up and start getting ready to enjoy your weekend! But what could possibly go wrong?

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Find Extravision on Google +

Posted on Monday February 13th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Do you have a Google + account? But you’re not quite sure what to do with it? Or are you steering clear of the latest social media phenomenon?

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What is the EU Data Protection Regulation?

Posted on Thursday February 9th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

In late January 2012, a draft text of the European Union’s new Data Protection Regulation (a wider overhaul of the 1995 Data Protection Directive) was published. The draft is going to be debated and discussed by the European Parliament and by the Council on Ministers, and any changes to the draft regulation could take up to 4 years to come into play.
 

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What's wrong with caching

Posted on Wednesday January 4th, 2012 by Tom Chiverton

We recently noticed some odd behavior with the Google Chrome and Internet Explorer web browsers, where we'd alter a resource like an image or SWF file, and although we would see the changes fine here, they wouldn't show up to anyone else for what looked like a random amount of time. Mozilla Firefox would also always see the changes, which made it even odder !
Now we've got to the bottom of it, read on to see how we fixed it and what we traced the problem down to.

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The basics of good email creative don't change

Posted on Thursday January 5th, 2012 by Simon Hill

This post was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog

Early last year the DMA’s Legal and Best Practice hub and I published a whitepaper on Email Creative. It was never meant as a definitive guide to creating great email campaigns but more a collection of ideas to consider during the design process. The world of email is constantly changing both from the sender and the recipient’s perspective and as such we always need to be adapting how we design our emails for the best results. A template that worked well last Christmas may not achieve the same results this year, although that may not all be down to the creative.

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Celebrate with an email

Posted on Tuesday January 10th, 2012 by Jenni Malley

Recently I celebrated my birthday and I received a flurry of texts, tweets and Facebook posts wishing me well, as well as a few real cards through the letterbox! I also got some emails from brands and businesses I’d subscribed to, who had cleverly used the data they hold about me to get in on the birthday fun.

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The death of internal email

Posted on Friday December 9th, 2011 by Jenni Malley

There are to be no more internal emails sent. Ever.

Fortunately this only applies to one company, Atos. This technology giant is one of the first to impose a ban on internal emails to be brought in by 2014.  It seems radical and unimaginable at first. But take a minute to think about all the new mediums of technology now being used to communicate – Skype, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger to name a few. There is a whole host of other ways to send electronic messages that which has already begun to dilute of use of email. Think about when there were only 4 terrestrial TV channels to watch. Now with hundreds of channels available thanks to providers such as Sky, Virgin Media and Freeview, there are constantly reports that viewing figures for normally top rated shows, are slumping.

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Corporate Christmas Ecards are back again

Posted on Thursday December 1st, 2011 by Jenni Malley

Talk of Christmas started back in August for Extravision, when we created our new corporate Christmas ecard range, and I’m happy to say that since then we’ve had lots of interest.

It’s now 1st December and we can officially start the countdown. Decorations will be going up across homes and offices throughout the land.  Some people will have ‘Christmas all wrapped up’. You know the type (women?), shopping done, cards written etc. I hate those people! And there will be the other group of people (men?) for who Christmas hasn’t even crossed their minds, and probably won’t until the 24th December! 

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How to get your emails out of junk and into the inbox

Posted on Thursday November 17th, 2011 by Steve Bossons

I’m not sure about the rest of you, but a real bug-bear of mine is when I’ve spent several hours designing an email for a client, then getting the design signed off, then painstakingly turning the design into a html email, setting up the campaign, firing off a first test to myself and then the despair of seeing my morning’s work turn belly-up in my junk mail folder.
 

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A world of junk

Posted on Thursday November 3rd, 2011 by Jenni Malley

How many pieces of junk mail do you get through your letterbox each day?  I regularly struggle to open my door at night thanks to a flurry of unnamed ‘to the homeowner’ letters as well as takeaway menus and other mailings I don't want.  In fact the average UK household receives more than 370 unwanted items of paper mail each year.

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Trigged emails - are you making the right impression?

Posted on Wednesday November 23rd, 2011 by Jenni Malley

Being pretty new to the world of email marketing, I’m still learning, and every day I read a new article that gives me some more insight into what makes better email campaigns.

But when I recently received a couple of rogue emails, I knew straight away that they had made some obvious mistakes.

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Flash everywhere

Posted on Friday November 18th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

As you may have heard, here at Extravision we will soon be releasing a beta of our new reporting application.

One of the improvements we wanted to offer was to deliver a richer, more graphical and engaging experience, and we're delivering this using Flash.

Although Adobe claim an extremely high penetration statistic for Flash, there is always the chance that in any particular market sector, for whatever reason, people may not have the Flash Player, or at any rate not a recent version. For this reason, we've been looking into the statistics of our users, and here are the results.

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WireDoo or WireDoon’t?

Posted on Friday October 28th, 2011 by Jenni Malley

When I heard that MC Hammer was heading up a new search engine to rival the likes of Google and Yahoo, like most people I instantly thought, ‘ what a joke’!
 
But after a little while, curiosity got the better of me, and using my search engine of choice (Google) I found out a little more about this crazy idea.
 

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The mobile landscape after iPhone 4S and iOS 5

Posted on Thursday October 20th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

One of the bigest current storys in the technology world is about Apple (again!) and their just released update to their phone and tablet O/S.

iOS 5, as it is known, has a wealth of new features and toys to play with, and is paired with new hardware - the iPhone 4S. As with any update there are a plenty of new features to like, some changes to hate, and the odd little wrinkle.

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Spam traps – What are they and what to look out for?

Posted on Monday October 17th, 2011 by Simon Hill

This post was originally posted on the DMA Email Marketing Blog

The term spam trap gets used a lot in email marketing especially when talking about deliverability. They are difficult to spot, changing all the time and can seriously damage the reputation of the sender. Most large ISP’s and spam filtering companies use spam traps and the consequence of landing in the various traps differs. Landing in a single spam trap might not cause you too many problems but land in the same trap several times or land in multiple related spam traps and you could find yourself blacklisted.  Rather than trying to spot them, the best approach is to try and avoid them altogether.

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HP crashes the party

Posted on Thursday September 1st, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

When I wrote before about changes in the mobile landscape and their effects on once-great Nokia I talked briefly about Google's Android devices, but I didn't mention what is set to become the second best selling mobile device ever; and you've probably not heard of it either.

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Video in Email - Part One

Posted on Wednesday August 24th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Back in July, Hotmail announced that they now supported HTML 5 which includes the new video tag. Therefore I decided it was time to investigate (again !) the possibility of embedding video in the content of an email. In the past there have been a number of paid services that have offered to send emails with video content but the big problem has always been support in all the major email clients and the issue of wanting to send the email on your own IP address with the good reputation that you have been working on for such a long time.

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Social Media : From Zero to Hero

Posted on Tuesday August 9th, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

Following a night of very ugly rioting in London last night; residents seem to getting in touch with their inner Womble!  Armed with brooms and dustpans, groups of people have turned up all over the city in true British spirit, to clean up the streets.

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What is Email Engagement ?

Posted on Tuesday July 5th, 2011 by Simon Hill

In the past an ISP would judge your email reputation on the number of complaints they received via feedback loops. And, in the case of Hotmail, the number of unsubscribes via the automatic unsubscribe link. Its fairly obvious that this isn't an accurate measure of reputation. Spammers are very aware of this and send a large number of emails to email accounts that they know are dormant just so their percentage complaint rate is still low and they are not recognised as a spammer.

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Microsite tracking from an email campaign

Posted on Monday July 11th, 2011 by Simon Hill

If you have a microsite or website and want to track an email receipients progress through the site when they follow a link to the site from an email, then there are two options. You can use our google analytics integration or our microsite tracking feature. Google Analytics will give you detailed metrics about the overall figures such as the number of people visiting each page from the email but no details about individuals.

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Embarassing Clichés: "Touching Base" after The Apprentice Final

Posted on Wednesday July 20th, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

This year’s series of The Apprentice was compulsive viewing again, but now the series is over, one thing I will definitely not be missing are all the embarrassing cliché’s that kept spilling out of the mouths of the weaker contestants every week!    

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How did that work out for Nokia then ?

Posted on Thursday July 21st, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

Some time ago, I wrote about some of the issues Nokia was facing and as it became clear what their strategy was, how it looked like their tie-up with Microsoft would pan out. Well today we got the answer.

Unfortunately it's not good news for Nokia, who announced their second quarter results today.

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Help with background images in emails

Posted on Thursday July 21st, 2011 by Joel Jarman

With the introduction of Outlook 2007 some years ago, most designers stopped using background images as Outlook 2007 didn’t support them using the conventional method.  Using the code below is a way of making sure your background images are viewed in almost 90% of email clients.

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How to make sure your emails degrade gracefully

Posted on Wednesday June 8th, 2011 by Joel Jarman

We can test our HTML emails in different email clients and in different browser based clients, but we still can’t know exactly how people will have their clients set up. That's why it’s important that you prepare for the fact that some people will have their images switched off by default.

Whilst having a hosted version of your email and a ‘View this email online’ link is a good place to start, here are 4 more ways to make sure someone that viewing your email with images disabled, still gets the message.

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Cloud computing with Amazon

Posted on Thursday June 16th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Last week I attended the Amazon Web Services Summit in London. This was basically a conference all about the cloud computing services that Amazon offer. Extravision is always looking at improving its infrastructure and reliability and we see cloud computing as a possible next step forward.

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Do you know where your data is ?

Posted on Monday June 27th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

One of the growing trends today is for 'cloud computing', which is like a managed data center, only more so. Cloud computing offers a number of benefits over running your own computers, but you still need to be careful of a number of things, some of which are legal requirements for the processing of your users data.

The Upside

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Email Marketing – It’s NOT a “Blast”!

Posted on Tuesday June 21st, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

Like many email marketers and bloggers, I really dislike the word "blast"!  So much so, that when I heard it again recently, I felt compelled to put pen to paper, following in the footsteps of many others before me.  Fellow email marketer Scott Cohen writes in his post "The Naughtiest Word in Email Marketing" about "its general evilness and lack of thought about the recipients" and goes even further by saying that the word should be banished as it “de-humanises your message and it devalues your customer”.

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Help using Borders in HTML emails

Posted on Tuesday May 3rd, 2011 by Joel Jarman

Borders created using CSS are unreliable in HTML emails, even when coded inline. Browsers and email clients all have different ways of displaying borders and they may or may not add extra pixels to the overall width of your template, leaving gaps in your design.  They can also render inside your <td> or outside.  Here’s our solution to the problem!

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When I first heard that Alex Epstein (Unemployed Head of Communications) from last year’s The Apprentice, was to be a key note speaker at this year’s Business North West exhibition; the question that immediately sprung to mind, was why? Surely the Manchester business community deserves better than this?

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The Modern Day Workplace

Posted on Thursday May 12th, 2011 by Rebecca Loughrey

I remember back to my school days, spending my work experience time in a local law firm. I’m not inclined to give my age away, but admittedly, things were different back then. The digital boom was only just upon us and the day to day running of any workplace was based around the telephone and the fax machine. In fact, I think I spent most of that week filing and faxing rather than learning anything remotely ‘law-related’. Perhaps that’s why I now work in sales?!

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More about cookies and the new EU regulations

Posted on Tuesday May 10th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Following on from my previous post regarding the new EU law governing cookies the government has now published the regulations which are due to take effect on 26th May 2011. Along with this the ICO have also issued some advice on what is acceptable and what you should do if you are currently using cookies.

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Is your holiday a complete turn off?

Posted on Monday May 16th, 2011 by Jenni Malley

I’m off on holiday soon and having the usual panic about what might crop up at work while I am away.  I am also waiting for the inevitable moment at 4pm on your last day in work before you go away, when everyone starts emailing you out of the blue!   It’s always something that will be difficult to hand over and you feel like you’ll never get away. 

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My voice is my passport

Posted on Thursday May 19th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

One of the many areas of the internet that is still showing rapid progress and frequent changes is authentication - or user names and passwords to you and me.

Many sites now require you to login, either to access basic features (like your email) or to offer you a better experience (like remembering what you were reading at work when you get back home). This it what leads to an all to common problem we all have - how to try and remember a different password for each. Users will also often be put off by having to create an account, because they wont see it as a requirement 'just' to buy some socks.

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Meeting the Client - Remembering the Basics!

Posted on Friday May 20th, 2011 by Paul Latham

In my blog ‘You can’t email a hand shake’ I highlighted the value of meeting your clients face to face. In this article, I take a humorous look at some of the things that can go wrong when you walk into that crucial client meeting and what NOT to do, to avoid blowing the whole thing!

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Keeping on top of unsubscribe requests and complaints is essential for successful email marketing. Obvious I know.

However, I spoke to a guy recently who proclaimed to be an experienced e-marketer. Despite this, on the subject of unsubscribes he dismissed the importance of monitoring responses for unsubscribes ‘informing’ me there is no point pandering to “idiots who have forgotten they subscribed in the first place”.

“Perhaps they have changed their mind?” I suggested.

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Mobile Design

Posted on Tuesday April 12th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

Last time around we talked about using a visual design process to quickly work out the look and feel of your application. The intent is to develop an application that users will like to use, because it doesn't get in their way or provide distractions from doing the thing they want to do.

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10 Call to Action Techniques

Posted on Wednesday April 20th, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

In my last website whitepaper The Importance of your Call to Action I reminded readers about avoiding the over use of  “click here” and thinking carefully about the design and placement of any call to action. As all marketers know, every website should have an objective for users to complete; whether it is filling in a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, picking the phone up etc. Of course, an email marketing campaign is no different.

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New EU Laws governing cookies

Posted on Monday March 14th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Recently we were asked the question "What difference will the new European Law regarding cookies make to email campaigns ?". This was in relation to an article written on the BBC website New net rules set to make cookies crumble.

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Let’s (unintentionally) talk about sex

Posted on Wednesday March 16th, 2011 by Alastair Campbell

One of the inexorable truths of email marketing is that you can never second guess a spam filter.

The complex and often illogical algorithms used to select what is, and is not, spam can be infuriating for email marketers. We simply want to send a campaign safe in the knowledge our efforts will not be consigned to a junk folder. We want to present information clearly so recipients can quickly decide whether they are interested in our message or not.

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April 2011: Where is everyone?

Posted on Friday March 25th, 2011 by Jenni Malley

Since I began working life in 1997 I always relished the prospect of the Easter holidays. The combination of the Good Friday and Easter Monday bank holidays made for a lovely long weekend without needing to use up any annual leave.

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How do you get the perfect list style within emails

Posted on Monday March 28th, 2011 by Joel Jarman

CSS for list styles are very limited within email clients and will all be rendered differently.  A clear and stylish list can have a positive impact on your overall email design and increase ROI.
The best way to guarantee your list style is to use tables and images for the bullets.

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Download data in Excel spreadsheet format

Posted on Wednesday March 30th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Until now it has only been possible to download data from a report in Comma Separated List format (csv). Generally this has not caused too many problems since CSV is a standard format and can easily be opened with Excel or Notepad.

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Would you pass or fail the Facebook photo security test?

Posted on Thursday March 31st, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

After a couple of weeks travelling in Australia, I was starting to have Facebook withdrawal symptoms, as I like to know what everyone is up to ( mainly my grown up daughter!) and so I decided to pay for 15 minutes internet access at a coffee stop in Port Douglas, up in Queensland.  Dollars loaded, flat white slurped & I was off.

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Using rapid visual design to benefit users

Posted on Thursday March 31st, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

Last time we discussed a visual approach to deciding which competing features should be included in your application, so the next step is obviously to actually build them.

If you are a designer (so you actually take your hands off the keyboard at work) you already know some of this, because what we're basically talking about is sketching.

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Goodmail is no longer

Posted on Thursday February 3rd, 2011 by Simon Hill

Today we received an email from the CEO of Goodmail Systems informing us that as of 8th February 2011 Goodmail will cease operations. Our contact at Goodmail tells me that they were close to doing a deal with Symantec but it didn't quite materialise and this was the only option available.

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Creating better email campaigns

Posted on Friday February 11th, 2011 by Simon Hill

Over the past few months I've been working on a best practice guide for email creative as part of the DMA's Best Practices hub. Its taken a while to put together but it should be ready for release very soon. Its not meant as a definitive guide on how to create fantastic email campaigns but more a collection of ideas gained from experience.

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What Nokia did next

Posted on Friday February 11th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

I wrote several several months ago (What's up at Nokia) about the problems Europe's largest mobile manufacturer was having, and today Nokia announced what it is going to do. To see what this might mean for mobile services and devices, look through my musings below.

Firstly, here is the detail on what Nokia has announced today.

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Email phishing

Posted on Friday February 11th, 2011 by Joel Jarman

Phishing is often overlooked by clients, or they simply don’t know anything about it.
So, we thought it would be a good idea to run through what it is and explain how to stop it in your emails.

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Giving as good as you get

Posted on Monday January 31st, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

Following on from last time, we now have a good idea of who are users really are via a set of stereotyped personas, and what they want our product to do via user stories.

However, it's almost certain that there will be conflicts between what users require from the service (everything, yesterday) and what there is time and resource to develop. Even though it might be technically possible to deliver all the features all the persona's want, or there may be many people willing to work on the project, this approach may cause problems.

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How can you be so BCC stupid?

Posted on Friday January 21st, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

The embarrassing subject of embarrassing CC’d email mistakes rose it’s ugly head again today, when the office chat turned to Alex Epstein ( Unemployed Head of Communications/contestant) from Lord Sugar's TV series The Apprentice.

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What users really want

Posted on Monday January 10th, 2011 by Tom Chiverton

Last time I talked about ways to think about who your users actually are, and now we know who they are, we can think about what they want from our service.

You might think it'd be easier to just ask them - but this turns out almost always to be less than useful. For instance, users may want something to work a particular way "because that's the way I work", when most people work a different way. Alternatively, if you ask 'how' a new product might work, users will normally suggest ways that exist in other products, which may prevent you from building something easier to use, or with a unique selling point.

So, what is to be done ?

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The emails you just can't resist reading

Posted on Friday January 7th, 2011 by Rebecca McCormick

Feeling a bit down and with very little money left after Christmas, those January sales can be so hard to resist as a little pick me up...all those lovely discounted clothes and useful electronic goods! Of course, retailers know only too well that they can get us to make purchases we don't need, while enabling them to clear old stock.

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The trouble with e-cards

Posted on Monday December 6th, 2010 by Jenni Malley

Since we began designing, promoting and sending Christmas e-cards in 2004, they’ve become more and more popular each year. Our clients love them because they’re cheaper than traditional cards, better for the environment and the interactive format means you can check whether your customers opened the card.

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Styling your images in case they are disabled

Posted on Tuesday December 21st, 2010 by Joel Jarman

Rather annoying isn’t it , when you have designed an email knowing that a minority of your customers will have images disabled. In most email clients you can style the image even if images are disabled...

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Are your background colours getting stripped out by web mail clients?

Posted on Wednesday November 24th, 2010 by Joel Jarman

This is a common problem and in some designs it’s really important that the background colour is shown. The simple solution is to add the background colour to a 100% table. See here for an example:

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You can’t email a handshake

Posted on Thursday November 18th, 2010 by Paul Latham

So there I was in my 3 Star Guesthouse in Cornwall, soaking wet after a long journey down from Manchester (which included a tram, a train, an aeroplane, a taxi and a walk along a windy sea front). I had to ask myself why, in this age of video conferences and online meeting centres, we still subject ourselves to the hassles of travelling to see clients? I mean, we’ve all become so lazy now due to these advances in technology. Many people are reluctant to even pick up the phone – they would rather email. And like the first sales manager I ever had said to me “Paul…you can’t email a handshake”.

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Know your users

Posted on Friday November 12th, 2010 by Tom Chiverton

Before you can build anything, you must understand what it is you are building. And you can only know what to build if you understand who will be using it - users.

Users are often seen as the bane of any developers life, but this tends only to be because there is a big difference between how a user sees the system, and how the developers and maintainers see it.

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"Your country needs YOU" Mr Cameron

Posted on Thursday November 11th, 2010 by Alastair Campbell

“Your country needs you” Mr Cameron reminded us last month.

Lord Kitchener he isn’t, but nevertheless we have for several months, heard endless requests from the coalition government for each of us to play our part in the Big Society. What does this mean? Well, that each of us will have to take more responsibility, pay a little more to the State and receive a little less from the State.

Is this fair? That’s questionable. Is it necessary? I think probably. And therefore I for one am happy to do my bit.

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Why does The Apprentice love the Yellow Pages?

Posted on Wednesday November 3rd, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Yes, I am loving The Apprentice again this year, with all its warts and foibles. But there's one thing that bugged me with the last series and looks like it's happening all over again ...why are the contestants seen clutching 4 inch thick copies of the Yellow Pages when they are looking for business or doing cold calling? What is going on? Why aren't they seen using the latest laptop and mobile technology?

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The Apprentice - How will you watch it?

Posted on Tuesday October 5th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Whilst very excited about this year's series of The Apprentice starting this week, I have also been giving some thought as to whether this really is just another well packaged game show, that I should just sit back & enjoy purely from an entertainment point of view? Or if I should take it a little more seriously and be open to being informed from a business and marketing perspective?

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Getting started

Posted on Friday October 8th, 2010 by Tom Chiverton

Hi, my name is Tom Chiverton, and I recently became Extravision's lead developer.
I've previously been involved in a wide range of projects from web-based tracking of vehicles to displaying corporate address books on mobile phones. I'm really looking forward to getting my teeth into some of the improvements we've already talked about internally.

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5 Top Tips for your Christmas Email Campaign Planning

Posted on Friday October 22nd, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Successful Christmas email marketing campaigns cannot be put off, like last minute Christmas shopping! Planning for your Christmas email marketing campaigns is something you really need to start now, regardless of whether you work in B2B or B2C. And if you follow our 5 Tips to help with your Christmas email campaign planning, it will be a doddle...

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iPhone emails not rendering text properly?

Posted on Wednesday October 27th, 2010 by Joel Jarman

It’s annoying when you get your email to look good in all email clients such as Outlook, Lotus, hotmail etc and then you look at it on an iPhone. You’ll notice that the font size when viewing emails using an iPhone will be larger than it should be.

The iPhone email client automatically scales smaller font sizes up to 12px minimum rather than the original inline css that you have. This can lead to formatting issues within your design and can make your email look unprofessional and messy. Below for an example of the font size render problem:
 

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What's up at Nokia ?

Posted on Friday October 29th, 2010 by Tom Chiverton

A while back, when mobile phone's first became affordable to me, I knew I wanted a Nokia. Everyone had a Nokia - it was in danger becoming a verb like ‘to google’ is today. I still have great memories of playing two player Snake with it’s primitive wireless connections.

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Outlook 2010 – how does this affect email design?

Posted on Wednesday September 15th, 2010 by Joel Jarman

With the release of Outlook 2010 this summer, many email designers have been worried about more problems with the rendering of emails. The reasons for these problems are because both Outlook 2007 and 2010 use Word rendering to interpret the html emails, unlike the most popular versions of Outlook - 2000 and 2003, which use Internet Explorer to render emails.

Microsoft has announced that they are discussing if they will continue with the rendering of emails in Word for future editions of Outlook. In the meantime we need to work with Word rendering.

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Getting some of the Twitter jargon out of the way

Posted on Tuesday August 3rd, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

My last blog article Twitter for Business – What’s all that about? was for the Twitter cynics among you, as I shared my experiences of launching Twitter as a new business communication channel. Last time was mostly about tips and advice; this time I’m getting down and dirty as I take the lid off some of that confusing Twitter jargon to try and get a few more converts!

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Designing emails with preview in mind

Posted on Friday August 6th, 2010 by Joel Jarman

Ever thought about how your message looks in email client preview windows? Graphic designers are the first to admit they often overlook this. In this article, we’ll take you through some points that will help enhance your email in the preview window and increase your open and click through rates.

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Editing images the easy way

Posted on Wednesday August 25th, 2010 by Simon Hill

Often when you create an email campaign you use a standard template and insert text and images in the appropriate places. Often the images you are given are the wrong size, need cropping to focus on a particular point or just need jazzing up a bit. This is normally a job for Photoshop assuming you have it installed and can be bothered waiting for it to load. Or you have to email the images to a colleague and try and explain what you would like done with them.

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Have you had image spacing problems in Hotmail and Gmail recently?

Posted on Friday July 2nd, 2010 by Joel Jarman

You may have noticed that recently hotmail and Gmail have been setting spacing to images, making it a nightmare for developers making image based email designs working in these email clients.

If you imagine html emails as a language and the email clients as the interpreters, it’s easy to understand why there are inconsistencies between the different email clients.

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Chomping at the bit to mention the “C” Word!

Posted on Monday July 12th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Would you believe that I’m hanging fire with an article that I wrote early in June about making the most of the summer months to start planning your Christmas marketing tactics.

And I’m not the only "saddo" with the “C” word on my mind - there was a great big plug for Doctor Who this Christmas at the end of the last season run on BBC3!

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Twitter for business - so what’s that all about?

Posted on Wednesday July 28th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

For all you Twitter cynics, who think it’s all about what Jonathan Ross and Stephen Fry had for breakfast etc, I’ll begin this blog article with some very good reasons to be tweeting!

10 good reasons to Tweet for your business

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iPad email preview now available

Posted on Wednesday June 23rd, 2010 by Simon Hill

Following the launch of the iPad in the UK last month, our partners at Litmus have added the iPad to the list of mobile email clients available to preview your email on.

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Google Analytics integration

Posted on Thursday June 10th, 2010 by Simon Hill

In the past, reports for your email campaigns could only follow users up to the point where they clicked a link in your email campaign after which, the tracking ended. This week we released a new feature so that if you're using Google Analytics to track your website you can extend your email campaign tracking throughout your website.

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That's not my name!

Posted on Wednesday June 9th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Most of us know from Dale Carnegie's principles in his book "How to win friends and influence people" that using names is great for relationship building and it's these same principles that you should apply to your email marketing campaigns.

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Integrating Email Marketing and Social Media.... Our very own Gerrard/Lampard debate

Posted on Monday June 14th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

It started so well.

England's World Cup campaign got underway on Saturday night with a performance that, but for a dreadful howler and poor finishing, would've probably been very satisfying.

However, putting to one side both the result and Robert Green's mistake, there were a number of plus points to take from the game. Emile Heskey put in a dominant display to (temporarily) answer his critics, Glen Johnson caused the USA numerous problems and Aaron Lennon scared the bejesus out of his marker every time he had the ball.

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New Firefox tests for email previews

Posted on Tuesday May 11th, 2010 by Simon Hill

Users of our email inbox preview system will be well aware that you can preview your emails in all the popular webmail systems such as Hotmail and AOL. Until recently this was only possible using Internet Explorer as the browser. This was not ideal as depending on the web browser used to open your email in Hotmail and others, it can be rendered very differently.

To solve this problem we now show 6 webmail clients in both Firefox and Internet Explorer. The following webmail clients are all available in IE and Firefox.

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So many business networking groups, so little time!

Posted on Thursday May 13th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

There are just so many networking opportunities out there, it’s hard to know where to start and exactly where you and your business will fit in. Businesses face the choice of dedicating time and resources to traditional networking, or newer technology based solutions, or both! The answer to this question will vary from business to business, based on the business itself and industry characteristics, the comfort level and skill set of the person in charge of networking and the goals of the business.

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Jumping on the World Cup marketing bandwagon

Posted on Thursday May 20th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

With the World Cup coming in June, those ads and promotions, exploiting the football theme, are starting to kick in, excuse the pun. As its fast becoming “the bandwagon”, I thought I would jump right on it to see if there are any tenuous links between football and email marketing that I can shamelessly claim!

1. Get the basics right

Football - No football team succeeds without getting the basics sorted. The simple, unspectacular stuff like pass - move - pass. And just getting the basics right is often enough to win.

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Preview your emails on mobile clients

Posted on Wednesday May 26th, 2010 by Simon Hill

If you're a BlackBerry or iPhone user you already know how popular mobile email is and how HTML email support on mobile devices has improved dramatically. As a result of the better rendering, the number of users reading their email on mobile devices has increased dramatically over the past two years.

Using our email preview system you can now test your emails on the iPhone, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Symbian devices with more devices planned for the future.
 

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Help with text to image ratios

Posted on Wednesday May 26th, 2010 by Joel Jarman

The temptation to include large striking graphics when designing emails is too common nowadays and can effect open rates and give high spam ratings . However, if used in the right way they can be very effective.

Spam filters often class an email as spam by looking at one of the key factors which is often overlooked in email design – text to image ratio. Spam filters work out the size of images and compare these to the amount of text in the email.

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iPad - What's all the fuss about ?

Posted on Wednesday April 7th, 2010 by Simon Hill

So, the new great invention from Apple was released in the US this week. The iPad was released on Saturday 3rd April and people queued for hours to try and get hold of one. It seems that Apple have the knack of developing products that look like they are from a sci fi movie that everybody wants.

I love my iPod and have had many generations of them. I don't have an iPhone and prefer my Blackberry for email. And I've been thinking for a while about getting the Apple TV. But I'm struggling to figure out what I would use an IPad for.

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Email goes all social

Posted on Friday April 2nd, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Just as “two heads are better than one”, it makes sense that two complementary marketing practices can be used more effectively to engage with customers in less of a disjointed way. Consumers need brand consistency as they jump from one social platform to the next and so getting friendly with these social platforms, can give email even greater strength.

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Question Time? Party Political emails up for debate

Posted on Monday April 19th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

Loving The Yellow Brick Road's recent review of the html newsletters for each political party. Yes, the Conservative one from George Osborne had a personal signature, but it was very wordy with no sub-headings, making it pretty hard to digest.

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First impressions count

Posted on Wednesday March 24th, 2010 by Rebecca McCormick

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression and so no pressure with my first blog then. And same rules apply when it comes to writing the subject line for your email, as this really is your chance to create a first impression with a customer. If you get it wrong, you can damage a relationship forever.

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Outlook 2010 Beta

Posted on Tuesday March 30th, 2010 by Simon Hill

Microsoft Outlook 2010 is currently in beta and looks like it contains some useful new features. You can get a list of the changes between Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 here and the new release which is due out in June 2010.

Our friends at Litmus has already begun testing with this new email client and it has been added as one of the preview clients in our full preview.

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The power of spam filters

Posted on Monday March 29th, 2010 by Simon Hill

I read an interesting article on the BBC website today about how a long running Canadian magazine had decided to produce an online version but had seen poor results due to spam filters. They have decided to change their name from "Beaver" to "Canada's History". I can only imagine the costs and time to rebrand a 90 year old magazine and I'm sure they didn't take the decision lightly.

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Hotmail delivery issue

Posted on Thursday March 18th, 2010 by Simon Hill

Today there have been some problems with delivery to hotmail accounts. This was not a problem with the Extravision system but a Hotmail issue. The Hotmail email servers simply wouldn't accept any emails for delivery. This meant that emails addressed to the hotmail domains just sat in our mail server queues and their delivery was delayed.

I contacted Hotmail and they confirmed that they have been "experiencing some technical issues" but the problem was now resolved. I checked our mail queues and all the affected emails have now been delivered.

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Where do you start ?

Posted on Monday March 15th, 2010 by Simon Hill

So, the day has finally arrived. Its time to start the Extravision blog and the duty of writing the first article falls to myself. All sounded really easy when we started designing our new website and decided we needed a blog. Sure, I'll write lots of blog entries I said. It will be easy, I shouted. And here we are ...

After a quick google search I discovered there are lots of sites out there telling you how to write a business blog. I read a few of articles and they all basically said the same thing. The key to a good blog is make it interesting.

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Extravision is a privately owned UK-based email service provider founded in 2004, with a great ISP reputation ensuring high deliverability rates. We offer flexible email marketing solutions to both small and large businesses across all sectors.

The posting and presence of content in a blog entry on this site does not necessarily mean that extravision agrees with the content, ensures its accuracy or otherwise approves of it. Nothing in any blog constitutes a binding representation, agreement or an endorsement on the part of Extravision. Please review the site terms of use carefully.