"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, December 23, 2020

FREE eCards for the Hoildays

I just created an eCard for the holidays and wanted to share. You can download it for FREE! I also included another more generic Happy Holidays card.

Works perfectly in Outlook 2007. Just follow these instructions to install.

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Saturday, May 8, 2021

Free Mother's Day eCard

I just created an eCard for Mother's Day. You can download it for FREE!

Works perfectly in Outlook 2007. Just follow these instructions to install.

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Friday, May 7, 2021

50 Email Marketing Tips

I just received this bocklet of tips from theEmailGuide.com. It lists 50 tips to improve your email marketing campaigns. Some are helpful... some are not. If you are new to email marketing, I'm sure you will find a lot of helpful information. Some of the tips include:

The best times for emails to be delivered
According to a report from Pure360 the prime windows of opportunity fluctuate depending on the material.

For example, some 27 percent of all eMail marketing restaurant promotions and 19 percent of live event promotions are opened first thing. While the mid-afternoon period between 3 PM and 5 PM (the post lunch slump) seems to be the time for people to go for those emails promoting “chance of a lifetime” or “life changing” opportunities.

Unsubscribe! I mean change my email! D’oh
When someone hits the unsubscribe button, are you ready to handle it? As a company you can learn from the reasons behind someone unsubscribing, or even better: give them an option to change personal details or preferences on frequency (opt-down) and save them from unsubscribing.

MailChimp & SpinnakerPro offer great free email marketing solutions
Here’s two companies offering a 100% free email marketing solution with no obligation. This takes the risk out of email marketing for those just starting out.

There's a lot more. Download all the tips.

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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Handling Bounced Email

Using PHPMailer-BMH and AuthSMTP

Probably the best way to handle bounced emails when sending mass mailings is to use a Variable Envelope Return Path (VERP) system. Variable Envelope Return Path (VERP) is a technique used by some electronic mailing list software to enable automatic detection and removal of undeliverable e-mail addresses. It works by using a different return path (also called "envelope sender") for each recipient of a message. The basic idea is to include information about the recipient in the return path of the email going out, so that if it does bounce, the original recipient information is readily available without having to analyze the returned mail to get this information.  For example, if the recipient email address was taken from a database and the index of the address was 1234, the return path for the email could be something like user-1234-bounce@mydomain.com. All you would have to do is have a method to analyze the return path to know that the email address at index 1234 of the database was bounced. While this system works great, there are some instances in the real world where it may not be applicable.

This method assumes:

  • you can filter the returned mail to an address like bounce@mydomain.com
  • you can alter the return path of the original email you are sending
  • you have, or can set up, a catch-all email address

If you are running your own server, these requirements are not a problem. If using paid services, there might by some issues as I have found. When working on a recent project using AuthSMTP.com to send out mass mailings, I elected to use the PHPMailer-BMH toolkit to manage bounced emails.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Email Marketing Basics

Email marketing isn’t that much more difficult to do than sending out regular email. There are only a few things that you need to be aware of when sending bulk emails.

  1. Most ISPs and web hosting services do not allow you to send out tons of emails all at once as they view this as possible spam. For the most part, there is a cap on what can be sent out. Usually around 200 – 250 emails per day and not more than 50 emails per hour. There are some exceptions, but for the most part, they are exceptions rather than the rule.
  2. The more images you include in the email, the more likely it will be caught as spam. To save on bandwidth,  most bulk email messages use images stored on servers rather than attached to the email message itself. Doing this will increase the likelihood of being caught as spam.
  3. Outlook 2007 will really mess up formatted email. Microsoft decided that with Outlook 2007 that they would use the Word engine to render and compose email in Outlook rather than the Internet Explorer engine. Problem is, Word is not 100% compliant with internet style standards. So messages created in anything else, including many online emails services, look terrible when received in Outlook 2007... and about 25% of email users use that program for their email.
  4. If sending to recipients on Yahoo or Gmail, there is a good chance your email will be flagged as spam. If received by too many recipients at Yahoo or Gmail, your domain and/or ISP may be flagged as spammers and blacklisted, which could mean other email servers may start rejecting your email.



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