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Things we *don’t* love: Half-baked emails

Check your emails for these faux pas before you hit send

Think back on the last few months. Is there anything that you cringe to cop to, any deeds that make you shudder? No, I'm not talking about over-imbibing at the company cocktail party or referring to Bon Iver as Bone Eye-ver (though I feel for you, if that's you). I mean email faux pas, like hitting send too hastily or emailing a 60%-off coupon to the wrong list.

I worked with an Emma customer the other day who was wowed (in fact, he said “wowza,” much to my delight) when I helped convert his Microsoft Word document into an email campaign. He was eager to send it right away, but I said, “Hold it right there. Spend a bit more time with it." If you take the time to add your own finesse and flavor to your email campaign, it'll go a long way with your audience. And, above all, please avoid these often-overlooked mistakes: 

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With Emma, you're in good company. Meet our Customers.

What we’re reading now: on designing gorgeous email campaigns

A new batch of don't-miss articles for creative types

We love email marketing around here. (Not obvious at all, right?) And we love helping agencies, small businesses and nonprofits create share-worthy email campaigns that help their businesses grow.

We're so very excited about the recent launch of our new content editor, and we can't wait to see how you'll use it to create emails that stand out in the inbox. Here are a few reads that'll help you do just that.

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We’re hard at work on even more email templates

Take a peek at the collections in our template gallery

Last week was a busy one at Emma, and we're not slowing our pace anytime soon. Our design team is hard at work, creating even more template collections for you to use with Emma's new content editor. Each collection comes with three templates – a newsletter, a postcard and a note – so you have what you need when creating monthly campaigns, special announcements and periodical communications.

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More details on our new API

How to access Emma's API for custom integration with other programs

This week, we launched a new website & brand treatment and began rolling out a new editor, template gallery, and a few other smart features to support our customers' email marketing efforts. At the heart of these account enhancements is our new API.

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Introducing Emma’s new resource center

All the account help you're used to, plus more

You may have noticed a few changes around Emma this week. The Emma app and website both have a shiny new look, we've updated our logo and brand, and we've released a new content editor and template gallery.

What's more, we're now offering you even more ways to become an email marketing expert with a new resource center.

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One of these emails is not like the other

Alt tags: Part one of a three (or four, maybe five) part series.

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These two emails arrived in my inbox within about 20 minutes of each other. They're similar at first glance. Almost identical, really. Both are very image heavy, both came from brand name clothing retailers, both include simple calls to action, both drive traffic to an online store, on and on I could go. This time I took a look 'under the hood' to see how these two email marketing teams prepared their campaigns for the all-too-common scenario of images being blocked.

The Gap team (left) coded their html with a backup plan, since about half of the email programs out there don't display images by default. That backup plan is known to the html-savvy as the alt tag – the alternate text that shows when the images don't load. For a visual, peek at the screen shots to see how the message of free shipping still comes through, even when the images don't.

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Next time you create a campaign, be sure to think about your own backup plan. The general rule is to set an alt tag for all of your images. Sound complicated and technical? It's not at all. We've made it easy by offering to 'add a description' each time you upload an image into your campaign. (If you're working with an html designer, they'll add the alt tag before uploading the code your Emma account.)

Last, but not least, don't forget to test the email and see the alt tags in action. A simple preference tweak in your email client of choice should let you see the test email with the images blocked.

One note to Outlook users: Outlook has a default text that overrides these tags. You'll see a note about clicking to download images.

Emma’s on the Inc. 500 list

Inc. Magazine's profile of the 500 fastest growing private companies in the U.S. hit the stands last week, and we're rather proud to be on this year's list. Specifically, we're #312.

Did you want more numbers? Okay, then. We're officially ranked #24 among advertising & marketing companies, #4 in the greater Nashville area, and #1 among companies who managed to sneak the word 'kickass' into their Inc. profile.

We're thrilled to be named in such a fine roster of companies. We're so thrilled, in fact, that we're ordering a plaque – partially to commemorate the honor, but mostly just to get the word 'kickass' engraved on something.

[tags]emma, Inc 500, Inc Magazine, myemma.com, nashville[/tags]

And the tree total to date is…

Emma plants five trees for every customer who chooses us for their email marketing campaigns.
With June behind us, we're officially halfway through 2008, the year we set out to plant a tree for every new customer who joins Emma. I'm pleased to announce that we've planted a whopping 10,855 trees so far this year, with the latest batch from June on their way to Wisconsin soil to find a home.

Of course, now it's July, and that means it's time to vote on a new location for half of this month's trees. Remember, the other half goes to the equatorial region of Plant-It 2020′s choice (they're our fabulous partner in all this tree planting business). Also, remember that the states we ask you to vote on come from Plant-It 2020′s list of pre-approved non-harvest sites – it's not that we're biased toward states like Wisconsin, although few Emma staffers would turn down a lovely aged white cheddar. Anyway, take a moment and tell us where you'd like to send some trees…

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What’s on your walls?

When we moved into the new Emma digs in January, we weren't sure what to do with all the extra wall space (not to mention other amenities like "more than two restrooms" and "hey, it doesn't smell weird"). We framed some marketing and campaign creative and put up some of those famous Hatch Show Prints, but when it came to painted stuff, we just didn't think a corporate art rental program was our style.

Instead, we invited the kids of Emma employees who attend Children's House Montessori School in Nashville to create the art for us, asking them to look at Emma's logo and create an entire picture of Emma around it. Another team helped to paint a cityscape. So now we have something of an art gallery to welcome folks who visit the shop, complete with gallery-like descriptions for each work of art. Here are a few for your artistic enrichment…

Emma with Tiny Chicken Arms, and Perfectly Okay About It

Emma Art
Watercolor on Canvas

A classic study in human and fowl proportion, Tiny Chicken Arms is believed by some art critics to be the first attempt to combine a human body and chicken arms in a blouse that was clearly intended for much larger, non-chicken-like appendages.

At first glance, the work appears to feature legs of differing lengths, almost in an accidental way, but note how the subject's earrings follow the same long-short pattern.

Also, the subject has no nose.

Patrons interested in further researching the early career of O. Smith can see also:

Figure with Large, Bulbous Right Leg and Normal-Sized Left Leg, Four Fingers with Two More Sticking Out of the Wrist Area, and Boy With Unintentional Extra Neck.

Artist: Owen Smith (age 5), Children's House Montessori

Emma with Blue Hair and Dark Skirt/Innertube

Emma Art
Watercolor on Canvas

Hooper is widely considered to be the philosophical leader of the Buoyant Attire movement, a group devoted to furthering the idea of clothes that can also be used as flotation devices.

In this particular work, it's as if the subject is saying, I can stand here possibly waving at you, or I can tube down Category Four rapids if the mood strikes me.

Many believe the artist's later effort, Look At Me, Now I'm Tubing Down Category Four Rapids, may be the logical companion piece to this canvas. Innertube is not without controversy, as some scholars question its inclusion in the Buoyant Attire movement.

They point to the artist's use of a dinner napkin already tucked in as a clear nod to the Post-Tubing Cheese Crackers movement, a splinter artist group fervently opposed to the idea of tubing without proper snacks.

They are based out of Nebraska.

Artist: Maggie Hooper (age 4), Children's House Montessori

Emma in Purply Gown and Red Gloves or Possibly Smeared Cupcake

Emma Art
Watercolor on Canvas

Known for her work in carefully arranging wood blocks, artist Julia Spessard displays her versatility with Emma in Purply Gown.

This work is her first foray into painting — or, in her words, "making pretty pretty."

With its use of heavy brush strokes, serious tone and tiny nose, Gown is at once a commentary on the absurdity of society life and a challenge to the world of fashion designers.

This challenge is namely to make more things that are purple.

This is a theme that would resurface in J. Spessard's subsequent oil series, My Purple Daddy and His Giraffe, Which is Also Purple. Allusions to smeared cupcakes in her later works are more pronounced.

Artist: Julia Spessard (age 3), Children's House Montessori

Emma in Slightly Mannish Sweater Suit

Emma Art
Watercolor on Canvas

Part of the watercolor series Sweaters: Not As Ladylike As You Might Think, Slightly Mannish is generally considered to be artist Woods Spessard's most important work.

This triumph follows on the heels of the somewhat less regarded efforts Half Flower, Inside My Nose and Orange-y Blob.

Note the use of the horizontal lines, earth tones, and large, gangly google-y eyes favored by artists of this period.

(This period refers to the time right after nap time and before plastic stove baking time).

Discerning viewers may also spot the subtle influences of Van Gogh and Cezanne.

Other views may note the subtle influences of the Dress Barn's winter line, circa 1997.

Artist: Woods Spessard (age 5), Children's House Montessori

Future, and Possibly Architecturally Unstable, City

Emma Art
Watercolor on canvas

One of three works in the series Whimsical Buildings You Might Not Want to Stand Underneath, Future City re-imagines the modern skyline in vivid blues, yellows, reds, and the ever-popular architectural color Bubblegum Pink.

The work blends whimsy and irreverence to create an abstract paradise for everyone but building inspectors, window makers, and the poor sap who rented the elevator-less rocket-launcher penthouse.

Artists: The boys and girls of Children's House Montessori (ages 3 through 6)

Send some email, plant some (more) trees.

Every month, we plant 5 trees for each new customer who chooses Emma for their email marketing efforts. Last month, you voted to plant 1,685 trees in beautiful Georgia, and now it's time to decide where to put March's little forest. And not to worry – we partner with Plant-It 2020 for our planting efforts, so these are indigenous trees – planted in non-harvest locations – which are cared for and protected their whole lives. All that's left to do now is decide where they go, and that's your job, compadre:

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