Autoresponders, holiday templates and drag & drop editor enhancements

Our product development teams have been busy as ever as we head into the holiday season: We recently released a major fix to our autoresponder system, a whole collection of (free!) seasonal template designs and a ton of exciting enhancements to our drag & drop editor.

Reliable autoresponders for new subscribers

At Emma, we've always worked to make it easy — and dare we say fun — to grow and engage your list: You can drive point-of-sale signups with our free iPad app, Emma Guestbook; you can welcome new subscribers with a free Welcome Collection template; and you can automate those welcome emails with autoresponders triggered by new signups, so you can engage your brand-new readers without ever lifting a finger.

One of our development teams took a deep dive into autoresponders last month, because some customers reported that their automated messages weren't firing reliably. We found some instances where the trigger event was attempting to fire just before the new subscriber actually popped up in the account — and so, in those cases, the autoresponder didn't know where to go, and the trigger would quietly fail.

That issue is resolved thanks to our trusty API team, so autoresponders are now delivering consistently again. Why not celebrate by creating your own?

How to create a signup trigger event »

How our free iPad app can help grow your list »

 

Template Gallery update: Free winter & holiday designs

Our Template Gallery now features a set of festive holiday and seasonal designs created by our world-class design team.

These gorgeous templates are easy to save to your account and absolutely free to use — and they're a beautiful, no-hassle way for your brand to share your season's greetings or holiday promotions.

Check out the Winter Collection »

Enter your mailing into our fall/winter template contest »

 

'View' sent mailings without creating new copies

On the Campaigns page, drag & drop editor mailings appear in one of three tabs: still-in-progress "Draft" mailings, soon-to-be-delivered "Scheduled” mailings, or already-delivered "Sent" mailings.

Customers often click on Sent mailings to create and edit new copies of something they've previously sent — but, as one Community user asked, what if you're simply wanting to take a look? In that scenario, you don't need to launch the editor, and you certainly don't need add more copies to your Drafts tab.

Each mailing under the Sent tab now has its own "View" button, which opens a web-based preview of that mailing in a separate browser tab without creating a new copy in the editor.

Different confirmation for *scheduled* mailings

This was a small change, but one we're excited about: When users schedule mailings, they're now seeing a different confirmation message ("Your mailing has been scheduled") than users who set up their mailings to send immediately ("Your mailing will soon be on its way").

We're hoping the alternate language will be a little clearer for the folks who like to get their mailings set up ahead of time — and thanks to the customers who suggested this tweak!

How to schedule a mailing to go out at a later time or date »

 

Spellcheck changes (also known as "The Manuary Ticket")

An Emma customer recently posted in our Community asking that we expand our spellcheck library because the editor had suggested changing January to manuary — which, as it turns out, is an archaic synonym of manual. The more you know, you guys.

In any case, we've now expanded our spellcheck feature so it won't try to "correct" common proper nouns like the months of the year, days of the week, major cities, states, countries, and the most popular first and last names according to census data. We've also included common contractions like "can't" and "we'll."

Learn about spellcheck and other toolbar features »

 

Bug fixes

  • The apostrophe character in the normal editing view was changing to its HTML equivalent in plain text view. This bug has been fixed, so apostrophes are now appearing as normal apostrophes in both HTML and plain text views.
  • A very specific, very unusual bug was cropping up for users who copied content from an outside source, then highlighted all the text in a text box with command+A, then immediately replaced all the highlighted text with their copied content by hitting command+V. That exact sequence of steps was removing the <p> tags from the text box content, which inhibited users' ability to then format the pasted text. This bug is resolved.
  • On the Response page, the calculations for click trends over time were slightly off from the calculations for a single mailing's click activity. We have fixed this issue, so the calculations now match (and are accurate in both places).
  • Some users were encountering a thumbnail issue when sharing campaigns to Facebook, but this has been corrected.

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How to achieve brainiac status when it comes to your email’s images

Read our five tips now, and follow the blog for more details all March long

5 tips to make your email's images stand out

Did you know…

What's all that mean? It's a good time to brush up on your image smarts, which is why we've just published our Brainiac Guide to Images in Email. You'll find five practical tips for making the most of your images with visuals (of course!) that help make the point.

But wait, there's more: all month long on the blog, we'll be going into more detail about leveraging the power of images in your email newsletters. We'll share real-world examples, expert interviews and videos. Check back often or, hey, just subscribe here or follow us on Twitter for the latest.

Also during the month of March, Emma customers can get 5 stock images on us. It's to celebrate the brand-new Emma integration with Bigstock that makes about 12 million stock images searchable right from your account -- and makes it easy to always add the all-important image to your next email campaign.
 

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Get inspired: effective emails created in our new editor

Spot the new features (& old stand-bys) our customers are using to make great emails

We're pretty excited about our brand new content editor and email template gallery (have ya noticed?), and we're even more excited to see how our customers are using the  editor's shiny new features to create stunning email campaigns. I rounded up a few recent examples to show you how folks are communicating in style and getting great results.

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Here Pottery Merchant uses a postcard template from the Toronto collection to frame this quick event announcement. 

Why we like it:

See the full campaign >>

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Nashville Children’s Theatre took advantage of our newsletter template from the Faraday collection and our new content editor's flexibile layouts to spotlight information about upcoming shows.

Why we like it:

See the full campaign >>

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In this example, Digital Edge Learning customizes the Mayfair Trenchcoat newsletter template to highlight a featured contest. 

Why we like it:

See the full campaign >>

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The newsletter template of the Toronto collection looks completely different than the Toronto postcard above, thanks to some customization by Dovetail Solution. They added their own logo and spin for a professional-looking company newsletter.

Why we like it:

See the full campaign >>

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Micah Stansell added just a touch of flair to the postcard template from our Hemingway collection.

Why we like it:

See the full campaign >>

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We hope you’re enjoying our new editor features and finding ways to incorporate email best practices along the way. We’d love to see some of your handiwork! Share your campaigns in the comments, and we may just feature you in a future post.

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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.

Articles for the writerly types:

  • Bookmark the 9 must-have components of compelling email copy. It contains the basic concepts as well as specific details for pulling great subject lines, calls to action and more, making it a good read for beginners and email marketing veterans alike.
  • Skip to the head of the class by reading Graham Charlton's What I've learned from writing 2,000 blog posts. His article is geared toward blog posts, but it's easily applicable to email as well. (Be sure to check out the "headlines" section for subject line know-how.)

Articles for designers:

  • Rethinking mobile email design is more important than ever as mobile email readership continues to grow. No longer a temporary until-I-get-back-to-my-desktop solution, mobile is increasingly the chosen platform for consumers (especially in bed or during a TV show). Edit call-to-action buttons and spacing for touch screens using these pixel recommendations.
  • Haven't had your fill of mobile tips yet? Read this ClickZ article on designing for a reader who's on-the-go. It might just convince you to move away from a mobile version of your email, and instead just design your primary campaign so it works for all readers.

Catch up on campaign goodness from the Emma blog:

We think you're in for a treat with our new campaign features, and we'd love to help you along the way. If you need account assistance, visit our searchable help section, or reach out to our support team. If you're an Emma Agency with questions about supporting your clients, our agency relations team has you covered.

New to Emma? Get started with 30 days free.

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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 email campaigns, special announcements and periodical communications.

Just log into your Emma account and visit the campaigns page. You'll see both our classic editor and the new drag-and-drop editor there. The fancy, new editor is paired with the equally-fancy, equally-new template gallery. When you begin a new mailing, you'll have the option to use one of your custom templates or choose a new one from the gallery.

What's so great about these email templates, other than how lovely they look? Well, we've tricked them out (tricked out is a totally acceptable phrase in 2012, right?) with built-in font styles, customizable headers and footers, and editable image spots to place your logo.

We're giving you a look at some of the newest templates in this Facebook album, and we'll be adding even more templates soon.

Not yet an Emma customer? Learn about our email marketing tools and get started with a free trial account.

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New today: an updated app, shiny website and fresh logo & brand

A visual tour of the changes we've made to complement our new features

As you may have heard, there's a lot of new stuff happening at Emma.

Three incredibly useful features were just rolled out to most all accounts.

Our all-new drag & drop editor and template gallery are already being revealed to customers on a rolling basis, so if don't see these in your account yet, you will soon.

We wanted all the design around the new stuff we're sharing to reflect this more Emmafied Emma -- something of an exclamation point on the story of these new features and design tools. Today, I'd like to give you a glimpse at a few of the *visual* changes you'll see starting this week:

An updated app

There's a brand new look for the Emma application itself. Everything is still in the same place, but we've refined the colors and simplified the graphics so Emma's an even more pleasant place to do your work.

A new website

This morning, we launched an entirely new website featuring our new look and features. It includes a dedicated resource center so it's easy to search across our collection of videos, blog posts and account help in one central place.

An updated logo & brand

We took this opportunity to make some refinements to our brand and logo. Emma's hair is smoother, her glasses are a bit hipper and her face is just subtly more balanced. She also has a modern new color palette to wear around town.

What do you think of the changes? Let us know in the comments.

Ready to start a free trial? Click here.

 

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About the changes coming to Emma: new website, new editor & more

A letter from Clint, Emma’s co-founder and CEO

Dear Emma customers,

Starting next week, you’re going to notice a few changes at Emma. And I thought it might be helpful to provide a bit of context around what you’ll see and how it all fits together.

Eons ago – you were probably really young and still listening to Wham! and don’t remember this – we created Emma based on a handful of things we were quite passionate about: elegantly simple product experiences, stellar design and great customer service. A fourth passion, for Scandinavian collectible figurines, did not seem particularly relevant at the time. (Just you wait.)

See our all-new drag & drop editor in action. Like, really fast action.

All these years later, here we are still hard at work bringing those themes to life, spending countless whiteboard, and regular, hours working on ways to improve our product, our designs and our service.

So what’s all the change about? Well, over the past year or so, we’ve been:

  1. Building an entirely new email editor, replacing our intuitive but fairly inflexible editor with a slick drag-and-drop editing experience that makes it much easier (and fun?) to create fabulous email campaigns.
  2. Creating a brand-new template design gallery to complement our custom design services. It’s a collection of really smart, readymade design templates that will expand over time and make stellar design instantly available to all.
  3. Adding more smart marketing features, like expanded social sharing, subscriber notifications and Google Analytics integration. You can read about those in this blog post and know there’s plenty more to come on this front, smart marketing friend.
  4. Rearchitecting Emma’s underlying platform, so that it performs better (read: faster) as we grow and includes an API layer that sets up Emma to integrate with lots of other great marketing products and services.
  5. Designing a new website with an updated brand treatment and even a subtle account makeover to reflect all the newness and make the overall Emma experience more consistent, not to mention more modern.

These changes will be unveiled on a rolling basis beginning next week. In fact, some of you have been gracious enough to help us test the new platform and early versions of the editor and related features. You’ve helped us spot bugs, offered us lots of great feedback and lived through a not-always-awesome and sometimes-downright-crappy beta testing process. To each and every one of you, I offer a huge note of thanks. You are Emma’s champions, and I don’t mean that in a cheesy “We Are the Champions” or “Wind Beneath my Wings” kind of way, unless those are your two favorite songs, in which case that’s exactly what I mean.

And for everyone reading this, know that the culmination of this work isn’t a finish line of any sort. It’s a starting line, with lots of great improvements and additions planned and an entire team of people pretty dang fired up to make it all happen.

Behind these changes is a team of people obsessing over your experience. We're so excited about what's to come, we made a video about it.

The team is so fired up, in fact, we felt compelled to make a video about it. Just like we can’t talk you through the new features nearly as well as we can show you, we can’t really capture the energy of the Emma shop without pulling back the curtain on the office, even though we’re moving that office to the brand-new, really old historic Trolley Barns in a matter of days.

Feel free to reach out to the team with any pressing questions about any of this, or email me directly with any big thoughts you have on the future of Emma, whenever those thoughts happen to strike you. And thanks so much for being part of the Emma journey with us. Entrusting us with even a small part of your brand and business is a big deal, and it’s a responsibility we truly take to heart.

Cheers,
Clint

Clint Smith
Emma Co-founder & CEO

Set up a free trial account to start using Emma today.

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Our drag and drop editor is coming your way

We're rolling out a fancy new editor that'll pair ever-so-nicely with our Template Gallery

Just last week, Daniel’s post about Emma’s new Template Gallery spurred a flurry of excitement among customers and fans.

Daniel mentioned that the templates will work with our new drag and drop editor, and I’m here to fill in some of the details of what you’ll see when we release the editor and Template Gallery a little later this month. Our goals for the new editor and Template Gallery are simple:

Provide world-class, accessible design

Whether you use one of the new, hand-crafted templates in our Template Gallery or a custom design by an Emma designer, our new editor gives you the tools to create stylish, professional-looking campaigns that represent your brand.

Keep the workflow simple

Let Emma auto-save your work, and if you’ve created a campaign you want to use as a starting point each time, you can save that campaign as a template for future work.

Make layouts flexible

Drag and drop text and image blocks into your campaign, add a sidebar with a couple clicks, then rearrange the whole thing in no time flat if you change your mind.

Hand the creative controls over to the person creating the campaign

Within minutes, you can customize a template with your brand colors, adjust margins and padding, move your content around, and give your images an extra polish.

Want even more details on the many ways we’ve made our new editor simple and fun to use? We’ve listed ‘em (and added more sneak peeks at how it all looks) below.

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Workflow that makes sense

We’ve designed the editor with a streamlined workflow to save you time.

  • An auto-save feature that saves as you go. No more clicking back and forth between edit and save.
  • A nice big canvas for work. Get a view of the campaign’s look without a whole lot of scrolling.
  • Live preview and proofing.
  • Move or lock your editing toolbar. Place it wherever makes the most sense to you as you work.

Emma's new editor has a streamlined workflow.

Customizable templates

With our Template Gallery offerings, you have control over the color scheme and branding.

  • Change a template’s accent colors with just a couple of clicks.
  • Add your logo, tagline and contact information in editable areas.
  • Save your changes as a new template to skip a few steps next time around.

Most Template Gallery offerings let you edit your logo and accent colors, then you can save your settings for next time.

Flexible layouts

Choose from one column, left column, right column or three column layouts, then customize them as you please.

  • Assemble text and image boxes easily by dragging, dropping, rearranging and editing them as your email campaign comes together.
  • Adjust the alignment of your content blocks, add captions and set text-wrapping to suit your campaign’s content and style.
  • Use our Smart Sizing feature for images to automatically make them the same size — and make sure they’re in proportion to your campaign.

Our new editor lets you reorder your content and edit settings to get just the right look.

Creative formatting

Give your campaign a professional look with a bunch of handy features.

  • Background colors. Call attention to important blocks of content using color, or set the background color of your entire campaign.
  • Borders. Highlight a section of content and add design interest, plus create coupons and call-out boxes.
  • Styles. Quickly apply coordinated styles for headlines, body text and captions.
  • Images. Choose an image from your computer or Emma library, or connect to pictures on Facebook and Flickr.

Crop, apply filters and more with a powerful image editor.

Built-in testing features

It’s super-easy to make sure your campaign looks great before you send the real deal.

  • Send free tests to up to any 25 people.
  • Emma automatically adds “test” to the mailing’s subject line.
  • Add a note for your test recipients to call out sections you’d like them to proof or pay extra attention to.

You can send a quick preview to up to 25 recipients and even add a note to the top of the email.

We’re testing the Template Gallery and new editor with a small group of Emma customers, and we’ll let you know when they’re available in your Emma account. If you don’t have an account but still want to know when the Template Gallery and new editor go live for everyone, sign up for our emails so we can stay in touch.

And if you’d like to see a few more of the Template Gallery designs that we’re working on, click to view an album here.

Not yet an Emma customer? Sign up today.

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Getting Emma’s new content editor ready to go

How usability testing and private beta are inspiring changes that you'll love

How do you improve the campaign editing process that 30,000 customers use daily?

Very carefully.

That’s why we’ve built in usability testing sessions and a private beta period before Emma’s new content editor is ready for prime time.

In the winter, we invited customers to try the first prototype in usability sessions at Emma. We looked for insights into how to make the editor easier to use and nip any confusing points in the bud. Geoff’s already written a great blog post detailing how we do usability sessions at Emma, so I’ll jump right into the new editor features and what we learned from watching customers use it.

Ch- ch- changes

Flexibility is the mantra for designing the new campaign editor. You want three images in your newsletter, no more and no less? No problem. You can just drag another one in. Need to bump your first article down a few slots? Drag the whole article where you want it and drop it. Get the picture? You’re going to have drag and drop control, ladies and gentlemen.

Oh, wait, you weren't expecting that?

In our test sessions, however, we saw that folks weren’t dragging and dropping! It just wasn’t obvious on their first use, so we knew right away that there was an opportunity to improve that first time experience.

Watch this to test your awareness.

This isn’t surprising at all when you consider how easy it is to miss something when you’re not looking for it. Have you seen the awareness test that asks you to count passes on a basketball team? If not, watch this one-minute clip from a cyclist-awareness advertising campaign, then come on back. I’ll wait.

About half of folks who watch that video “fail” the awareness test. In our case, drag and drop was practically moonwalking across the screen for our design team, but our first time users were looking for something else.

Changes that you'll love

Based on how we saw customers interacting with the campaign editing prototype, we made a few tweaks. Now we have clear signs that get you started on the right foot quickly (and get out of your way once you’ve got the hang of it).

What else are you going to love?

We appreciated the insights from our customers in the usability testing sessions so much that we opened up the editor to a private beta period. We’re asking early testers to tell us the good, the bad and the buggy — and we’re using their feedback to put finishing touches on the editor.

New to Emma? Learn about sending stylish email marketing campaigns.

 

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