Friday 11 May 2012
Intrigued by Brett St. Claire’s foretelling of Google’s new “Hangouts on Air” feature to be rolled early next week, the GraphicMail team today started experimenting with the platform - to see if it will be suitable for staff use and communication across their global franchisee network, with the possibility of migrating our product webinars onto Hangouts.
It's really handy for our business that you can filter friends into different circles in Google+. So far we've been creating circles for different language groups in our international team.
Brett St. Claire, Google’s Head of New Products for Sub-Saharan Africa, made the announcement about “Hangouts on Air” and that the feature will be available for South Africans by monday as a gripping climax to his talk titled “How social media is challenging online marketing”, presented at the 2012 CTICC Marketing Indaba on the 10th of May.
Members of the GraphicMail marketing and design team were in the audience listening to Mr. St. Claire, prior to presenting their own workshop on email marketing.
We’ve really taken to Hangout’s screen share ability, which will be especially useful for doing business-to-business conference calls.
Since GraphicMail has become reliant on using Google docs extensively, we’re very pleased that it’s been integrated for access and sharing via Hangouts, and also that you can even add some of your own apps to the platform.
One of the advantages of Google+ as group-chat destination is that most people already have a Gmail address, or are somewhat familiar with the service, and so it’s not as intimidating as using one of the many other voice calling tools out there on the web that may not be as well known or trusted.
About “Hangouts on Air”
This feature lets you broadcast live sessions for anyone to watch — just like some music stars and political figures have already been doing.
Hangouts on Air can be posted on your Google+ stream, YouTube channel or website by checking “Enable Hangouts on Air.” It also allows you to monitor the number of views, record the live session and share it.
The feature previously was available only to a small group of broadcasters starting in 2011.
Thanks Google, for making life easier for us GraphicMailers!
Posted by GraphicMail Marketing Team at 7:49 AM
The ever-growing presence of the mobile phone...
Original infographic found here
Posted by GraphicMail Marketing Team at 1:08 AM
Thursday 10 May 2012
We've had even more fantastic feedback after our previous post, from some GraphicMail mothers, who we've asked to tell us why our email marketing services makes their busy life easier, as a part of our Mother's Day promotion.
Here are a few of the latest responses that we've received:
"My life is made much easier with GraphicMail. I send regular updates for our dolphin swim programs and research and conservation undertaken in the area. GraphicMail's system is beautiful and so easy to use. Thanks for the great product." - Angie Gullan, Dolphin Care Africa
"I use GraphicMail in both the organisations I work in. I find it very user-friendly and fast, and it really helps me to get on with sending out newsletters quickly and efficiently. Thanks GraphicMail." - Pippa Segall, Project Coordinator, South African Institute for International Affairs
"With GraphicMail it makes our lives so much easier to send out a newsletter to a large group of people at the same time. What would we be without GraphicMail? " - Alicia Nel, Dynamic Personnel
"Your services mean more business for a freelancing, full time working mother. More business means more clients. More clients mean a higher rate per hour. And a higher rate per hour, means I can take precious time off every now and then to spend some quality hours with the little people in my life - who I am doing this all for anyway! Thanks to you all for a great service!" - Nicole, Design Unlimited
"If it were not for GraphicMailing I would have to sacrifice my quality time with my children and grandchildren to get the mailing done, Thank you GraphicMail for giving me the extra time to share those precious moments with my loved ones." - Linda Booysen, Huntley Bros.
"As a business lady, I am about to promote my magazine to advertisers. GraphicMail can make my project easy. I will be sending my media kit to potantial clients. Happy Graphic mailing!" - Mrs. Ayanda Tom
Promotion ends on 13 May 2012.
In keeping with this year's conference theme of 'Cutting through the clutter to maximise marketing strategies', our 90-minute practical session was packed with some of our top email marketing tips, creative ideas and real-world case studies as examples that everyone learned from.
Barbara Ulmi, Marketing Director at GraphicMail, lead the workshop while other members of the team took to the stage, in turn, to share their own insights - with a special focus on newsletter design considerations by their in-house designer Warren Hiebner, and content tips by our in-house writer Wikus Engelbrecht.
In our marketing department we view the benefits of engagement through case studies, personal feedback and open workshops as being far greater than having long monologues and solitary expo stands that don't offer the same level of opportunity to learn via interaction.
It all went off like a well-oiled Swiss clock and we’re happy to report that this morning’s workshop was a great success. There was an impressively high level of audience engagement, and probably more questions asked by the attendees than at any of the other talks at the conference & expo so far.
Thanks to the MarketingIndaba team for putting all eyes on us this year!
Follow the #marketingindaba twitter conversation for up-to-the-minute details about the rest of today’s workshops.
Wednesday 09 May 2012
In honour of our super moms, GraphicMail is giving away 2000 free credits this Mother's Day. Promotion ends on 13 May 2012.
Starting yesterday, we asked the talented moms on our mailing list to send us an email with a personal reason why GraphicMail makes their busy life easier.
Here are some of the wonderful responses we’ve received so far:
“GraphicMail has been a massive success with our business. As a mother with a 5 year old child, time is limited. With GraphicMail I can set up the perfect template, fill in the latest news and send it out to all our clients. I can also easily track the stats on who is reading our mails and what our hottest topics are. The system saves me time and effort and I highly recommend it for those who are running a tight ship in the business and at home!” - Vidette Jorge, Ylang Travels
“I Am the mother or 3 children (incl. twin toddlers). This of course keeps me very busy and I am constantly on the go. GraphicMail makes my life easier because it gives me the chance to sit down with a good cup of coffee and design a newsletter that makes me proud of what I do. I then get to send it out to all our clients with one simple click of a button. Wonderful feeling.” - Gisela Kolar
“Graphic mail is the best. I just could not believe how much time it has saved for me and how it has made my life very easy to live. The business is doing fine and I am happy. I would recommend it to every business woman out there. It is easy to use, it saves time and money. Now I have time to spend with my family. I just love Graphic Mail.” - Mynah Motsene
“Next week Monday will be the first time we will be sending our 10 000 odd emails out using GraphicMail. Already, the GraphicMail system is proving to be so much better than anything I’ve used before. Hopefully all will continue to go well with GraphicMail and our relationship will be a long and happy one for years to come!” - Tamsin Nel, CEO - SA.MAST
“GraphicMail totally makes my life easier. I work from home and look after my 10 month old in the afternoons. I love that I can easily prepare a newsletter in word and then import it quickly and simply send it out to my database. The work on improvements GraphicMail have made over the last year have been noticed and appreciated! Thank you to the team for always being so proficient as well when I chat to them online. They really are a great help and support, especially Faghrudien and Shaheen, who have both been super helpful, polite, and quick with handling my queries. The online chat really saves time, which as a mother is all too precious! Well done GraphicMail and the team.” Shona Pittaway - Staff Travel
“Without GraphicMail we would not be able to reach out to all our subscribers on our newsletter, all the tour operators who work with us, or let the world know about all the beautiful courses, places and people South Africa has to offer!” - Ypie Kingma, Platinum Golf
“With GraphicMail I can market my business and advertise effectively at the press of a button!” - Jeanne Botes, Stormproduktionz
“I consider myself a GraphicMail supermom! I send out approximately 2000 Newsletters every two weeks. The fact that I only need to click once to send out that amount is awesome. Editing the newsletter is easy and the system is very simple to use. I am very grateful to be able to work with GraphicMail. And even more grateful for the accurate campaign reporting and metrics that I can view anytime. Awesome job GraphicMail!” - Lindi Ottersbach, Soundmatch
“Until we signed up for GraphicMail, I used to send out marketing and promotional emails manually using Outlook (using 10-20 emails at a time). This would usually take up my weekends and many evenings. With thousands of subscribers to our website, GraphicMail has not only made my work easier, but also my life – I can send all emails out at once, and apart from looking great, it takes a few minutes to set up and press SEND. Not only that, but I would need to spend hours after work going through the email replies and return receipts to manually sift out delivery failures and remove people that wanted to unsubscribe. What a laborious job. It may not seem like a likely combination, but GraphicMail has indeed allowed me to be a better mom since I’ve had my weekends and evenings free to spend quality time with my family. Thanks again.” - Katelyn Wilson, Intertel
“As a single mum GraphicMail helps me to get more marketing done and leaves me with more time with my boy and from the bulk emails comes bulk orders to keep me busy, with enough income generated to support my boy.” - Mavis Mazhura
“GraphicMail allows me to reach all our thousands of customers on a personal level.” - Amanda, Claremart
“I own a kiddies spa...and would like the extra email send credits...as I kept my doors open all throughout the renovations at the Tygervalley shopping mall, which was bad for the company. Thanks and blessings!” - Valerie Malan
Happy Mother's Day!
Posted by GraphicMail Marketing Team at 1:57 AM
Tuesday 08 May 2012
Social media sites know more about your clients than you do - leverage that with GraphicMail!
Successful communication, in any business and via any channel, is all about knowing your customer. In digital marketing though, you won’t often find that new contacts are willing to sit down and manually slog through filling in long, detailed subscription forms to help you capture all their relevant personal information.
I mean, put yourself in their shoes; would you sign up for someone’s email marketing campaign if it took a lot of time and effort?
We know we wouldn’t.
The average social media user has 195 connections - imagine the possibilities if you could tap into those connections! Every social account has tons of additional data about a user, from gender to location to interests, imagine you could segment your mailers accordingly.
Now you can.
On 10 May 2012, GraphicMail will embed Janrain’s Engage into their client accounts. What does that mean?
You can now set up a newsletter subscription form that allows visitors to subscribe via their social network.
Just think: It's a mission to create new accounts for every site and subscription; often, forms are long, and passwords get forgotten. Increase your newsletter subscriptions by offering Social Subscribe; and get a heap of additional user data for more targeted sending. This in turn is likely to increase your open and click-through rates and even sales derived from promotional mailers.
So how do you benefit from this new Social Subscribe Form?
• Collect, store and leverage user profile data from social networks on a flexible database.
• The more you know about your subscribers, the easier it is to make informed decisions about how to segment your contacts list, what products or services to offer them and how to make your business more appealing.
• Because you can personalize interaction with your consumers so much more once you have a clearer picture of who they are, you’ll be able to significantly improve the ROI of your website.
• Rapid signup: Consumers won’t really need to fill out any forms, they’ll simply grant your system access to their existing credentials.
• False sign-up reduction: Because social networks authenticate individuals and generally don’t allow multiple accounts, the likelihood of false identities and spammers is dramatically decreased.
How it works
The new social subscription tool will be available on all new accounts that have social sharing features enabled.
Watch this video to see how to make use of our social social subscription tool.
• Just build a subscription form and place it on your website. It’s as simple as that!
• Then, when new subscribers sign up, the feature will collect all available data from their social media profiles (such as Facebook) and then populate the information fields by itself.
• Subscribers control how much information they are willing to share via the permission settings on their social sites, so you won’t be infringing on their privacy.
• Please note that this tool will expire after the account trial period, and return once you opt for a paying account.
And this is just the beginning of some of the social integration and analysis tools that GraphicMail working together with Janrain can offer you, now and in the future.
Sign up for a free email marketing account and try it today!
Posted by GraphicMail Marketing Team at 7:10 AM
An email newsletter is a great way for a business to communicate with its customers.
However it’s always tempting just to dump a lot of content into the body of an email. After all, this way the message may appear to be more substantial and more authoritative.
What marketers need to grasp is that how well they present this content depends on the readability of the newsletter's text. The easier it is to read, the better one can communicate with subscribers, increasing the value of each newsletter.
Some newsletters are very good in terms of having professional design and good copy - and yet since the content is too dense, the success rate of the campaign suffers.
After all, what good is any marketing email message if people can’t read it and find the information they need quickly?
1) Break up paragraphs with white spaces
A white space in a newsletter is like a pause in a conversation.
There are a number of important reasons for inserting such paragraph breaks frequently.
- It’s hard to read on screen. By breaking up newsletter paragraphs into little pieces you make it easier for your readers to get through the copy in general.
- People like to skim and studies have shown that they jump around the message without reading all the information necessarily in sequence. Having shorter paragraphs help readers pick out things of interest to them.
- White space makes the text feel more conversational. When a promotional email uses the approach of having lots of short, one or two sentence paragraphs, it has a much more personal rhythm to it.
2) Use natural alignment
For some reason there’s a tendency among some emailers to put all text in center alignment. It does depend on the rest of the design, but typically this just makes it difficult to read and following along with the structure of the newsletter.
Unless there is a specific reason for it, don’t try to get fancy, align all text to the left since this is how we normally read.
3) Make the text scannable
To make their email marketing campaign have an eye-popping presence there is often a desire to make all of the copy bold - but when this is done it’s also true nothing stands out. The effect of highlighting the most important lines is removed, because everything is the same.
So, only bold key information and headings. This way when people scan, their eyes stop at the most crucial info that you want them to see.
4) Moderate line length for optimum reading
When the lines go all the way across the page the text becomes less inviting to read since it may look like there’s too much of it.
It also causes eye fatigue, so even though people start reading, most of the time they’ll give up before they reach the end and skip to the next line.
Instead, rather lay text out to fit into skinny columns with as fewer words per line, making it easier for subscribers to stay interested without skipping any details as they flick rapidly through the text, line by line.
Posted by GraphicMail Marketing Team at 2:46 AM