Staying in Touch with Your Customers: FreshBooks Style

FreshBooks is an online invoicing and time tracking service that saves you time and makes you look professional .

FreshBooks is also a role-model for any company who wants to generate high net promoter scores, from generating customer evangelists. With their blog, their regular visits to customers in different cities, and the Mesh event they help organize and sponsor, these guys talk/talk and walk/walk. And now they've taken their game to a new level: they're going on the road. They're renting a RV in Florida and driving to Texas. Along the way they'll be stopping to see customers and sharing the whole story online at their ROADBURN site.

Disclaimer: They're a customer. I'm a guest author once a month on their blog writing about customer service. FreshBooks is one of our value-add partners for you with a special offer of savings for you, our customers, for their service.

February 22, 2008 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tips and Strategies to Improve Email Open Rate

Our friends at SubscriberMail shared this useful content in a recent newsletter. With their permission, we share it with you.


A short preface on open rates

Like Conference Calling, email marketing has many tricks and tips to be successful. Open rates have been falling in the email industry recently. This trend is not necessarily reflective of fewer people actually opening emails. The general decline is due to the fact that many of the new email clients that people are using have images turned off as the default, and also because some users prefer to have images turned off. In order for an "open" to be accurately tabulated by an email marketing service provider, an image - usually one pixel and transparent - needs to be displayed. The calling of this image from the service provider's web server indicates that the email has been opened. If the image is not downloaded from the server, it will not be counted as an "open," even though the recipient can still see and read all of the text-based content.

This being said, it is still important that email marketers take steps to optimize their open rates. Counted or not, opens are what drive your program's overall success.

Optimizing the From Name

With spam and phishing scams ever more prevalent in the inbox, making sure your recipients can clearly identify the sender of your email is increasingly important. Don't try to personalize the from name with a salesperson's name that your recipients may not recognize. Don't use a product brand name that someone outside of your company may not be familiar with. State your organization's name simply: ABC Company. Recipients should be able to clearly and quickly identify and recognize your company from your from name.

Testing subject lines

Never underestimate the importance of a compelling, well-constructed and effective subject line. If you can increase your open rate from 17 percent to 20 percent with a simple subject line test, that's an almost 18 percent improvement (not 3 percent!). If your list isn't big enough or you don't have the resources to do a true random split test (those of you using SubscriberMail can do this with our built-in split list feature), recurring A/B split tests will show patterns that will dictate what makes a subject line successful for you. (For more information on email testing, see our white paper. For help on creating winning subject lines, see our previous article.)

Maximizing the preview pane

While a passing glance through the preview pane may technically be counted as an "open" in your email reports, if your recipients never look any further, that glance isn't going to lead to a click-through. Optimize this area with text that compels readers to open the email to read more. Better yet, place your key call to action in this area to drive immediate click-throughs. As always, be aware of how your email will render in the preview pane if images are disabled, and design accordingly. (For more information on how to maximize email design, see our white paper.)

Checking content for Spam triggers

It goes without saying that if your email is delivered to a junk mail folder due to triggers that flag your message as Spam, it's much less likely to be opened than a message delivered to the inbox. While spam filters have customizable settings that are beyond an email marketer's control, making sure your message falls within the default values of popular Spam filters will be effective in the majority of instances. (For help on how to avoid being labeled "Spam," see our previous article.)

Keeping a squeaky clean list

A list in need of cleansing can not only drag your open rates down, it can also in worst-case scenarios hurt your delivery. An email sender's reputation is a critical factor in whether your email is delivered to the inbox, bulked, or bounced. Repeatedly sending to dead email addresses will negatively impact your sender reputation. SubscriberMail automatically removes these email addresses from your list and blocks them from re-import so you don't accidentally resend to them. We also closely monitor the sender reputation and overall delivery of our IP addresses.

Periodically cleansing your list of recipients who no longer take action on your messages is also a good idea. You may wish to employ a win-back strategy to first try to save these addresses or try to reach them in a different way, such as direct mail.

We are frequently asked what industry averages are but we don't like to quote these because open rates will vary among organizations. It's important not to focus on reaching "industry average" open rates, but rather to evaluate your own open rates in the context of your own email initiatives. Employing these strategies in your email marketing efforts can help drive your open rates, whatever they are currently, and more important by extension improve your other metrics as well.

September 24, 2007 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Customer in the News: The Hunger Project

The Hunger Project offers a Double Your Money donation opportunity. It's to celebrate their thirtieth anniversary and the leadership of Joan Holmes during this time. And it's help them expand their strategies for the sustainable end of hunger. 

Joan Holmes has identified leadership as one of the missing key elements in creating a solution for the sustainable end of hunger. And your donations now will be matched with a similar amount by a small group of Hunger Project investors. Commit by October 14 and pay by December 31st. And your donation is matched.

Double your money, double your impact, double the solutions you can provide with your generosity.

Double it. Double it.

September 12, 2007 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Customer in the News: SubscriberMails Joins Inc 5000

We've happily, very happily, used the services of SubscriberMail, an award-winning provider of email marketing services and technology. They've done wonderful work with us delivering our email newsletter and special offers to you over the past few years. They're attention to our needs as a customer has been, well, inspiring. Regularly I hear testimonials from our staff about their staff.

So it was a delight to hear that they're getting more and more recognition and reward for their award-winning service and customer-evangelist creating attention to our needs.

  SubscriberMail was ranked number 596 on Inc magazine's INC 5000, a list of the top 5000 fastest growing companies in America. And SubscriberMail is one of the 20 fastest growing companies in Illinois.

And the way they communicated this announcement, their ranking on  INC 5000 was, as you'd expect, in an email note to their customers saying SubscriberMail couldn't have done this without you. During the time we have focused on the email marketing space, we have been blessed with absolutely fantastic customers who have accounted for this growth, and a group of remarkable, dedicated team members....

Their CEO and Founder, Jordan Ayan,  is what an ideal CEO should be: focused, organized, great listener, kind, patient, driven, family-oriented, funny, innovative, creative. I consider him a friend.  We're his customer. We're delighted for them.

Congrats, you guys! And we hope to see you there in '08, '09 at the latest.

Disclaimer: SubscriberMail uses our conferencing solutions. You should, too.

August 29, 2007 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0)

Customers in the News: September 8, 2006

Each week we try to share some recent news of our customers' achievements.  Accomplishments deserve recognition. No one deserves recognition for their accomplishments more than our customers. (Ok, our families do. But that's understood and we'll take care of that in another venue.)

Besides sharing the accomplishment, this also provides a means to share their solutions and technology within our customer community. 

We all share a common purpose: growth. And we all share a common need: more solutions to achieve that purpose. And together, as a group, we have the resources to deliver those solutions, all of them, for each other.

We'll share our customers' successes as find them. Feel free to share your stories. We'll post them here

* The 451 Group. *

The 451 Group has found that nine firms - out of the more than 180 investment banks that advised technology M&A transactions over the past 18 months - claimed top rankings within major IT and telecommunications sectors. This and other findings are discussed in a new technology-industry 'league tables' report released today by The 451 Group, a New York-based technology-industry analyst company focused on the business of enterprise IT innovation.

About The 451 Group

The 451 Group is an independent technology-industry analyst company focused on the business of enterprise IT innovation. The company's analysts provide critical and timely insight into the market and competitive dynamics of innovation in emerging technology segments.

Link from The 451 Group website.

* MindSHIFT Technologies

VoIP application software provider BroadSoft Inc. and mindSHIFT Technologies, a managed services provider, have teamed up to provide an integrated voice solution to SMBs in the Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., areas. Marketing its product as hosted VoIP, mindSHIFT already has signed up a major client with locations stretching across the East Coast.

Link from New Telephony.

* United Colors of Benetton*

A fashion show by Italian fashion label United Colors of Benetton to celebrate its 40th anniversary on 10 October 2006 will be held at Centre Pompidou, Paris.

An exhibition by Fabrica, Benetton's communication research centre based in Treviso, Italy will support the creative development of young artists and researchers from all over the world.

Proceeds from the fashion show will be donated to the United Nation's World Food Programme.

Link from fiber2fasino

September 8, 2006 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Customers in the News: August 25

Using RSS feeds from Google News search results and NewsGator's RSS reader we can share the news of our customers' many successes. Thanks to Mike Sansone at ConverStations for opening my eyes to the potential of these resources to build a closer understanding of what our customers do and how we can share those resources and their successes with our growing community of customers.

VIPdesk. CRMToday magazine profiled VIPdeskConnect as being the right Call for Holiday Retailers. To prepare for the holiday season, VIPdesk increased its technological capabilities to meet retailer needs for the 2006 peak holiday season. Specifically, the company added capacity to handle 300% more call volume than last year. VIPdesk has also streamlined its screening and certification processes. They put their Customer Service Representatives (Service Ambassadors TM) through a rigorous security screening, skills assessment and certification process to ensure the highest level of customer service. These processes enhance the security levels of client information and data.

Merkle Database marketing company Merkle has signed a multimillion-dollar contract to provide marketing services to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Financial Services Technology Corporation. ...announced a "major project" to develop agreed-upon technologies and methodologies for mutual authentication. This new effort is, in essence, a spinoff project of the FSTC's recently completed Better Mutual Authentication project, which sought to define the industry requirements in online authentication. Said Dan Schutzer. executive director of the FSTC, "With this project, we intend to leverage and influence existing technology and social initiatives coming out of the computer and communications vendor community to address our needs in financial institutions' Web site and e-mail authentication.

Next week we'll bring you more news of some of our customers' recent successes.

August 25, 2006 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Customers in the News: August 4

We want to test a concept with you. It's our impression that within our customer community are hundreds, if not thousands of stories to share. These are your stories, really; they're your stories of success and achievement and progress. They might be your stories of obstacles overcome or resources developed; resources that could help another member of our customer community. And your story would serve as inspiration, or timesaver, for others facing the same.

We share more than we realize. As a community of companies and non-profits and individuals we share the same dreams and hopes of success. We face many, if not all, of the same challenges and headaches and obstacles. We, together, offer all the resources an organization or an individual may need for success.

What we don't share, right at this moment, is knowledge with each other: what can we offer, what solutions can we provide, what inspiring stories can we share. But we hope to change that with this concept.

We want to share with our customers, here in this newsletter blog, your stories of success. Each week, we can share a few brief profiles of our customers' progress and link to more complete articles. You can participate by offering your own stories of your organization.  I know there's many within our customer community that would benefit. 

Here we go. Our first edition of Customers in the News: August 4 Edition

* NORESCO delivers comprehensive energy management and efficiency solutions.

Energy Efficiency Saves USPS $110 Million

Under the Shared Energy Savings effort, the USPS awarded 10 energy conservation contracts totaling an estimated $1.3 billion to six companies that will receive a percentage of the dollar savings attributable to the projects in return for assuming all implementation costs.

Noresco, LLC is one of the suppliers participating in this program.

* The SCOOTER Store.

The SCOOTER Store Exhibits Commitment to Industry Standards; Two Execs Earn Highest Accreditation

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas, Aug. 1 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The SCOOTER Store, the nation's leading provider of power mobility equipment to seniors and people with mobility impairments, is continuing its commitment to establishing industry standards by participating in the compliance program administered by the Healthcare Compliance Certification Board (HCCB), the highest accrediting body for healthcare compliance professionals.

To date, two SCOOTER Store executives, Tim Zipp, senior vice president for corporate compliance, and Tom Hood, vice president of Medicare, DMAC /PSC Relations and Policy, have successfully completed the Certified in Healthcare Compliance Examination.

* Lifestyle Family Fitness

LIfestyle Family Fitness pumps up management team

Lifestyle Family Fitness has appointed Tim Merrick as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Lifestyle Family Fitness was founded in Lakeland in 1982 and currently owns and operates 28 locations in Florida market and nine in Ohio, with approximately 180,000 members. Investment partners include Quantum Capital Partners Inc., Ballast Point Ventures and The Burton Partnership.

More on Lifestyle Family Fitness

There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of success stories to share. Share them with us.

Disclaimer: We reserve the right to not publish,  or share, any story that we in our sole and and aribtrary judgement deem not useful to our customer community. We'd prefer articles, press releases, profiles, etc that have been published within the past 30 days or have yet to be published. As always, it's a work in procress. We'll make it right with your input.

August 4, 2006 in customers in the news | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack