Tendo Dev Blog

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The inside scoop on the Tendo View redesign

In January 2008, we redesigned Tendo’s monthly email newsletter, The Tendo View.

If we developed a new email approach for a client, we’d certainly follow-up with some analysis on whether or not the redesign was successful and adjust our strategy accordingly. So, we’re doing the same for our internal effort and want to share the results with you.

(Some call this “eating your own dog food” but we think it’s just fair play. If we’re going to hold our clients accountable, we should do the same for ourselves.)

What Did We Do?

The Tendo View is an email newsletter that we send to approximately 1,000 recipients each month. Our audience includes past, present, and potential clients as well as freelancers and marketing professionals that are part of Tendo’s extended network.

Given our business, we have many marketers and Web-savvy folks on our list—the type of people who receive a LOT of email newsletters.

In 2007, our newsletter metrics were very respectable. We averaged a unique open rate of 20.71% and an average click-through rate of 12.21%.

We believed that the content we delivered was good. It provided value to our users and we had a nice mix of different content types, from feature pieces to site reviews to our popular “jargon watch” to blog entries.

But we wondered if the look and feel of the newsletter was inhibiting our ability to generate even more opens and better click-through rates. So we decided to make some tweaks to the design—not a wholesale redesign, just tweaking some elements—to see if we could improve our metrics.

Here’s what we found… Continue reading

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June 6, 2008 Posted by | Email Marketing, John Kovacevich, Metrics/Web Analytics, Tendo View | , , | Leave a comment

Email newsletters: alive and well

Apparently the rumors of its death were greatly exaggerated. Four years ago in Jakob Nielsen’s first report about newsletter usability, he said the future of email newsletters was grim. More specifically, he said, “There may be none. Legitimate use of email is at war with spam, and spam may be winning.”

Now an in-depth 2007 usability study from Nielsen and company sings a different tune. They say that email newsletters are a powerful communication tool and an effective way to get the word out about a variety of topics, including your company, your industry, prices and sales, and upcoming events. Despite email and spam overload, email newsletters are alive and well.

You have to pay for Nielsen’s study, but you can peruse the executive summary free of charge. His findings, based on testing with 93 users, are an interesting read. —Julie Jares, managing editor

October 23, 2007 Posted by | Email Marketing, Julie Jares, Usability | Leave a comment

Thinking about using Flash in your email newsletters?

Well, don’t.

The good folks at campaignmonitor.com have done extensive testing on how Flash renders in all the major email clients. The results were not pretty. —Ian Miller, managing editor

September 19, 2007 Posted by | Email Marketing, Ian Miller | Leave a comment

You’re doing it wrong

Team Tendo recently had a lunchtime conversation in which we recounted our biggest email and IM blunders. Some were personal, some were business-related, but none of them was as catastrophic as Spirit Airlines’ CEO Ben Baldanza’s recent email SNAFU.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere — something about how not to conduct business in the age of the Internet. Would this have happened 20 years ago? Not a chance. First of all, there was no email. Secondly, there were no bloggers to circulate this story. And thirdly there was no Web 2.0 (this numbering scheme has become problematic, but stay with me) to alert people like me (I found this story via reddit). In fact, the only parallel I can think of is the Legend of the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe — and that’s an urban legend.

So, to quote Thumper’s mother, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. And if you absolutely have to be a jerk like Ben Baldanza, check the To line before you hit Send. —Ian Miller, managing editor

August 24, 2007 Posted by | Email Marketing, Ian Miller | 1 Comment

Big Brother is watching

Last week ended for me with a heated discussion on the subject of just how much companies of all sizes are restricting email and Internet usage these days. A colleague claimed that because the Internet and email had become accepted—and necessary—business tools, companies of all sizes were moving away from policies that restrict their employees’ email and Internet usage. I believed just the opposite. And, as it always does, the war of supporting stats began.

Partly in an attempt to stanch the flood of stat-filled emails flooding my inbox, and partly because I wanted to confirm or disprove my viewpoint, I took the opportunity to do a little informal (very informal) field work this weekend. A friend of mine works for a nationally recognized travel website that set up a booth at an event. The booth had two purposes: support brand recognition and boost subscribers for the site’s quarterly newsletter. Perfect for my purposes, eh? So, I worked the booth all day on Sunday trying to sign up folks for this newsletter.

I’m pretty good at selling—especially when I’m selling something I believe in. And I believe that this newsletter has valuable content: travel tips, special offers, great resources for business travel—and I’m not even the target audience. In the process I also asked people about their Internet and email usage at work. I talked to approximately 100 people and 95 percent of them told me that the company they work for restricts their Internet usage and/or monitors their email.

These folks worked for big companies and small companies, they came from all over the country (even a few from Europe and Latin America), and they worked at all levels doing all kinds of things. But most of them gave me the same message: My company controls/monitors my Internet and email usage.

Now, my methodology—if you could even call it that—was hardly scientific, and I know every legitimate researcher will be jumping on this entry with all four feet. But I’ve got to admit, even I was shocked to hear person after person tell me that, in their company, Big Brother is alive and well.

So, let me hear it from you. Does your company control/monitor your Internet and email usage? And if so, how? ―Chris Zender, VP, creative services

June 28, 2007 Posted by | Chris Zender, Email Marketing, Web Content | Leave a comment