Reachmail and Google Analytics

There’s no denying that Google Analytics is popular. In fact, it’s the most widely used site traffic analysis software. So, it’s no surprise that we field a lot of queries about ways to combine email marketing and Google Analytics (GA).

While we’re still working on complete GA integration with our existing reporting tools, you’ll be happy to hear there are some things you can do now to put GA to work on your email campaigns. Adding GA tracking to your campaigns can give you great insight on what subscribers do after they’ve clicked on a campaign link and landed on your site. Combined with GA Goals, you’ll get a great perspective on just how effective your campaigns can be.

Getting started is simple in most cases, all you need is a GA account. Keep in mind that any page you want to track will need to include the analytics code, so if your email campaign landing pages don’t already include that code, add it before you start sending optimized traffic there.

Next, you’ll need to modify links in your mailing to include GA tracking codes. From here on, we’ll use a phony example to illustrate how your links change. Our dummy site is a1widgets.com, and this particular campaign is designed to drive traffic to /new_widget.html, a landing page with order form for the latest widget.

Normally, links in the campaign would look like http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html. However, we’re going to add a few GA tracking codes, utm_campaign, utm_source, and utm_medium. There are other tracking codes available, but these three are sufficient to get started.

utm_campaign identifies the marketing campaign that this mailing is a part of. If it’s part of a larger strategy you may wish to align this value with that. In this example though, we’re going to say that the campaign is the monthly email ad, therefore utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd.

utm_medium describes how the message got to the site visitor. Simply using Email is usually enough. So utm_medium=Email.

utm_source is where things get interesting. Historically, “source” has always described “who” so this is a great place to push in any demographic information you have in your list, e.g. age, gender, geographic location. If you don’t have that information available to you (and why not?) it should suffice to use a general term. We’ll use ActiveCustomers, so we get utm_source=ActiveCustomers.

These three parameters need to be tacked on to our landing page URL as a query string. If you’re not familiar with query strings, they’re very simple, just extra information that you can add to a URL in the following format: ?parameter=value&parameter=value etc., etc. To keep things simple, don’t use spaces or special characters in your values unless you’re comfortable with URL encoding.

Ultimately, we get this as our new URL:
http://a1widgets.com/new_widget.html?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ActiveCustomers&utm_campaign=MonthlyEmailAd

And that’s that. At this point, assuming that you’ve got the GA tracking code in your landing page, you’re ready to send. Remember that GA statistics will be delayed about 24 hours.

Once you do start to see some statistics roll in, you’ll be pleased at the insight into your campaigns. The image blow is a sample traffic report indicating visits by campaign and source. Remember in our example, campaign identified the specific marketing effort and the source indicated the source of the subscribers.

Traffic report

Here we have goal conversions by source and medium.

GoalCompletions

Soon we’ll be integrating this data directly with our standard reporting as well as providing automatic campaign tagging but until them don’t hesitate to get started applying GA tracking to your mailings. If you have any questions, contact Reachmail support at support@reachmail.com and keep an eye on the blog for more advanced examples.

Yes you CAN send attachments with ReachMail

Unlike other ESPs, ReachMail allows you to send attachments with your marketing emails. We realize that our clients know best how to market to their recipients and we try to give them the freedom to do so. If you’ve ever needed to send Outlook events to your recipients, for instance, you may have been stopped from doing so at other ESPs. Well not at ReachMail. You can attach a file up to 150k in size with the click of a button. Other ESPs don’t even give you the option.

As noted above, while we do provide the ability to attach files to your email campaigns, we do limit the size of attachments for good reason. Some mail servers will block any messages with attachments. And while not all mail servers block all messages with attachments, many will still block attachments over 2MB because of the time it takes to process those files.

That’s why we’ve provided an alternative method for delivering files to your recipients. If you are using images in your email, you can upload them to your ReachMail image library and source them from our stored location. If you instead want to send a PDF file, you can upload that to our contents and assets area. We’ll host the document for you, and you can email your recipients a link to download it at their convenience.

A major advantage of storing and sending links to your documents instead of attaching them, is that we can then provide tracking information on who downloaded your file and when: giving you a detailed picture of the interest your email is generating. With an attachment, this is simply not possible.

While in some cases, attaching small files will be necessary for your marketing strategy, not attaching files to your mailing allows us to deliver your messages quicker and with a greater inbox rate. Giving your recipients the choice to download your files from our location is the safest and most effective way to deliver files to your recipients without having to deal with the pitfalls of sending attachments.

List Sweeper Basics

The list sweeper function is an easy to use tool that allows you to categorically deactivate select types of bounces from your list(s). If you are already familiar with ReachMail’s extensive reporting system, then you are most of the way there. The list sweeper simply allows you to act upon data from the reports from one centralized location.

Anyone familiar with Email marketing will tell you that the importance of maintaining a clean list is paramount to strong delivery rates. Staying on top of your lists, especially if you are adding new subscribers either manually, or through an opt in form, is key to your long term success as an email marketer.

We understand that different people use the ReachMail system in different ways. Whether you import a new list every time you send a campaign or work off the same list every time, the List Sweeper tool can help speed up the cleaning process leaving you more time to work on your campaigns.

To run the List Sweeper, find your list then select ‘List Sweeper’ from the action drop down menu. Alternatively, check the boxes next to multiple lists and click the ‘Sweep’ button to run the list sweeper on several lists at once.

Here’s a screenshot of the list sweeper in action:
List Sweeper Screen Shot
Remove Duplicate Records
Removes duplicates from your list.
Mark Pending Hard Records as Permanent
This will permanently deactivate all records that have hard bounced once. Hard Bounces are automatically deactivated after two hard bounces in a list.
Mark Known Bad Addresses as Hard Bounces
This will scan your list against your account’s Global Opt Out list, the company wide Opt Out list, and a list of known invalid addresses we maintain internally. This step is done automatically during the outgoing mail process, but has been made available for users to see how many records from a list will be deactivated prior to send time.
Mark Select Soft Bounces Records as Permanent Hard
Allows the user to permanently deactivate bounces by category. When the sub-option Permanently Deactivate in any List is checked, this list sweeper will also add checked sub-selections to your account’s Global Opt Out list. This is important when you are uploading a new list every time you send a campaign.
Remove All Records in a List Flagged as Hard Bounce
Permanently delete all inactive records in a list marked as a hard bounce. This is not required as inactive records will not be mailed to.
Remove All Records in a List Flagged as Opt Out
Permanently delete all inactive records in a list marked as an opt out. This is not required as inactive records will not be mailed to.