Campaign Monitor review
In: Reviews > Product Reviews
Published on April 3, 2006
Campaign Monitor is an easy-to-use email campaign and list manager—one of those Web applications that can make a Web designer’s life a little simpler. It offers reporting, unsubscribe and bounce-management features and an open API for integration with your own applications.
Campaign Creation Made Easy
Creating a new campaign is straightforward—the wizard sets you up in a matter of minutes. The first screen asks who you want the e-mail to come from and who the replies should be sent to. Next, you indicate if you want to send the newsletter in HTML, plain text or both. If you select “both,” the application automatically sends your campaign out in multipart format which will (in most cases) render in HTML if the recipient’s mail client supports it and plain text if it doesn’t. When you send the campaign in HTML, you are asked to provide an HTML “creative” file. This can be linked to a file on your Web server or uploaded within the application.
The creation of the HTML creative is entirely up to you, but Campaign Monitor does offer resources for learning how to create effective campaigns, like galleries and an excellent support section. The intended audience for Campaign Monitor is primarily Web designers and Web-savvy professionals with knowledge of HTML and basic Web design principles. The only requirement is that you must provide an unsubscribe link in both the HTML and plain-text creative files.
The next step in creating a campaign is defining the recipients. You can add recipients by importing from a comma-separated values (CSV) file or by manually entering data. In addition to name and email, Campaign Monitor allows you to import five additional custom fields. This data can be easily referenced in your campaign email. When you import your data via a CSV file, the system will present you with any errors it finds with email addresses. You can either fix these in the system itself or choose to ignore them.
The Campaign Monitor system provides a great deal of reporting, including bounce rates, unsubscribe tracking, links clicked and number of HTML emails opened (for mail clients without images blocked). Campaign Monitor also allows you to create custom reporting sites for your clients with distinct Web addresses. This is particularly helpful if you are sending campaigns out for multiple clients—it keeps their lists and campaigns separate and makes it easy for your clients to see the status of their campaigns.
In addition to importing abilities, Campaign Monitor also offers many features for managing lists. The unsubscribe links that are legally required in all campaign files may seem like a nuisance, but they actually help maintain the quality of your list. Campaign Monitor automatically removes subscribers who click the link.
Campaign Monitor will also remove names from your list if they bounce a certain number of times, so you don’t pay for bad email addresses in future campaigns. You can add also add and manage subscribers to your list manually or by using the open API.
Although Campaign Monitor comes with quite a few features, it’s possible to extend its functionality. The folks at Campaign Monitor have made several methods available for users to interact with their own applications.
Using the API makes it quite easy to integrate subscription to your lists via forms on your own site and with an existing customer relationship management (CRM) system. There is great support documentation explaining how to use the API and examples in both ASP.NET and PHP to get you started.
The Price is Right
You can evaluate Campaign Monitor for free for one campaign. After that, the cost per campaign is $5 plus $.01 per recipient. There are no recurring monthly fees or additional fees for managing lists or setting up test campaigns—you only pay for campaigns you actually send out. The price is quite reasonable unless your lists contain hundreds of thousands of recipients, in which case it may be better to look into a full CRM system with campaign management integration.
Having used Campaign Monitor on and off for several years, I have found support to be excellent. They are very prompt (usually responding within 24 hours), highly competent, very friendly and patient. In addition to technical support, they also welcome suggestions from customers regarding new features. Their blog offers a gallery of existing customer campaigns as well as great deal of helpful hints for delivering successful campaigns.