CampaignMonitor is undeniably one of the heavyweights within the world of mass-email campaign management. From list management through delivery to reporting, they have it covered, so it's always nice to see them updating the platform, and keeping abreast of the latest developments within the email world.
After a recent update to provide a “worldview” of your recipients with real-time updates of their opens and clicks, things got interesting. Right after sending an email out, I was able to feed my nerdy desire for cartography in combination with email marketing. Surely it doesn't get much better?
Rest assured it does.
This Monday's update saw a fair-sized overhaul to the editor and template system. Now this will really apply mostly to those who are using CampaignMonitor in the templates department. That's to say – those who are providing their clients with a re-usable template that they can fill in with content prior to sending.
Previously, anyone uploading a template for their client to use was plagued with strange restrictions based mostly around the repeating elements in an email (news stories, product listings or anything that could be repeated to create the email content). The users frustrated by this have possibly moved to the likes of MailChimp, who provide more flexible templating in the face of a more complex interface and setup.
Luckily this has now been put to rest, and users no longer have to put up with just one layout per repeating element, or the rather restrictive <$title$> and <$description$> tags. We now have any number of layouts for your single repeater, and tags for repeater content.
Heres an example:
You've got a list of products in your email – but you want to make the first one special. So previously you would have added a stand-alone title and description, then a repeater below to handle it. Now, with the new system, you can add two layouts to the one repeater block. Not only that, but you can name them so the client knows which one to pick and use.
So the client sees an addition to the “add new” button in the editor. A dropdown with your labelled options for repeater layouts.
If they're not given labels, the repeater simply rotates through the available layouts with each click.
This is the example CampaignMonitor provide, which relates to the image above:
<repeater> <layout label='New Feature'> <h2> <singleline label="Title" repeatertitle='true' >Title of new feature</singleline> </h2> <multiline label="Description" >Description</ multiline> </layout> <layout label='Article, tip or resource'> <h2> <singleline label="Title of Article" repeatertitle='true' >Title of Article</singleline> </h2> <multiline label="Description" >Description</ multiline> </layout> <layout label='Gallery Highlights'> <img src="gallery.png" width="140" editable="true" label="Image 1"><br /> <img src="gallery.png" width="140" editable="true" label="Image 2"><br /> <img src="gallery.png" width="140" editable="true" label="Image 3"> </layout> </repeater>
And if all three repeaters are used one after the other, the output will be something like:
<h2><a href="http://mydomain.com/page/">Title of new feature</a></h2> <p>Description</p> <h2><a href="http://mydomain.com/page/">Title of Article</a></h2> <p>Description</p> <img src="widget.png" width="140" alt="Product one"/><br /> <img src="gadget.png" width="140" alt="Product two"/><br /> <img src="gidget.png" width="140" alt="Product three"/>
So not only does this prove to be more flexible for you and your clients, it also means that you can have all the email features within a table of contents.
You'll notice above the lack of title and description tags – the new system provides a more XML-style opening and closing tag system with and and the new format allows for a label attribute so that the editor makes more sense for your clients.
Another example from CampaignMonitor:
<image src="" width="300" editable="true" label="The Photo"> <singleline label="Image caption">Describe the photo</singleline> <multiline label="Photographer bio">Introduce this photographer and share the story behind this particular shot</multiline>
Will appear in the editor like this:
The other change worth mentioning is the date tag. You no longer require the dollar symbol in the date tag, so <$currentday$> now becomes <currentday>, which is much nicer and easier.
Anybody using old templates will also find that they've been updated to the new templates automatically – and if you're uploading the old-style templates, never fear – CampaignMonitor will automatically update the code within the template. So all of this coupled with auto-generated previews for your templates (to save messing about with a thumbnail) and we're on to a winner.
You can find out more about the new change from CampaignMonitor here in their complete list of tags. Not only that but they provide sample templates, over 30 themed templates, already built and a template cheat-sheet for those still stuck.
Any other relevant changes you've discovered? Any problems using the system? Any other big problems you've seen solved? Comment and let me know.