Monthly Archives: June 2008

It's Time for a E-Newsletter Makeover – Part II

In “It’s Time for a E-Newsletter Makeover – Part I”, looked at what we were doing right with our newsletter design, using the whitepaper published by ExactTarget, Email Marketing Design & Rendering: The New Essentials as a guide.

Now I’ll list the improvements I saw fit to make to our email newsletter template.

The main call to action was not formerly visible in the upper left 4-5 inch square of the email, so to fix that I modified the header to include a customizable button that will link to whatever the current call to action is.

Some email clients will not display underlined links automatically, so for maximum consistency in appearance, I set the “text-decoration” property to underline with an inline CSS style in the anchor tag of each link.

According to the Exact-Target’s whitepaper, Hotmail will render all text as dark gray unless you set a specific color, so I specified what I preferred, in this case black.

Despite everything we’ve done to make sure our newsletter displays properly with as many email clients as possible, just in case someone might still have trouble viewing it, I added “Click here to view this email as a webpage” in small text at the top with a link to our online archive.

For comparison, here is a link to the newsletter before the makeover:
Webinar Resources Newsletter Vol 1 No 3

And now here is a link to the newsletter after the makeover:
Webinar Resources Newsletter Vol 1 No 4

How To Make Backgrounds in Brainshark Presentations Match Your Web Site

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

When you use the “Embed” command to place a Brainshark interactive web  presentation on your web site, the default background color for the introductory animation is blue, and the default background color for the slide portion of your presentation is gray. These are nice colors, but you might prefer using the background color of your web site instead.

I have made a sample page of a Brainshark presentation with the default colors on a web page with a lime green background. It takes a brave person to use lime green as a background color, but it’s definitely good for demonstration purposes!

Here is a second page showing the blue and gray background colors in the presentation replaced by the lime green background color on the web page.

How is this done? First, find out the hexidecimal code for the background color on your web site. If you’re not sure, see my article What the Hex?! How to Match Documents to the Colors of Your Company’s Web Site for help.

Next, open the html page that contains the embedded Brainshark presentation in a plain text editor. Look for the following code snippets, and replace the highlighted six-number sequences with your chosen hexidecimal color code:
    Brainshark background color code
    Brainshark background color code

To see other modifications you can make to the code, click the link “Additional URL Parameters” when the Embed dialog box is open in Brainshark.

Reach Out and Touch Your Customers–They're More Likely to Remember You!

Two decades ago we used to let our fingers do the walking to find people, fast.  Now the power of the web offers many effective processes for lead generation and the telephone still plays a major role in customer acquisition.

We have customers who run a series of live training events.  The classes fill up fast, and always have a wait list, so every “no show” represents multiple lost opportunities.  In addition to the standard email reminders, we began sending Vontoo reminder calls to all class registrants the day before the training, and the customers love it.

The participants in the classes provide a preferred phone number for the reminder when they register for the class.  The director of the training series records her reminder, and through the beauty of Vontoo, we send her reminder to those specified numbers.  These calls provide another layer to your personalized marketing campaign.

So, while yes, the days of the 4-inch thick “yellow pages” are quietly slipping by, you can still ensure none of your participants have a chance to forget to attend your carefully planned event or even a web presentation by putting a ring in that ping using a Vontoo reminder call.

New CAN-SPAM Provisions

If your company participates in email marketing, you will be interested in knowing that some new provisions taking effect on July 7, 2008 have been added to the CAN-SPAM act of 2003. Email marketing provider Exact Target has put together an overview of the new rule provisions: Important CAN-SPAM Update: The FTC Approves New Rule Provisions Under The CAN-SPAM Act

Further information can be found at the Federal Trade Commission web site:

My Office Aquarium

by Carolyn Hasenfratz

One of the reasons that businesses take part in blogging is to humanize their companies by creating a personal connection with their customers. Blogging is an informal mode of communication that can help convey the personality of a company and it’s employees. A blog that I think does a good job with the personal touch is that of a supplier of items for one of my hobbies, making soap and personal care products, Wholesale Supplies Plus.

The Wholesale Supplies Plus Blog contains information related to their business, and occasionally posts about what is going on in the lives of the people who make up that company. A cute touch that I like is at the upper right, a virtual company fish tank, a web gadget that mimics the natural behavior of fish as they look for food handouts from anyone who comes by.

Some offices, mine for example, contain a real fish tank. I decided to use mine as a subject to learn how to set up a live webcam stream and embed it on a web page. No doubt my fish would like to be more like the virtual fish and get fed by every visitor to this blog!