Taming the Wild West of Email

posted by Armistead Booker | Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Sending clean and beautiful emails. Not an easy job, but someone's gotta do it. Back in the old days, you had to scrap your newsletter design together in programs like Outlook Express or Thunderbird. You were awed by the marketing genius of power-playing companies, trying to seduce you with their slick graphic-heavy emails. And you resorted to sending another bi-monthly family update in (sigh) plain text.

Yes, the wild west of email remains an elusive and challenging frontier to tame for the masses. Unlike browser standards, the range of email clients, applications, and platforms is a bit ridiculous. But users want to have access to their email in increasingly flexible ways (something that browsing the web hasn't caught up with quite yet). An email is read over a phone, referenced over Gmail, archived in Eudora, and forwarded to a whole host of other possible readers (that is, as long as it doesn't show up as spam to be lost forever in the digital abyss).

Enter Fresh View (formerly Switch I.T.), a web development company based in Sydney, Australia. This team introduced three amazing products on a mission to tame the wilds of email design. In their Switch I.T. days they built their first email app, Synergy Mail, the perfect solution for corporate communications that demand a personal touch. They designed and set up the newsletter template (at a pretty penny) before handing it over to you to fill in the content and send to your heart's content.

Freshview's flagship app is Campaign Monitor, quite simply is the best way for designers to have a hands-on approach for the entire email newsletter process. With breathtaking efficiency, you can design a template, manage subscribers, and gather reports for you and your clients. Over the past eight months, I have come to know a new freedom and joy in designing emails (at a reasonable price), thanks to a solid interface and the encouraging support of Dave Greiner and his team. Since its launch two years ago, Campaign Monitor continues to gleam in the spotlight as it improves the way we read our emails.

This month, Freshview proudly introduced its new labor of love, MailBuild. Designed with the strengths of Campaign Monitor in mind, MailBuild is all about employing templates that your clients can take and run with (note the similarity to Synergy's original strategy). Already, I've been very impressed with how easy it is to build a custom template and setup billing. And my clients are so excited to jump into the app, tweak their content, manage their subscribers, and watch the reports roll in! Together, Campaign Monitor and MailBuild really are a force to behold.

Update: This post featured on the MailBuild blog.

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Hi, I'm Armistead Booker. This is Refresh: a creative design firm with experience in web, print, media, and identity. Welcome!
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