Sparks May 2008 -

Sparks May 2008

In the News

4 steps to choose an e-newsletter distributor
Ready to start an email newsletter but aren’t sure how to distribute it? Use an Email Service Provider (ESP)! Not only will they track who’s reading your newsletter and who’s unsubscribing, they’ll help get your newsletter past increasingly vigilant spam filters.

Shopping around? Here are four questions to ask:

1. What do I get? Do you have to use their preset templates or do you get to customize the look? How extensive are their campaign reporting tools? Can your site visitors automatically sign up for your newsletter?
2. Who can I talk to? There’s nothing worse than running into a technical problem and then finding you can’t access technical support. Beware companies that hide their phone numbers; they will likely be difficult to work with.
3. How is pricing structured? Some ESPs charge per email; others charge per month. Others offer tiered rates. Choose a provider who fits your needs and whose pricing will stay reasonable as your list grows.
4. Who loves ya, baby? Ask if the ESP has been rated by an independent source for reliability, ease of use, and customer service.

Some of our colleagues’ fave ESPs include Emma, ExactTarget, and Constant Contact, but there are may providers out there. Find the one that’s the best fit for your needs!
Learn more about starting an e-newsletter
Read more on ESPs

CAN-SPAM updated
If you send emails to your customers, you need to abide by the CAN-SPAM act (we covered the topic in our March 04 issue of Sparks).

The FTC has issued an update to the act, which governs all email marketing campaigns. The new rules further protect consumers from unsolicited mail.

In addition, the FTC has a website for businesses that explains the provisions of CAN-SPAM. If you send email newsletters or offers to customers or prospects, make sure you’re on the right side of the law!




This month’s winner: Jill Adler!
Our champ wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Northern Manors
WS Property Group is a long-standing client of ours. Known locally for both their commercial property management and residential neighborhood developments, they’re ready to branch into a new area: apartments.

Northern Manors is a 3-building apartment complex being built near the IU stadium. The first building will be complete in August, so our task was to generate buzz and capture prospects’ interest before IU students left in May.

The challenge, of course, is that there are no photos of a completed building or upscale interiors. Our logo and website design and copy needed to connect with prospects based on other selling points.

We developed the Northern Manors logo to be distinctive, easy to use, and to draw on two existing brands: Indiana University and WS Homes. A funky typeface gave us a great start. We used red to evoke IU’s crimson and gold to connect the logo to WS Homes’ signature colors.

The site itself continues these design themes, keeping every aspect simple, clear, and easy to use. We used stock photography to communicate a feeling of excitement and connect with potential tenants. We also highlighted Northern Manors’ great location (only 2 blocks from the stadium and 2 minutes from downtown) and new construction.

To round out the site, we added an online application and the ability to pay rent online. Our April launch caught student interest and other prospects continue to use site features and sign up. Check out the Northern Manors logo and site!