Bryan Ruby


Thoughts, Words, and Deeds

Marketing

SendGrid Improves Email Marketing Editor Experience

The SendGrid Design Editor

SendGrid, a MailChimp competitor, pushes forward with new marketing campaign enhancements

While I may be an old dog with decades of experience utilizing websites for marketing purposes, I'm more like a newborn puppy when it comes to email marketing. Until a couple years ago, I never utilized email campaigns or email newsletters in hopes to get more visits to my websites. My current email marketing service provider is MailChimp, but there is another customer communication platform that is on my radar, Colorado-based SendGrid.

This week, SendGrid announced a new editing experience for SendGrid Marketing Campaigns. The new email marketing editor addresses familiar pain points for marketers who previously had to choose between the convenience of visual design and efficient editing of code.

“Savvy, time-starved marketers crave elegant visual design tools that also allow them to quickly and safely edit HTML,” said Steve Sloan, Chief Product Officer at SendGrid. “With the enhancements made to the SendGrid Marketing Campaigns editor, marketers no longer have to choose one or the other. They are now equipped with the tools to choose their own path when editing for flexibility and efficiency, empowering them to drive high engagement from their campaigns.”

New flexible editing options give marketers the ability to edit in code, design view, or a mix of both, minimizes the risk of unwanted changes to custom HTML and delivers time savings and efficiencies. The improved editing experience benefits SendGrid customers whether they send campaigns via Marketing Campaigns or create API triggered templates through SendGrid’s delivery platform.

Ambulance Chasing: A Social Media Success Story

When it comes to posting online about my own personal misfortune, I have one simple rule. Don't talk about it until you can tell the story with a sense of humor. When it comes to a visible personal injury the first question you inevitably have to answer is, "What happened to you"? Three weeks ago, I was in a bicycle accident where I landed on my shoulder and broke my clavicle (collar bone). I'm better now but I'm still wearing an arm sling. My first attempt of bringing humor to the situation was on Twitter.

In the past, I've joked with my wife that every time I've had a physical injury it when I'm doing some type of physical exercise. My accident happened during a 26 mile bike ride on the bike trail when a skateboarder accidentally or on purpose (I want to believe it was the former and not the latter) put his skateboard in front of my bicycle wheel. I flipped over on the bike, landed on my shoulder, and by the next day found that I had broke my collar bone. The doctor said to expect my arm to be in a arm sling for two to six weeks. It took me almost a week to admit the specifics of my injury online. This time with a little less humor on Twitter.

Argus Leader inverview for #dontjerkanddrive

Keep Calm and Don't Jerk the Wheel

I was recently asked by the Argus Leader, a local newspaper in Sioux Falls, to give my two cents on the controversial South Dakota #DontJerkandDrive campaign. Since then the article has been syndicated out to USA Today and other publications. It seems that I caught the attention of a reporter when I labeled the campaign as "brilliant" on Twitter.

The word on the street is that the State of South Dakota is pulling back on this specific campaign. I can't say I'm surprised. I understood the gamble Lee Axdahl, the Director of the Office of Highway Safety, was taking when he signed on to this marketing strategy.

Bryan Ruby, owner of the web consulting business CMS Report, was impressed with the campaign from a marketing standpoint. Online, he called it "brilliant."

"I thought it was a bold move for the state of South Dakota," Ruby said in a telephone interview. "It definitely requires a sense of humor, and that's the risk you're taking. But if the point is to get the message out, this does it."

The great ENIAC

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Glen Beck (background) and Betty Snyder (foreground) program the ENIAC in BRL building 328

After spending most of my years years in grade school working hard on experimental science fair projects and not receiving a ribbon, I finally gave up and wrote a "non-experimental" paper on the history of computers in the eighth grade. Despite the paper being weak even for eighth grade standards, I finally won a ribbon (third place) in the school science fair. Remember, this was the early 1980's and everyone was still fascinated with the then new concept of computers entering "everyday" life. Why am I going down memory lane? Well I came across an article on the 60th anniversary of ENIAC  [via news.com, broken link] the "first" computer built which of course was mentioned in that paper of mine some 25 years ago.

Though, only to find out after reading the article, ENIAC wasn't the first computer and it really didn't do a whole lot. They just had a good public relations department that explained well to the American audience what role the computer would play in the future. If you read the article you'll find (not included in my excerpt) that the PR people went so far to include the placing of flashing light bulbs on the computer console so that people had something to look at besides vacuum tubes and switches. Still, you have to admit it was an amazing engineering achievement despite needing a good marketing campaign to go along with it.

Join me on this Thursday's CMS Connected Webcast

If you have some free time this Thursday then you might want to tune into the CMS Connected's live webcast. As a periodic guest, I will be reviewing the Magnolia CMS platform in the show's Vendor Spotlight segment. Magnolia is an open source java-based content management system that is used in more than 100 countries across the world, by governments and leading FORTUNE 500 enterprise.

Showtime is set for Thursday, February 27th at 11:30 AM CST. If you plan on watching the webcast live, be sure and register for show at CMS-Connected.com.

The primary focus of the show will be on the shift to "Big Data".

How has Big Data changed your world? This isn’t just an “old dogs, new tricks” shift. Big Data is a massive paradigm shift that opens new doors and creates new possibilities that are an order of magnitude different from what previous generations had at their fingertips. So, how does one embrace the Big Data paradigm shift?

As part of our discussion on Big Data they will welcoming Seth Earley into the studio. Seth is a 25 year veteran of the technology industry and currently heads a consulting firm of which is is the founder and CEO.

Also, joining the show will be regular co-hosts, Scott Liewehr and Butch Stearns. A first, I think, DCG Principal Analyst Jill Finger Gibson will also weighing in on some of our big news stories of the show.

Odd Conclusion for Drupal 6 Article

Linux.com is featuring a story by Susan Linton titled "Drupal 6 keeps getting better". The author claims she has been using Drupal since version 3.1 and seems to know Drupal well enough to write a decent article. In short, she does a fairly nice job of summarizing the features introduced in Drupal 6. However, she ends the article with a rather strange conclusion.

My primary complaint with Drupal is still not addressed in this release. I believe having advertising capabilities is almost a necessity in any content management solution. Instead, Drupal leaves users to their own skills or to use a contributed module. The lack of native advertising support remains a major drawback.

I rarely have seen such request for an "advertisement feature" in the core of any CMS I've reviewed. Yes, some CMS do have an advertisement feature but in most cases the capabilities of such built-in features are usually limited. Either way, I just can't imagine with the latest drive to strip the less needed modules in Drupal 7 and beyond, that the Drupal developers would go for an ad module in the core.

The Myth of Online Ad Revenue

Did you hear the reports about all that money to be made from online advertisements?  In 2006 alone, Internet ad revenue was estimated at $16.8 billion USD.  You have also likely heard of bloggers making thousands of dollars in just a short amount of time through online ads. If you believe this is another post about making money from online ads or how to optimize your site for the search engines, you are going to be disappointed.  I'm not here to tell you how to make money online but when you shouldn't be making money from advertisement on your site.

When I originally placed ads on my site about a year and a half ago, I actually didn't do it for the money but to give free advice.  Over the years I've had friends, relatives, and even a few clients that asked whether it was worth placing ads on their site.  I honestly did not know the answer to that question and decided it was time to try things out for myself.  How much money could the typical site make through online ads?
  
In early 2006, I placed online ads from various "advertisement" services on two of my former sites, Like that Idea and the WebCMS Forum.  By the second half of the year I also placed advertisements here at CMS Report.  While my first two sites are low traffic sites, CMSReport.com has gained popularity and according to Alexa is currently ranked in the top 100,000 Internet sites.  Nevertheless, none of these sites are a Yahoo! or YouTube but I think they could be considered as typical sites in terms of visitors and content for most bloggers and small businesses.

So how much money did I make from my three sites?  I made $53.17 USD.  I don't think I'll be quiting my day job any time soon.