RubyMail Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- What is RubyMail?
- RubyMail is a turn-key HTML-enabled email service — created specifically for the needs of digital artists, web/graphic design professionals, interactive marketing, public relations, and advertising firms — and their clients. It's a virtual "service bureau" for all of your email marketing online development needs.
- What are the benefits of RubyMail?
- RubyMail is fast, easy, flexible, scalable, cost-effective and available on-demand — with no costly, complicated contracts. Plus, it's 100% customizable in look and feel — so it will support virtually any design you can dream up. RubyMail is the ideal private-label email solution. Brand it for your client...or for yourself. RubyMail is virtually invisible to the end-user.
- How does RubyMail work?
- It's easy: Simply deliver to us your finished digital artwork, along with any delivery instructions and email address data from your client(s). We'll format your email message in HTML and/or text, test the transmission on all major email applications, send the finished email to all recipients (or if you prefer, you can do it yourself). At the conclusion of the campaign, we'll provide you with a detailed report of all relevant campaign metrics, i.e. open rates, clickthrough rates, unsubscribe rates and bouncebacks.
- What makes RubyMail different?
- RubyMail is just about the easiest custom email solution on the market today. By using RubyMail, you can outsource virtually all your email technology issues — no coding, testing, or set-up required. You don't hassle with servers, connectivity or transmission issues — we handle all that for you. Web and graphic designers, interactive agencies and other creative marketing professionals find RubyMail to be the ideal no-maintenance email solution — because it lets them focus on doing what they do best: providing great service to their clients.
- What if I need technical support?
- No problem. RubyMail is exceptionally stable and robust, so downtime and technical glitches are practically unheard of. Besides, we handle virtually all of the tech issues for you. But if you ever need assistance in set-up, advice on the best way to approach a project or any other campaign support, we're here for you. Just drop us an email or give us a call...
- What about special orders? Can you provide custom solutions?
- Absolutely. We cut our teeth on high-end custom web development. If there's anything different, unusual, specific or way outside of the box that you need, chances are we can build it for you.
- Can I afford it?
- On a cost-per-contact basis, RubyMail is one of the more economical email solutions on the market today. Our flat-rate pricing, which includes email development and testing, applies to campaigns of as many as 5,000 email addresses — for a price better than most deliver-only solutions. Additional discounts for custom campaigns of even larger scope are also available. Just drop us an email or give us a call...
- How long does it take to start a RubyMail campaign?
- No longer than it takes to give us the go-ahead. You can sign up now and create a new campaign in just a few minutes. Once you've done this, we turn most campaigns around in 3 business days or less. Same-day or next-day turnaround is available for a nominal charge.
- How long will it take for RubyMail to code my campaign?
- Nearly all RubyMail campaigns are delivered within 3 business days of creative being uploaded to our server. If you upload your artwork on Thursday at 2pm, you should expect to hear back from us with a preview of your email no later than Tuesday at 2pm.
- I need my campaign sent out as soon as possible. Can I rush my order?
- Yes, but additional fees may apply. Typical rush campaigns incur a 50% additional charge for 24-hour turnaround. But if you'd like to get a firm quote for your project, then call us at (718) 230-8110 and we'll let you know how quickly we can complete it for you.
- Does RubyMail you provide volume discounts?
- We sure do! Some of clients send a RubyMail campaign every few days, and we are more than happy to extend discounts to clients who will be using our service on a regular basis or for large numbers of recipients. Contact us to learn more.
- We're an agency and I'd like to provide this service to each of our account executives for use with their clients. Can you provide us with tools for this?
- Absolutely! We can provide agencies that anticipate high volume use of RubyMail with a variety of options and special features, ranging from volume discounts, to complete custom branding, to licensed software solutions. Contact us to learn more.
- How do you keep your prices so low?
- Rubenstein Technology Group has a skilled team of technical developers and software engineers who have been providing this service to our design partners for years. We do not use offshore labor, and never skimp on quality. We guarantee that our implementations are top-notch and will match your design to the utmost capacity of Web technology, or your money back.
- Who developed the RubyMail service?
- RubyMail is a product of Rubenstein Technology Group — a premium web solutions development firm located in Brooklyn, New York. We're comprised of programmers, project managers and technology strategists — all dedicated to delivering excellent custom creations to meet each client's unique needs.
- Do you store credit card information on your website?
- We never store your credit card information on our website or in our database. For that reason, you are required to enter your credit card information each time you create a new campaign. We validate your card at that time, then discard your credit card information immediately. If we ever need to bill you again, you'll need to enter your credit card at that time.
- Does RubyMail charge a monthly fee?
- RubyMail does not charge any monthly fees. We charge a one-time flat fee which includes sending to a set number of email recipients. You may send to these recipients at any time after your email is created, and you may send this email as many times as you would like. There is no monthly recurring fee, and no additional fees unless you decide to send to more than the included number of recipients.
- Who actually implements these emails?
- RubyMail employs a trained pack of retired killer gerbils that work in 3 shifts, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. These gerbils have retired from the gerbil fighting circuit and undergo months of stress management and retraining in the art and science of HTML email development. RubyMail does not harm its gerbils in any way.
Actually, RubyMail consists of a team of experienced, skilled email developers that have been implementing designs from professional web designers for nearly a decade. We have staff available during working hours who are dedicated to the development, testing, and management of highly stylized HTML emails. Our expertise in HTML and Web development is second to none, and our implementations are pixel-perfect whenever possible.
Understanding Email Marketing
- What's so hard about creating an HTML email? Can't I do this myself?
- There's nothing hard about creating an HTML email — unless you want to do it right. Many designers, and even experienced web developers, think that creating an HTML email is the same, if not easier, than creating a web page. They're wrong.
Every email design is different. To optimize the success rate of an email campaign, your email implementation must account for several factors, including:
- the wide range of capabilities present in major email applications, from Microsoft Outlook to Hotmail
- most modern email applications disable images by default — a successful email campaign needs to look good enough with no images to encourage the recipient to turn on the image display function, and get the full effect
- many fancy web development techniques won't hold up in an email — knowing which ones can and cannot be used is key to delivering an email that correctly conveys your design
- not following key best practices is a sure-fire way to get your email blacklisted as SPAM by both automated and manual solutions — resulting in decreased open rates and increased unsubscribes.
- Why can't I just save as a JPEG and send that?
- Have you noticed that most modern email clients won't display images in emails unless the user clicks a button? Sending out an email as a single, static image means that some percentage (as many as 85%) of your recipients won't ever see your message. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
- Why can't I just cut-and-paste an HTML page into Outlook and send my own emails?
- For one, Outlook, like most email applications is not designed for sending highly stylized emails or large volumes. Most email applications will subtly alter your email code and introduce technical artifacts that could adversely effect your email design. Unless you fully test your email in all email applications, you're at risk of delivering a poorly formatted email.
Secondly, your email application, and your company's email servers, were likely not intended for sending mass quantities of email. Sending a campaign of even a few hundred recipients could cause excess load on your corporate email server. Sending thousands of emails could render both your desktop computer and your company's servers unusable for hours. RubyMail sends thousands of emails in minutes, and won't put any load on your desktop computer or your company's servers.
Designing your Email
- Will my emails be branded with a RubyMail logo or credit?
- Never! Unlike virtually every other email marketing solution, RubyMail will never brand your email with anything but the design that you provide. Since RubyMail is a premium solution designed specifically for professional graphic designers and marketers, we recognize and respect the value of your clients' brand identity. In fact, the only content we will ever add to your designs are your sender information (for CAN-SPAM compliance), and a link for users to unsubscribe from future mailings.
Note that in order to host your images and provide automated email tracking and unsubscribe features, RubyMail includes its own domain in the code. When users do view the site, they are presented only with unbranded screens.
- Can I include animation in my email? Can I include Flash in my email?
- Although there's nothing preventing RubyMail from sending Flash animations as part of an email campaign, Flash is unfortunately not very well supported in most email applications. As such, we advise against the inclusion of Flash in your emails.
However, you may include a teaser or splash image in your email that then links to a Flash animation hosted on our server. Please contact us for details on how to submit these files to our team.
We also recommend the use of animated GIFs, which are less capable than Flash, but well supported in most modern email applications and can provide a similar user experience.
Although the base RubyMail fee does not include animation development, we can include animations that you provide. RubyMail also provides implementation of animations based on your designs as an additional service. Contact us for details.
- How wide can my email design be? Is there a limit to the height of my email?
- Your email design can be as wide as you like, but we recommend that you keep your design to less than 580 pixels wide and 2048 pixels high for optimal viewing in the widest array of email applications (Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.) and operating systems.
- Can't I just use a pre-built template?
- Yes, you can, but not with RubyMail. The RubyMail production team is committed to implementing only the highest quality HTML emails based on professionally-designed email designs.
We've never met a business that fit into a pre-defined template, and we don't expect their marketing efforts to do so either. We implement each and every email design from scratch, based precisely on the delivered artwork, and don't use any templates. If you're looking for a solution based on pre-built templates, you might want try a self-service email solution.
- What minimal components must my email design contain?
- Your email must contain several components in order to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the RubyMail Anti-Spam Policy. All emails sent via RubyMail must contain:
- the valid physical postal address of the sender
- a message displaying the email address to which the user was sent the email
- a link to the RubyMail automated unsubscribe feature
- From whom will my email appear to come from?
- Your email will appear to come from the name and email address that you specify. However, to be in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, that address must accurately identify the person who initiated the email.
- Can you help me design my email too?
- No and yes. RubyMail does not perform any graphic design services. However, we have a growing network of design partners who have identified themselves as willing and able to perform custom email design for new clients. We will be launching a directory of these design partners shortly, but until that launches please contact us and we will connect you with an appropriate design partner.
RubyMail Email Production
- What file formats do you accept for my artwork (creative content)?
- We can accept the output of nearly any modern design program, although we most often receive art in one of the following formats:
- Adobe Photoshop, in RGB color mode, with art broken into meaningful layers
- Adobe Illustrator, in RGB color mode, often split into two files — one with the text provided as text objects, and the other with all text converted to outlines
- Very high quality (low compression) JPEG. Although this is the least recommended option, it is advisable to include a JPEG version of your artwork for use as a proof
- Will I be able to preview my email before it gets sent out?
- Yes, absolutely. Once your email is complete, you will be granted full access to RubyMail's campaign management tools. These tools will enable you to preview your email, send previews to your own email account and client email accounts, and confirm acceptance of your RubyMail email. The RubyMail Management console also enables you to send your email and view detailed email metrics.
- Do you send dual-mode (multipart) emails?
- Yes, of course. After we've converted your design into a valid, tested HTML email, we'll go through and manually create a text-only version of the email. Both HTML and text versions are sent to all recipients, enabled for auto-detection of the correct format by your recipient's email application. Generally speaking, if your recipient's email application supports HTML emails, they will see the HTML version of your email. If their application only supports text emails, then they will see the text-only version of your email. Either way, RubyMail has you covered.
- Which email clients are tested?
- RubyMail's production team validates your email on the following email applications:
- Microsoft Outlook 2003
- Microsoft Outlook 2000
- Yahoo! Webmail
- Google Gmail
- AOL Email
- AOL Webmail
- MacMail 2.1
- Mozilla Thunderbird
- Why is testing so important?
- Email applications vary greatly in their ability to accurately display complex HTML code used to develop stylized emails. Unless you test your email in all of the major email applications, with various options toggled accordingly, there's a good chance that your email will not display properly for some percentage of your recipients. If your recipients aren't seeing your creative the way you designed it, then not only will your email campaign fail, but you could inadvertently damage your brand.
Sending Your Email with RubyMail
- How do I submit the list of email recipients to send the email to?
- Once your email has been created, you will notice additional options on the Campaign Details page. These options allow you to preview your email and send the actual campaign. On the send page, RubyMail accepts email recipients through several methods, including:
- A list of email address, separated by commas, tabs, or spaces, and cut-and-pasted into RubyMail
- Manual entry of each name and email address in a separate form field
- Batch import of up to 5,000 contacts at a time via a spreadsheet (in Microsoft Excel or Comma-Separated Value (CSV) format).
- What metrics to you track for an email campaign? How accurate are these statistics?
- For each email campaign sent through RubyMail, we provide totals of the number of emails sent, the number opened, the number of clicks, and the number of bounces.
Accuracy of these statistics may vary depending on the type of email audience (business or consumer), the relationship that the sender has with the recipient, and (ultimately) whether recipients view the HTML version of the email with the images turned on.
- What is CAN-SPAM? Why should I care?
- The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (CAN-SPAM, for short) is a federal law, enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) which establishes requirements for those who send commercial email, and provides penalties for those who violate the law. Amongst other things, the law bans false or misleading header information in emails, prohibits deceptive subject lines, and requires that emails include an opt-out method. The law also requires that the email sender be clearly identified and that the email message include the sender's valid physical postal address. Finally, the law requires that email recipients be valid business contacts, and that recipient email addresses not be harvested or generated through automated means.
Violating CAN-SPAM regulations may result in fines of up to ,000 per infraction. Deceptive commercial email is also subject to laws banning false or misleading advertising.
RubyMail is a premium email service and does not condone the sending of SPAM through its system.
- Can you accept contacts from various applications (Addressbook, Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, ACT, Salesforce.com, etc.)
- RubyMail enables users to upload contacts via several methods, including Comma-Separated Value (CSV) format. All major contact management tools support the ability to export contacts in CSV format, or have third-party tools available for doing so. If you require assistance with exporting your contacts for import into RubyMail, please contact us.
- How many times can I send the same campaign?
- Once your email has been implemented by RubyMail's production team, you may send your email as many times as you would like. However, we recommend that you send an email to each recipient only once each month, in order to minimize the annoyance factor
- How many people can I email?
- RubyMail can support campaigns from hundreds of recipients to millions of recipients. Our one-time flat rate fee includes services for sending to up to 5,000 recipients. For larger campaigns, RubyMail charges $0.01 (one penny) for sending to each additional recipient beyond the 5,000 included emails.
- Where do I get the email address to send my email to?
- Your email addresses, or your client's email address, should come from your personal and business contacts and customer lists. All of your recipients should be business contacts, or businesses that have agreed to signup for your service.
- What if I want to send the same email on a regular basis?
- RubyMail is working on support for recurring email campaigns. Please contact us for details.
RubyMail Email Tip of the Week #18:
Keep your Email Narrow to Maximize Your Impact
When designing a new HTML email, keep your design to 580 pixels wide or less to ensure that it is fully visible in the widest array of user email applications.