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Zoom in on….Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center

Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager at BlueToad. When you think of a publication, what comes to mind? Most will think of your favorite magazine, but did you know that many businesses and not-for-profits use newsletters to communicate their message? Today we’re zooming in on Brandon Sports and Aquatic Center, a non-profit organization in Brandon, Florida.  BSAC uses a digital newsletter to further their mission:  to impact lives daily through superior educational and athletic programming that enhances physical, mental, and spiritual well being. We recently had an opportunity to catch up with their Executive Director, Chuck Burgess, and chat with him about what BSAC is doing with their digital edition. Chuck, tell us a little bit about your publication and who the audience is: Our publication is our printed newsletter, and our audience is vast – it ranges from children ages 5-18, volunteers, existing and potential donors, and our general community as well. We use it to raise awareness, educate, entertain, enrich, and uphold the center’s mission.  I understand that you have a printed newsletter as well. What made you decide to add a digital newsletter? Well, supplementing our printed newsletter with a digital edition for us was like upgrading your Hyundai to a Cadillac. It opened up a whole new world for us in terms of readership. When we just had our printed newsletter, we didn’t have much traction, and we were limited with what we could do. Creating a digital version of the newsletter allows us to capture the reader’s attention by including things such as sound, videos, and even ads to create a...

And Now We Are 6

This month – April of 2013 – marks our 6th anniversary as a company. For those of you who work at long, established companies, “6” might seem like a small candle on a birthday cake. But for a technology company – 6 is HUGE!  We’ve come a long way in our 6 years and we’re so grateful for our customers, partners, and the great employees that make up our BlueToad family. One of our core values is “We Are A Family”.  Family means strong relationships and trust. When we treat our employees like family, we know they will never want to let each other and our customers down. One Friday, we donned our best BlueToad blue and white for a group THANK YOU card photo to commemorate the occasion.  At least, that was the intention.  One accidental slip on the camera trigger snapped the photo in stop motion instead. With a little creativity, sweat, and some magic from the lily pad…a video version was born. So to thank you for 6 great years and many more to come, we give you “The BlueToad...

Spotlight on….Andrew Valente, BlueToad Systems Engineer

This is the second in a series of Employee Spotlight Interviews, where we select an employee to highlight on our blog.  Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager here at BlueToad. Andrew, what exactly does a Systems Engineer do at BlueToad? I work closely with our development team, manage quality assurance with our desktop viewer and mobile apps, and handle IT inquiries. How long have you been with BlueToad? I’ve been with the Toad for almost 2 years – my anniversary is in August. Best two years of my life! What would you say is the best-kept secret about your role? Something that you do here at BlueToad that people would be surprised to know? They’d probably be surprised to know that I have some input on what features get added to our apps and desktop viewers. What do you find most gratifying about your job? It’s a neat feeling knowing that my input impacts the reader experience! Who do you get mistaken for on a regular basis? Ever since I’ve let my hair grow out I’m often asked, “Has anyone told you that you look like John Lennon?”  (Which, by the way, is an honor because he’s my favorite Beatle!) What’s the best advice you’ve been given?                                                       It wasn’t given to me in person, however, I read this on a business blog once  and really liked it: “The most useful advice I have ever been given, and would give, is that nothing comes easy. There really is no substitute for hard work, long hours, and constant devotion.” I live by this statement!  Believe it or not…....

Choosing an Email Service Provider: Top 5 Things Magazine Publishers Should Look For

When it comes to marketing your publication and connecting with your audience, email marketing is a quick and cost-effective method.  Full service email companies are prevalent and can offer general email services like management and distribution, while more robust services also include analytics and template design. We feel there are a few specific items that magazine publishers should look for when considering a vendor. Here is a list of the top 5 things a magazine publisher should look for in an Email Service Provider (ESP): 1.    Analytics – Analytics are key when it comes to successful email marketing. You’ll want to be able to see how many recipients received, opened, and clicked your email, and also those that unsubscribed from receiving emails to seeing how many bad addresses are on your email list. Some email services will charge a premium for viewing and downloading reports, while others include reporting in the overall service cost. 2.    Requirement of a Confirmed, Opt-In Email List – When looking for an email provider, seek out one that requires a confirmed, opt-in list, sometimes referred to as a double opt-in list. This is a distribution list where each name on the list is acquired by the reader requesting information from the organization, and that you, in turn, have responded with a confirmation notice. This is very different from a ‘farmed’ list, where email addresses are purchased from marketing agencies. The step of email address verification (confirmation) is considered by many anti-spam advocates to be the minimum degree necessary for staying in compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. 3.    Options to Increase Deliverability –...

Spotlight on….Frandy Dorlus, BlueToad Customer Service Manager

This is the first in a series of Employee Spotlight Interviews, where we select an employee to highlight on our blog.  Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager here at BlueToad. Frandy, what do you do at BlueToad?   I’m the Customer Service Manager, which means I orchestrate front-line operations on the support side of things. You’ve been with BlueToad now for about 3 ½ years. How did you transition to your current position? Towards the end of 2009, I began working with BlueToad in an entry-level CSR position. I worked my way up, and after about a year I was promoted to BlueToad’s Customer Service Manager position. The best-kept secret (or unknown fact) about my role is… I get to work closely on special projects with development to help design new customer interfaces.  To what do you attribute your success? I’m inspired by great leaders that run our organization and attribute much of my success to the combined strength of the BlueToad team. Best Advice: Be willing to do what others won’t. What do you find most gratifying about your job? It brings me great pride to see our support team turn customer service into opportunities – opportunities to speak to our customers and partners and build stronger relationships.  I also really enjoy being the go-to guy— whether it’s a quick question from a team member, or even if a situation escalates, those are MY opportunities to save the day. Interesting/fun fact about yourself? I starred played a small role in a movie a few years back. (Stomp the Yard 2). If you were a superhero,...

Zoom in on…The Bark

This is the first in a series of posts featuring BlueToad customers that are doing creative things with their digital edition. Interviews are conducted by Erika Sterling, Strategic Account Manager here at BlueToad.  As a dog lover, you can imagine my excitement when The Bark agreed to be the subject of my blog. Not only does the publication feature cute dogs doing neat things, but The Bark is doing some neat things with their digital edition as well. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Claudia Kawczynska, Editor-in-Chief, and Daniela Lopez, Digital Manager for The Bark, about their experience with going digital. Erika: I first got into reading The Bark while hanging out at book stores, so I was delighted when I found out you had a digital edition as well. What has the feedback from your readers been since transitioning to digital? Daniela: While most of our subscribers are still on the print side, we’re seeing more of a move to digital, especially since moving to the mobile app. While we definitely have more readers on the print side right now, we can see them slowly making the move. If you’ve read The Bark, you can tell that they’re having fun with their digital edition while keeping their audience in mind. For example, they’re staging their Presentation Page in an innovative and non-traditional way by utilizing it as a navigational tool for their readers, offering tips on how to take advantage of their media-rich issues. Erika: I love what you’ve decided to do for your Presentation Page, since we normally see this page being used for sponsors...