Introducing Deals… CRM & Sales Automation

As we have built out our automation capabilities over the past year, we quickly realized we need a seamless integration with your sales process.

We currently integrate with many CRM providers (and will continue to do so) but the basic concept of contacts being synced back and forth were not meeting our users’ needs.  So we decided to create our own CRM that is built directly into ActiveCampaign and have plans to do seamless syncs of sales data with our CRM partners in the future (more on this later)

We took a very simple approach to our CRM work flow.  We wanted something that we would love to use internally and that would cater towards small and medium sized businesses.

Everything is customizable.  You can create custom deal pipelines, stages, task types, etc..   As a lead comes into ActiveCampaign it can be placed into a pipeline.  You would then move it to different stages as your sales process advances.  All the while our automations will be there to help you move, update, and prioritize your deals.

Send individual emails from within ActiveCampaign or connect ANY email account (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc..).  Once connected you will see all related sent and received emails  automatically within your Deal stream.  No BCC that points to some special inbox required!

Automation Updates

As we added all of the new CRM and sales features, we made sure to fully integrate that within our automation capabilities.  You can now have automations run based on deals, create deals, adjust deals, etc…  We also improved our automations to allow multiple entry points.

Previously you could only start an automation from four different options (and could only pick one).  Now you have a dozen start options and can choose multiple options for when each automation will begin.

Contact & Lead Scoring

People have been begging us to add some form of contact scoring within ActiveCampaign.  We always agreed it would be nice, but we didn’t want to release some mediocre scoring system that just increments based on clicks and opens.  The actual value in that is pretty low.

So rather than doing that we developed a scoring system that allows dynamic increase and decreases of a score based on any marketing channel that you integrate with.  So the score can fluctuate based on campaign interactions, individual email interactions, traffic/history on your website, custom events, sales data, and much more.

Contact & Lead Scoring is free with all enterprise plans and is a paid upgrade for any small business plan.

How to get the new Sales & CRM features

All new accounts are getting this update already.  We are in the process of updating all existing users and you should receive the update in the upcoming weeks.  Contact us if you don’t want to wait!  We can update your account right away on demand.

What’s next

This is just the start of what we have planned.  Expect more CRM updates in the near future. The syncing of data with other CRM’s is something we are working on as well.  That will allow you to use another CRM for your sales activity while using ActiveCampaign as the marketing/automation engine.

Lastly, we have been busy working on a brand new email designer.  We have rethought and reworked the entire email designer from the ground up.  Our hope is to have some sneak peeks soon.

‘Wait until…’ Time and Date Options in Automated Series

Yesterday we launched a great new feature, one that had been highly requested since the introduction of our Automated Series — time and date awareness.

With this new feature you can now effectively schedule steps in your automate series to happen only at the appropriate times for your contacts.

This can now be accomplished with a simple “Wait until…” step under the “Date and Time” section.

Best of all, the time we’re referring to here is not your time zone, it is the customer’s. We will now track and utilize each contact’s time zone offset via their IP address to allow you to send to them at the right time for their region.

If you set an automated series to wait until Monday at 9 AM, the next step will not progress until 9AM on the following Monday in their time zone.

No longer will you have to worry about sending messages at strange hours or days when you won’t be available to respond. As you can imagine this opens up a host of other possibilities which we can promise we’re already thinking about for the future.

Much like our enhancements earlier in the week we believe a more personal experience will lead to better results and this is just one of many steps we’re taking to help you provide that.

Got ideas for what we can do with this data next? Let us know on our Feedback Forums.

New Feature: Modify Case When Using Personalization Tags

Personalized marketing is typically successful marketing. The more you know about a person, the better you can target and communicate with them. One small facet of this in ActiveCampaign is the usage of personalization tags.

Personalization tags let you include custom greetings or use any information you have about a contact in your message. We recently decided to take a new look at this handy feature and we’ve now rolled out some new enhancements to it.

You can now add modifiers to personalization tags to control the case of how they appear in your messages. With this new update, gone are the days of:

Hello JOHN,

This type of “greeting” would occur when someone was signed up and in your mailing list with their first name in ALL CAPS. This sort of thing either occurred because they didn’t know how to turn the caps lock off, or some sort of export system, likely from a database exported them as such. Now we’ve made personalization tags that much more personal.

Where you would have previously written:

Hello %FIRSTNAME%,

You can now write:

Hello %FIRSTNAME|TITLECASE%,

And ActiveCampaign will do the work for you to normalize things for human consumption yielding the following instead.

Hello John,

Much better right? You are no longer held down by the oppressive reign of the mighty CAPS LOCK key.

We didn’t stop there though. Maybe you like things all capitalized? all lowercased? We’ve got you covered. Check out our newly revised Personalization Tags help document for more. Happy personalizing!

Small Updates and Refinements

At ActiveCampaign we don’t believe on resting on our laurels.

We’re always working to add new features and incrementally improve our software to make your experience faster, simpler and more productive.

In general we update our software in waves. We go from section to section updating areas as we have the last year with our email designer, automated series, site trackingintegrationsreports etc. However this does not preclude us from sneaking in small things from time to time.

We’ve got some really big stuff around the corner but we thought it was time to highlight some of the smaller changes that make big impacts, the unsung heroes of updates if you will.

New Localizations

First off, and we can’t take credit for this one alone, but our partnership with OneSky for community driven translations have been a huge success. In February we were able to introduce a near complete Indonesian localization thanks to the hard work from Victor and Irna from Doxadigital.com. Also this week we also rolled out a near complete Vietnamese localization with the help of a few very hard working contributors! A big thanks to all of our language contributors, we’re really excited to see where things go next. If you’re interested in contributing to a translation you can learn how here.

Importing with Tags

Tags have been a bit of a pet project within the platform. We have a lot of ideas of what we can do with tags long term that have yet to be realized but we’ve recently introduced the ability to import tags as part of a contact record from a .CSV file and just this week added the ability to tag a whole list on import.

Sorting Contacts in Reports

By and large the reception to our new reporting system was positive. However there were a few small things we missed in rebuilding things from the ground up and you guys definitely let us know.

We’re pleased to announce we’ve re-added the ability to sort your contacts in reports by date, email address or number of opens/clicks etc.

Additionally we’ve modified the overview page to show additional decimal places on the percentages and added a numerical hover for the exact number of clicks etc.

API Access to Automate Series

Previously the automated series was completely invisible to the API. However we’ve added new calls to change things a little. Using some new API calls you can now: view all automations in the system, add or remove a contact from an existing automation, view all contacts from an existing automation, and view automation details for a specific contact.

For more information about this check out our API documentation.

Apps Page

Lastly and certainly not least we’ve added a new section for all the different Apps you can integrate with ActiveCampaign. This new page can be found from the Integrations tab under Apps and Integrations. or by going to /apps/ inside your account.

As i mentioned before, these are just some of the small changes we’ve made recently. We’re always tweaking and adding little things and most of the time these go unmentioned. Many of these changes came from valuable feedback from our customers and we encourage you to contribute more whenever you come across things.  It’s our goal to be the best email marketing and marketing automation platform available and we’ll stop at nothing to get there.

Subscribe by SMS now available & free

You can now offer people the option to subscribe to your list(s) via SMS message.

Here is how it works:

  1. You promote a phone number and a keyword.
  2. Users send a text message containing your custom keyword to the phone number we provide you.
  3. They receive a text back asking for their email address.
  4. The contact replies to that message and is added to your list.

To get started simply login to your account, click on Lists, and then find “Subscribe by text message” in the “Integrations” menu for the list you wish to use.   This is a free feature for all paid plans.

Tag your contacts

We just introduced a new way to categorize, segment, and explore your contacts…. Tags.

Our custom fields allow you to store anything about your contact’s using a name and value concept.  There are times you may prefer to only have an identifer that is on or off for contact’s without the need of all the power/options fields have to offer.  Tags allow you to do just that and are very free-form.  There is no need to set options for the tags; simply tag a contact with whatever you want, whenever you want.  The free-form nature of tags allow you to quickly categorize contacts, use tag data in your automation work-flow, and segmenting your lists.

How to add tags to contacts:

  • Contact view page
    When viewing a contact you can see all their existing tags and add new tags to the contact

  • One-time automations
    From the automations page you can have tags created based on triggered events
  • As part of automated series
    Add a tag as part of your automation logic/work flow in an automated series

How to use tags:

  • Segments
    Narrow down your lists to only contacts that have (or do not have) specific tags
  • Conditional content
    Show personalized content within a single email based on whether or not tags exist
  • Automations
    Within automated series you can add conditions to only do things if they have specific tags

Track your contacts actions & behaviors. Extensive data with a purpose.

A while back we hinted at how we were planning to help you capture and utilize mass amounts of data.   I’m happy to say that it is now live for all accounts.  That includes our paid plans and our free plan (we don’t unfairly restrict our free plan)  We have been using both the site tracking & event tracking features ourselves and we are pretty excited about what it allows us to do.

So what is site & event tracking?

We already track your contact’s interactions with your campaigns, replies to emails, etc.. But what about their history on your site or within your applications?  While we work to integrate with all your favorite services – we wanted a way to easily capture information from any web site along with any custom application.  Site & event tracking accomplishes that.

With a single snippet of code we will monitor all site traffic (very similar to how an analytics platform would).

You can also log specific events (such as sign ups, conversions, application activity, etc…) with event tracking.  At any time you can include an email address (whenever you know their email — such as after a form, when they are logged in, etc..) and we will relate all of their activity logged in the past (and the future) to that email address.

So now you have a ton of data logging… Time to make it actionable.  You can create segments based on their traffic history & events, have automated series run based on tracking data, conditional content, personalization, and so much more.  We made it easy to collect mass amounts of data and utilize it on a per contact basis.

Other services offer something that sounds similar… Such as ways to trigger an email when a contact visits a page or very basic segmenting based on pages visited.  Site & Event tracking makes that look like child’s play.  You could setup an email to send when a contact hits a page.  But you can also take their entire site history into account, where they came from, how often they visited pages, specific actions they take, types of products they buy, and more…

Site tracking

With site tracking you can place a small snippet of javascript on your site (similar to Google Analytics) and we will log/track all of your site traffic.  You can selectively include an email address as part of the javascript (on form completion pages, shopping carts, when users are logged in, etc..) and we will relate all of their past & future traffic on your site to that email address.

How to setup site tracking:

  1. Go to the “Integrations” tab and click “Site & Event Tracking” in the side menu
  2. Click “Enable” by the “Site Tracking” section
  3. Add your domain(s) to the domain white list
  4. Copy/paste the tracking code on to your web site

Event tracking

With event tracking you can log events such as sign ups, orders, actions within your application, etc… With each event that you log you can specify the email address, an event name, and an event value.  The event name and value can be anything you want.  You can then use event data to help run automations, personalize campaigns, show conditional content, trigger campaigns, etc..

How to setup event tracking:

  1. Go to the “Integrations” tab and click “Site & Event Tracking” in the side menu
  2. Click “Enable” by the “Event Tracking” section
  3. Copy/paste the event tracking code on to your web site
  4. Be sure to update the event name and event data variables in the tracking code

Using the data

  • Segmenting your lists
  • Automated series
  • Conditional content (coming soon)
  • Personalizing content & links within emails (coming soon)
  • Viewing specific traffic & event history on the contact view page (coming soon)

A new way to translate ActiveCampaign

For years we have been working hard to ensure the platform can be used in whatever language  you require.   From a technical standpoint that means incorporating methods in both our backend and frontend code that allows us to use translations on the fly.  From a translators standpoint we have always relied upon antiquated language files.  Our translators would work with large files that map text (IE: “Some string” = “New string”)  This was error prone, time consuming, and didn’t really work well when we had 3 or 4 people working on the general Spanish file..

We just recently released a brand new way to manage our translations.  You can simply visit translate.activecampaign.com.  There you will see the progress of all of our languages (we are cleaning up and re-translating many) and you can apply to contribute as well.

Should you start contributing you will have a simple translation screen allowing you to quickly go phrase by phrase, you can comment/vote on existing translations, and suggest new languages.

Check it out and let us know what you think

Test your email design in Gmail, Outlook, iPhone, iPad, and more!

A number of years ago we released our email testing tool that allowed you to test your email designs against all the popular email clients.  We were looking to provide greater accuracy and to add true mobile (phone & tablet) testing. In order to accomplish that we rolled out a whole new compatibility testing feature with a new system that is screenshot based.

You can now test your email design to see how it will look when opened in:

  • Outlook 2003, 2007 , 2013
  • Gmail
  • Outlook.com
  • Yahoo Mail
  • Apple Mail
  • iPhone
  • iPad

There are couple important adjustments with our new compatibility preview feature:

  • Monthly accounts get 5 free testing credits per month
  • Free accounts & credit based accounts do not get free testing credits
  • Test credits can be purchased in bulk starting at $1/test with steep discounts when purchasing in bulk
  • We are planning on rolling out more email clients in the future

Coming Soon: Site & Event Tracking

Learning more about your contacts

We already have a wealth of data about your contacts interactions with the email campaigns you send.  Clicks, opens, forwards, social sharing, etc.. Not that long ago we also added the ability to find personal details such as their gender, age, location, interests, and more simply based on their email address.  This led to some pretty powerful segmenting & automations based on contact data.

Once again we are going to extend this whole idea a step further…  Our new site & event tracking will start to help cover your contacts interactions outside of an email or social space.  We will enable you to create marketing logic that is based on their actions on your web site, within third party services, and even in any custom app you have written or manage yourself.

Site tracking: utilizing your contacts history & actions on your site

Similar to analytics platforms like Google Analytics, we provide you with a small snippet of Javascript that you include on your site.  You can simply copy/paste that code into your site.

Once the tracking code is in place we will start to log all of your site traffic.  We capture details like the URL, referring URL, Google Campaign Tags, Browser, Mobile vs Desktop, GEO info, etc…  All of this information is stored in a highly scalable manner that is secured for your account.

When a visitor signs up on your site, fills out a form, etc.. we will determine their email address.  You can also specify the email address of the visitor on pages such as shopping carts, membership panels, account settings pages, etc.. Basically any page that you know they are logged in or provided an email address on.  Once we identify the visitor with an email address all of their past history on your site (and future history) will be related to that email address.

Event tracking: Logging and utilizing specific events that a contact makes

In addition to site tracking we will have event tracking.  While site tracking tracks all page visits to any given site, event tracking tracks specific actions from your site or any app/script.

Some examples of event tracking that we use include:

  • Signups
  • Upgrades
  • Downgrades
  • Cancelations
  • Billing Errors
  • User Actions (creating a list, sending a campaign, viewing reports, etc..)

You can of course define your own events that are specific to your business & needs.

The possibilities are endless as you get to define what the event is and choose when to record an event.

What you can do with all this data

By capturing all this data and relating it to an email address you have some pretty amazing options available.  Automated series, segments, personalization, conditional content, all benefit immensely by having additional data available.

We plan on incorporating site and event data into the following areas:

  • Automated Series
  • Automated Actions
  • Segments
  • Personalization
  • Conditional Content
  • Contact View

So you could create an automation that waits for someone to visit a page 3 times, have signed up for a trial of your service, all while using a mobile device to target them with a sales cycle focused on them.  The possibilities of using the data from site & event tracking is truly exciting.

When will this be available?

Tracking work (and the infrastructure to support it) is already complete.  We are currently playing around with this for our own marketing needs while we finish the interface.  We expect to start rolling it out to some clients in the near future (likely weeks to a month)  To start it will be available in automated series and then we will start rolling it out as an option in segments, personalization, conditional content, etc…

Your feedback

Have any ideas or usages that you want to be capable of doing with this type of data?  Let us know.