WordPress marketing with Spokal and ActiveCampaign

Every once in a while an integration is built with ActiveCampaign that deserves a special shout out. We found the integration built by Spokal to be pretty interesting. If you use WordPress to manage your site in any way, you need to see for yourself what they have done.

You can always learn more on the Spokal landing page highlighting the integration, but here are a few teasers of how Spokal + ActiveCampaign can be used to improve your current use of the WordPress platform for managing your website.

  • Add the entire top of funnel/inbound marketing automation capabilities from ActiveCampaign, from keyword search, to SEO grading, content creation, social sharing, social curation, and monitoring across all channels (web, email, social)
  • Lead Scoring
  • Sync between ActiveCampaign and contact information gathered on WordPress site
  • Marketing Automations triggered within ActiveCampaign from data gathered through Spokal
  • An enterprise quality collaborative solution at a price affordable to small and medium sized businesses

Why We Turn Away Millions In Revenue

We send a lot of email on behalf of our users. Billions. Despite a large volume of email being sent we work every day to ensure our compliance standards are being met and the recipients actually expect and want the email. By having such high standards (more than some other ESP’s) we close many paid accounts on a daily basis. We don’t enjoy closing accounts, but when our end user is unable or unwilling to modify their marketing practices we have no other choice. By doing so we maintain a high level of deliverability and promote/allow responsible marketing.

Let’s look at some figures

We ran a report to find the revenue we have turned away within the last year. These are users who have signed up, converted, and wanted to use our platform.
And that is recurring revenue…   The true revenue we are turning away over time is many times more.  Mind you these are not fraud orders and they are often not even people with horrible intent. They are companies within markets we don’t support or people who wish to market in a way that we don’t believe in.
If we dive into the data deeper we start to find some interesting things. The average person that we have to turn away is not your stereotypical spammer. Instead they are simply misinformed or operating in a high risk market for sending email.

Why we do it

There are the obvious deliverability concerns that come with questionable senders. By only allowing the best practices and best senders we are going to get better deliverability overall. But that pales in comparison with our own views, our hatred of spam, and wanting to ensure we only contribute to a positive email ecosystem.

What’s the solution?

Email remains a powerful and high ROI marketing option for businesses.  Sadly it is often abused.  We want to make sure we are on the right side of things and help to make email lower in volume while being more relevant and useful.
We will continue to educate those who are not aware of the best practices.  By educating people about quality being greater than quantity we have helped them improve their overall marketing effectiveness.

Zapier’s Email Parser Integration

Zapier Email Parser Demo Graphic

Last week, our integration partner Zapier rolled out many new integrations including a powerful new free email parser.

This powerful new tool allows you to send automated messages directly to Zapier which then can be parsed for email addresses and other contact information of your choosing which then can be passed off to any other integrated tool Zapier supports. Which of course includes ActiveCampaign. And due to the direct integration with Zapier built inside every ActiveCampaign account this is available to every ActiveCampaign customer free of charge.

To give you an idea, one way this could be used is to integrate ActiveCampaign directly with WordPress’s new Jetpack Contact Form. Their new form builder lets you directly add a form to any WordPress post or page simply within the WordPress admin panel. When someone files out these forms it sends an email to you with the form data.

By using Zapier’s email parser you could have these messages parsed and added directly to ActiveCampaign with very little setup required.

The possibilities for this new tool are nearly endless. We’re excited to see what you’ll do with it. Got some cool ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Check out the parser here: http://parser.zapier.com/

How to optimize email campaign content when relying on marketing automation software.

Today’s era of business is exceptionally fast-paced. Modern marketers have become spread thin due to historically recent advances in technology and online community. To say that time is of the essence would be an understatement, but with so many web publications and news feeds updating us with the same information all at once, it seems competition is less about the source and more about the content. (more…)

JustUno and ActiveCampaign’s Panties.com case study


Going into 2014, Panties.com CEO, Lila Williams, decided that social media marketing would become a major strategy moving forward to grow revenue, and that in particular, she wanted to focus on growing her email subscribers. Their natural fan acquisition rate hovered around 30 emails a month, or, about 1 new email subscriber a day. Our initial analysis showed that, despite tools such as “Follow us on Facebook” or “Submit your email for weekly deals”, the Fan Acquisition Rate (FAR) was lower than desired. A new, faster acquisition would be required to hit Panties.com’s lofty 2014 goals.


The Panties.com CEO decided that faster social fan base growth would help Panties.com hit their 2014 revenue goals. Ms. Williams decided to work with two providers: one social engagement platform, and one email marketing automation provider (Justuno and Active Campaign, respectively). Panties.com aimed to grow its social audience, while also reducing shopping cart abandonment rates, using Justuno Social Incentives on her website (www.Panties.com). After the email address was acquired, Active Campaign would be used to drip a series of two emails once the email address was obtained. These emails were focused on customer engagement and obtaining more information about the individual contacts. The case study was run over the 30-day period of November 27th – December 27th, 2013.

The three parties drafted up a plan of action: Justuno would provide the social incentives “hook” on the homepage, and active Campaign would manage the email campaign after the email was captured by the Justuno Social Marketing Widget. Panties.com would retain the creative portion of this effort, and came up with a clever Holiday campaign: “PantyClaus has a list, and he’s checking it twice. Have you been naughty or nice?”


As you notice form the graph above, there was as a dramatic spike in volume of new subscribers during the time period involving the case study. During the previous month, which is our comparison time frame, there were 30 new subscribers for an average of .97 subscribers per day. While during the time of the case study (same length as previous months measurement), there were 285 new contacts who signed up which is a 843.33% increase over the previous month. Additionally (not seen in graph), customers who had previously been on other lists were able to re-engage and sign up for the JustUno special discount. The JustUno widget netted 196 contacts who were already in the panties.com data base, providing opportunity for rengagement. In total, 481 contacts signed up to join the new mailing list; an increase of 1483% over the previous month. Again, this includes contacts who have already been other other mailing lists, but it was a viable sales opportunity with both new and existing contacts.

With all of the data being gathered, the high number of new subscribers would be an exceptional month of sign ups for any email marketer, and there are a couple of macro reasons which can be associated with this. The case study was launched just before Black Friday and ran through Christmas, and the Christmas season is obviously a great time to run specials. It should be noted that the highest day of the month for subscriptions was Cyber Monday. Typically the results from JustUno’s sign up widget are expected to be about a 300%-400% increase over the previous results seen through a generic subscription form. With that being said, panties.com has continued to use JustUno and within four weeks they are right on track to be within the 500% range greater than the month prior to the case study.

As a bit of a side note, we saw tremendous results with the automated series ActiveCampaign designed as follow ups to the case study. Our first email went out immediately after subscription with a call to action of requesting more information beyond a simple email address. This campaign had a 65.30% open rate and a 28.13% interaction rate with our call to action. Once the call to action was acted upon, a second email was sent with a reminder of the discount code, and several links back to the panities.com website.

This campaign had an 87.76% open rate. Not only was the overall list building efforts a success, the follow ups were as well.


ActiveCampaign continuously strives to build the best platform possible. One of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to partner with companies like JustUno who have a specific area of focus which complements the ActiveCampaign platform. In the short time of a month, an ActiveCampaign customer was able to successfully increase the size of their contact list at a dramatically higher rate than previously possible through the implementations of our JustUno integration which was the entire goal of this case study. The rapid rate of list growth through a the JustUno subscription form far exceeded the initial expectations had and proved to be an incredibly strong indication of what can be accomplished when a powerful 3rd party platform is properly integrated in ActiveCampaign.


12 Contest Ideas for 2014 That Can Grow Your Email List

When you offer a downloadable pdf or a redeemable coupon in exchange for subscriber data, you are in effect bribing potential subscribers, in order to grab their attention.

The next level of bribing is running contests and sweepstakes! As co-founder of Antavo, a lead-generation platform I have seen a lot of good examples.Consider these the Big Bribing Brothers of pdf-s and coupons. (more…)

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.

Hundreds of new integrations are now available

We have teamed up with Zapier (who has been connecting over 250 web apps) to provide a seamless in-app experience for all ActiveCampaign users. This means that you (and your users) get the full power of Zapier without needing to pay for a Zapier account or have a separate login area on their website to manage your integrations.

Everything is done within your ActiveCampaign account. Simply pick what you wish to integrate, authenticate with that external service, and you are set to go! All of the integrations continuously run to automate your syncing of data.

Here is just a sampling of the services we now integrate with:
  • DynamoDB
  • Appointlet
  • Base CRM
  • Chargeover
  • Chargify
  • Clertim CRM
  • Close.io
  • Desk
  • Eventbrite
  • Evernote
  • Fluidsurveys
  • Formdesk
  • Formstack
  • Formitize
  • Freeagent
  • GotoMeeting
  • GotoTraining
  • GotoWebinar
  • Google Glass
  • Gravity Forms
  • Gumroad
  • Inboundnow
  • Instantcustomer
  • Jotform
  • Jumplead
  • Keepintouch
  • MySQL
  • Mojo Help Desk
  • Nutshell CRM
  • Onepage CRM
  • Pipeliner
  • Podio
  • PostgreSQL
  • Quickbase
  • Quickbooks
  • Recurly
  • Samange
  • Solve360
  • Stripe
  • SurveyMonkey
  • Tendersupport
  • Uservoice
  • Vision Helpdesk
  • Woocommerce
  • Xero
  • Many more…

How many integrations are allowed?

Free & trial accounts are allowed up to 3 integrations. Small business accounts are allowed up to 15. Enterprise accounts allow unlimited integrations. We are not charging extra for any of our plans to utilize this new feature.

Out with the old and in with the new

With this change we will be removing the current MySQL, MSSQL, and PostgreSQL sync feature. It wasn’t an automatic import so by replacing it with our set of integrations (which will include those databases) you get even more power out of connecting with those databases.

Gmail is caching images… We’re happy about it.

You may have already heard that Gmail is starting to cache images.  Everyone seems to have their own opinion.  Some are writing sensationalized headlines claiming it is the end of email marketing as we know it.  Others say its much to do about nothing.    So what does it really mean and how will it affect you?

We can still track opens/reads

The caching of images is taking place when the contact opens your email.  Not when Gmail receives it.  Gmail has to fetch the image at that time so we are able to track the open/read.

We can’t track the contact’s GEO location with opens

Since Gmail is downloading the image we can’t determine the contacts location from the open alone.  We can however determine it once they interact (click a link), subscribe through forms, visit your site, etc..

It’s harder to track multiple opens/reads from the same contact (but it may not matter)

Since Gmail is caching the image they only need to fetch it once.  While there is some confusion over the cache life and methods to try to get around caching, we would not track two opens if a contact opens the email multiple times within a couple minutes.  Over time the cache would clear (5 minutes, hours, days?) and we would record that they opened that email again.  
UPDATE: We are once again able to track multiple opens/reads without any issues now.

It doesn’t affect everything (so far)

Email clients that use IMAP (such as the Apple mail app) are not affected by this.  We have only seen this with the Gmail web interface so far.

This may be a good thing…

Gmail is making it pretty clear that they care about a contacts privacy.  By caching, nobody can grab referring information (IP, user agent, etc..) and you can open emails with images without being exposed.  At the same time Gmail is making it fairly clear that they are OK with open receipts.  So much so that displaying images will be the new default option within Gmail (without having to click to display images)
That means we will have a much more reliable unique open rate as going forward the default setting will be to always show images without requiring your contacts to click to display images.

Attentive.ly brings social media and email marketing closer than ever!

As most people who are serious about digital marketing know, there is huge advantage to being able to connect various marketing channels together in order to paint a better picture of what is taking place with your contacts. The reason this is so valuable is that it increases the effectiveness of your interactions with contacts. ActiveCampaign has always been a firm believer that email marketing and social media were destined to work with each other, and although we have social media integrations, we’re not a social media company at our core… So, in stepped Attentive.ly! (more…)