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

3 Lessons We Learned From Our Clients about “Design vs Content”

This is a guest post from our Friends over at PadiAct

It seems that people love the debate of “design vs content”, they love to argue about which one is more important than the other. Is it design because it delivers the overall first impression? Is it content because it delivers the message? By now, I’m sure you realize this is a chicken – egg problem, and it has no possible outcome that will make anyone happy. So, instead of debating whichever trumps the other, what if we look at how a balanced approach between design and content can make everything better and help us capture more leads? Sounds cool to you? Great, let’s dive in…

So far, Padiact collected over 2,456,085 leads for our customers (we have a real-time counter on our website), so we have a few insights that we want to share with you. We’ve seen thousands of subscription forms, and we learned a lot from all of these, and today we are sharing 3 of these lessons with you.

1. When in doubt, A/B Test your assumptions

“Web design and content are like the yin and the yang, perfectly balancing one another. Or, if you prefer to think of it in terms of form vs. function, great website design is the Form that creates the vital first impression. Content is the Function, the device that attracts search engines, intrigues your audience, and drives measurable results.” – Jeff Kline, Accrinet 

Cool quote, right? Well, we also have a great experiment to back it up.

A big apparel company has used PadiAct to capture more subscribers for their email lists, and they ran an A/B test, to see if they can further tweak their results. These are the 2 Subscriptions Forms they created for the A/B Test.


Subscription form no. 1 looks simple and cool. It inspires action, courage and initiative, Subscription form no. 2 looks kinda “boring”, compared to the first one. No image, but it’s more straight to the point. The copy is exactly the same. So, which one do you think captured more emails? The first one, or the second one?

………………………………………………………………………drum rolls………………………………………………………………………

Here are the results:

The A Variant is the “boring one”. Somehow, it provided 30% more subscribers than the first one. WHY? We can speculate a lot, but most of the people would assume that the more stylish subscription form would’ve delivered betters results, just because it looks better. But as you can see, that wasn’t the case. Better looking doesn’t equal better results. If the guys from the apparel company would have cared only about the design of the subscription box, they would have earned 30% less subscriptions. Considering that 30% translates into 1431 less potential customers, that bias towards choosing more stylish/pretty forms would have costed them a lot of money. Good thing they used PadiAct and A/B tested their assumption, right? This is what you should do too. You should A/B test your assumption every time you have the chance to do that.

2. Context is key

People say they have a problem with pop-ups, but I don’t really believe that. What I do believe, is that people have a problem with a bad selling propositions. Let’s say I’m browsing a big electronics ecommerce website, and I’m mainly focused on the laptop, desktops and tablets section of the website. I’m there for more than 10 minutes, and I think I checked out a dozen products. I even added a few to my wishlist and compared two products against each other. Then, out of the sudden, the website is showing me a subscription form, and it’s asking me if I want to subscribe to get their newsletter. I gracefully hit the “X” mark on their subscription form. Why? Because they didn’t adapted to the context. They didn’t targeted me in the right way.

How could they improve their copy? Easy as 1-2-3. I only visited a section from their website. They could’ve analyzed my browsing behavior and displayed a customized subscription form, asking me for my email and giving me a discount or free shipping or something else if I would have ordered in the next 30 days. Target me like that and you will earn a sale from me. Why?Because is specific, personal & based on my needs. You are showing me that you care about the context. You are analyzing my behavior to give me a better deal. That effort matters to potential customers.

Here’s a great example from a sports apparel customer.

They realized they had 2 types of visitors: men and women, so they used this in their targeting and showed this form.

It makes sense, because men don’t want offers designed especially for women, and viceversa. So, next time you design a subscription form and make sure you also think a lot about the copy, and put it in context, so that it makes sense for the potential client. You can use Padiact to target people based on their browsing behavior, and you can show them the right copy, at the right time.

3. Stick to the essentials & get permission, and then ask for more

The tendency for marketers is to (try to) capture as much information from the user is possible, in order to personalize the newsletter, whenever they send out a email marketing campaign. The initiative for more personalized emails is great, but you must remember that people are usually reluctant to share information with marketers. Why? Because marketers either abuse the trust or they simply forget to personalize the offers in any way. That’s why you have to be clever and have a more common sense approach when asking for personal information. First of all, to capture that lead, only ask for the essentials. If you can work only with an email address, just ask for that. Make everything else optional.

 If you need more info, follow-up with an email survey that your subscriber can fill in for a prize or a discount, an incentive can help drive better results. Once the subscriber has done that initial step, he will be more willing to give you more info, especially if he’s incentivised. Because the subscriber made that first step, he basically, gave you permission to send him marketing offers, and he wants those offers to be top notch (that means personalized).

MEGATIP & TRICK: if you are a smart marketer, like most of our clients, you can design a sequence of forms like the one bellow:

Firstly, our client asked for the email, which was essential for him, and then, in order to further segment his list, he provides the user with some options to select from, so that he can afterwards, use them for more targeted campaigns. He’s already using PadiAct to collect emails for a specific segment of his traffic, and he is very smart in going further with the segmentation.  Clever right? We love our clients.

I hope the examples we gave you based on our clients’ experiments, offered you at least the same amount of insights we got from them. Instead of preaching about design vs content, we showed you that it makes more sense to search for the middleground. Use the right amount of design, with a cleverly written copy. Don’t just stick to one solution, but A/B test a few against each other, so that you make sure you don’t miss out, just because you went with your first idea. Use PadiAct, not just because it’s easy to use and to integrate with Active Campaign, use it because it’s going to help you get targeted email leads, and that can help you drive more revenue, short-term and long-term.

 “Not enough designers are working in that vast middle ground between eye candy and usability where most of the web must be built.Jeffrey Zeldman

Your focus shouldn’t be on the eye candy, but on what drives better results for your business. So, don’t waste more time on stuff you shouldn’t, it won’t make you happy, and it won’t make your customers’ life better.

What other tips & tricks can you share with us, that are closely related to the “design vs content” debate, that can translate into better results when you choose middleground between the two?

Antavo guest Webinar


 

Recently I interviewed Zsuzsi Szabo, Co- Founder of Antavo.com, a new integration partner with ActiveCampaign. You can watch the full interview on the vimeo player below. Here is a quick snapshot of the topics covered during the interview.

  • We talked about Antavo and what their service does (hint — they build email list…Quickly)
  •  I learned about the differences and benefits of each of the 3 specialties they focus on
  • Discussion on how to attract the right type of subscribers you want for each of the various promotion types
  • Measuring the success of these the list building tools
  • The best way to follow up to ensure engagement with contacts

Antavo from ActiveCampaign on Vimeo.

Boost your email list with viral Facebook contests

As a marketer, you rely on email. And it works! But how can you reach more people with your  campaigns? Grow your list (which is exactly what Antavo means)!

According to the recent research published on Marketing Sherpa 4 out of the 7 possible ways to grow email lists are about giving incentives to your customers: a coupon, a sweepstakes or a gift.

ActiveCampaign has made it easy for you to boost your email list by partnering up with Antavo, a simple to use social lead generation tool.

With Antavo you can easily put together viral sweepstakes (draws, quizzes, polls), contests (photos, videos, essays) and deals (group offers, coupons, giveaways) without the help of a developer. In a campaign spanning 2 to 3 weeks, you can collect thousands of new email subscribers (and new Facebook Page Likes) and also collect quality data about those subscribers. (See case studies on Antavo’s page.)

Learn more about how this integration can grow your lists in the ActiveCampaign app store.

Once you have signed up to Antavo, you should connect it with your ActiveCampaign account. In case of any difficulties, we’ve prepared a great help article to help you .

“New List” Webhook Available

We’ve added a webhook notification that runs whenever a new list is created for an ActiveCampaign account.

image

Since the software is mainly driven by lists, this is useful if you need to be notified whenever a new list is created. Resellers utilizing common webhooks across all of their accounts will also benefit from this because all other webhooks require at least one list relation, meaning your accounts will always have the necessary hooks set up even when new lists are created in the future.

Here is an example webhook payload that ActiveCampaign will send when a new list is created:

type: list_add
date_time: 2013-09-25 15:31:45
initiated_from: api
initiated_by: api
list[id]: 7
list[userid]: 1
list[name]: List 3 (API)
list[sender_addr1]: 123 S. Street
list[sender_addr2]:
list[sender_city]: New York
list[sender_state]: NY
list[sender_zip]: 88383
list[sender_country]: USA
list[sender_url]: http://test.com
list[sender_reminder]: You signed up on our website.
list[fulladdress]: My, Inc., 123 S. Street , New York, NY 88383, USA

With this data you could create additional webhooks that notify you of account activity for that list:

$post_data = array(
  "name" => "Test",
  "url" => "http://example.com/webhook-subscribe.php",
  "lists[7]" => "7",
  "action[subscribe]" => "subscribe",
  "init[public]" => "public",
  "init[admin]" => "admin",
  "init[api]" => "api",
  "init[system]" => "system",
);

$response = $ac->api("webhook/add", $post_data);

Another thing you could do is create custom fields for that list:

$post_data = array(
  "title" => "interest",
  "perstag" => "interest",
  "type" => "1",
  "req" => "0",
  "show_in_list" => "1",
  "p[7]" => "7",
);

$response = $ac->api("list/field_add", $post_data);

Above we create a text custom field called “interest” that is associated with the new list.

Anything that requires the new list ID can now easily be done using this webhook.

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)

Stamplia expands your template options

ActiveCampaign provides several dozen templates, and with the editing options, there are almost limitless possibilities. However, maybe the stock templates are not quite what you are looking for and you really have something very specific in mind. If you cannot find what you are looking for within the current library ActiveCampaign templates, consider purchasing a template form one of the many Stamplia.com provides. Stamplia is the “Email Templates Marketplace” where designers from around the world have submitted the pre-designed email templates for purchase. Stamplia’s HTML templates are designed to be used and exported into many different services, and most recently, this includes ActiveCampaign.

The wonderful thing about Stamplia, is their templates are easy to buy, affordable, and simple to export into ActiveCampaign. On the flip side, if you are an ActiveCampaign user and have serious development skills, you can actually sell your creative genius on Stamplia in the form of email templates and several other web based products. If you are interested in checking out the templates designs offered on Stamplia you can visit the Stamplia landing page within the ActiveCampaign Apps page.

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

How to Collect Contact Data and Use It to Improve Your Email Marketing

This was a guest post provided by Bradford Shimp, the content manager at Batchbook

 Please join ActiveCampaign and Batchbook for our upcoming joint webinar

Email is a simple and effective way to communicate with your contacts. But, is it doing the job well enough for you? On your end, email is quick, easy, and cost effective. But what about your readers? Are you sending them the emails that they want to read? Do you even know anything about them, other than their email address?

It used to be that businesses knew a lot about customers and leads just by interacting with them. My dad, a classic salesman, could always remember the names of a contact’s spouse and children. Everyone in sales knows that learning this kind of personal information can help build rapport and make interactions much more friendly and meaningful.

But does this kind of rapport building have any place in modern email sales and marketing? Of course it does! When you have details about your email contacts, you can craft more personal messages to them. This will increase your success rate while helping your contacts feel more connected to you.

So, how do you collect the contact data that will help you do this?

Ask for more information

If you want to build out better profiles for your contacts, ask them to tell you a bit more about themselves. Maybe right now you only collect email addresses. If so, try adding a few more fields to your form. Name, of course, is essential. But what other information can you find out that will help you be more personal in your approach?

At Batchbook, we recently sent out a survey to get more details on customers, like their job title and the primary use they have for a CRM. This data helps us craft emails that will be relevant to them. A sales manager has different needs than a customer support manager.

You don’t need to collect all of your data up front. In fact, a long form on your website may just turn away potential leads. But once you have a little back and forth with a contact, don’t be afraid to ask for more details about who they are.

Take notes from your conversations

Not every piece of contact data can be (or should be) collected in a web form. A lot of tidbits can be picked up as you converse with a contact.

If you are on the phone with a lead, they might mention all kinds of interesting things about themselves that will help you email them more effectively later on. People will share information about their kids, their favorite sports teams, as well as nuanced details about their specific customer needs.

You can let these little details go in one ear and out the other and continue to just send generic emails. Or, if you’re smart, you can start to write this information down so you can use it later for more effective emails.

Aggregate contact data from multiple sources

Besides asking for information directly and picking it up from conversations, you can get a lot of data on your contacts on this beautiful thing we call the world wide web. Your contacts may be sharing info on social networks, blogs, and their business websites.

Doing a quick Google search for a person should turn up some interesting information. In a business to business setting, be sure to search LinkedIn, which will often reward you with a bunch of useful details on your contact.

There are also two great tools that can help you aggregate social data. Rapportive, which lives right in your Gmail inbox, shows you social details for your email contact. And Batchbook (shameless plug!) is a social CRM that lets you look up your contacts’ Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles and bring that social information right into their contact profile.

Where to Store and How to Use All That Data

Getting all that contact data is great, if you have a place where you can store it and use it. This is where CRM software comes in handy. With a tool like Batchbook, you can build out full contact profiles with every bit of information you collect on your contacts.

It’s important to choose a CRM that not only helps you store the info, but makes it easy for you to use it. In the case of email marketing, you want to be able to pull together groups of people who match certain criteria. For instance, “every lead who is living in LA who likes ice cream sandwiches.”

This is where the data you collect on your contacts becomes useful. By creating smaller groups of people who share similarities, you can move away from generic emails toward relevant emails that connect more personally with your readers.

Build these groups by first collecting useful data on your contacts in your CRM, then by sorting your contacts and moving the information you have on them into ActiveCampaign. Once you have that useful data in ActiveCampaign, you can really get specific with your emails, using things like personalization tags, conditional content, and segments, which will help you be more successful with each campaign.

Check our ActiveCampaign’s continuation of this post on the Batchbook blog called “How to turn your contact data into marketing opportunities

ExecutiveJobspro.com — Email Marketing within the job search industry

This week, I was able to speak with Rob Mason, founder of ExecutiveJobspro.com. He provided several tips for marketers who are entering (or in) saturated markets and explains why email marketing is essential for success.

What is Executive Jobs Pro, where are you located, and how did you get your start.

We are a career matching service (10 different sites for different job categories), helping job seekers take control of their search and shorten the time it takes to finding a great new job or career path. Our HQ is in Newport Beach, CA. However, we have Account Managers throughout the country. I am the only member of our services group that doesn’t come from staffing. I was an out of work producer that decided to do a documentary on the job market. I was so frustrated with my search. What I was doing felt like I was handing control of my future to someone else. I went for it and after meeting a ton of corporate recruiters I realized that what they look for in winning candidates was not information I had as a job seeker. A business was born. I built a team of insiders with connections and knowledge that I believed job seekers didn’t have.

Your business seems to focus on two groups: employers and employees. What are some of the unique ways you approach marketing for each individual group?

The key to a successful job search is an actual job search strategy. Most employ the least effective tools to land a job (job boards, waiting for headhunters to call). Our marketing is designed to spark a conversation, a personal and informed interaction. Once a prospective member has a chat or phone conversation with us there is an “aha” moment. This is typically followed by the realization that they have been using the worst practices to find a job. But, this feeling is tempered by the realization that now they have an effective partner for their search. We drive all marketing to this one-on-one interaction. After all, our service is not a software system. For us, it’s about a deep personal connection with our members.

Has email marketing always been apart of your marketing model or is it something that was added in to the mix over time? What made you decide email marketing was a useful tool for your business?

Email marketing is the most effective marketing for us behind word-of-mouth marketing/referrals. It’s about delivering a message to your audience in a specific moment, when they are ready for us. If we relied on ad marketing we would not be able to deliver messages over an extended period of time with consistency. Email marketing is about being consistent and showing your audience that you have what they need. It’s also an excellent conversation starter. We have been using email marketing for 9 years.

It seems the job website market is fairly saturated. What are some of the things you have done to set yourself apart?

We provide a service that we believe no other company can, actual contact with former Fortune 1000 recruiters. Our Account Managers have corporate recruitment contacts that they leverage to find the right jobs for each of our members, while these jobs are in the all important network and referral phase. Additionally, these talented staffing vets are available to guide our members and non-members with job search strategies, resume help and, most often, a boost of confidence for their search. From the time you arrive on our site and chat with an account manager (again, an actual former Fortune 1000 corporate recruiter) through the sign up process where you are writing to us about your search (we don’t use pull down windows or automation) there is a human being receiving your information and working for you at every step. Again, it’s a very personal and human experience. By the way, you guys provide the same level of personal experience which is unlike the other email services we have worked with. It makes a big difference.

What are 3 tips you can offer to ActiveCampaign users who are either getting ready to or have recently entered into a market which has a lot of competition?

  • Read customer reviews on competitors.
  • Have folks you know sign up with competitors and let you know what they loved and what they loathed.
  • And, the biggest treasure, ask potential customers what they want from a service. Every change we have made that has worked for us came from what the customer told us they needed vs. what we wanted them to experience. My biggest lesson, take my ego out of the equation. The customers make the service.

In regards to email marketing, what are a couple of your favorite features and why?

  • Live stats are huge. I know what we are going to do in a day in terms of revenue within two hours of the launch of our morning campaigns. ActiveCampaign offers a really cool interface that allows me to see what’s happening with the campaigns. This sets up my day and has made us more efficient as a company.
  • My favorite feature is your online chat. When we have questions or hit a snag with campaign performance you guys are ready and I don’t have to sit on hold forever.
  • Lastly, the deliverability of your service has the others we have used beat by at least 20%, that adds up. Thanks!!!

Why do you consider email marketing to be value adding to the job finder industry?

Yes, all of the services out there use it. We know because we are signed up with most of them…gotta know what your competitors are doing.