Live Chat Released

ActiveCampaign Live Chat Software ( a powerful web based live help solution that offers real-time messaging for sales, support, or internal communication ) was released as 1.0 Stable recently. There are a number of great features included with the initial release of Live Chat. To glance through all of the available options I would suggest to go through our tour of live chat features.

We have had a positive response to Live Chat and the Help Desk/Live Chat integration. Plans are already underway to increase the integration between the two products and extend Live Chat further.

Pricing for Live Chat has been discounted for a limited time as part of the introduction of TrioLive. Order now to receive the special pricing.

Email Marketing Version 4.5x User Documentation

The knowledgebase for the version 4.5x series of ActiveCampaign Email Marketing has been updated extensively over the last couple of weeks. In order to extend the usefulness of our documentation we arranged articles in a more task-oriented way — for example how to format email marketing messages or best practices for email copywriting. In the past we included PDF user manuals with our distribution folders. These user manuals were also available on our web site for general perusal. PDF documents were then converted into knowledgebase articles with varying degrees of usefulness. They did not always translate well into this format because they were written in a quick start style that focused on basic use and where features could be found. Another drawback to this approach was that these user manuals became quickly outdated as our product line continued to evolve. We needed to update the user manual every time a major upgrade or exciting new feature was released. At times this could be a cumbersome task. Each and every article needed to be checked to ensure that they were version specific.

Further development of Knowledge Management, our knowledgebase software, altered our approach to documentation. KnowledgeBuilder now included a function that allowed you to extract PDF documents from articles. There became no need to generate PDF files independent of the knowledgebase. Documentation now consists of articles that are formatted specifically for our knowledgebase. A corollary to this approach is that knowledgebase articles became more informative and useful. This is more important now then ever before because 1-2-All is a more sophisticated application. Documentation needs to reflect the development of a more substantive feature set. A knowledgebase of articles allows us the flexibility to add or edit documentation to reflect the needs of our client base. A knowledgebase allows us to create a truly living document:

1-2-All 4.5x User Documentation

Dynamic Email Content in Email Marketing

ActiveCampaign Email Marketing has always had a number of options when it comes to personalizing messages. You have the ability to personalize with their core registration details. (such as email, name, registration date, etc…) along with being able to customize your emails with any subscriber field.

The personalization fields along with sending filters have been a popular choice for thousands to personalize their mailings. However the ability to have dynamic content has been tricky. In the past that is.

Previously to version 4.51.4 if you wanted to have dynamic content (such as a different email design, etc..) you would need to either setup multiple lists or use a combination of sending filters and subscriber fields.

With the introduction of version 4.51.4 you are now able to have fully dynamic content for your emails when using the new “Fetch Personalized” feature. This new option to the fetch url section allows you to enter a url which has the contents of the email you wish to send. While this option has been available as “fetch now” and “fetch at send” it was previously not possible to pass anything that would allow dynamic content. With 4.51.4 you can pass any subscription field in the url and have the page you are fetching display content based off of what you are passing to that page.

An example

To start we will setup the page that will be the page that has the email contents we wish to have sent.

content.php

// page to parse get variable and display content that matches
$variable = $_GET["name"];

if ($variable == ‘bob’){
echo ‘Bob’s email contents…..';
}

elseif ($variable = ‘amy’){
echo ‘Bob’s email contents…..';
}

else{
echo ‘non-matching email contents…..';
}

// print out some other content for all users

echo ‘my footer.';

Now we will login to Email Marketing, go to create new message, select the message type and find the fetch url area.
Select “fetch personalized” from the dropdown and enter the full url to the sample.php file.
Example would be http://www.examplesitedomain.com/sample.php

But instead of only typing in

http://www.examplesitedomain.com/sample.php

we are going to add the subscriber name personalization option.

So we will type:

http://www.examplesitedomain.com/sample.php?name=%PERS_NAME%

You can add as many options to the fetch url such as registration name, subscriber fields, etc…

Conclusion

By using the new fetch unique feature you are able to turn your mailings, scheduled mailings, and auto-responders into fully dynamic messages.

Help Desk 2.60.2 Released!

A new version of Help Desk has been released!

We have changed quite a lot in this version. We have changed the Ticket Rating System, so Reports page should now show more accurate results. Also, Reports page does not use JPGraph for generating graphs anymore, so there is no need to have GD support in PHP on your server anymore. From now on, Help Desk will generate it’s graphs in Flash. They look better and they don’t need anything extra, since every browser has support for Flash files.

We have also fixed a problem with merging tickets. Until now, your post submission dates were reset to the date of merging when the ticket was merged. That won’t happen again.

We have added a link for “Tickets” on the Non-Admin Users page, so from now on admin will be able to see all user’s tickets from that page too. View Ticket page got back its “Calendar/To-Do Entries associated with this ticket” section which was missing even if there were some associated entries. Calendar is also more usable since we have fixed some minor bugs, mostly in templates.

A list of changed files can be found in our Support Forum.

Enjoy using the new Help Desk Software and let us know if you experience any kind of difficulties in using this product.

Live Chat 1.0 Beta 1 Released

Our first beta release of our new Live Chat Software application has been released. Incidentally, it is also the first release of anything that I have worked on at ActiveCampaign; I couldn’t say much before now because — well — it wasn’t ready yet!

The exciting thing about Live Chat is not only that it’s new, but it’s new for us. We have used some AJAX in Help Desk and Email Marketing, but Live Chat represents what is truly an “AJAX” application: everything about it is dynamic; everything about it is immediate.

I’m proud that so many good features went into the first release of the program. Not only chatting, but flash-based reporting, custom fields, chat session rating, chat invitations — they’re all there. The future looks bright as well: extending the integration possibilities between Live Chat and Help Desk is just one of the things we’re working on.

For those interested in taking a test drive with it, you can download the first beta of TrioLive here. Let us know what you think!

Email Marketing 4.51.2 Released!

We just released a new version of our ActiveCampaign Email Marketing software!

It doesn’t have a lot of updates, but the ones we do are VERY important!

Sending engine has been improved and optimized! We have tested it, and it looks like we have a 40% increase in email marketing delivery speed. This is the biggest increase we have had in a long time now. I hope you all feel the difference.

There was a problem in version 4.51 with Bounce Managament which was confusing our system. It used to mark successful email addresses as bounced due to this error. We have fixed it now, so I suggest that you check your Bounces to see if some email was marked as bounced by mistake. That won’t happen anymore.

Importing subscribers had a bug that was occuring only in certain cases. We have fixed it now, and we have also included unencoded PEAR files since we experienced some problems with those classes when the files were encoded.

In our Support Forum you can see the list of all changed files.

EmailCheck – New Email Marketing Add-On

EmailCheck, A new add-on to 1-2-All, has been released today. EmailCheck is the new add-on that interacts with the EmailCheck web service.

When you install the EmailCheck add-on you will see a new button labeled “check spam filters”

When you click on that button a report will display with your spam count and suggestions on what should be changed.

This will help you to ensure that you maintain a high level of email deliverability in your email campaigns.

Email Marketing 4.51 Released!

After positive feedback from our clients about version 4.50, we have started to add a lot of improvements and new features into this enhanced, four year old ActiveCampaign Email Marketing Software. Today we have finally incremented a minor version number, and we will start with revisions of this release from now on. A list of changed files can be found in our Support Forum. This release doesn’t have that many new features, but a few of them are going to be quite handy.

So, let’s inform you of what’s new:

The most important feature of Email Marketing was its quite extensive mail sending system. Unfortunately, when a procedure does so many things (like email personalization, custom headers and attachments, MIME messages, fetching content from external sources, SMTP sending), it is reasonable to understand that execution can be quite slow every now and then. We had a couple of problems in the past with stalling of the sending process, usually on some slower servers, which caused problems with email deliverability. That’s why we have revised our sending process, optimized a couple of things, and made it faster, as much as possible for the moment. But rest assured, we will continue to look into optimizing it further.

While we are talking about sending email process, it is good to know that from now on you will have ability to save a draft of a message on the second step too (Compose a Message step), and furthermore, you will have an option to “Save and Continue Editing”, which will increase your productivity, and save you a couple of clicks.

On the last page prior to sending emails, when you are previewing your creation, now you will have an option to check your email against SpamAssasin, which will tell you if your message will be marked as spam on servers that have SpamAssasin installed. That way you will be able to modify your message to reduce it’s Spam Count. This feature will be available as a Plugin that will help you to improve your email sender reputation and avoid email blacklists

For that reason we have added support for AJAX, thus making the new ActiveCampaign Email Marketing Software a Web2.0 application. Soon you will see a Message Queue page that won’t refresh itself every minute, but you will always see the current situation in your sending queue. But that’s just the tip of an iceberg.

On the Preview Message page, where you could send a test message to ensure that sending works properly and that your email looks as expected, now you will see another small improvement: if you chose to send a MIME message (with both text and html version), you will be able to select what format you wish to test. You will have an option to send only text, only html or both versions.

Also, on the Message Archive page, we have added one more piece of valuable information that was missing until now: who (what admin) sent that message. Now you will know.

Cron file has also suffered some small changes too. It came to our attention that sometimes your cron files start overlapping if the duration between executions is too small, and previous process is still running. Now your new cron will not execute if the previous one is running, thus preventing the system from sending the same message twice to a subscriber.

Now every admin will have his own setting on his “Your Account” page (link is located in the bottom right corner of the page) for displaying a number of lists/messages/subscribers per page.

One more big change, that we have left for the end is the completely changed and improved graphing system. Email Marketing won’t use PHP-generated graphs that do not look nice and require additional libraries installed on your server. From this version forward, Email Marketing (and soon our other products) will deliver users graphs generated in Flash! They look nicer, and every browser now supports Flash so displaying a graph will depend on the user entirely, not on your hosting provider and/or web server.

Of course, all known bugs that have been found by our dedicated clients have been fixed and implemented in this release.

I truly hope that you will feel the difference, and continue to use Email Marketing with ease.

ActiveCampaign Email Marketing Turns Four

In June 2002, around the same time an asteroid barely missed hitting the earth [ ? ], the first version of 1-2-All was released. In January 2003, 1-2-All became a part of ActiveCampaign, Inc and has prospered ever since as the company’s flagship product. Four years to the date of the first incarnation of 1-2-All we look back at the evolution of this product, to put the past into perspective, and celebrate the anniversary of our most popular software product to date. 1-2-All Broadcast E-Mail, as it was exclusively referred to back then, began with a simple, colorful, and easy to use interface. There was nothing terribly distinguishing about this version, just a good mailing list manager at a low price. A commitment to adding more features with enhanced usability allowed 1-2-All to evolve into a much more dynamic application with a friendlier interface.

In August of 2003, a new user interface was implemented along with a scheduled mailing feature that required the setup of cron jobs. In February of 2004, version 3.82 introduced time sensitive auto-responder features, allowing you the ability to set auto responders for each list. A new branding file allowed you to easily modify brand settings by opening a single file. Around the same time a US federal appeals court gave scientists the right to study the 9, 300 year old remains of Kennewick Man, denying the request of American Indian Tribes who sought immediate burial. Also, scientists found what is believed to be the fossilized head of a 400 million year old fly, making it the oldest known insect. [ ? ] Following the release of 1-2-All, development was ongoing and client feedback was expressly used in the product direction. Updates were frequent and the list of features for 1-2-All Email Marketing continued to grow.

1-2-All once again underwent a face lift with version 4.0 which was released in January of 2005. This new version featured an improved sending engine, enhanced subscriber viewing page, enhanced administrative control, and more error checking. As far as the file structure was concerned the admin files were now separated from the public file (you had to go 12all/admin to access the control panels whereas before you just had to go to 12all). The biggest improvement in this new version, in terms of usability, was the introduction of the advanced importer. In previous versions there were quite a few people who ran into problems when trying to import a .CSV file because their format was rejected. 1-2-All Email Marketing now had a user friendly import interface that made it easy for anyone to import .CSV files. Many people upgraded to 4.0 solely for the advanced importer.

In May 2006, ActiveCampaign Email Marketing as it is referred to these days, underwent its most dramatic stage of evolution. The new version’s extensive list of added features and improvements include: restructured code; central authentication format; new language file format; smarty template system; attachment, sending filter, send to a friend, web version, and multi format options for auto responders; unlimited options for sending filters; new reporting options; reason for unsubscribing option added; subscriber, forward to a friend, and auto responder statistical tracking; enhanced custom redirects; branding settings editable from browser; more message personalization options; subscriber notifications that include subscriber field data; better email design capability; and much more. Elsewhere in the world, a 1,500 year old tattooed mummy of a woman in her late 20s is found near Trujillo, Peru. [ ? ]

Its been an amazing four years. Email Marketing has prospered because of its commitment to enhanced functionality and usability. There is no telling what ActiveCampaign Email Marketing will look like in another four years. That’s pretty exciting.

EmailCheck – Improve Email Deliverability

EmailCheck is a new spam check service from ActiveCampaign.

Having legitimate emails blocked by spam filters is a common problem for many small businesses. Using EmailCheck you can check your email campaign against one of the most popular spam filtering packages (SpamAssassin).

EmailCheck will get a number based on your message contents. The greater the number, the greater the chance your message will be misidentified as spam. By using EmailCheck you can better understand how to compose your messages and your overall chance of being incorrectly flagged as spam. This will help you to improve your email deliverability.

EmailCheck is currently beta and there are plans for some exciting new features that will interact with the EmailCheck service.

Please let us know what you think in our EmailCheck forum.