Some of the main changes & additions:
One of the most significant changes you will see when using 5.2 is the interface. We have updated the core interface to simplify the software while still allowing quick access to the powerful features that advanced users love. We have done extensive testing on the ordering of navigation items, general layout, etc… and will continue to work on our interface to improve usability in the future.
Campaign Creation Process
The new campaign creation process has been refined to make all steps very consistent and easy to use. The step by step status marker takes over the navigation making it obvious where you are in the process.
Create campaign will now ask you if you wish to design a new email or have designed one already. Based on our user testing we have found most users design their email within campaign create – so this has been simplified quite a bit.
When creating a new message you will see a list of templates available to get started with. This replaces the old drop down style of the template selector (which did not let you preview the template when picking one)
As you can see with the screenshot above (in the create campaign explanation) we now have a template selector when you are creating a new email message. This allows you to pick a design to start your email design with.
We are including 22 free templates currently. And we have a lot more we will be adding in the future.
You can of course still add your own templates as well (with your own template preview images)
Importing is another section with some major improvements. To start we simplified the whole process and cleaned up all the settings. What used to be a fairly scary looking screen now looks nice and simple.
Importing from external sources have been added as an option in addition to File and Copy/Paste. You can now import from Salesforce, SugarCRM, Highrise, Google Contacts, Freshbooks, ZOHO CRM, Capsule, and ActiveCampaign Help desk. Importing from these external connections is quick and simple.
Once you get to the second step of importing you will see a familiar “mapping” screen where you map the fields from your importing source into whatever fields you have within the software. Based on a popular feedback request we added the ability to add custom fields during the import process.
When adding a field during the import process you simply specify a field name along with a field type. The import process will then populate the field properly and you can always go and edit that new field from the subscriber fields page in the future.
Subscriber View Page
The subscriber view page is a brand new way of looking into an individual subscriber. When you now view a subscriber you will see a complete overview of that subscriber, their social photo (if found), and subscriber information per list.
There is a new campaign history section that details what has been sent to that subscriber along with a new future section. The future section will state anything set to send to that subscriber in the future. Such as an auto responder, scheduled mailing, etc…
Design & Branding
A popular feature and option with our software is to rebrand our software. Typically users did this by modifying the files directly (if they wanted any color or layout changes) With 5.2 you are now able to modify the core public AND admin HTML templates from within the software. You can also set your own CSS styles.
Your design changes are saved within your settings and are retained even when you upgrade!
There are many more features and changes with 5.2. Such as built in deliverability tools on the settings page, improved abuse mgmt options, un-opened reporting in campaign reports, ability to import XLSX files, sender contact information per list (to comply with can-spam), and much much more. We will be detailing more of these changes (in greater detail) in our blog in the near future.
How we made these decisions:
Substantial changes to our product are not made without reason. We collect a lot of feedback from our users (both hosted and downloaded) and use the collected feedback to figure out problem spots, things that could be expanded, etc.. In addition to user feedback we run a lot of live user tests on people using our product for the first time. Our user tests include novice computer users and advanced computer users. Most of our test users have never used our product. By mixing the feedback of our user test studies and our existing clients we get a great array of feedback.
While we are collecting feedback from user tests and existing clients we are continually brainstorming in-house for features we think would be useful, changes we have not thought of yet, etc… This allows us to add some non-traditional items into our roadmap and ultimately achieve things that have not been done with email marketing yet.
We have a very strong roadmap defined for the future of ActiveCampaign Email Marketing. Currently this is not public but I can mention that integration, custom subscriber data storage, and some unique reseller features are coming up in the near future.
If you have any feedback you would like to share post it at feedback.activecampaign.com. It only takes a minute and it may very well be added into a future update.
If you would like to see more about 5.2 before purchasing or upgrading checkout our expanding video demo page for video demos of all the major components of ActiveCampaign Email Marketing.
Hosted accounts will be updated in the next couple weeks. You will receive an email with further details.
Downloaded users can download the latest version from our downloads page. Upgrading is identical to the past versions (backup files and db, upload new files over existing, run admin/updater.php)