Oct 26, 2012

Big Changes to Autoresponders Coming in v7.7

Next week, starting Monday the 29th, we’re rolling out some long-awaited upgrades to our Autoresponder feature (plus some other enhancements we think you’ll love). Here are the details.

1.) More Trigger Options:
Previously, the only thing that could "kick off" or "trigger" an Autoresponder was for someone to subscribe to a list. Now, we’ve added the following triggers:

Most notable:

  • Send when a specific link in a campaign is clicked
  • E-commerce360 event: when a purchase is recorded (pro tip: then, use segmentation to specify a product)
  • Merge field change: if someone’s "status" (such as in a hidden field) changes, that can trigger an Autoresponder
This is only our first pass at adding triggers. We wanted to get these live, then get customer feedback on what other triggers you want. But as you can see, the automation possibilities just opened way up.

2.) More "instant" delivery
Previously, Autoresponders only got sent no sooner than 24hrs after opt-in. But customers who wanted to use Autoresponders as "welcome emails" (instead of our built-in welcome emails) wanted faster delivery.

So we added the option to deliver "within the hour:"

It helps a little to understand how our system works. When you schedule an autoresponder, it goes into our queue. The queue is like a mailbox. Before, it was like a little mail man (or chimp), would come and check your mailbox every day. Now, it’s more like an magical, Santa-like Mail Chimp checks your mailbox at the top of every hour. Don’t ask how. Just believe. That means if someone is added to your list at 8:59am, they’ll get the Autoresponder in one minute, at 9:00am. If they’re added at 8:28am, they’ll get it in 32 minutes at 9:00am

*(actual delivery time depends on ISP load, interweb congestion, and MailChimp queue status).


3.) Specify day of week

In addition to faster delivery, we added the ability to specify the days of the week for the Autoresponder to send:

In the example above, my Autoresponder will send soon after the trigger, UNLESS it’s Saturday or Sunday, in which case MailChimp will wait until Monday to send. This is handy if you know certain days are bad for engagement, or if you need Autoresponders to send on days when you’re in the office and available to handle inquiries from recipients.


4.) Revamped Interface
The Autoresponder creation process has been totally redone, so that it feels more natural–the "flow" is more akin to building a regular email newsletter in MailChimp:



Scheduling for RSS Emails, Too

While we were in the code, we added the "only send on these days" functionality to our RSS-to-email feature as well:

So if your readers typically disengage on certain days, you can make it so that your updates are queued for  the next "on" day.


Send RSS Now

People told us when they create a new RSS campaign, they sometimes want to be able to send immediately and start the scheduler, instead of just scheduling it to send when there’s a new post. So we added that option:


Miscellaneous UI Enhancements

In addition to adding new features every four weeks, our User Experience (UX) team makes constant tweaks to the app to improve usability. Here are some of those tweaks.


Subject Line Tips:
When you’re crafting your subject line, there’s a new link to show your most recent subject lines, and how they performed:

Hopefully it gives you some ideas of what has worked (and what hasn’t) in your subject lines. For those who’ve never noticed before, there are also links to subject line writing tips, and our subject line suggestion tool.


Batch Delivery:

Last month in v7.6, we added "Batch Delivery" as an option under "Schedule Campaigns." It’s a feature that actually slows down delivery, in order to help prevent a rush of traffic to your website immediately after sending a campaign. We tucked it under "Schedule" but it was an "OR" situation. You could schedule for later, OR batch deliver. Because of its proximity to the calendar, some thought it was an "AND" situation, which led to some premature sends. So we made the interface more clear with a checkbox AND we simply made it behave as expected:

If you have a very large list, we’ve always recommended that you schedule your campaigns, instead of hitting "send now." Even if you’re just "scheduling" for a few minutes ahead.  For one, it’s a little less stressful than the "now" button. Secondly, you give yourself a few more minutes to go back and make last minute edits. Since batch delivery is also a "large list" kinda thing, we put the option under the Schedule button.


Click Performance Table:

Under a campaign report, when you view which links got clicked, it was a little difficult sometimes to decipher the clicked URL (especially if it had Google Analytics UTM tracking code activated), like this:


So we made that interface more sane:


We’ve got a couple other really big announcements that’ll come next week after everything’s live and the dust has settled.