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Sneak preview: Email Campaigns in Sitefinity 5.1

by Hristo Borisov

During the first ever Sitefinity & Beyond conference in London partners and customers of Sitefinity had the opportunity to see a sneak preview of the upcoming improvements in Email Campaigns in Sitefinity 5.1. While on first sight we are introducing some new features and improved user interface, I want to bring your attention to the innovative changes we are getting to product. A total of 3 features that are all focused to strengthen Sitefinity as a business platform.

  1. New concept of Campaign and Issues
  2. Actionable metrics and reports
  3. Newsletter “Like a webpage”

New concept of Campaign and Issue

Sending email campaigns is often a monthly or weekly activity that keeps your target audience tuned to your company’s latest news, product offerings or community buzz. The experience your customers receive through the e-mail channel should be often consistent and effective for all products and services you offer.

Most of the email campaign products on the market rely on templates that help you deliver consistent experience for your newsletters similar to Sitefinity. However, tracking the effectiveness for the campaigns related to a specific product might be a challenging task. This is often seen in organizations that have multiple brands and serve different audiences.  The relationship of the different campaigns for specific products or services is hard to establish if your campaign history screen looks like a mixture of unrelated newsletters and sales promotions.

Mixed campaigns

In this case it is hard to gain any meaningful insights on the long-term effectiveness of your campaigns for a specific product overtime. To help you understand and act on the performance of each campaign we have introduced the concept of an Issue.

What this means is that you can choose your target audience, default email settings, design and content for your newsletter once and name it “Telerik Monthly Campaign”. Then every time you want to send a newsletter e.g. January Newsletter for Telerik, you will end up in the last sent state of your campaign. From there you will be able to modify only the information you want for the new campaign without starting from scratch. Delivering this “increment” of your campaign is what we call an Issue.

Sitefinity 5.1 Email Campaign screen

This feature allows you to work in the context of the same campaign over time that focuses your energy on improving its performance instead of recreating it every month.

Actionable metrics & reports

As a result of the above feature, now we are able to create much more relevant metrics and reports. We can both compare all relevant newsletter on a single chart, or simply sprinkle suggestions on how your February newsletter compares to your January edition.

Cohort analysis on a campaign level

The best way to compare the performance of your campaigns is to look at the relative values of your metrics for each issue. This is a great way to see how metrics related to the delivery, design or content of your newsletter are performing overtime. We have created a cohort analysis chart that lines up all issues sent from your campaign on the first screen of your campaign.

Sitefinity 5.1 Cohort-analysis chart

Issue level metrics

We have created a dedicated screen for each issue that outputs standard metrics such as Delivery rate, Open rate, Click-through rate, Unsubscribe rate and activity for the first 48 hours. Dynamic insights for the performance of your issue in comparison to the previously sent one are also great way to make sense of the metrics and understand the overall effectiveness of your issue.

Sitefinity 5.1 Issue level metrics

We are also delivering on the spot suggestions on the things that are affecting the performance of each metric. We have identified the following dependencies related to each metric that are visible also in the user interface:

Metric

Affected by

Delivery rate

Keeping your mailing list up to date

Unique openings

Timing of your email

Subject of your email

Sender email

Unique clicks

Relevance of information to your audience

Number and position of actionable links

Unsubscribed

Relevance of information to your audience

Open rate in the first 48 hours

Timing of your email

Subject of your email

Sender email


Sitefinity 5.1 Issue suggestions

Enhanced Google Analytics support

Should you decide to have Google Analytics tracking, Sitefinity will automatically append Google Tracking code to all existing links based on the following string format utm_source={CampaignName}&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign={Issue Name}. Therefore, if your campaign is called Telerik Monthly and you are sending the January Newsletter issue, your tracking code will be parsed to the following: utm_source=Telerik&Monthly&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign= January%2BNewsletter.

Newsletter “Like a web page”

Sitefinity is giving you the flexibility of designing your newsletter in its Layout Editor like it is a regular webpage. This gives you the power of using already existing widgets and content in the system while Sitefinity is converting all div layouts into tables, so that they can be properly interpreted by the majority of web clients. In previous versions of the product you had to implement all your stylesheets as inline styles which was making this feature hard to use. With Sitefinity 5.1 we have implemented a CSS parser that converts all external CSS files to inline styles, so you can design & edit your newsletter like a web page.

Final thoughts

I am really delighted that we managed to deliver a product that makes our marketing department eager to use it (I have that in black and white:) ). The guys who already saw the early preview were excited about the ease of use and new reports that will be available with the upcoming release. Stay tuned for more information as we will be revealing pretty exciting features of Sitefinity 5.1!

Sitefinity 5.1 Issue overview

4 comments

Leave a comment
  1. Jeff May 19, 2012
    Very impressive! Thank you!
  2. Bernadette May 30, 2012
    This sounds great - thank you.  Because the web layout was not working properly, I had to send my newsletter as an attachment which really is not helpful when trying to track click throughs, etc. 

    Can't wait to use the new version.  Will 5.1 be out before September?


  3. Hristo Borisov Jun 03, 2012
    Hello Bernadette,

    The release of Sitefinity 5.1 is planned for the summer, so it is very likely that the release will make it before September.

    Thanks,
    Hristo
  4. Hristo Borisov Jun 03, 2012
    Hello Bernadette,

    The release of Sitefinity 5.1 is planned for the summer, so it is very likely that the release will make it before September.

    Thanks,
    Hristo

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