LIVE the new single customer view UI!

We can’t reveal everything, so to find out about the many new features contact us or enter the platform and start browsing. It will be easier than you can imagine. However, we would like to give you a sneak peek, because this is a great piece of work that we have carried out as part of the – always open – project to improve your user experience. Yes, because offering you tools that are fast, intuitive, easy to use and at the same time rich and with every response to your needs, is fundamental for us.

The impetus behind this lies in the fact that, with the collection and tracking of your customers’ data and behavior, and with the multiple points of contact and opportunities for communication, you find yourself with a truly vast amount of information. But not all of it is equally useful to your business. That’s why we think you need a marketing platform that can get you to what you’re looking for as quickly as possible, in the best possible way and in just a few steps.

Some news

Reorganisation and simplification of the contact database

datepicker

From cards with all the information available – but not always necessary and often too much for your goals – to structured and organised profiles, where the really important data is immediately displayed. An optimisation of the header, an area with a clean design, which always remains visible even when you scroll the page. Maximum contextualisation to always remind you where you are and the information you need for your activities. Information spread over several tabs, immediately accessible.

 

New table navigation and filters

Dynamic tables where you can select the columns to be displayed and scroll through them, always keeping the email as a fixed point. Opportunity to sort rows by any visible field. A simplified contact search function and a new customer creation tab.

Table

 

New smart components

The interface has been enriched with components aimed at improving the use of content both on the desktop and on mobile, with navigation further optimised for the tablet. A date and time selection mode, where it is possible to quickly indicate the period concerned by clicking on a mask that opens with the various options.

In addition, a secure interface that chooses illustrations to increase the protection of operations. The possibility of making irreparable mistakes, such as deleting a contact, is reduced, with the support of messages accompanied by clear, self-explanatory images that help avoid non-reversible actions.

datepicker

 

Drill down into individual events

No more endless, long and scattered lists of events. From a vertical timeline to a heatmap where the events in the database are grouped into 5 categories that can be easily viewed on the screen. A set of events that can be consulted in detail by clicking on the box of interest. Applying an automatic filter on the selected category opens a complete drill-down. Possibility of creating new events in a data entry form with revised and lighter graphics to make the operation quick and safe.

heatmap

 

Concluding

We have a lot more in the pipeline, so send us your feedback and requests through the Contactlab experts you are in contact with. Follow us and together we will live user experiences at the cutting edge.

 

 

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Increase the protection of your emails: 2048-bit DKIM keys

When people talk about inbox placement rates and reputation, they inevitably think of SPF, DKIM and DMARC. Threats such as domain spoofing, phishing and spear phishing have been encouraging the development of more reassuring sender domain authentication strategies for brands for quite some time now.

And we have some interesting DKIM news to tell you about today.

What is a DKIM

Let’s quickly go over some definitions so we’re sure we all know what we’re talking about and appreciate the value all the way through. DomainKeys Identified Mail is a cryptographic signature that guarantees the integrity of your message from the moment it is sent until it is received by the mailbox provider. Simply put, your messages contain some verifiable information that can confirm that you are responsible for the emails you send.

How does this work? Upon receiving the email and before delivering the message, the server verifies that the key in the header is the key associated with your sender domain. If it is, the content of the email is considered safe, i.e. it is confirmed that there has been no modification by a third party on the way and so the email ends up in the inbox.

Therefore, the more you pay attention to the key protection or make it difficult to break the key, the more you will be sure that all sending and receiving procedures will be done correctly. It is necessary to protect the key from increasingly frequent attacks by hackers.

From 562 bits to 2048 bits

The longer a key is, the more difficult it will be to attack it. Over the years, we have gone from 562-character keys to 1024-character keys with a significant significant reductions in vulnerability and violability.

Today Contactlab is able to offer DKIM at 2048 bits. The optimal choice for brands is to customize DKIM by setting it on their domain and delegating it to Contactlab. Allowing you to sign emails with your domain name, ensures the integrity of the signed message content and further strengthens your reputation and the deliverability of the communications you send.

DKIM signing becomes even more of a key requirement to legitimize the sender domain. Increasing the length of the key is part of all the efforts you need to put in place to overcome spam filters, prevent your email campaigns from failing, and reach the inbox of your contacts, whether they are customers or prospects, without outside interference. Danger is always just around the corner.

Summarizing, why to use DKIM in your email campaigns

  • To confirm that the authenticated domain actually sent the email.
  • To ensure that the content of the message was not changed during delivery.
  • To maintain high delivery rates.

Contact us to find out how to set up 2048-bit keys for your account. Contactlab is among the first ESPs to offer such high security services, don’t miss out. Continue to ensure maximum deliverability to your deliveries with this and other measures that our experts will advise you on.

 

 

 

 

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Are your forms subject to automatic subscriptions?

How many times have you filled in a registration form like the one below? The data collection, the acceptance of privacy and… I’m not a robot.

 

CaptchaWhat a CAPTCHA is

CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It is a fully automated test to distinguish computers from humans.

Usually a CAPTCHA looks like a quiz, a quick game in which you are asked to solve a question. It can be recognising or deciphering text superimposed on an image, or doing a quick calculation, or identifying details in an image. The famous: select pictures where you see a zebra crossing or a traffic light…

It is not something time-consuming or invasive for the customer and does not impact on the graphic quality of the form.

It serves to ensure that the form is filled out by a person and not by a robot.

In this way, the results of the campaigns are preserved and the brand continues to be recognised as trustworthy by the main email account providers, also helping to prevent listbombing, particularly subscription bombing.

The Subscription bombing

Subscription bombing is an attack by spambots, i.e. programs that perform automatic operations, which fraudulently fill in subscription forms or registration forms on various websites.

The purposes of this activity can be manifold, affecting both the recipient of the emails:

  • Disturbing the recipient.
  • Blocking the inbox for some time.
  • Distract from important emails that are lost among those received. Think of the problems that losing a card payment notification or a security alert can cause.

Both on the sender’s side:

  • Damaging the owner of the form by sending bogus contact requests that impact the hygiene of the list and consequently the reputation of the sender.
  • Compromising reputation even in the case of real contacts as unsolicited emails can be flagged as abuse and result in the sender’s IP being blacklisted.
  • Carry out a DoS – denial of service – type attack to drain the resources of the site on which the module is hosted and thus make it unusable.

And what about the double opt-in?

Beware, even if you have activated the so-called double opt-in during registration, the threat is only mitigated. Why?

Abuse reports and subsequent IP blacklisting can also occur as a result of receiving emails requesting confirmation of subscription to a service.
Reputational damage can also occur if newsletter senders do not exclude unconfirmed email addresses from being sent.

How then to design safe forms?

Don’t stop at double opt-in but make sure that forms always have a CAPTCHA. All of these have been topics of attention for several years, but the increased use of the email channel following the pandemic and the many recent listbombing phenomena with significant impact on various brands have brought the issue to the fore.

The Contactlab platform has long since tested the possibility of inserting a CAPTCHA for subscriptions. This functionality is always active and available when creating a form in Send. If you are still not convinced, contact us and we will show you the CAPTCHA at work and above all the simplicity with which you can have it in your forms, thus protecting your contacts and your brand.

Also… subscribe to the newsletter dedicated to the platform and see how we too use CAPTCHA to protect our customers and our reputation.

 

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MC series #5. What can you do with the Marketing Cloud?

We are now at the fifth and final round of the series dedicated to the Contactlab Marketing Cloud. After having reviewed the features that distinguish the platform and its main functions, it is now time to understand when to use it. With the help of some simple examples, let’s try to understand how the Marketing Cloud can support digital marketing activities aimed at customer engagement. Let’s try together to understand how to make your business sound even louder.

 

mc#5

 

 

 

 

 

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Customer Service availability in August

Customer CareDuring August, from Monday to Friday, the Contactlab’s Customer Service availability is:

  • from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm CEST
  • from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm CEST

except for the week from August, 16th to 20th when the team will be available during the following hours:

  • from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm CEST
  • from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm CEST

For further information visit our support website.

 

 

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What happens to your email campaigns with the arrival of iOS15?

At its conference in early June, Apple announced important new features including Mail Privacy Protection built into iOS15 which will be released from September 2021. This new feature changes the way you have to look at the open rates of your email deliveries. At risk is the tracking of opens and the collection of data that shows you when, where and on what type of device emails are opened. Let’s try to understand what this means.

The new Mail Privacy Protection feature for iOS15

iOS15Have you already received this message when opening your Apple Mail app? Probably some of your customers have.

Every user has the possibility to click the appropriate field and enable the new policy. By doing so, they choose to no longer give you visibility into their behavior in front of your email, impacting the amount and quality of information you can collect and track. This will have some consequences:

  • All images will be considered downloaded and the number of opens will be overestimated.
  • It will not be possible to detect the type of device and the distinction between mobile and desktop opens will be less accurate.
  • Geolocation-based personalisation will be penalised by no longer having data on where emails are opened.
  • The time of opening will be inaccurate, making it impossible to program automations or triggers based on this information.

It is clear that the impact of the new feature on your business will depend on the email client used by your customers.

To give you a rough idea, in 2020, 47% of devices will be Apple devices and 13% of users will use the Apple Mail application to check their mail (source: litmus.com).

Direct consequences for marketers

At this point, some initial warnings are necessary, many of them related to the topic of audience profiling and segmentation.

  • Beware of A/B tests that focus on the subject. If the open rate determines the winning rate, from September this KPI could be incorrect information and lead you in the wrong direction.
  • This will also have repercussions on real-time personalisation activities, i.e. on those that provide for immediate actions at the instant of opening: the information will no longer be available in a precise manner.
  • There are also difficulties in this area for automations: action triggers following email openings can activate particular initiatives towards incorrect targets.
  • Problems for re-engagement campaigns. Dormant people for example may no longer be dormant or may still be dormant but not show this.
  • Dynamic countdown images will not be updated as they always refer to the time of sending and not the opening.
  • Proper list management using active contacts will no longer be able to rely solely on the opening date of the email.

What can you do to arrive prepared in September?

  • Remove inactive contacts, i.e. those who have not opened your communications for some time and who impact deliverability. In the future, emails will be opened that are not actually opened and this will distort the contact behavior data. Immediate database optimisation is useful and should be repeated periodically to reduce the possibility of spam on unengaged users and to maintain a high reputation.
  • Evaluate alternative KPIs according to your brand’s business, objectives, type of campaigns, etc.: clicks, increase in visitors to your ecommerce, increase in newsletter subscriptions, impact of deliveries on revenue or purchases influenced in a given period of time. Rely on deliverability experts to analyse the history and all available values. Start with the data, set up preventive strategies to reduce the impact of the new policy, keep the reputation high and modify the monitoring parameters after its activation.
  • With the support of experts, but also autonomously thanks to dashboards and reports available on the platform, make an assessment to understand how many active contacts actually use the Apple Mail application in order to hypothesise the possible impact.

Conclusions

There is still some uncertainty around this topic due to the lack of definitive information. We have taken steps to better understand this new feature and the likely implications for brands and marketers who make extensive use of email for marketing communication campaigns.

Together we can hypothesise actions to be taken before the feature is live, and also afterwards. Contactlab offers what is necessary to deal with this news too. We avoid knee-jerk reactions, there is no need to completely change your email marketing strategy. We evaluate alternative options to obtain quality data, for example by collecting more and better customer information in targeted forms or during the engagement process, optimising the database and analysing the data regularly.

Although this may seem critical at first glance, the new feature could become an opportunity. The email is worth much more than an open, you could evaluate the return of your campaigns with new indicators, perhaps more useful for business and future choices. Contact us and together we will see what solution is best for you.

 

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Well begun… the first months of our 2021

It has become a good habit over the last few years to take a moment after the first months of work to share what we have achieved compared to what we had promised. It is also an exercise that our teams do on a daily basis in order to align activities and not leave any fundamental step behind.

We have tried to summarise the main events of the past few months to date and we are proud of what we have managed to do, despite the difficulties and major changes that characterise this period, while maintaining and nurturing a constant channel of communication with our customers and the market. Receiving feedback in times of general uncertainty helps us in the evolution of the platform and its functionalities, guiding priorities. In this way we are always able to respond fully to the needs and requirements, sometimes unspoken, of the increasing number of brands that choose us.

Use email design to push your communications forward

At the beginning of 2020, there was a widespread idea that the email channel would lose ground in the following months. Forced social distancing has made us discover how even the strongest beliefs can be challenged. In a recent study marketers said email was the source of 59% of their ROI (Content Marketing Institute). Today, email marketing is more alive than ever and significant growth rates have been measured. Because of this, the intertwining of usage in recent times and the increase in emails sent and received, consumer expectations have increased. The limited time available to decide whether a communication is of interest or not requires quality messages that are immediately usable, attractive and do not require excessive download time and resources, especially for mobile consumers. 69% of recipients say they delete emails because they are not immediately affected (Janrain and Blue research). He then took up the topic of the weight of the images used or the possibility of differentiating content according to the target audience.

 

 

The attention paid to making the work of those who create emails simpler and faster is no less important. New features have been introduced for Email Designer, the platform’s drag-and-drop editor. Some are more evident, such as the optimisation of the preview on smartphones, others less: from the possibility of defining the space between letters to the definition of the heading or the copying of links in text fields, but all equally aimed at making the use intuitive and improving the quality of emails.

Optimise marketing campaign management

The interface redesign project started some time ago and we left it at the end of last year with a Christmas present, the announcement of the new area dedicated to audience creation. The year 2021 started on this path, leading to the renewed marketing automation section. The constant commitment in this direction has the objectives of improving navigability between the functions, keeping the company you are working on active, and offering an optimised tool for the streamlined and immediate management of campaigns.

UIUX

Further improvements have involved the entire platform with a special focus on the profiling and creation of targets: new error messages guiding to their resolution, notifications confirming the synchronisation of data from updated profiles, customised display of the list of fields for selecting segmentation conditions.

Put marketing automation at the service of your acquisition, development and retention strategies

Placeholder flow

Let the platform work for you. Create journeys and automate tasks. Act quickly if contacts register for your new newsletter. Welcome them with a dedicated discount to be activated in their private area for the next online or in-store purchase by presenting the loyalty card. Design cross-channel customer journeys. Notify your customers by email when the credit card linked to their account is about to expire. Send them text messages confirming the change. And more… manage interactions with your ecommerce, post-purchase surveys, fundraising, and more.

PlanCreate simple targets and explore your audience

Basing on the unique profile of each contact, identify in real-time those who have visited the new collection page on your ecommerce but have not made any subsequent purchases. Create advanced and dynamic segments that include all customers in your shop who do not have an account on your online store or have not downloaded your multichannel campaign app. Quickly identify those who have shown you loyalty in the last period and who have reconfirmed as gold customers. Create custom audiences for retargeting campaigns.

Choose the email and SMS management method that suits you best thanks to the flexibility of Send

Whether you need to send service emails or mass mailings, we have the answer for you. Use the API to send abandoned cart alerts, password recovery notifications, order confirmations, credit card expiration, and ensure a secure and reliable https channel. Or rely on Smartrelay if you don’t have the skills or technology to develop a client or already have applications that generate emails and SMS on their own but are not effective. Ensure email authentication, maintain your reputation high and get feedback for maximum deliverability.

Do you want to announce the launch of a new collection or send a SMS to remind people the summer sales? You can do it directly from the interface and take care of every aspect and detail of the campaign or automate every creation and sending process by choosing XMLD if you have applications able to generate files in standard format, exploiting all the potential of Send. All in full compliance with GDPR regulations.

 

NL Issue 4

And now?

What’s in the pipeline now? A lot of new things coming up to satisfy the needs and requirements of a world in constant movement, offering a marketing cloud and digital services that can support brands in customer engagement activities that are increasingly challenging and crucial to business, sales and company success. Contact us and we will work together to identify the best strategies and activate the most effective campaigns for your results.

 

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MC series #4: Learn from the data and optimise your future campaigns

We continue to talk about Contactlab’s Marketing Cloud, and today we’re going to look at some of the insights offered by the data collected on your contacts and campaigns, allowing you to obtain the information you need to design future communication strategies, with an extra gear towards success.

After going through the Customer Data Platform, the heart of the Marketing Cloud, and how to use all the data made available in the profiles in real-time thanks to Marketing Automation, let’s see what this data really tells us.

 

mcseries#4

 

 

 

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Contactsend SmartRelay available in the Azure Marketplace

Contactsend SmartRelay on Azure

 

SmartRelay is one of the main components of Send, the sending engine for digital multichannel communication campaigns of the Contactlab platform.

Thanks to the partnership with Microsoft that began a few years ago, SmartRelay is now present in the Azure marketplace, available in most countries around the world. It can be obtained in self-provisioning mode making a request directly in the portal, selecting the desired version according to the number of users you wish to address.

SmartRelay is a SMTP relay service for optimising transactional and service emails. While keeping the advantages of a simple and standard SMTP interface to create and deliver emails, it provides all the benefits of a professional solution thanks to the presence and guarantees that a brand like Contactlab offers its customers.

It works as a gateway between your application and the final recipient. It accepts messages on a customer-dedicated SMTP listener and Contactlab’s high-performance messaging subsystem.

 

Azure Marketplace

Why Contactsend SmartRelay

You’re probably already using a SMTP relay to send service emails. Think abandoned cart notification, password recovery or order confirmation. And maybe you also have a website or a CRM that generate emails automatically. But are you sure your communications are reaching the inbox? Do you have the necessary skills to develop clients or a technology that gives you maximum sending capacity?

SmartRelay is the solution, it allows you to overcome doubts like these and make sure that your ecommerce customers receive, for example, confirmation of their purchases, thus maintaining the credibility of your brand and the quality of your service.

  • Email authentication: if you are sending large volumes of emails, you should adopt an authentication system to prevent the major mailbox providers from downgrading your emails.
  • Feedback: the more information you receive about the status of your sent emails, the more corrective action you can take and the more likely you are to reach the inbox.
  • Suppression lists: You can optimise your activities by avoiding contacting non-existent email accounts or users who have reported your communications as spam.
  • Feedback loops: thanks to the availability of an automatic service, mailbox providers inform you of any customers who report your emails as unwanted.
  • Bounce management: delivery errors must be handled automatically to comply with proven best practices.
  • Automatic detection of syntax errors, reducing the chance to send emails where address errors are detected.
  • Delivery confirmation to know when and how often a contact views a particular message.
  • Tracking links within email to monitor whether deliveries are impacting or have impacted revenue.
  • Statistics: accessing reports and dashboards around all your data, you can understand emails behavior, learn from the past and accelerate your business.

Choosing SmartRelay you ensure high delivery rates of your emails, that your reputation remains intact and the right information about your campaigns to recover if something has gone wrong. All with the added value of a scalable service that supports GDPR compliance.

 

 

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MC series #3: Let the platform work for you, automate!

The series of articles exploring the Marketing Cloud continues. We have talked about the Customer Data Platform, emphasising the importance of collecting and managing data in order to gain in-depth knowledge of contacts and be able to identify specific audiences for a personalised experience.

Let’s now see what it means to build these journeys dedicated to each profile, tailored to needs and objectives. Let’s find out how to make the contents of each automation unique according to the preferences, habits and past and expected future behavior of each contact. Let’s activate the data thanks to Marketing Automation.

 

mc-series-3

 

 

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