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Managing successful online communities

Matt
 

4.4: New Email Features

It's easy to think that email is a relic from the past; from simpler times long before social media and the rise of phone apps.

And it's reasonable to think that way. Your phone constantly pings at you, and your laptop OS constantly pings at you, so why bother with email?

Because it's still a hugely powerful medium to get and retain attention.

In 2017, over 269 billion emails were sent and received per day. Of those, 3,360,250,000 are opened, read, and a link clicked.

Email is still very much a critical tool in your quest for retention.

Invision Community knows this. We have options to notify members of replies by email, weekly or monthly digests by email and members can opt-in for bulk emails sent from your community team.

Given how important email is, it was only fair that we invested in some love for our email system for 4.4.

Email Statistics
Just above, I mention that 269 billion emails are sent, and 3.4 billion are opened, read and clicked.

How many emails are sent from your Invision Community daily?

(No cheating and checking with SendGrid)

You probably have no idea as we didn't record email statistics.

As of Invision Community 4.4 we do!

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Chart showing the number of emails sent daily

We now track emails sent, and the number of link clicks inside those emails.

Email Advertisements
Email notifications are a powerful way to get your members to revisit your community. The member welcomes these emails as it means they have new replies to topics they are interested in reading.

While you have your member's attention, you have an opportunity to show them a banner-style advertisement.

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The new email advertisement form

When creating a new email advert, you can choose to limit the advert to specific areas such as topics, blogs, etc. - and even which forums to limit by.

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Subliminal messages

This is a new way to reach your audience with your promotions.

Unfollow without logging in
Despite spending most of this blog entry shouting the virtues of email, it's inevitable that one or two members may wish to stop receiving notification emails.

In previous versions, the unfollow link would have taken you to a login page if you were signed out. For members that haven't been back in a while, this may cause some annoyance if they do not recall their login details.

Invision Community 4.4 allows non-logged in members to unfollow the item they received an email about or all followed items without the need to log in.

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You no longer need to log in to unfollow items

Respecting your member's inbox is vital to keep on good terms with them and to keep them engaged in your community.

We'd love to know which of these features you're most keen to try in 4.4. Please drop a comment below and let us know!

Edited by Matt


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26 minutes ago, Chris027 said:

Is it possible to limit which groups receive email advertising?

We sell subscriptions that give people ad-free browsing of the site, and I'd like to exclude this group from receiving ads via email.

Makes sense - we can take a look at that before 4.4 is released.

6 minutes ago, Joel R said:

For the email analytics, does this apply to other email services like Sparkpost?  

Yes (although realistically if you are using Sparkpost, you may be able to glean more advanced analytics through their control panel).

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Great news!

It would be nice to have built-in option to trim post content in notification emails. Firstly, it would be better for community, because if someone have to click link to read the content there is much bigger chance that he will reply in this topic (because he is reading post on forum not in mail). What's more, currently the mail with notification about really long post look awful (especially when there is some program listing in post content ex. on forum for programmers).

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17 minutes ago, DamonT said:

It would be nice to have built-in option to trim post content in notification emails. Firstly, it would be better for community, because if someone have to click link to read the content there is much bigger chance that he will reply in this topic

That does make sense in that it ensures if the reader is interested they return to the community get the "whole content" 🙂

Are you suggesting (just a thought) an additional setting: Something like "limit to x characters" , it probably would work with sane values applied.

Edited by AndyF
Typo!

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Love the one click unfollow. Any chance this addresses this issue too? 

having a true login free one click to unsubscribe from all forum email related to notifications would be helpful. 

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1 hour ago, AlexWebsites said:

You’ve gone this far, why not introduce a native newsletter feature which can be scheduled and tracked. 🙂 Love the new features but would like to remove advertisements per user group as mentioned. 

This is something we want to do. It won't make it for 4.4, but keep watching this space. (Not literally, nothing is going to happen in this specific space).

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1 hour ago, Morgin said:

Love the one click unfollow. Any chance this addresses this issue too? 

having a true login free one click to unsubscribe from all forum email related to notifications would be helpful. 

You can now do this while you're not logged in. I get you point, we might be able to sort this for 4.4.

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This sounds great and I love the suggestions as well.  It would be MUCH easier to manage our newsletter from right in Invision where all of our members reside, then have to rely on a whole separate system for sign up and what not.

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Would love to see a feature added to detect bounced emails and stop sending emails to those users. After moving to Invision, a number of old users ended up generating thousands of bounce notifications when they (somehow) got subscribed to emails they didn't get on our old platform

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13 hours ago, AndyF said:

That does make sense in that it ensures if the reader is interested they return to the community get the "whole content" 🙂

Are you suggesting (just a thought) an additional setting: Something like "limit to x characters" , it probably would work with sane values applied.

Yes, there should be some option to limit content to X characters or even to 0 😉

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I thought again about my suggestion of x characters, this is not going to work out well as it might appear aside from asigning unsuitable values depending on the content being mailed its not a "one fits all" solution. A slightly better idea would be to do it on a percentage basis:

"Limit to x percent" so it could be set to say 25% or 50% , the downside of this is it may be slightly resource intensive to calculate it

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2 hours ago, AndyF said:

"Limit to x percent" so it could be set to say 25% or 50% , the downside of this is it may be slightly resource intensive to calculate it

I don't know if this is good idea. For example if you set 50% and content of post would be "OK" then you will get 1 letter in email notification like "O" 😉

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4 hours ago, DamonT said:

I don't know if this is good idea. For example if you set 50% and content of post would be "OK" then you will get 1 letter in email notification like "O" 😉

Only if its > x characters then. Something I should of mentioned sorry, I did half think about it. You raise an excellent point though if its a tiny reply like that.

"Only show x % of content" , "Do not apply the restriction if the content is less than x characters" :)

 

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There should be also easy option to completely disable post/message content in emails. There could be alternative email template for this option. In my opinion there is more benefits of "no content notifications". For example if someone edit post: there are two version of post content, old one in emails and new on forum. It could be confusing.

Whats more some users try to send their reply by writing email instead of posting it on forum.

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It's a first step, though I'd wish to see more important features like automatic unsubscription of bounce emails.

Bounce email handling would be really helpful, for those who don't use commercial email providers. The plugins in the marketplace can't handle them efficiently, either they are only made for paid providers or you have to manually add email addresses to a list (...my list contains more than 100.000 subscribers)

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10 hours ago, Cyboman said:

It's a first step, though I'd wish to see more important features like automatic unsubscription of bounce emails.

I second this. I'd love to see a method to handle the bounced email automatically, with a method of prompting the user to update their email (maybe before being able to post on the site any further).

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To make this complete we need to be able to have an email list signup and the ability to import email addresses, without a full forum account.

For example, if we go to a conference and have a business card raffle, all email addresses on those cards get entered into our database. They aren't forum accounts, but they are still valuable leads we would like to send mail to. If you are trying to sell someone something it is easier to get them to enter their email address and press submit than it is to create a forum account. It's all about the customer acquisition funnel.

We would save $2000 a year if you can make this replace MailChimp.

Edited by Interferon

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