I thought it about time to highlight some of the significant enhancements we've added in the latest release of CommsBox™. As always we've added in a lot of ideas we've had floating around for a while along with a number of new features that have been heavily influenced by market research we undertook last summer.
So, what's changed?
- Improved contact journey tracking and analytics
- Integration with third party web sites
- Improvements to the email marketing tools
- Major enhancements to the CMS to work with responsive content
- Redesigned template management opening the system to 3rd party designers
I'll take a look at each of these in turn.
Contact Journey Tracking
Previous versions of CommsBox have introduced our clients to a rich set of analytics allowing them to understand, rank and manage their contacts. With version 8 we've taken this further. If you're used to a standalone mailer you're probably also used to knowing who clicked on the links in your email. That's a good start, but what do they do next? Google Analytics won't tell you and neither will the mailer and yet this information is vital for a successful lead nurturing process.
CommsBox will. Some of the insights we can give you into your contacts:
- Which contacts are visiting your site
- Where they came from (Google, Twitter, RSS feed, Email etc)
- The pages each individual contact views on your site
- Which external links they clicked on to leave your site
- Which contacts are most engaged with your offer
Integration with third party sites
There are some very strong benefits to using an integrated tool like CommsBox. It's equally true that many organisations have a heavy investment in existing website technology which may include a lot of bespoke development. We'd still recommend if possible running the marketing side of your web site through CommsBox however we know that's not always practical.
With CommsBox version 8 we're releasing a third party plug-in. Simply add this code to your existing web pages to get the following benefits:
- Comprehensive contact tracking - know which contacts use to your site, the pages they looked at and which external links they visited
- Trigger story board events to customise each contacts journey
Email Marketing Tools
CommsBox has offered sophisticated email marketing capabilities for many years. This release adds a few specifically requested features to make our customers job all that much easier:
- Email catch-up. Traditionally you write an email and send it to your distribution list. Two weeks later you've added a number of extra contacts to your list. You don't want to create extra temporary lists. With CommsBox version 8 you can just tell your email campaign to "catch up"
- Attach documents to your emails. Not something you're likely to do as part of a general campaign but in conjunction with a data capture offer you may way to email out a white paper.
Responsive CMS Enhancements
A responsive design aims to build web pages that detect the screen size and orientation of a device and change the way it looks accordingly. In practice this means some elements are hidden on smaller screens and some visually rich content might be replaced with a shorter textual summary. Anyone that's looked at our own site on a desktop and a mobile will understand how different these two views can be.
With some sites experiencing in excess of 40% of their traffic from mobile visitors, it's worth the extra effort to get it right!
Once you have your responsive site though you need to make changes, which is where a content management tools come into their own. Taditionally these have been able to be fairly simple - you have a big block of text in the middle of a fixed width page and your type away as though you were writing a document.
This doesn't work for a resposive site. You need to be able to edit content that'll be visible in multiple views and hidden in others.
We've put a lot of effort into making the CMS aspect of CommsBox work for you in a responsive environment!
This major enhancement to the system will appeal to graphic design agencies looking to extend their customer offering through partnering with a UK based technology company.
Most content management systems (CMS) split a site into a set of templates that encapsulate the design and ensure brand consistency, and a set of specific content 'pages'. Templates are usually designed by skilled Graphic Designers and HTML authors and change infrequently. Individual pages change often and are managed by content authors with a completely different skill set. CommsBox is no exception.
With CommsBox version 8 we've added a completely new templating model with the following design aims:
- Accessibly by any competent HTML web designer
- Simplify the translation of a static HTML page mock-up into a CommsBox template
- Make it easier to use third party template designs as available on sites like Wrap Bootstrap
With this release a developer can take a static HTML web layout, add some specific CSS class names and attribute to the tags to highlight editable areas, menus and other structures then simply import the HTML and other elements into the system. Simple!
CommsBox Version 9
We're busily deciding on what to add to CommsBox for the next major release. We have some great ideas of our own but we'd love to hear your ideas and experiences.