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BETA TESTING FEEDBACK : Email Campaigns - b2evolution 6.10.x

Started by on Mar 23, 2018 – Contents updated: May 14, 2018

Mar 23, 2018 12:45    

@fplanque and @yurabakh although I have used b2evolution for around 8 years I have NEVER used the built-in email function[1]. I know you have done a lot of work to create and improve this function, so after @fplanque invite[2] to beta test I finally got around to look at it.

Keep in mind I have never used this feature, so I assumed it to have an organic user interface (or process) like other features.

I will add more findings in the comments of this thread.

Here are my initial thoughts:

The first thing I did was to pop over to the manual[3] to help orientate and point me to a starting point. There was a guided support structure in place (great) although I was not sure how up-to-date it is (with the most recent feature capabilities and workflow).

I am aware that there are lists that admin can create and that users could subscribe to it, but I was looking at creating a campaign where I wanted to test a specific demographic, for demonstration purposes lets say this demographic or target audience is the last five (5) clients (members) I have interacted with (off-line), and I wanted to send them an email extending my gratitude and sharing some of my latest products on offer. So effectively I wanted to manually select this demographic or target audience from my members list.

This is where the first point of confusion struck. I get that I can filter the users, but it was unclear how to actually target and select my email recipients.
It seems the the manual refers to items that were deprecated in b2evolution 6.10.x such as Admin Skins?

a) How does one target or create a (custom) recipient audience list (on-the-fly)?
b) is this possible, if not, shouldn't it be?
c) I kind of expected a list with checkboxes and an action button like send to selected users
d) The manual seems outdated, adding further to confusion, is it outdated?
E) It seems the entry point into email campaigns seems a bit unusual like:

BETA TESTING FEEDBACK : Email Campaigns - b2evolution 6.10.x

[1] /admin.php?ctrl=campaigns
[2] http://forums.b2evolution.net/newsletters-campaigns-automations
[3] http://b2evolution.net/man/creating-an-email-campaign

Mar 24, 2018 14:36

btw. what is the correct variable to address recipients by their nickname or full name (instead of $login")?

Mar 26, 2018 02:51

@saunders $firstname_and_login$ $firstname$ $lastname$ $nickname$ etc.

@achillis yes the manual is for the previous implementation. The main point of misunderstanding in your description is that campaigns are for subscribers of a specific list. As long as you haven't selected a list in the filters of the user list, you don't get the option to create a campaign (contrary to the previous implementation which did this in reverse order).

Then, no indeed, you cannot cherry pick the users to address. It's designed to work with dozens of pages of results at a time, not for picking the lines one by one.

It may be a use case to be able to do that but indeed it wasn't our primary focus (neither in this, nor in the previous implementation).

Mar 26, 2018 10:05

@fplanque thank you for your feedback. One of my main points actually referred to the curse of knowledge[1] (as so eloquently defined by you). Considering how much effort and time was invested in this feature it would be a pity that users don's utilized its full power / potential, so I think it will be much more versatile if campaigns could in fact be cherry picked to be addressed (and not just subscribers). In the least it would be more applicable to my own general situations.

1) So as a point of reference, could you consider adding this feature to the campaigns?

2) In the interim, I would think the importance of having the manual updated is equal to the stable functioning feature (of this usability, power and ability, especially considering that in its own right it makes b2e an incredibly powerful platform that is seconded by?)

3) I will continue testing this feature and add more findings in the comments of this thread.

[1] http://www.stateoftheevolution.com/omg-too-hard

Mar 26, 2018 12:27

First sending Test:

What I did:

Created new database, created new install with the standard demo content. Cycled through the users and supplied them real email addresses.

Created a new "test" campaign and sent to users subscribed to the list "News"

I created an email adding all items such as buttons, call to action...

Two POI:

1) I could not edit the message HTML part and TEXT part separately. The content from HTML is converted to text, but things like buttons, call to action, links will be text too. Why cant the user define a custom text message on-the-fly that will be different from the HTML version? Perhaps this is possible already but I missed an "enable" setting?

2) The markdown/renders items aren't rendered, at least not out the box. did I miss another render / setting?

3) Lets say its a render setting, why can the user add something if the render is not enabled, shouldn't there be a notification to the user with a manual link and nav pointer?

Mar 27, 2018 01:14

@achillis

Yes we'll add checkboxes someday when we have time. In the meantime you can work around this by subscribing your target users to a new mailing list. Or use the default "News" list and use tags to differentiate users you want to select (you can add tags to users in their profile > Marketing tab in backoffice)

Also with manual selection of users you end up in the realm of: Sending emails to users that are not subscribed to a list... which in turn changes 50 little things about how campaigns and stats and tracking work. It's more like sending emails and less like sending a campaign. It's a different thing and it's more little details to work on than you probably think of.

1) Indeed the text version cannot be edited separately for now because we thought the auto conversion was "good enough" to move feature further down the priority list. Will be done though.

2 & 3) Have you enabled the markdown renderer for email campaigns. Please send screenshot. What do you mean "add something if render not enabled"? if you mean he should not be allowed to type ### Title 1 ### , why the hell not?

Mar 27, 2018 09:23

@fplanque wrote earlier:

...2 & 3) Have you enabled the markdown renderer for email campaigns. Please send screenshot.

To my knowledge this is enabled in Emails > Settings > Plugins: Yes it was enabled by default, with opt-out (i think) so I tested it like that, not rendered, then I changed it to 'ALWAYS' resent and still, not rendered. (See screenshot)

@fplanque wrote earlier:

What do you mean "add something if render not enabled"? if you mean he should not be allowed to type ### Title 1 ### , why the hell not?

He can type whatever the hell he feels like... but perhaps let him know when he creates the campaign and insert content that needs to be rendered and it won't render, like when the user adds a button he gets: "Rendering is not enabled" and point him to where he can fix it before sending the email? See screenshot.

NB: I notice in the screenshot that rendering for 'emails' and 'auto links' shows up twice (listed twice), this is not a true reflection of the actual view and is a bug in the Chrome Screen Capture Addon

Mar 27, 2018 09:45

@fplanque wrote earlier:

@achillis In the meantime you can work around this by ... use tags to differentiate users you want to select (you can add tags to users in their profile > Marketing tab in backoffice)

This is actually a very good workaround, so thanks it did not occur to me. (Checkboxes will be quicker and less painful though)

@fplanque wrote earlier:

Also with manual selection of users you end up in the realm of: Sending emails to users that are not subscribed to a list...

, I am aware of this, but you catered for this already by allowing the user to limit the amount of emails to be received, did you not? So the user still has some control, but I get your point. So perhaps the user can use a predefined mailing list such as "Newsletters" (The recipient subscribed to it, or not), then allow the sender to target specific users only within this list (if so desired). For example, I have users who are subscribed to a recipient list such as "News" and the user then creates a campaign but can then target selected recipients with checking / unchecking ? Perhaps see it as a more powerful way to refine the filter feature?

@fplanque wrote earlier:

It's a different thing and it's more little details to work on than you probably think of.

I have no doubt about that, so perhaps some suggestions aren't really practical or applicable in this context, but in the spirit of inclusivity, participation and feedback provided outside of the developer's lens I shared this for you to ponder on. Basically you can decide what has/adds value to your roadmap and what does not since this feature and my feedback on it is from experience from a different view, with different expectations and a different understanding/interprettion than your own.

Mar 27, 2018 10:11

As per previous point. (Why can't we edit file attachments? I could have just added this screenshot to previous comment? )

Apr 13, 2018 21:23

On commit:

https://github.com/b2evolution/b2evolution/commit/2991d039851689d343a5280ce3163872bd677aca

Bugs:

Emails > Campaigns > Compose

A PHP:

Notice: Undefined variable: admin_url at /Users/macbookpro/Dropbox/XAMPP/Development/inc/plugins/model/_plugins.class.php:2361

needs global $admin_url

B JavaScript Error:

Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'attributes' of null

at set_new_form_action (VM6279 bootstrap-evo_backoffice.bmin.js:2)
at b2edit_reload (VM6279 bootstrap-evo_backoffice.bmin.js:2)
at HTMLAnchorElement.onclick (admin.php?ctrl=campaigns&action=edit&ecmp_ID=2&tab=recipient&filter=new:103)

Emails > Campaigns > Recipient List

A JavaScript Error:

admin.php?ctrl=campaigns&action=edit&ecmp_ID=2&tab=recipient&filter=new:689 Uncaught TypeError: jQuery(...).queryBuilder is not a function

Apr 18, 2018 00:49

Are you saying you cannot obtain the same result as the following screenshot or are you saying you disabled your email elements renderer plugin on purpose?

Apr 18, 2018 00:52

PS: note on screenshot that it is now possible to edit the plaintext separately.

Apr 18, 2018 08:04

@fplanque wrote earlier:

PS: note on screenshot that it is now possible to edit the plaintext separately.

@fplanque I noticed, thanks.

@fplanque wrote earlier:

Are you saying you cannot obtain the same result as the following screenshot or are you saying you disabled your email elements renderer plugin on purpose?

No, I did not disabled my email elements renderer plugin on purpose. But there is some sort of render problem/bug.

I reviewed Emails > Campaigns > Settings > Plugins and changed the render settings from 'Opt-Out' to 'Always' which seems to apply the renders.

The following effect is noted:

'Automatic' disables text-boxes unchecked. Not clear/sure what effect this is supposed to apply?
'Opt-Out' When this is selected one would assume the checkboxes are checked by default, they are not.

So the report here would be that the render settings when changed does not work as expected.

Apr 18, 2018 08:22

I can also add that it is unorthodox that the user is able to add content that must be rendered (without it rendered it looks messy) while the render is 'disabled'. So one would 'assume' that when the render has no affect (it won't be applied) that (some of) the following should happen:

1) The user is notified that the contents includes content that should be rendered, but won't be;

2) In the event where renders are disabled, the user is notified when adding content that should be rendered that renders are disabled, or;

3) If renders are disabled, it should be enabled the moment the user adds content required to be rendered, or;

4) a filter be applied to remove/strip content that should be/is intended to be rendered, but won't be because rendering is disabled/unchecked/not applied.

5) prevent a user to add render content if render is disabled/unchecked

The issue is, that content gets inserted with the intend to be rendered, but then a failure in proper configuration results in the renders not working as 'assumed' and the user is puzzled as to why not.

Update:

I noticed that the buttons are actually disabled, restricting insertion, when rendering is unchecked as per point 5

Apr 18, 2018 12:36

@achillis wrote earlier:

The updates to email campaigns are intense. It really makes this feature incredibly powerful. Well done! . . .

My only concern is as I never use such and other aspects/features I'm concerned with the increasing demands/space/energy/time etc. that I am complicit in supporting, by loading the server and not using. I suppose I'm thinking, as with locations, skins, plugins etc. there could be an option to not load various 'modules'.

Still ... very impressive :)

Will it be possible for me to remove the email campaigns option and all associated files, easily or otherwise ??

Apr 20, 2018 01:00

@amon The emailing module are php files that will use a few kb of your server space and then never be loaded to memory. It's not big deal.

@achillis I am not sure what you are testing but I cannot reproduce this on the develop branch.

Below is a screenshot I made before I noticed you actually added an update that invalidates a great deal of what you wrote before. (another 5 minutes sub-optimally used)

Automatic was a non-javascript version of automatically enabling the plugin when needed: http://b2evolution.net/man/plugin-apply-rendering

The manual for the new emailing features is not updated indeed.

Apr 20, 2018 09:38

@fplanque the following screenshot walk through was taken on the develop branch. Look at it, and tell me this is normal/working correct/how it is supposed to work.

May 01, 2018 20:20

When you change a plugin default to "opt-out", this will apply to any new campaign you create after this. In your screenshot, there is no indication that you are showing a new campaign created after your changed the plugin defaults.

May 01, 2018 23:15

Your feedback clarifies it somewhat. To verify your statement, no, I was editing a current campaign after changing rendering settings. So I have not verified render settings for a new campaign, I assume it will be as you described.


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