Introducing our feature-packed September release!

- Monday, September 17, 2012
Business Catalyst - September 2012 Feature Pack

We’re excited to announce the details of our feature-packed September release, due to go live September 25, 2012.

As Bogdan highlighted in his recent blog post, we’re currently focusing on enhancing our widely used email marketing component, based on the valuable feedback you’ve been giving us as a community. Business Catalyst’s key differentiator is the “all-in-one” solution we’re able to offer Partners and their clients, and in this release we’ve made great progress in offering integration workflows that other solutions simply can’t – for instance, the ability to embed dynamic modules such as blog posts, news items or event bookings from your BC site, right inside email newsletters.

Please take the time to read through the new features, enhancements and relevant documentation below, so you and your clients are prepared and able to take advantage of these new improvements. For a more technical and in-depth list of features/bugs being delivered, read the release notes post on the BC Forums.

New feature highlights

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

You can now specify your own HTML module templates when rendering modules, by simply adding the template’s file path as a parameter.

All you have to do is include the parameter template=”/path/to/mytemplate.tpl” at the end of your module tag, and it will use this source file instead of its default module template. Please use a .tpl file extension as a best practice, as using a standard .html file means that it will also behave as a regular Page on your site.

Unlimited, specifiable module templates

If the template file you’ve specified doesn’t exist, the system simply falls back to the default template instead. You can find more details on this feature in this article.

This opens up a new world of possibilities for your client sites, especially when using modules-inside-modules – allowing you to create and automatically render different module layouts based on the visitor’s device type, a Web App field value, and much more! We’re really looking forward to seeing some of the cool things Partners will do this great system enhancement.

Embed dynamic modules inside email campaigns

We’re enabling you and to insert dynamic modules such as news items and blog posts inside email marketing campaigns, using a completely revamped Module Manager. These modules are then dynamically rendered when the campaign is sent, so the recipient sees the latest content.

There are a range of useful cases where this would come in handy – for instance, including the latest new announcement in your campaign, or embedding an up-to-date list of upcoming events customers can book in to. The goal here is to enable you to predefine templates for your clients with these dynamic modules built-in, or set up an on-going email series with the modules baked in.

Modules inside email newsletters

Using the new specifiable module templates feature detailed above, you can easily create and render these modules in a way that’s email newsletter friendly, opposed to simply inserting the web-version of the module. For instructions on how to get started, read this article.

A fresh set of email newsletter templates

We all know the time it takes to build beautiful email newsletters that look great across the wide-range of email clients out there. That’s why in this release, we’ve put together a brand new set of cross-client compatible email templates for you and your clients to use.

New email newsletter templates

There are 10 new email templates in total, spanning a range of themes, and a great starting point for your next email newsletter. We’ve thoroughly tested this new set of templates across a full-range of desktop and web-based email clients, so you can rest assured they’ll look just as stunning, whatever the recipient is using.

You’ll also notice that we’ve refreshed the template selection screen, making it much easier to get an idea of the template you’re selecting before you apply it. If you’re a Premium Partner and currently offer your clients a custom set of email templates, they’ll continue to work as per usual within the new interface. Miss the old templates? Don't stress - we've packaged them up in a .zip file you can download here.

Additional email marketing enhancements

Enhanced workflows and interface for choosing recipient lists

We’ve made it far easier to search through and select your email recipient lists when creating new campaigns, simply start typing and we’ll automatically filter the through your existing lists.

The ability to “exclude” lists or custom reports from final recipients

Easily exclude a certain list of recipients from your total pool of recipients. For instance, this is especially handy if you’re sending to a large list, but would like to exclude all customers who haven’t made a purchase in the 6 months.

Include and exclude recipient lists

New campaign performance report for email clients recipients are using

A brand new report for monitoring which email clients your recipients are opening newsletters with. Keep an eye on this metric, and make sure you optimize your campaign content to look great in the most popular clients.

Updated “sending” status for campaigns so you can easily monitor it’s sending progress

Keep an eye on the sending progress of your campaign as it sends to recipients.  

Improved import .csv template for mailing lists

Streamlined import template, to speed up your day-to-day imports

Other great feature improvements

Refreshed Toolbox (previously Module Manager) for Admin v3

A completely revamped module manager (aka Toolbox) that neatly docks to the right of the WYSIWYG editor.

Revamped Module Manager

Easily add Google Apps accounts for domain email

Simply select the new “Use your Google Apps account for email” when adding or editing your domain. Read this article for further details.

We hope you enjoy this month’s system update, stay tuned for more great updates next month!