Those rascally developers over at Infusionsoft are at it again. (Actually, it takes more than just good developers; shout out to the entire Product team.) So, let me take a moment to give you what I consider to be the highlights of the May 2016 release.

Feature #1: Trigger a Campaign from a Manual Credit Card Charge
What it does: This allows you to launch automation when you process an order manually.
Why it matters: In the past, you’ve been able to build complex fulfillment campaigns to interact with your customers after they place an order online. You know, send them a thank you email, deliver their product, and then follow-up with them to see how they enjoy it, or to ask them to purchase again; that sort of thing. Well, this type of automation would only trigger for orders that Purchasewere placed through an order form, or through the shopping cart – until now.

Now you can use manual orders to automatically trigger whatever fulfillment processes you might have in place. Remember, the sale isn’t the end of your customers journey, it’s just an important milestone where you learn something new about them.

Caveat: While I like this feature, and I’m excited about it – I also feel compelled to call out a concern I have. I’d very much like for this to be an option. I’d like the choice, but I don’t know if I want automation firing every single time I process a manual order. I mean, we’ve been building campaigns for a few years now, and unless you’ve been manually triggering follow-up, its plausible that everything you’ve designed is set-up to speak to customers who purchased online. So, if this release rolls out and now a new set of customers (manual purchasers) are being added to those campaigns, I could see it causing a little confusion.

Feature #2: Date/Time Fields are Useful Now
What it does: You can use Date/Time Fields for Field Timers
Why it matters: This is really, really important. Field timers are critical to delivering automation that feels personal. Think about it, field timers allow you to build a campaign that delivers it’s messaging at intervals unique to each particular contact. You know, 3 days before their birthday, or 5 days before their membership anniversary. That sort of thing. But the massive glaring drawback has always been that it doesn’t give you the ability to send those messages at a unique time of day – until now.

The Date/Time Field houses not only the Date that something is happening, but also the Time. And with this release, we can now use the date and time to schedule our communication – so, we can send appointment reminders 1-hour before someone’s appointment. Or we can send consultation reminders 4 hours before their consultation takes place. There are plenty of situations where this will make our scheduling that much more flexible, and therefore our messaging that much more impactful.

(EDIT: As of the first part of this release, we’ll be able to run actions at 24 or 28 hour intervals before an appointment, but NOT 30 minutes, or 2 hours, etc. That part will be completed and included in a future release.)

Feature #3: Beta Email Builder Improvements
What it does: You can search images, create tags, search tags, and there are new link types.
Why it matters: This matters because it makes the beta builder that much more usable. If you told me that you had decided not to adopt the new email builder, I wouldn’t call you crazy. As I’ve said in the past, there are some really nice improvements that it offers; but there are definitely still a number of things I’m excited for them to add. Well, this release definitely checks a few more off that list.

Previously, there was no way to easily search through your images – so you’d end up scrolllllllllllling until you found the one you wanted. Now you can search just by typing the name of your image. (Need to rename some images? I gotcha covered.) This is a big time saver.

Creating and searching tags – another big time saver. This means that if you have hundreds of tags (or thousands), now you can type the first few letters of a given tag instead of scrolling through them all. And, if the tag you want to use doesn’t exist yet, you can create it on the fly. Now, I may be wrong – but I don’t think you can assign that tag a category (which would be annoying). So, before I celebrate this one too hard I’m gonna cross my fingers that I’m wrong – or that they’re going to add that part in soon.

And finally – there are a few new link types. In addition to linking directly to a URL, you can now also link to an email address, or a phone number. This is useful if you got used to using those previously, and hit a hiccup once it was removed. This is definitely a step in the right direction, but personally I’m really reaching for the ability to link to (and create) a quick thank you page, and to link to a campaign link.

Those are the three that I’m most excited about, but it’s by no means the end of the release list. There are a few more features that are going to make a lot of people very happy.

And, once again, because Brett did a killer job on the recap video, I’m going to use the Infusionsoft release video instead of reinventing the wheel with my own. Enjoy: