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Welcome to Cordial

Overview

In this article, we'll break down the Cordial basics and provide links to other articles for more details on each topic.

If you'd like to learn about topics specific to your persona, we have you covered. Whether you're a marketer, designer, or developer (or maybe you're all three), you'll find useful info in the following articles:

  • I'm a marketer: I manage contacts, build campaigns, and analyze reports.
  • I'm a designer: I code HTML templates with advanced personalization.
  • I'm a developer: I set up API calls and implement JavaScript listeners.

To get up to speed on our terminology, check out our glossary.

What Cordial does

Cordial is a flexible, real-time platform for marketing teams and technologists to deliver personal, relevant, and emotionally intelligent messages across any channel. Activate unlimited amounts of customer data up to the second and connect with complex business data, regardless of its structure or schema.

Tour the platform

Release notes

We're constantly adding new features and functionality to the platform (as well as fixing any pesky bugs), and we publish release notes each time something new is added. You can find our release notes here. If you want to receive an automated email each time a new release note is added, click the Follow button on the release notes section page.  

How data flows in Cordial

Simply put, data drives marketing efforts. Cordial makes it easy to import all your data so you can build relevant, engaging content that updates in real time.

Data flows in and out of Cordial via the UI, the RESTful API, or JavaScript listeners embedded on your website.

  • Via the UI: If you like working with a modern, highly performant user interface, we've got you covered. You can import and export contacts, message reports, and event reports on demand. Contacts can also be imported and exported on an automated recurring schedule using data automations.
  • Via the API: When we built our platform, we wanted it to be developer friendly, so we went with an API-first approach that allows you to access most of the platform's functionality using a wide variety of API calls.
  • Via JavaScript Listeners: We understand that in order to send real-time communications to your customers, you need an easy way to capture their behaviors on your website. So we provide JavaScript listeners that you can configure and embed on your site to push relevant data to your account when and where you need it. This makes it easy to create and send messages based on browse behavior, shopping behavior, and virtually any other type of behavior you can imagine.

Our JavaScript listeners will also capture the behaviors of anonymous site visitors. Once they're known contacts, previous anonymous data will be transferred to their profile.

How Cordial stores data

It's important to understand how your data is stored in Cordial because you'll reference it when building audiences, personalizing message content, and creating analytics reports.

Cordial's database is document-based and search-based. This means that it's highly flexible and very fast to query. Did we mention real time?

Regardless of how your data ends up in Cordial (we give you lots of options), it's all normalized and stored in one of the following data collections:

In addition to using the above data collections, you can reference external data such as RSS feed, Instagram feed, weather, and any other source you can imagine. Depending on the type, data can be used for personalizing message content, segmenting contacts with audience rules, triggering message sends, and creating or filtering analytics reports. 

Email sending sub-domains

Before you can send email through Cordial, you'll need to set up a sub-domain based on your parent domain. So if your brand's domain is example.com, you'd create a subdomain such as email.example.com. You'd then need to delegate the sub-domain to Cordial by configuring NS (nameserver) records with your domain manager.

Audience segmentation

Once your data is flowing into Cordial, you can search and segment that data in real time by creating audiences. An audience can be made up of multiple rules that include and/or exclude contacts based on contact attributes, list membership, events, orders, or other relevant info.

Audience rules are used throughout the platform when sending messages, building analytics reports, and exporting data. They can be saved in an audience rule library and then recalled when and where you need them.

Audiences are dynamic in nature, meaning they change over time depending on the data available when the audience is calculated. If you want to create a static audience, add the desired contacts to a list and create an audience of contacts who are on that list. List membership is specific to each contact and does not change until a contact is added or removed from the list.

Build and send dynamic messages

Once you know how to build audiences of contacts based on your real-time data, you can send communications through any channel using our batch or automated sending methods. Available channels include Email, Mobile, SMS/MMS, and the REST/Open channel for web or custom use cases. 

  • Your messages are truly 1:1. Regardless of message type, each message is compiled and sent to every individual contact of the specified audience. This makes it possible for message content to be personalized to each contact based on available real-time data at the time of sending. Keep in mind that a powerful campaign strategy takes into account segmentation and personalization to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.

Batch messages

Batch messages are used for sending one-time promotional content. They can be sent immediately or at a scheduled date in the future. Large message sends can also be throttled and sent in batches over a set schedule of time.

Automated messages

Automated messages are triggered by a set sending method. The available sending methods are:

Any of the above sending methods can be filtered by audience rules at the time of sending. This allows you to include or exclude contacts that match certain conditions.

Using these sending methods, you are able to create lifecycle campaigns such as a welcome series, a cart abandon series, a browse abandon series, a win-back series, order confirmations, and much more.

Create messages using the Sculpt editor

When creating message content for both Batch and Automated messages, you can use either the HTML editor for working with raw HTML code, or Sculpt, a no-code editor that allows you to drag content blocks into templates and edit them using intuitive form controls.

In order to use the Sculpt editor for message creation, you must have at least one Sculpt template and associated Sculpt blocks in your account. Once these templates and blocks are created by either you or your designer, you will be able to select the Sculpt editor as an option during message creation.

Personalize message content

Each message sent from Cordial is built individually for each contact at the time of sending. This allows for powerful personalization based on real-time data.

While segmentation is a powerful tool to specify who is sent a message, personalization allows for greater control over what the contact sees when they open the message.

By taking advantage of Cordial's template syntax, each recipient of a single message could ultimately see completely different content based on their profile, purchase history, website behavior, or any other relevant variables. This saves you the work (and time) of having to build out multiple messages and complicated segmentation to satisfy all content variations.

Personalization can go far beyond simple merge tags like [first_name]. For example, you can pull store location data into a message, loop through it, and find the store nearest to the contact and display the address. There is a lot you can do, which is why we dedicated a whole section to it with tutorials and code examples.

Store your Images and HTML

Image library

Cordial makes it easy to upload all of your images, tag, and search themand then use them in your messages. We've even given you a way to find and replace all the relative image paths when building out your HTML on your local drive.

HTML content

In addition to images, you have a separate library to store HTML snippets (includes) of code and then dynamically pull them into messages using Cordial's Template Syntax. This is great for repeatable layout elements such as headers and footers. Once you become an expert in experiments and advanced personalization, HTML includes gives you a way to abstract the code out across multiple content pieces. Bottom line: cleaner code, less headaches. 

Test with experiments and machine learning

All this data and messaging functionality is great, but how do you know if you're delivering the most engaging content to your customers? You need to test, and test, and test. It takes a lot of planning, effort, and time to create the tests, analyze the results, and adjust for better performance.

Fortunately, you can do all of that painlessly using Cordial Experiments for subject lines and body content.

Batch message experiments

Batch messages are sent to a single audience at a time, so you need a way to perform multi-variant testing on a portion of the send and then adjust the remainder depending on the results. Our Split Test with Champion experiment does just that.

Automated message experiments

Automated messages work differently because they are triggered and sent one at a time as long as the message is enabled and published, which could be a long time. It would be virtually impossible to constantly monitor the results and vary content based on which message, or portion of the message, is performing better.

That's where our machine learning algorithm comes into play using a probability theory called Multi-Armed Bandit. We won't go into detail about it in this article (you can find those details here), but it tests the variants over time and then automatically adjusts to the better performing variant.

Build reports and analyze performance

Let's get to the fun stuff: reporting! We all love reports because they allow us to keep tabs on how our hard work is paying off. Not only can you view how a message is performing according to opens, clicks, revenue, and other KPIs, you can also compare that performance with other events over time.

  • Event Dashboards: Using Event Dashboards, you can create multiple custom charts that visualize not only message behaviors, but also contact activity behaviors that are occurring on your website.
  • Audience Trends: You can use Audience Trends to visualize how your audiences change over time. Want to track how many females over the age of 30 who bought neon socks in the past week also clicked on the promotion for fuchsia suede stilettos? Well, now you can with Audience Trend Reports.
  • Message and event reports: If you have an external reporting tool, you can easily export all your message and event data.

Wrapping up

As you can imagine, this article only scratches the surface of what Cordial can do. Please explore our documentation further to learn more about how Cordial can push your business to the next level.

If you get stuck, reach out to one of our support staff by submitting a ticket or sending an email to support@cordial.com.

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