What happens when you click “reply”?

We send out several different newsletters each month: Firefox & You, Beta, Aurora, About Mozilla, Student Reps, etc. Across all of these newsletters, we send well over 4 million emails a month – and our Firefox & You newsletter is growing by 20-30,000 subscribers a day. With all those emails from the Mozilla team going out, what happens when a subscriber hits reply? Does the email go somewhere? Does someone read it?

Answers: Their reply goes to an awesome email address (awesomeness [at] mozilla [dot] com). It is a real email address. And we try our best to read them all.

As part of the User Engagement team, our mission is to build friendships with every user. We could opt to have a “noreply[at]Mozilla[dot]com” for our newsletter reply-to address – but that’s not friendly – and Mozilla is all about friendliness and community. We want our users to know that we’re here for them and we like to hear from them!

Over the past few months, we’ve averaged about 3,000 reply emails a month to awesomeness [at] Mozilla [dot] com.

Many of those emails are auto-responders, some are social networking invitations, but several are real notes from people with real usability problems, and sometimes the emails are heartfelt thank you’s that just can’t go unnoticed. We love our users – we love hearing from them – and we want to help them if we can!

Despite our best efforts, as we grow our number of email relationships – and expand our locales – it’s not sustainable for us to monitor and respond to every message that comes into this inbox. I wish there were simply more hours in the day!

We want to ensure that we provide good, timely, responses to our users who ask questions or have feedback.

In thinking through how to best respond to our users, we made the decision to implement an auto-responder that helps answer a good portion of the types of email questions we receive (after going through a few thousand emails, there were many recurring questions).

The auto-responder was implemented on Feb 10th. Now people know that we are not only real, but that we love to hear from them — and they have quick answers to their most pressing questions. Our newsletter localization teams are also localizing the auto-responder so we can point non-EN users to a wiki that hosts the email content in their language!

I still go through our inbox, but with the help of our auto-responder, our users are instantly receiving the quick resources they need to answer the majority of their questions.

Next up is making sure that we have a separate reply-to email address for each of our various newsletters beyond Firefox & You, so each team can find and respond to their email subscribers in the manner that makes sense.

I’m on it.

(In case you’re interested, you can check out the auto-responder content by emailing: awesomeness [at] mozilla [dot] com)

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Happy March 2nd!?

This post will seem a bit like the old “dear diary” entries I used to try to write a long time ago – “I’m sorry, Journal, that I haven’t written in awhile. Things have been crazy-busy around here! But there are lots of fun things I need to update you on. I promise to keep you updated more often.”

Here goes my grown-up job version of this – in bullet form to make it easier to read/write:

This past month has been a crazy whirlwind full of exciting things!

  • January newsletter was a great success across all locales! Email stats of open and click-through rates were at – or many times higher – than industry standards, meaning our readers like our newsletter and find the content interesting.
  • We’re almost to 4 million email subscribers (last year at this time: < 0.5 million)
  • As of yesterday – we’re now live with our new Email Service Provider, Exact Target (sign up forms live, emails triggering, house-file database migrated, templates currently being loaded in).
  • We had fun spreading the Firefox love with our Valentine’s Day email campaign.
  • “Awesomeness” newsletter-reply email inbox cleaned out, and plans are underway to organize and streamline this channel of communication (blog post about this to be posted soon)
  • February newsletter sent successfully on Leap Day!
    • Social sharing links for Facebook and Twitter included in EN version for each major article
  • Email Archive bug is filed and goal established to launch in Q2
  • March email newsletter creation is underway for a launch date on 3/28
  • Updated email newsletter creation process to allow proper time for stakeholder feedback, and localization time for our teams.
    • Currently working on way for localization teams to better guide content for localized newsletters.
  • Indonesian “Firefox & You” team is ready to start translating
  • Hungarian “Firefox & You” documents translated
  • Beginning to develop plans for the Russian “Firefox & You” newsletter
  • Marketing Collective launched and awesome people from all around the world are applying to get involved in Engagement/Marketing activities of Mozilla.

Stay tuned for more :)