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As far as I've understood there is no working newsletter function in Umbraco 4(?) I'm thinking that perhaps it smarter to write a plugin/package that hooks up Umbraco to a "real" email marketing and newsletter tool. With real I mean a tool that can handle 50 000 subscribers or more, that can segment members, handles bounces, unsubscribes, faulty addresses and all that. Also it needs good tools for following up the results - real-time statistics and so on.
I've been playing around a bit with MailChimp and it's an impressive tool and they have an API that allows a skilled developer to connect MailChimp to a CMS, an e-commerce tool or a CRM tool.
Is there an ongoing discussion regarding email marketing and newsletter functionality in Umbraco? I'd love to hear what you guys are thinking. Using MailChimp is just a suggestion since it so happens that I'm looking at a project where we might want to connect MailChimp with Umbraco.
There was an open space discussion about this topic at Codegarden. I didn't attend, but try and get a hold of Søren from www.afdeling18.dk
I think he was at the session, and I know he worked with some mailing tools.
We're thinking about creating a package to use the CampaignMonitor ($5 per newsleter + 1cent per email) service because we use it ourselves as a reseller. No deadline set yet, so we can still chose to implement it for another service.
It depends on both volume and number of newsletters per month which service you want to use. CampaignMonitor has the advantage not having to pay a monthly subscription (pay as you go) and is cheaper than MailChimp.
We can all work together in 1 reseller account so we get credits at lower prices? In that case we can go to StreamSend (thanks for the tip bootnumlock).
Looking forward to your responses.
I hadn't heard about CampaignMonitor before, but it looks very professional and has a competitive price model. The API seems well documented and there is a C# wrapper.
An important question is how you should integrate it with Umbraco? From my point of view, the most important feature would be integrating member data preferences. For example, if a user wants to subscribe to a newsletter he/she should be able to fill out a form directly on the Umbraco website. The mail address and name should be stored in both Umbracos member register and in the send list of CampaignMonitor. If the user wants to unsubscribe the unsubscription must be noted in Umbraco and in CampaignMonitor. Should the unsubscribe-link lead to the Umbraco site or CampaignMonitor?
There are lots of questions that need to be addressed before going forward with a project like this. :-)
what came out of the Open Space session was more or less that "it shouldn't be much of a challenge to integrate with pro ESP's, like CampaignMonitor". Take a look at the minutes from the session.
There wasn't any discussion about how to handle (un)subscribes, particularly wether adresses should be stored in Umbraco, at the ESP or both. But if you are writing a plugin I think it should support both.
Also interested to see this going forward, as this has been on my wishlist for quite some time. Am especially interested in integrating 3rd party esp's in the umbraco backend.
@thomas: I do think umbraco should be the 'master' of the data, Campaignmonitor has a lot of options to take care of opt-in/opt-out and the like and is best at sending emails. All other stuff can be handled from witihin the umbraco ui, using the wonderful campaignmonitor api.
Damn, why haven't I choosen this session to attend at cg09
there were WAY TOO MANY good choices in the sessions... i would venture to guess everyone got tons out of the sessions they attendended and wished they could still attend the others... to me that is a GREAT indicator of an awesome conference :)
Just a note:
E-mail addresses should be SYNCRONIZED between the two systems. Having Umbraco as the "master database" is the obvious choice, but then you'll most likely loose bounce handling.
Do you really need to synchronize? I'm thinking you don't have to... might have wrong understanding of Campaignmonitor's working tho.
Bounces can be retrieved using the Campaignmonitor's api, but you'll need to initiate the action from within umbraco... (that's how I would handle this situation)
I'm currently looking into functionalities required to build a simple starter package allowing to create new campaigns, build lists (as in list of people to send mail to), handling bounces, unsubscribes and the like, all from within our friendly umbraco backend (new section)
If you have some more ideas, let me know your thoughts.
Soeren and Dirk!
Synchronized subscriber list versus one master only in Umbraco is exactly the kind of problems that need to be discussed. :-)
Since I haven't built any e-mail systems myself I find it somewhat difficult to anticipate the consequences of certain design decisions. I guess it would be desirable for most users if Umbraco was the only data source for subscriber data and you used the external email service only for designing the emails and sending them. The most important reason for using Umbraco as the main subscriber database (in my opinion) is that you can use the data for other things on the Umbraco site (generating user specific content for example). On the other hand this could mean that you'd lose a lot of the nifty functionality and automation that these tools have build-in.
The worst case scenario would be that subscribers that have unsubscribed keep getting emails because the synchronization does not work or that it's depending on a webmaster that keep's a watching eye on the system all the time.
I guess we can agree that building a package like this would be a lot more fun than just using the copy-paste form that the email service provides you with. My main problem is that I would probably need a concrete project to land on my table before I would be able to spend hours on developing this package. I don't have such a project yet eventhough there have been some questions and interest from clients. But I guess that's the way most Umbraco packages get born?
Keeping you updated - we have gotten one step closer to a project (although we're not there yet) where we will need heavy-duty e-mail power. I have checked out Campaign Monitor closer and it seems like a good service, so if we get a "go", we'll choose Campaign Monitor unless the client strongly objects to it.
Our plan is to program usercontrols that both stores member data in Umbraco and sends info to Campaign Monitor via the API. A typical scenario could be when someone wishes to register as a member. First you store the membership data (not including subscriptions) in Umbraco programmatically. If the member is registered successfully, you go on and register the subscription with Campaign Monitor (given that the user has checked the "subscribe to our newsletter" checkbox). Furthermore you can use the API to check if a member is subscribed to a certain list etc.
So on a theoretical level everything looks good! I'll keep you posted if we move into a real project. :-)
Been looking into this myself as I have some prospects who may need this functionality as well. My main goal for such a package is being able to control everything from within umbraco (custom section) and don't ever have to go to CampaignMonitor's (or whatever esp gets choosen) site/web interface. In fact, this should be totally transparant using some sort of provider model.
If you'd like to discuss this in more detail or would like to bundle resources on development, let me know. It might be a long term project and probably won't help with your current real projects, but it would sure be a killer package!
That really sounds like a more thorough take on the task and I agree it would be an awesome package!
The problem in this case would be time as I'd have to move along swiftly if we get an OK for the project. Also I haven't done any custom programming in Umbraco before; just XSLT's and some user controls. But never say never! I'm very interested in following the further development of adding heavy-duty emailing capabilities to Umbraco and I'll share my stuff (for what it's worth)!
@Thomas - Did you ever get Campaign Monitor working with Umbraco? I'd be really interested in seeing what how far you got?
I've seen some tweets about a new project called CmsMailer which should be released soon.
Awesome, I saw that the other day - Look forward to it being released
@Lee: The project that involved heavy use of email capabilities didn't launch so we never got to work with this. Glad to see that there is activity going on elsewhere though!
For those interested, we released some sourcecode for this a while ago, this is not specific for umbraco but should help you along!
"MailChimp Sync Module" makes it easier for developers to synchronize their lists from any datasource to mailchimp.
It's developed in C# on the mailchimp .NET wrapper.You can visit our project page on CodePlex:http://www.orbitone.com/en/CodePlex/Pages/MailChimp-Sync-Module.aspx
Well , I haven't used MailChimp yet. But recently I have to send newsletters to my consumers. So I search for email marketing software for a long time. Several days ago I found comm100 offer free email sending service.And the delivery rate is high. You can have a try.Here is the website [url] http://www.comm100.com/emailmarketingnewsletter/ [/url]
Thanks for your suggestion! I only switched to Umbraco recently and was looking for a suitable bulk emailer and was already thinking along the lines of an external mailservice... but never found one that matched our requirements. I've started an account with comm100 and am very happy.
As the contact / newsletter administration is on the comm100 website, there's no need for any extra code or pages in Umbraco. For any other people who are interested, I just added one thing to my website in Umbraco: a registration page which uses the code provided by comm100 (plain html form with hidden input fields which posts to your comm100 account). Just remember that for this to work you'll need to make sure that the template for that registration page and its master page(s) don't have asp:form tags as this will prevent the html form to post to comm100.
Someone might consider making a user control to do the same thing, so we can add such a registration form as a macro to templates... I currently have no time to investigate this route, but if I do I'll post back to this forum.
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