E-Mail Marketing with BarracudaDrive

 

FuguHub includes a bulk email engine specifically designed for sending large amounts of emails. The benefit in using FuguHub for sending large amounts of emails is that FuguHub runs as a background process and can send out emails without disrupting your other activities. An added benefit is that FuguHub is a web server and the integrated email engine provides a unique URL for each subscribed user, thus making it easy for your recipients to unsubscribe should they no longer be interested in receiving your emails.

The email engine in FuguHub is managed by the integrated Large File Mailer. What’s new in FuguHub 6.0 is that the Large File Mailer can also be used for e-mail marketing.

Visitors can subscribe to your mailing list and each visitor gets a unique mailer URL so they can easily unsubscribe or update their settings.

FuguHub bulk email engine

You can start sending emails with Barracudadrive as soon as you have configured the Large File Mailer’s SMTP settings. Using your ISP’s SMTP server is usually not a good idea if you plan on sending large quantities of emails since your ISP will probably prevent you from sending bulk emails. Most ISPs limit the number of emails you can send per day. What we need is a SMTP service that is specifically setup for sending large amounts of emails. One such SMTP service is Mandrill and this service allows you to send up to 12,000 emails for free every month. Sending more than 12,000 emails a month requires that you purchase Mandrill’s services.

In this tutorial we will look into how you can use FuguHub for mass e-mail marketing by using the SMTP services provided by Mandrill. The first thing you should do is to navigate to http://mandrill.com and sign up. After signing up and logging into Mandrill, navigate to SMTP & API Credentials. The image below shows the Mandrill’s SMTP & API Credentials page to the right and the FuguHub’s Large File Mailer Settings page to the left.

mandrill

Copy the credentials from the Mandrill’s SMTP & API Credentials page to the Large File Mailer Settings page as shown above. You will initially not have an API key so you need to click the "New API Key" in Mandrill. The API Key is used as the password in the Large File Mailer’s SMTP settings. The Large File Mailer’s "User Name" is the "SMTP Username" from Mandrill. The Large File Mailer’s email address should be your own email address. Make sure you click STARTTLS in the "Connection Security" settings. Click "Save" and then "Save and Test". If everything is entered correctly, Barracudadrive should be sending you a test email using Mandrill’s SMTP settings.

The next thing you need to do is to set your FuguHub server’s domain name. The domain name is required by the auto generated unsubscribe links created by the Large File Mailer. These links will not work if you do not set the domain name.

It’s easy to import email addresses into FuguHub. You can simply drag and drop a list of email addresses directly into the browser window after you have created a list. Each list can have any number of email addresses. The purpose with a list is to make it easy to segment users. When sending emails, you select the lists you want to use. The image below shows the Large File Mailer after we have created three lists.

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To import email addresses, start by creating a new list. Click "Lists" as shown above and then the list name. Drag and drop your email addresses onto the list page inside the browser window. Detailed information on creating and managing lists is explained in the Large File Mailer’s integrated documentation.

Click the "Send Email" link when you are ready to send your first email. The image below shows the "Send Email" page in the Large File Mailer.

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We have selected the "TEST" list above, which includes only one recipient. It’s usually a good idea to have a test list and test with this list before you go ahead and schedule a mail job with say 10,000 email addresses. The History option makes it easy to retrieve your previous emails so you can select the previous mail job after you have sent your test email and then select the actual lists you want as part of the final mail job.

Note, the "Send Email" page gives you a few suggestions as shown above. You can of course change the text, but you must include the [LINK] macro. The [LINK] macro expands to a unique URL on your FuguHub server for each recipient that receives an email. In other words, each recipient get’s their own unique link, where the recipient can update their profile or unsubscribe.

The "From" email address can be any valid email address. It is possible to use a non existing email address with Mandrill. For example, say you have your own domain name, but you do not have an email server. Mandrill makes it possible to use your own domain name when sending emails, even when you do not have a mail server. The email address can then be any fictitious email address at your domain name. Explaining this is beyond the scope of this tutorial. See the "Sending Domains" page in Mandrill for more information if you plan on using this feature.

Mandrill will initially give you a low sending quota, but you can still go ahead and send say 10,000 emails. Mandrill will initially pause the sending until the Mandrill service figures out if you are a trusted person or a person that is attempting to use their services for sending spam. The following image shows the Dashbord in Mandrill after we sent out emails to the FuguHub mailing list. We initially had a low quota, but this quota was lifted after sending to all subscribers in FuguHub’s mailing list.

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You will eventually end up with email addresses that are no longer in use or valid, especially if working with large email lists. Mandrill lists all rejected emails on the "Rejection Blacklist" page. It’s easy to remove all these email addresses from the Large File Mailer’s email database. To remove these emails, start by selecting all the rejected emails in Mandrill as shown below.

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Copy the selected emails to your computer’s clipboard and navigate to the "Remove Contacts" page in the FuguHub’s Large File Mailer. Paste the data from the clipboard into the text field on this page as shown below.

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Click the "Remove Contacts" button. The Large File Mailer is clever enough to find all email addresses in the inserted data. The emails found in the inserted data will then be removed from the File Mailer’s database, if found.

You can import any number of email addresses into FuguHub as explained above. However, when working with email marketing, it’s common to provide a web form where visitors can subscribe to your "Newsletter". This feature is not part of the Large File Mailer simply because the Large File Mailer is primarily designed for distributing large files. However, you can still add this feature by downloading and installing computer code we have prepared. You do not need to understand anything about computer programming in order to use this code, but you must follow the instructions thoroughly to prevent any errors.

Start by creating a new page in the FuguHub’s Content Management system. The page will be where the visitors can subscribe to your newsletter. The computer code we provide can also be inserted into an existing page in the CMS, but it is easier to start with a new page since you will have to enter "Expert" mode in the CMS editor and it can be difficult to find the location where you want the web form to appear if you do not understand HTML.

Open the CMS editor for the page where you want the "Sign up for our Newsletter" web form. Click the Expert button. You can delete the HTML content you see in the editor if you created a new page. Otherwise, locate the location in the HTML where you want to insert the web form. Download the subscribe to our newsletter computer code. Open the downloaded file in an editor. Select ALL data in the editor. Paste this content into the FuguHub CMS editor. Click "Enable LSP" and click the Save button.

The example to the right shows the "Sign up for our Newsletter" form which you see after you press the Save button. You can change the colors and displacement by changing the CSS at the top of the file.

You can try the example to the right by entering your email address and name. The web form will not automatically add you to the database when you click Subscribe, but will instead send you an email to confirm that you actually want to subscribe to the newsletter. Your email address will not be added unless you click the link in the email you receive.

Note: The sender email address will be the email address on the "SMTP Server" settings page. You can change the sender address and even use a fictitious email address as previously explained. To change the sender address, look for the following line in the computer code you downloaded:

      -- from="noresponse@domain.com", -- You can change the default sender

Change the above line to:

      from="Your Name<your-address@your-domain>",

Posted in Tutorials Thursday, February 21th, 2013 by bd