A weekly newsletter that adds/omits information from the e-mail?
November 7, 2010 5:21 AM   Subscribe

Is it possible to create a newsletter that will add/omit information to a weekly e-mail based on the user's preference at the time of subscription?

I've subscribed to a few newsletters, and the options always involve receiving separate e-mails (i.e., If you indicate on a form that you are interested in receiving news about dogs and news about tornadoes, you'll receive one e-mail about dogs and one e-mail about tornadoes.) I'm in the process of designing a newsletter that I'd like to have add in/omit information based on the user's preference at sign up.

More explicitly, I'd like to create a "school news" weekly newsletter that goes out to the parents who have subscribed to it. At sign-up, the user can check the "club news" box, the "events news" box, etc. If they only check one box, only that content is displayed in the weekly e-mail. If they check every box, all of the content is displayed in the weekly e-mail. I hope this is making sense.

Anyway, is this theoretically possible? I've never seen a newsletter that allowed for this type of thing.
posted by gacxllr9 to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Anyway, is this theoretically possible?

Yes, and probably a bunch of different ways. If this is an email of any significant size, the emails will be batched anyway, so having different content for different batches is doable. Alternately, depending on the number of option combinations possible, you could just send several different newsletters.

You didn't really give us enough information to answer about whether it's possible for you within your budget limitations or other requirements. What software are you using to send the newsletter? If you haven't picked, or you're flexible about it, what's your budget? How much work are you willing to do to make this happen, both up-front and on a continuing basis?
posted by toomuchpete at 5:47 AM on November 7, 2010

Response by poster: My budget is only in the low thousands, but I am willing to invest a significant amount of time in order to make this happen. I'm still highly flexible about the software I'll be using - I wanted to use MailChimp to manage the campaign, but I'm not sure if it has this capability.
posted by gacxllr9 at 6:04 AM on November 7, 2010

If you have budget, it might do to email mailchimp and see if they provide custom solutions or builds. I'm sure this isn't the first time it has been asked of them.
posted by jlunar at 6:14 AM on November 7, 2010

Best answer: THere are two ways to do this that I can imagine:

1) segment your list based on user selection: user checked box A, not B or C, so you make a list of 'Box A' people and customize an email for them and a separate email for 'Box B' people. Any basic CRM should be able to do this.

2) Use Mail Merge. Mail Merges are very common in word processors for printing (word, etc), but are just recently getting built into email marketing tools. In this case you'd create a basic email frame, and have entire paragraphs in shortcode, something like

Dear *first name*

*|if 'Box A': You love box A, let me tell you about our A box deals* OR *if 'Box B': You love Box B, so we have a sale next month|* and so forth.

You are awesome,

These emails look a lot like strange code when they're written, but the system queries the database and fills in the merge terms per each unique record. People in the 'Box A' list would see the 'box A' paragraph, box B people the 'box b' paragraph and never the twain shall appear for a recipient.

Mailchimp has a robust and customizable system of Mail Merges per user specifications. Vertical Response does too. Constant Contact didn't as of 2 months ago. (N.B. the markup above is a lazy version of Mailchimp's Mail Merge markup.)
posted by markovitch at 6:47 AM on November 7, 2010

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