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Automated Newsletters with Signups

Often people want some sort of newsletters with automated signups. These are a great way to capture visitor interest in a way that allows you to communicate with them on an ongoing basis.

Note: Visitor registrations and newsletters are available only in dynamic plans.

Sign up for our example newsletter!


Multiple Elements

Newsletters are complicated only in that they need the following elements to be configured to work with each other:

  • A user group to hold the list of those who get the newsletter
  • A bulletin board block to hold and send the issues
  • A login block to capture new signups and add them to the user group

In addition, the following elements are often present:

  • A non-public non show-in-menu page with "Thank You" text
  • A general block with a teaser as to why to join

The User Group

Any newsletter needs a concept of "to whom" the newsletter will be sent. A user group within the site can be used to hold this.

To get started, on the tool bar browse Site / Manage Group Accounts and then click New Group
                                                           

 
                                                      

Once there, configure the group with the following options:

  • Emailable only from group admins
  • Users may join without asking
  • Group may subscribe

       

There are no users in this group as yet, they will be added by the login block described later.


The Bulletin Board

Newsletters are handled in HotDoodle by the Bulletin Board block set to operate in newsletter mode. The only difference between bulletin boards and newsletters are if recipients can reply and some formatting.

First, insert a block of type newsletter. You will be taken to a screen where you have to enter some board names. Enter the name "Past Issues" and save
                             

Next, subscribe the group you created to this board. Click Manage Subscriptions and then Manage Group Subscriptions
                             

 
                           

You can now click the group which subscribes to this board.

Configure the Newsletter

You should now click the link to configure the newsletter.

        

Set "Newsletter Format" to on and unclick the reply options.

Also set your signature and email subject line prefix. Brand yourself, but keep it simple.

Important: To send email, you must configure your site identification and click the "Email Allowed" field. 

Bulletin Board Visibility

You need to decide if visitors can see the past issues. If they should not, either put the bulletin board on a page that is not public to them, or config the block and set its access and permissions to "Logged in and Authorized" but do not take the extra step to authorize them.


The Login Block

The login block is where much of the action occurs. It

  • collects the user information,
  • adds the user to a group
  • sends a customized email
  • takes the user to a thank you page
  • (optional) copies new pages for the user and grants them permissions on those pages

First, insert a login block and set it to be "Registration Only"
         

Set the signup format to be Newsletter -- this is the simplest for users to use. Important: Also set the block to add users to the new Newsletters group.
        

If you have one, you can also set the block to take the user to some special section upon registration.
        

Finally, you can set a customized email to be sent upon registration.
         


A Thank You Page

You can cause a page to be used as a thank you page. Ours is here.

To keep the page from confusing regular users, Use Page / Edit Page Name and Properties and unclick "Show in Menu".  This will keep the page invisible except as a thank you for subscribing page.


Thank You Text / Content for Subscribers
You can cause content to be visible only to subscribers, and some content to be visible only to non subscribers.

For example, you are seeing this pink text only because you did NOT subscribe to the newsletter. If you had subscribed, you would be seeing something different.



Teaser Blocks
Visitors need to have a reason to sign up for your newsletter, and they need confidence that you will not spam them or sell their email addresses. In practice you will need to add text above and / or below the newsletter to tease visitors into subscribing.

Sending Issues


Past Issues
 
Sending Newsletters
 

This is the first issue of our newsletter, and it is on how to send newsletters.  Sending is no big deal -- just click "Add Topic".
       
 

and then fill in the body.    You can customize the newsletter if you wish, the ? link in the body area will show you how.  

As you post it you can review the issue before sending.
       

You can even send test emails just to yourself.

 

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