Some years ago I worked on a project and needed an easy way to send newsletters from Umbraco. I looked though all the packages at our.umbraco.org and my conclusion was simple: there are no good packages.
I had two options: Integrate with an external email service or build something. I saw this as an opportunity to actually contribute something and improve the experience for the end users of Umbraco. Because at the end of the day it's always the end users, our customers, that are supposed to use the system.
To make their life easier I wanted to create a newsletter section in the Umbraco backoffice where the user can create, send and track newsletters. That's want I did.
Newsletter Studio for Umbraco
After a lot of hard work I managed to release Newsletter Studio for Umbraco which is a extentions that let's your users send newsletters and track them from the same environment as they are used to work - the back office.
The feature list is quite long
- Send newsletters to members or subscribers from the Umbraco back office
- Unlimited number of subscribers and newsletters in full version
- Easy to create content using the same rich text editor as Umbraco
- Can include dynamic content from Umbraco content nodes
- Nice analytics and charts on opens and clicks
- Built in support for skins and templates to control appearance
- Handles bounces and lets you edit bounced subscribers
- Import subscribers from different file formats.
- Ships with Razor-templates to integrate into the website front end
- Supports multiple smtp-servers and throttling
- Hooks to extend the newsletter rendering process
- Provider based model for receiving subscribers (can use sources like web shops, etc)
Hook into Umbraco
One of the best features with the package is the ability to hook into external subscriber sources. You can use the umbraco site members or write a provider that talks to your custom data source, a web shop package, web service or what ever.
This can be used to for example send newsletters to all subscribers that did not place an order the last 3 months or people that have not logged in to your community site the last months.
But, Umbraco is a CMS - not a newsletter email service?
Some would say that you should not use Umbraco as a newsletter platform. I'll say it's just a matter of having the right infrastructure. There's a lot of benefits with having a integrated solution:
- No need for the end user to learn another system
- Use and integrate content from the site in the newsletter
- Using the "RenderTask" you can personalize the newsletters for each receiver
- No need to export/import lists of subscribers. Just use the buildt in or write a custom provider that talks with your storage - it will always be up to date.
When you install Newsletter Studio you'll have to configure an outgoing sever. At the moment we only support smtp-servers so that means that you can use your hosting providers email server, your own or use a smtp-relay service like SendGrid or MailGun. This will work very good for the most scenarios, it's been tested with around 100k emails and works like a charm.
The aim for the next release is to make it possible to integrate to external APIs, like MailChimp and Campaign monitor. The end users will not see the differens - they will still use the umbraco backoffice but the package will run on a very robust infrastructure.
Want to try it? Go to: http://our.umbraco.org/projects/backoffice-extensions/newsletter-studio
What do you think about the package? Feedback? Ideas? Just drop a comment!