When we were given the opportunity to work on a new website and email marketing campaign for a subscription based business, I jumped at the opportunity to research email marketing integrations with the SilverStripe content management system (CMS).
Mailchimp has a large network of integrations, however, there were only two integrations with SilverStripe that I could find and neither proved to be sufficient for the purposes of this project.
In summary, our client’s website encourages users to sign up and/or register as a member. Members can also attend events.
I wanted to ensure we kept the Mailchimp account clean and only have one list rather than multiple ones (subscribers, members, per event). Having one list makes for much more straightforward management and eliminates the potential danger of new users signing up with the ‘wrong’ sign-up form which might occur if the list was shared.
Within the mailing list for this project, there were a few things to consider:
- Subscribers signing up to email only
- Subscribers can upgrade and become a Member
- Direct member registration automatically has a subscription record
- Members attending events
I am always trying to encourage targeted email campaigns to improve the subscriber’s experience and thus having one main list with merge fields and event segment data for each profile will help our client to create targeted email campaigns.
Each member has a member profile within the SilverStripe CMS which allows you to see: when they became a member; when their membership expires; what event they’ve attended etc.
Without any integration you can segment your mailing list in Mailchimp by exporting all data and fields into Mailchimp. This is great if you are doing this once, but difficulties arise when updating the list in Mailchimp and keeping data fields current. Even from the most basic list management, updating your list and ensuring the list remains identical across both SilverStripe and Mailchimp as users subscribe, unsubscribe, and update their information from both platforms can be difficult
So when we built the website, our developer Joe Harvey, created a new module that integrated Mailchimp with SilverStripe. Using the Mailchimp API, ‘Silverback’ was born! This module integrates mailing lists in both SilverStripe and Mailchimp and creates static segments in Mailchimp when an event is created in SilverStripe.
What does the module do?
- When users subscribe on the website or are manually added through SilverStripe, they will be added into the list in Mailchimp.
- Anyone subscribing through the Mailchimp signup form will be added in the SilverStripe CMS –Mailchimp ad a double opt-in process however, you can change the settings using the API.
- Unsubscribes are synced when users unsubscribe from either platform
- If you have additional information that has been created in Mailchimp as merge field’s e.g. address or subscription expiry date, when these are edited in SilverStripe of Mailchimp it will be updated in both
- SilverStripe will create/delete a new list as and when Mailchimp has a new/removed list
- If a new subscriber is created to your mailing list but that person is already a ‘member’, SilverStripe will recognise the subscriber has a related member object and update all member fields in Mailchimp
- When a subscriber becomes a member and completes the member transaction, a member object is created in SilverStripe, and their details will be updated in Mailchimp; from subscriber to member
- When a member decides to unsubscribe to email marketing, but remains a member, they are unsubscribed in SilverStripe and in Mailchimp
- When a member re-subscribes to email marketing on the website, they are added back into the list in SilverStripe and in Mailchimp
- If a subscriber unsubscribes and tries to re-subscribe through the website, they will receive an error message. They will only be able to re-subscribe through Mailchimp’s sign up form with double opt-in confirmation email or admin can add the subscriber manually
- When an event page is created in SilverStripe, a static segment is created in Mailchimp
- If you have more than one list, you can choose, through SilverStripe, which list or multiple lists you want the static segment to be created against in Mailchimp
- When a user on the website clicks ‘attend’ on the website, they are added into the segment in Mailchimp & SilverStripe
- You can manually add people to an event in SilverStripe and they will also be added in the Mailchimp static segment
- When someone decides to un-attend, they will be removed from the static segment in both SilverStripe and Mailchimp.
How do you use the Mailchimp integration and how does it help?
By having one list, this means that when subscribers upgrade as a member, their profile is updated in this list. When you have separate lists for subscribers and members, you would have to manually remove the member from the subscriber list and add them to the members list.
Members can easily be identified by merge field information since only members have a member expiration date. Therefore, when sending an email campaign all you will need to do is ‘send to segment > select member expiry date > select contains x’.
You will never have to worry about subscriber and member information being out of date in Mailchimp since profiles are synced when changed on either platform.
Segment integration for events is useful when sending emails to those attending the event, but it is particularly useful for targeted email campaigns.
For example, you want to send an email campaign to those that attended Event 1, 3 and 5. In Mailchimp all you will need to do is select > send to segment: Event 1, 3, 5. Without this integration, you would export the list from SilverStripe for all three events then add to Mailchimp. Most people would probably even create a new list however, savvy email marketers would update the main list and create a unique segment as this is best practise and provides additional information to the subscribers.
SilverStripe and Mailchimp are E-scape's preferred CMS and email marketing platforms. If you would like more information about Mailchimp and SilverStripe Integration or email marketing services please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org