Mailing List Management

Mailing lists are a fantastic marketing tool but a bit of a nightmare to manage, especially with the new GDPR regs coming in soon.

Here is a great Rapidweaver solution.
Managing a mailing list is hard work. First, you have to be super careful how you gather the data, and then you have to have in place a perfect unsubscribe solution. Typically all this costs money.

This is not a free alternative, but it's about as cheap as it gets while retaining total control, staying inside the new GDPR and integrating the whole thing into a RapidWeaver website.

First, open a Sendy account with Greg Barchard at Chillidog Hosting.

Who/what?

Chillidog hosting is a great independent hosting company, and Sendy is a self-hosted mailing list suite, a bit like Mailchimp only loads cheaper, because it sends newsletters out via your own Amazon SES account. At least it should, what Greg has done is pretty cool: He's setup Sendy on his servers and connected it to his own Amazon SES account, he will then add an account for you to the setup, so you get to use all the features without any of the setup costs.

It's free, right?

No, of course, it's not, but it is cheap. Sendy has two main features: Gathering and managing email addresses (mailing lists) and sending out mail shots. If you only want the first (mailing list management), Greg will charge you $1 a month. Yes, I said $1. A month. That's insane.

Under Sendy, you can setup as many mailing lists as you want. You can setup one per website, or have several different lists for the same site.

Then, once your list is built up, you can upgrade the account to be able to send out unto 5000 emails a month for only $7.99. Still insanely cheap compared to MailChimp. During the months you don't send anything just downgrade your account back to the basic $1 package and continue to build your list.

Gathering Emails

There are many ways to gather email addresses, but the most obvious is via a subscription box on your RapidWeaver website. Sendy does provide a bit of script to add a box to your site, but it's ugly and basic and just not very nice. It is free though, so if style isn't you're thing you can use it.

A better option is Joe Workmans Post Office stack. It costs $25 and not only integrates easily with Sendy but can also be used to build a list in a MySQL database.

Right, the price. Yes, it's $25. "OMG, that's too expensive for a stack" I hear you say. STOP BEING SUCH A F**KING TIGHT ARSE.

OK, you probably didn't say that, so sorry. But still, there are loads which will, and they piss me off. $25 is nothing. It's a bad meal out or a dull night in the bar. Joe spends weeks building this stuff and a lifetime supporting it. You pay $25 once, and you get everything for the rest of your life. So wise up. OK, rant over, back on topic.

Drop the Post Office stack on your page, configure for your Chillidog Sendy send account, tell it which list to add subscriptions to and boom, you're done.

If you're in the EU you need to select double opt-in inside Sendy for new subscriptions and add a little message to Post Office explaining this, but then, after a few clicks you're site visitor has now signed up to your new mailing list, and you're on the way to being a newsletter queen.
If you went through the signup process once you've hit the subscribe button a popup should have appeared explaining that the site uses double opt-in and so you'll soon be receiving an email with a confirmation link.

You will then have got an email with a welcome message in it and the link.

Once you've clicked that link, you will have automatically been re-directed to this page, a welcome to the newsletter page.

That's it. You have now been added to the BaskervilleMe mailing list, and the process is 100% percent within the new GDPR regs.

Total cost to you: Month one: $26- $25 for the stack and $1 for the Chillidog email account. Cost month two onwards: $1.

So there you have it. A very rough but to the point guide to getting a mailing list subscription service setup for more or less no cost, when compared to the others out there.

And before anyone says anything: MailChimp. Please don't make me laugh. MailChimp is for mugs. They lure you in with free this, and that then rape you, unless you want their branding all over your newsletters.

If you're tight, and don't take pride in what you do, and don't care about being a free marketing service for someone else, Mailchimp it is. If on the other hand, the only brand you want to be selling is your brand, you know where to go.

Found an error above, or a typo? Good for you. Don't bother telling me; I don't care. This isn't a review site; it's my pointless blog.

:-)
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