Keeping in touch with our email list subscribers is critical, but we don't often have time to construct a new campaign and send it. MailChimp's RSS-to-Email campaigns allow you to make updates in one place--your web site--and automatically notify members of your participating list of the updates. It is an easy way to communicate if you're already blogging or writing! In this tutorial, we will show you how to set up MailChimp so it periodically looks for new content on your site and email it to your list subscribers.
To set up an RSS-to-Email campaign, you will need two things:
- a list of recipients in your Mailchimp account (we'll assume you already have this); and
- a source of content that is summarized in an RSS feed.
What is an RSS feed? It's the dominant standard on the Internet for syndicating content from one source to another. All content management systems, like Joomla, generate them. You'll often see the square orange icon with the white 'radio transmitter' lines associated with them.
You can get the RSS feed of a page in Joomla by
- Enabling the RSS feed module on that page; or
- Performing a 'view source' on the page and looking for 'rss'
Generally in Joomla 2.5, it's the same url as the page your're looking at but with '&format=feed&type=rss' at the end. Now that you have the url of the feed, log in to Mailchimp.
To set up the RSS-to-Email campaign, once logged onto your mailchimp account, hover your mouse over the big, red 'Create Campaign' button in the upper-right and select 'RSS-driven campaign' from the list.
The first thing you'll need to enter is the url of the RSS feed you want to send out.
Beneath the URL feed, you'll select how often you want to send email to your subscribers: daily, weekly or monthly and the details of your selection (day of week, day of month, time of day, etc.) Don't worry about sending empty emails. If mailchimp doens't see anything new in your RSS feed, it wont send anything out.
Click on the 'next' button and choose which list you want to send to. You can also send to a segment of a list, click the pull-down that says that to set it up.
From there on out, it's just like setting up a regular Mailchimp campaign. If you have significant customizations for an RSS Feed, you may want to create a new template specifically for RSS-to-Email campaigns, or you can simply edit the template in the campaign setup.
All you have to do is create new content on your website and Mailchimp automatically does the rest, emailing out summaries of that content to your list subscribers. As with any MailChimp account, you can even update your social media accounts with your latest MailChimp campaign, which can save you even more time. If you are looking to update even more web-based tools than MailChimp offers, take a look at ifTTT (If THIS THEN THAT). What could be easier?
More on RSS-to-Email campaigns from MailChimp