View Full Version : what's involved in sending out and tracking email campaigns?

04-01-2004, 04:22 PM
we would like to be able to do the following things:
1. just be able to send out a newsletter on a regular basis
2. send out and track email campaigns.
i.e. we would need to know how many people actually opened the email, how many viewed a privacy policy link, forwarded it to a colleague, submitted the form (that would need to be auto-populated because the emails will be personalized) and all that sort of stuff.
3. sending out emails depending on when the record was created in the database (say I need to send out emails to each record that was created 7 days ago and this process would need to happen every day) and then send follow up emails based on what the response to the first one was.

what is involved in doing it? I need to know everything from software to what one would need to know to program and manage this kind of system.

04-05-2004, 08:18 AM
... i.e. we would need to know how many people actually opened the email, ...

Well I am unsure of the ethics of such, though of course an opt-in list gives you some scope.

At the end of the day you are going to be hampered by your users choice/setup of mail client, e.g. for those who receive HTML email , you can append unique ID's to server content , e.g. img src="www.blah.com/img/pic.jpg?sid=1234" where pic.jpg is really a server-side script which logs the 'hit' and then outputs the image.

Of course those who can not or will not accept HTML email are another matter , all you can know for sure is whether the email was accepted (e.g. not bounced to your return address) or not, also firewall configuration could hamper such with paranoid clients.

The tracking of forward's etc is feasible if complex, but again , 1 secure client in the chain will break it.

I would suggest that with your stipulation of working with your existing systems that you are well into custom script territory , what tools ? well you know what I would use , but any language that can utilise HTTP or sockets would do.

not much help am I :D

04-05-2004, 09:34 AM
1. Easy. Run a google and you'll be swamped with mailscripts.
2. Sending out --> see 1. Tracking them --> first ask yourself what you'll do with the tracking info and how relevant it realy is to you. Do you realy care if adressX opened the message and did nothing after that?
I would imagine that the only real important issue is wether they submitted the form (which could contain a checkbox for the privacy policy and the clients ID). And i assume these will be posted to you so no extra coding required here
All other info about opening/forward might be completely irrelevant.
3. Easy. Just set up a cronjob that selects the records from the db and sends a mail to each client, and have it run at midnight. I've posted some info on that using PHP in the PHP-forum. Using the mail() function is probably the easiest, but only recommended for lower volumes (< 500 mails?) since it is quite slow.

The only soft you need could be PHP, a db (mySQL ?) and a cron-job (Unix) or a scheduled task (Windows).

04-13-2004, 08:45 PM
sorry I never got back to this thread sooner. but's it's never too late to say thanks, is it? ;)