Today I want to show you how you can easily implement fully-automated drip campaigns in SharePoint using just your browser.
So what are drip campaigns anyway? Wikipedia is always a handy research tool for these things: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drip_Marketing. So basically you want to send a series of messages to your customers, at preset time intervals, as a follow-up to registration, product download, etc. These messages can contain instructions, advertisements, images or anything else you need. The main goal here is to create a meaningful virtual conversation with your customer, without having to hire a horde of marketing people.
So what do you need? You need Infowise Smart Alert Pro, our upgrade to the good old SharePoint alerts. Two of its main features are the ability to send email to external accounts, even those saved in any text column, and user-defined email templates, that you create and manage yourself.
What we need is to create a Contacts list where you will enter the contact information of your new customers. The list will have a set of custom alerts attached to it, each triggered after a pre-set time interval, starting from the moment the customer entry was created. In our case, we will have 3 templates: one will go out after a week, the second - after two weeks and the third - after a month. Obviously you can create as many templates as you need and define the intervals the way you want them. You can even set conditions for the alerts, so, for instance, if you marked the customer as not willing to receive any additional emails, the system will stop sending to that customer.
So, let's start:
- Install Infowise Smart Alert Pro. You can get the 30-day trial from the product page's download button. You need WSS 3.0 or SharePoint Foundation 2010 as well, of course, the free version will do.
- Create a contacts list. You can change the columns as you need. Just remember to have a column for the email address.
- From list menu (or the List ribbon on SharePoint Foundation 2010) click on Add Alert (do not confuse with Alert Me, which will take you to the built-in alert mechanism).
- The alert creation page is opened. Your list should already be selected.
- Open the Recipients section
- The To field contains your name for now, remove it by clicking on the X
- Add a new "Users in column" recipient by selecting the email column and clicking on Add to To
- Optionally, add yourself to the CC or the BCC recipients to be notified when your customer receives the email
- In the What to send section, clear all the checkbox related to item added, modified and deleted events, we don't need them
- Mark the According to date in column checkbox
- Select Created as your date column
- Specify that you want the alert 1 week after date
- Open the Mail Templates section
- Create a new mail template by entering template name, message subject and message body. Your subject and body can contain functions and column values from the current contact item (use the list on the right to copy and past the values where you need them).
- Click Add to create the new template
- Check the Date radio button opposite the new template's name to select for the date-based emails of the current alert.
- Click OK at the bottom of the page.
- Repeat steps 3-17 for the additional messages of your campaign. Specify the time interval and the message template accordingly.
This is it, your drip campaign is ready. Now create new contacts in the list and they will start receiving the mailings!