Using a Campaign to Manage a Newsletter

How I use a campaign to manage my newsletter subscribers. Note that an external email program is still required, such as Vertical Response.

I use Vertical Response but I manage my newsletter subscription within Salesforce. I use a campaign and automation to help me out! I’d love to have something fancier but “True to the Core” is actually pretty good!

Master Campaign Setup

I have a campaign called Master-Email Newsletter. I put everyone on it with different status:
  • Prospect — someone I want to ask to join newsletter
  • Confirmed — someone who says yes
  • Declined — someone who said no
  • Asked to be Removed — someone who asks to stop
In addition, I have to other status settings to represent automation steps:
  • Send Letter Asking To Join — a prospect who has been sent a letter asking to join but hasn’t responded
  • Completed — someone who was confirmed and we have sent a welcome letter. These people are ready to get quarterly newsletters!
Here is a screenshot of how the advanced setup page on the campaign looks. There is where you setup the status values for the campaign. Only Completed is marked as “responding” so that the campaign statistics can tell me how many people are ready to receive newsletters.

Workflow Rules

I have two workflow rules that runs when a campaign member on this campaign has a specific status. Each sends a personalized email and updates the status to the next step.
  • Prospect -> Send Email Asking To Join Newsletter -> Change status to “Sent Letter Asking to Join”
  • Confirmed -> Send Email Welcoming to Newsletter -> Change status to “Completed”
You could do this with in Process Builder instead easily enough. My workflow rules predate Process Builder.
Here is a screenshot of one of the workflow rules. The only trick is to require that the email address not be empty.
The email templates are straightforward and typical.

Scheduled Reports

I have a couple of scheduled reports that help me out. When they arrive in my inbox, I check them out and see if I want to take action. Usually all I do is rerun the report in SF using the report link in the mail and then add the contacts in the report to the campaign. Which status depends on which report it is.
The first report looks for contacts who are not yet on the email campaign at all and who we have known for at least 30 days. We intend to ask many people to receive our newsletter in person or in a more personal way than an automatic email. But if we haven’t done so by 30 days, we get the report saying it’s time. I just add them to the campaign with the status “Prospect.” The workflow then invites them and changes the status to “Sent Email Asking to Join”. If I rerun the report, none of the same names will come up because they are now on the campaign. Awesome!
The second report looks for contacts who have asked to receive the newsletter but don’t have a status of Completed on the campaign. To support this, we have a custom field on our contacts that indicates someone has asked to receive the newsletter. It can be set in many ways, including from our website, from volunteer registration, from surveys, or it can be manually by staff when someone says they want it. No matter the source, the report shows shows who haven’t attained the status of “Completed.” At that point, I add them to the campaign with status “Confirmed.” Since they might be already on this campaign with another status, it is important to click “override status”. The welcome email gets sent and the status gets updated to Completed. If I rerun the report, none of the same names will come up. Exception: if there is no email address, there is no way to welcome them and it remains on the list. No problem, really, but it is an oddity.
Here is the report setup for the second report:

Bounces and Unsubscribes

We send the email using Vertical Response. We actually segment the mailing so we don’t actually send using the Master List. But we could if we send only to those with the status of Completed.
When someone bounces, we just delete their email. We often find or receive a new one. Nothing else changes so the subscription gets suspended while the email is blank and it resumes when we have an email again.
When someone unsubscribes using Vertical Response, Vertical Response handles no longer sending an email to them. We don’t update the campaign status as it would be too much work. Vertical Response does set the “Email Opt Out” field so we know they unsubscribed.

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