If you have a website designed by Eric Peterson, you've already got a powerful tool to keep in touch with your customers or clients. It's located under the components tab on your administration panel, and it's called AcyMailing. And, you've already got a template with your logo or website header, a view online link, an unsubscribe link (that will automatically unsubscribe the subscriber from the selected list or lists), and it will individually address the recipient by their first name.
While you have a number of built in templates to choose from, this customized template is set up in a letter format, giving the recipient a more personal communication feel.
Before we get started, let's talk about how we should use this program...
The object of sending out a newsletter is to keep your name in front of your client base, so that they'll think about you the next time they might need your product. After all, everyone of us with a website is selling something. Whether you have a website selling a product that people can put their hands on, a service people can use, or a resource for people to turn to, we want them to come back to our website, or step into our business. We're all sales people.
We also want the recipient to actually look at the email. A letter format is the most personal, and the most likely to get noticed, and not immediately get tossed into the spam box. Think about it, are you more likely to read a letter, or scroll through something that looks like an advertisement or magazine?
You also want to be gentle with the frequency that you send out mailings. I would recommend no more than once a month. I've got an insurance company, who I've been very happy with, but they've started an aggressive email campaign that comes out weekly. I don't even take the time to open it any more. It just get's deleted. There can't possibly be anything in the insurance industry that's new (or that I'd care about) on a weekly basis. In fact, it's been so long since I looked at the mailer that I couldn't even tell you if it's a letter or magazine format. It's just too much too often.
Try to keep the email, short with a personal feel.
Now... let's talk about using the AcyMailing program.
First, while you're logged in to your Joomla administration panel, go to the "components" tab, then scroll down to the AcyMailing component. Choose configuration"
On the first tab on the configuration panel, set the email address that you want to use to send the emails from, and the email address that you want to use when somebody replies to your mailing. In the "Mail Configuration" section, most of the defaults should be fine, including using the PHP Mail Function.
On the "Queue" tab, we need to be certain that we don't exceed our hosts limitations on the number of emails we can send out each hour. Most hosts limit that number to 100. So, to allow for any other emails we might be sending out in addition to our mailing, I recommend that we set it to "Send 10 emails, then Wait 10 minutes" before sending another batch.
enter in the email addresses under the notification section that you want to use to receive notifications when someone subscribes or unsubscribes to mailings.
Once you have these settings in place, click on the "SAVE" icon near the upper right of your screen.
On the top panel of the AcyMailing component, you'll see a list of drop down menus that include: "Users", "Lists", "Newsletters", "Queue", "Statistics", and "Configuration".
Click on "Lists". Here, by default is one list. It's called "Newsletters". If everyone is always going to get the same email, there's no need to add any additional lists. If you have certain client groups that you want to send different mailings to, just click on the "New" icon near the upper right. That opens a new screen where all you need to do is give your new list a name, then click the "Save" icon near the upper right.
Click on "Users". This opens a list of current subscribers. To add new subscribers, just click on the "New" icon near the upper right. This opens a new window where you can simply add the name of the subscriber, their email address, and choose the list to subscribe them to by clicking the corresponding "radio" button inline with the list you want the subscribed to. Once entered, click the "Save" icon near the upper right of the screen.
You're now ready to send out your first newsletter! Click on Newsletters. Click on "New" icon. This will open a new page with your default template. If I built your website for you, the default should be the one in a letter format with your logo. Near the middle of the template, you'll see this... <--- insert content here --->. Simply replace that with the contents of your letter. Just like when you edit an article, you can add images using the "image" button just below your editor window. Give your newsletter a "subject" near the top of the page. Choose the list you want to send it to on the right side of the page (if you only have one list, Newsletters will be checked by default).
Once you have your letter the way you want it, click the "Preview / Send" icon near the upper right. This will open a new page, showing you how your email will look. If it needs correction, click the "Edit" icon in the upper right to go back and make changes. If it looks good, hit the "Send" icon near the upper right. This will open a shadow box window. Click send, then walk away and let it run. Don't close out your shadow box window until the send process is complete.
Here's a little video from YouTube on sending out newsletters using AcyMailing...