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Thread: email subscription, where to start?

  1. #1
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    email subscription, where to start?

    my company wants an email subscription form on the site that will allow them to send company/product news to the subscribers.

    I know there are tutorials on the web that will teach me how to write on an XML file.

    I would like the database to be made of XML and use ASP to save the email addresses from the form. My questions is how do I retrieve those email addresses from the XML file so that we can send the email from Outlook?

    Would it be easier for my company to buy a software that will do this, and most importantly allow them to send emails that look like web pages, much like what Adobe would send.

  2. #2
    I'd cut out the XML completely and save yourself some hassle!

    From what I imagine, this form on your site is only going to be asking for an email address and possibly a name of some kind. So if for each user in the database you're only going to have a maximum of 2 fields (3 if you include the primary key ID), then you can just pull each email address out of the database and you're ready to go!

    EG: once you have your data stored in a database, an SQL statement like:

    SELECT email_address FROM mailingList_db

    will return all the email addresses from your data. All you need to do is perform some very simple formatting for each result, to make each value comma seperated, and you have your mailing list. If you want to address the email to each person, simply retrieve their stored name as well. No need for XML!

    As for sending HTML emails, I'd say your best bet for that is to go with an external company. I was asked to create an HTML send out a few months ago, and believe me, its much easier getting someone else to do it. Take a look at www.mailchimp.com for some good information and a useful free trial.
    Once you've found the company you are going to use for your mailouts, you just need to agree on what is the best way for them to receive your list of subscribers. You may even find someone that accepts a database of email addresses and then you wouldn't have to touch your user data at all!

  3. #3
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    In case my company says they'll just send emails through Outlook and all I have to do is create a web form that will store the data on a database like Access, which I can easily find tutorials on line.

    Sorry I'm a newbie, but as I understand this, SQL is the language I can use to retrieve/sort/display the data. But Outlook can just get the addresses from the Access without writing any scripts, right?

  4. #4
    Sorry, wasn't sure how far your knowledge ran. Yes, SQL (Structured Query Language) is the language or syntax used to add/remove/read/organise generally do everything with your Database data. See http://mysql.com/

    As for Outlook I'm not a big fan so I don't know a lot about it. Generally, Access kind of sucks as a database for web applications, but, being Microsoft, it might offer some advantages when it comes to exporting the data to outlook. However, you are going to have a hard time creating HTML emails in Outlook so I'd still advise to get someone else to actually send all your HTML emails.

  5. #5
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    I'll research more into mysql, but it seems like a lot more than I can handle with my experience.

    But I did find some softwares that are already set up and makes mail list and newsletter easy to handle like http://www.raizlabs.com/software/mai...troduction.asp and http://www.designerfreesolutions.com...idproduct=1027.

    I think I'll try pitching these instead, takes hours off my time and anyone can administer it. what do you think?

  6. #6
    MySQL is extremely easy to use once you get the hang of it, and there are lots of great tutorials out there. I know there are some here on kirupa.com. You'll need a submit form to submit the email address, and then a PHP script to scan through all the emails in the database and send an email to each address. It won't take that long to code and will work extremely well, believe me.
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  7. #7
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    My company's server supports ASP only, but I'm assuming I can still use MySQL.

    Form I can make and I'm sure I can find the tutorials on how to save the information from the form to the database.


    This part I'm not quite clear on:

    Quote Originally Posted by Esherido View Post
    PHP script to scan through all the emails in the database and send an email to each address.
    how is this done? Not the actual scripts but I guess the process. Sorry, I need a visual process in my mind

    Where do I place and run this PHP script, or in my case ASP script? So do I make a normal ASP page, with the code to retrieve all the email addresses and run it on the website? But then what would be sending the email? Or how is the email created and where?

    sorry for all the questions, this is my first attempt in working with databases.

  8. #8
    You'd basically just write an ASP script that sends an email (there are LOADS of tutorials out there for this), and then modify it so that it gets each email address first from your database and ammends each one to the recipient list.

    But, and I still can't stress this enough; sending HTML emails is NOT as straightforward as you think. If you don't want this whole project to be a waste of time I seriously recommend you try sending yourself an HTML email to as many different email accounts as possible before you do anything else. You need to figure out if you actually can send an acceptable, formatted HTML email, that's not going to get rejected by spam filters and will display nicely on the myriad email clients out there. If not, stop worrying about it, just collect the data and then get an external company to do the send out for you.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by duncanhall View Post
    just collect the data and then get an external company to do the send out for you.
    Normally, these charge by email you send or they have packages in thousands. Wouldn't it be better for my company to pay for a newsletter and email listing software for around $100US dollars, as I've found from where I can manage the listing, make the newsletter and even track the emails sent out?

  10. #10
    I would have it done like this, flowchart:

    Guest enters e-mail in form, clicks subit
    |
    |
    ASP script puts e-mail into SQL database
    |
    |
    E-Mail writer(editor) writes content fron an admin panel on your website
    |
    |
    ASP script takes content puts into website frame
    |
    |
    ASP code to send the new HTML e-mail to e-mail adress in the database.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by evildrummer View Post
    I would have it done like this, flowchart:

    Guest enters e-mail in form, clicks subit
    |
    |
    ASP script puts e-mail into SQL database
    |
    |
    E-Mail writer(editor) writes content fron an admin panel on your website
    |
    |
    ASP script takes content puts into website frame
    |
    |
    ASP code to send the new HTML e-mail to e-mail adress in the database.
    thank you so much for the flow chart, I was trying to make one to help me picture it and I keep putting the last three steps into one step that I did not know, but to somehow have the emails sent. This definitely gives me a clearer picture and idea of what I should be looking for in tutorials.

  12. #12
    If you need any help just ask, I can do PHP and SOME ASP but all the logic is the same.

  13. #13
    evildrummer could you please post some php code on how to add whatever is typed into the input field gets added to the template and then sent off i know how to send email in php but its just how to add automatically the html template page to send off??

    only if you have the time, or if you could point me in some goood tutorials on this i'm going to do mine through flash interface.

  14. #14
    well I dont really have much time so I cant now but i can explain the process later!

  15. #15
    thats cool thanks that will be great just post back when you get time...i'll do some research on it through php...Cheers

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