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Now that we have a newsletter that displays well in a variety of browsers and a variety of email processors, we need to create our lists of readers. You can either add these manually one at a time, or import them using an Excel file to create a CSV file.
It is a good idea to break down larger lists of more than a few hundred into smaller lists of less than 300. For example, if you have 600 readers in a particular zip code, you should consider breaking the list into two smaller groups of about 300 each with A through M and one list N through Z. These list assignments should be based on the first letter in the person’s email address (not their first or last name) as the one thing you are most likely to be certain of is the email address. This will make your task easier when it comes to deleting email addresses from your lists. It will also make it easier to stay just under the 1,000 per day limit when sending out emails.
There are a couple of benefits of working from an Excel spread sheet. This is a good way of organizing and expanding your lists over time. These lists are also much easier to import without making mistakes than trying to manually enter the information one user at a time.
You can also copy information from a Master list to several smaller lists by entering information on a Master list which includes information from email, first and last name, zip code, address, phone numbers, how and where the person signed up, other groups the person may belong to and any other information you may want to use to sort your readers into different interest groups.
The free version of Acymailing only accepts columns named name, email and confirmed. So if you want to sort by zip code or anything else, you need to do that outside of the AcyMailing program.
For example, if your file contains a list of users with the format "email,name,confirmed", this first line of your file should be : "email,name,confirmed" (always in English and always lower cased).
For the column or field labeled confirmed, the values should be 1 (for confirmed). If you don't specify this column in your file, the default value is 0 (not confirmed). But if you do not include this column in your Excel and CSV files, then you will have to go through each and every user name and confirm them to be able to send them an email. This is a difficult and time consuming process in Acymailing, but it is very easy to create a long column of “1”s in EXCEL. So instead, create and use a column called confirmed that has the value 1 for each person in your Excel/CSV files. (Type 1 into the first cell, then select it, click on COPY in the Excel top menu, then select the cell again and select all the cells below it with your cursor. Then click on PASTE with the top menu).
If your file contains a list of e-mails (one per line!) and no NAME information, simply add the string "email" (without the quotes) at the top of your file. But you will still need a confirmed column with each user having a value of 1 to be able to send out emails to those on your email list.
The next step is to convert your Excel data base file into a CSV text file so that it can be transported over the internet. To convert an Excel file and save it as a CSV file, make a copy of the columns you want in your CSV file, with email, name and confirmed at the top of the three columns. EDIT COPY, FILE SAVE AS. Then use the drop down arrow to save the new file as a CSV file. The end extension will be (dot)csv
Once you have your CSV file, the next step is to create a User List to match this file. Then upload this file into AcyMailing lists.
CREATING AN ACYMAILING USER GROUP NAME TO GO WITH YOUR CSV FILE
Before you import users to a list, you first need to create a specific list for this new group if users. There should be a direct relationship between our excel file structure and your acymailing user list structure to make it easier to migrate files back and forth. For example, all of my emails are organized by zip code – with a couple of other lists for those who are organized by interest groups instead of zip code. This other groups are organized by the manner in which the person signed up for a newsletter.
As just one example, the town of North Bend is all in zip code 98045. So my excel file is called 98045 and my Acymailing file is called North Bend Community Newsletter. Issaquah is a little harder because it has two zip codes. To keep these email lists apart, in Acymailing one is called Issaquah 98027 Community Newsletter and the other is called Issaquah 98029 Community Newsletter. If I do not know their zip code, they are simply on the East King County Progressive News or the King County Progressive News or the Washington State Progressive News.
Remember that at least one of your lists will be directly connected to your Subscribe, Unsubscribed Module. To reach this module, go to EXTENSIONS > MODULE MANAGER and click on the Acymailing Module to edit it. The ID for the default list is shown in PARAMETERS:
In the above example, new readers who sign up on your website and newsletter subscription page are automatically assigned to list ID #7. You can see which list this is by going to COMPONENTS > ACYMAILING > LISTS and looking for the ID number in the far right side of the LISTS table:
Do not delete this default list or the Sign Up module will not work. You can also have readers choose which list to sign up for. But this may only confuse readers. Another option is to ask the reader for their zip code and use this information to assign them to the correct list.
To create your lists, go to COMPONENTS > ACYMAILING > LISTS and click on NEW.
Fill in the List Name and click on YES for ENABLED and NO for VISIBLE. Then click on SAVE.
When you are done adding all of the lists for the Excel files you will be importing, you are ready to Import your users.
AcyMailing keeps track of the subscription of your users and of their unsubscription! This way, even if you try to import twice the same users, AcyMailing will take care of the duplicate entries and won't subscribe an unsubscribed user again. Nevertheless, if you import the users to a newly created list, all the imported users will be subscribed to this list! You can still remove some users in mass based on their subscription status using the screen "Subscribe Users" from the Lists management.
If you want to subscribe users in mass to your Mailing Lists using filters, you should go to the screen "Subscribe Users" from the Lists Management.
To import your CSV list to Acymailing, go to COMPONENTS > ACYMAILING >USERS.
Then click on the IMPORT icon.
In UPLOAD A FILE, browse to the CSV file you want to upload and select it. Make sure you select the CSV file and not the Excel file.
Also select the list you want the file uploaded to by selecting YES for that list.
Then click on import.
Acymailing will import the list and also check it for bad email addresses and duplicate email addresses from your other lists. If you included a confirmed column and you remembered to check the precise list you want the users added to, AcyMailing will confirm these users and add them to the list and tell you how many users were added to that list:
Acymailing will also warn you if you have any invalid email addresses:
EDITING A LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS
It appears as if Acymailing just creates a huge list of users which can be exported. You can click on the EMAIL column in order to order all of the emails alphabetically. But there is also a way to edit subscribers in each of your lists. The trick is to go to the LIST screen and click on the NUMBER OF SUBSCRIBERS. This will display one list of users at a time. Here you can add or delete names from this list. You can also export this list and work with it outside of AcyMailing.
You can also select subscribers by a given list from the USER screen by using the drop down arrow on the right side of the screen – which is by default set for all lists and all status:
EXPORTING A LIST OF USERS
There may come a time when you want to resort and reorganize your lists. This is best done outside the AcyMailing program – meaning you may want to export your lists. The following is a brief description of this process.
By default, the fields "email","name","confirmed" and "html" will be selected so that the exported file will be :
Note that up until now we have ignored the fourth HTML column. We can do this because the “default” value of 1 for HTML is what we typically want for all of our readers.
You can select the lists you want to export. If you choose "No All Users" for the filter "Only Users subscribed to at least one of the selected lists", the selection of the lists done here won't be taken in account and all your users will be exported.
This area enables you to apply some filters so that you can export only the users you want.
Only Users subscribed to at least one of the selected lists : if you select "Yes", please make sure you selected at least one list so that users subscribed to at least one of the selected lists will be exported.
Only Confirmed Users : If you select "Yes", only confirmed users will be exported.
This should give you all you need to know to create your own newsletters and send them out to your email list. The final article, which comes next, describes how to use TAGS to add your readers name to the beginning of the email. Yet another way to build a stronger relationship with your readers.