If you take part in the day-to-day management of a professional association, sporting club or community group, chances are the short list of ‘things you need to achieve on your website’ is as straightforward as it is important. Stuff like ‘making it easy for new members to join’, ‘publishing a calendar of events’ and ‘sending email newsletters’ are fairly mission-critical tasks in the running of an association… So the team at Houston-based agency Schipul have created a CMS called Tendenci to do these things really well. Soon after spilling the beans to their customers regarding their new-fangled integration with Campaign Monitor, the Tendenci team kindly gave me a live demo of how easy it is to create and manage email campaigns from within their app – let me tell you, integrations are bigger in Texas, too!

Auto-filling email templates with CMS content

In partnering with Campaign Monitor to handle email marketing campaigns, Tendenci customers can not only benefit from being able to quickly update website content (for example, a ‘calendar of upcoming events’), but have it added on-the-fly to an email template. The updated template can then be uploaded to your Campaign Monitor account from within the Tendenci interface, ready to be used in a campaign the next time you log into your Campaign Monitor account. In the following example, you can see how content ‘modules’ like ‘Articles’, ‘News’, ‘Jobs’ and more can be selectively added to a template in Tendenci:

Adding content to an email template

Once back in your Campaign Monitor account, it’s just a matter of starting a new campaign and making use of Tendenci’s email templates. Additional content can be added and tweaks made via the editor, just as you would any other email template. Here’s an example of an email newsletter that’s been created using this process, using the auto-imported modules selected above (click to view in full):

Email template updated in Tendenci

Overall, this streamlined process can save a lot of time which would be otherwise spent copy/pasting between the CMS and your Campaign Monitor account (not to mention, formatting it all nicely).

You can also import new templates and view draft campaigns via Tendenci. Once campaigns have been sent, basic reports are available via Tendenci’s dashboard, too.

Adding new subscribers via Tendenci sites

Campaign sending and reporting aside, Tendenci also does a great job at handling email subscribers and syncing with your Campaign Monitor lists. Simply create a ‘group’ in Tendenci and a corresponding subscriber list is created in Campaign Monitor – add subscribers to a group and you’ll find they’ve been automatically pushed to your lists.

Managing subscribers in Tendenci

We sure were expecting a big, brassy integration from our Texan friends at Schipul – they sure didn’t stand down from their word here.

Yee-haw Houston drinks at SchipulCon!

On a personal note, the Tendenci team and myself have become pretty chummy in the weeks while they’ve worked on supporting Campaign Monitor. Not only are they really nice folks to work with, but they throw excellent conferences, too. If you’re in, or around Houston, TX and are keen to get involved in the local design, programming and UX scene, check out SchipulCon during 6-7 October, 2011. We’ll be shouting drinks from afar during their happy hour, so scoot on over to their site and get schooled… The first beer is on us.

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