When Mashable gave our very own worldview a plug in a post on solid UI designs, we found ourselves sharing the stage with a merman. Ok fine, so the merman was the mascot for Fork, an open source CMS and not a real, live merman, as I was hoping. But if Fork’s fun, under-sea themed site was anything to go by, we figured that there would be plenty to like about the guys and gals behind this trident-weilding platform.
A few weeks later, the Fork team got in touch regarding an integration they had built using the Campaign Monitor API. Once I had overcome my dismay at not being contacted from 10,000 leagues under the sea, I fired up Fork for myself and found that the usefulness of their Mailmotor module well and truly made up for any perceived shortcomings. Here’s a quick take on how their email marketing integration can streamline the sending of campaigns from a Fork-powered site.
Send and report on campaigns, all from Fork
After a fresh, self-hosted install and a little fooling around with Fork’s backend, it’s hard to ignore the tab for Mailmotor – a module that comes installed by default. On this tab, you’ll be briskly walked through linking Fork to an existing Campaign Monitor account, selecting a client account, then having one or more subscriber lists imported into Fork’s ‘Groups’.
Once you’ve set up Groups, Mailmotor’s rich-text editor and default email templates make creating a new campaign (or ‘Mailing’) a relatively simple task. That said, there isn’t any documentation on how to add your own templates at present, so we’re keen to find out if this function will become available in a future update.
Now a campaign has been created, sending it to one or more of your Groups from within Fork is a straightforward process. Campaign results are subsequently pulled into Fork, meaning that you can potentially never have to toggle between the backend and your Campaign Monitor account. You can even set up pricing per send in Euros, although Mailmotor’s non white-labelness may not be ideal for Campaign Monitor resellers.
Fork also comes with a Form Builder module for rapidly creating nice-looking contact forms and more, but it saves submissions to an internal database. In a future update, we’d love to have Form Builder hook up with one or more Campaign Monitor lists, creating a seamless workflow from collecting email addresses, to sending and finally, reporting on campaigns.
An open source, free CMS… That looks good
I know what you UI folks are thinking when I say ‘open source CMS’. So I’ll just put it out there now – despite a few holes in their documentation, Fork is fairly intuitive to use. It’s clean. You can create lovely sites with it. However, like many open source projects, it is angled towards the coder crowd, meaning that some technical knowledge is required to make the most of it as a CMS. While Fork comes bundled with a couple of attractive themes and nifty apps (like Mailmotor), as is the case with other self-hosted platforms like WordPress, there will inevitably be a point where you’ll feel the need to get elbows-deep in adapting themes or heck, even forking Fork on Github.
To find out more, try a demo account and download a copy for yourself, visit the Fork site.