Why You Should Integrate Your Newsletter with Your Construction WebsiteYou do great work. You pave roads, build buildings, plan out structures to make them stand through the test of time. You put just as much effort into your construction company’s website as you do your business. It’s where you feature your latest and greatest achievements, where you share your industry expertise and offer in-depth answers to commonly asked questions.

And you may be asking yourself, “Does anyone know it’s there? How do I know it’s not all getting lost in the cyberspace fuzz?”

Do something about it. Check.

Maybe you’ve gone as far as to set up and maintain an email newsletter system to keep your prospects and clients informed and educated. If so, odds are good you’re manually sending emails with your new projects and blog posts. Let us just stop to say, go you! Pat yourself on the back for understanding the value of email marketing!

Though with all of the template creation, the content development, the copying and pasting, the photographing, the scheduling…it’s a process. One you go through for every email. And at the end of the day, it’s yet another thing on your list of craps you’ve gotta get done.

But by golly, you’re not giving up.

What about that thing called automation?

Your equipment uses GPS and you are manually creating emails?  That’s so 2000 late.

So what if you could add something to your website and have an email newsletter that generates automatically and sends to your list? An automated system, like GPS for your website that talks your email and BAM! makes it for you? Now that’s 2017.

Drum roll please….there is a way!

You should have seen the happy dance we broke into when we discovered this capability. It was intense. We employed a human intern whose whole job was dedicated to manually building our email newsletters. After implementing the magic of automated newsletters, all she had to do was get us coffee, like a real intern’s supposed to do.

Just kidding. We make her file…and spell check things.  Gotta earn your keep around here, go get your own coffee.

Invented by exceptionally smart humans, or possibly monkeys.

Some exceptionally smart human who must have been as pained as you are with the labor-intensive task of creating email newsletters must have thought, “Maybe we can create an email system that pulls in information from RSS files and adds it to an email so humans don’t have to do it themselves!”

These smart humans are actually employed by MailChimp. And man did these guys pull it off. Well, it’s possible they’re not guys, or even people. They might be monkeys. Really smart monkeys. Either way, kudos to you, MailChimp. Kudos.

So how does the magic happen?

It begins with your RSS file.

If you have blogging functionality incorporated into your website it has what’s called an RSS file. (Real Simple Syndication) The file is essentially a text output of the content on your blog that automatically refreshes as the site is updated.

Right now you’re probably thinking, “But I don’t have a blog, so this is not for me.” Don’t stop reading yet. Stick with it! If your web developer isn’t a total tool shed, they likely set up your Completed Projects or Portfolio section using a blog like system, because that makes it easier for you to update. Which would mean your Portfolio information is added to the RSS file every time you update your site!

You want the magic?

In an attempt to skip over the long-winded explanation of what RSS files are and how you can use them, you essentially can tell your RSS feed what to include and automatically generate into your email newsletters using MailChimp’s RSS campaign feature.

This is all sounding pretty unbelievable, right? You’re about ready to do this thing, and we don’t blame you. There are a just few things you’ll need to do to capture the magic for yourself.

Access your website’s RSS file.

Your feed may be located at www.yourdomainname.com/rss/, check there first.  It could also be at www.yourdomainname.com/feed/ give that a try, then if you’re still not sure it’s time to talk to your web guru.  Ask your web developer for a link to your RSS feed. If that scares the living daylights out of you, your web developer should be able to take care of this whole email integration deal. Just outline for them what you want to include in your automatic emails. And if your web developer doesn’t know how to do this, we know a good one who can give you a hand.

Make sure your projects and blog posts are being added to your RSS feed.

Make sure when you add a project or make a blog post it’s being added to your RSS feed.  Remember earlier when we talked about the potential relationship between a tool shed and your web developer? You’ll need to do some detective work to uncover your developer’s tool status.

Look at your RSS feed, search for a tag that looks like this: <title>. The title of your most recent blog post or project name should be next to it. If this is the case, you’re in business.

If not, your blog posts or projects are not being added to the feed, so they also can’t be added to the newsletter. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever automate your newsletters, it just means you have to adjust that part of your website first so you can. It could also mean your web developer is a total tool shed, in which case, it may be time to find a new one.

Sign up for a MailChimp account.

This part’s easy. Go to MailChimp and get started with a free account. What’s great about this service is you can use the RSS email newsletter feature with all their subscription plans, even the free one.

When you’re in MailChimp building your campaign, there’s like, a button. And you click it. And add your RSS and recipient information. And done. It’s that simple. And bonus: they have step by step instructions on their website. Here’s to wishing there were more vendors out there doing this, but we hear it’s hard, so hard we had to rely on a group of monkeys to pull it off. We had to rely on a group of monkeys to pull it off. Once again, kudos, monkeys.

Harness the magic.

Handling website code of any kind in conjunction with starting a new service is enough to unhinge most people and send them off into the deep end. That’s why we’ve included a handful of useful resources to guide you through integrating your email newsletter with your construction website.

  • RSS-to-Email Feature in MailChimp
    This page provides a general overview of the MailChimp feature you can use to automatically share your new blog posts and projects automatically via email.
  • Share Your Blog Posts with MailChimp
    Here’s a step-by-step guide for using an RSS campaign to email your latest blog posts and projects to your subscribed contacts.
  • All the Merge Tags Cheat Sheet
    This lovely page features all of the merge tags MailChimp offers for pulling in all kinds of dynamic information into your emails. Grab a snack and prop your feet up–there’s a lot of good stuff in here.
  • Featured Images in RSS & MailChimp Email
    If you’re on WordPress, images aren’t going to be pulled into your email automatically the way the text is pulled. We use a plugin called Featured Images in RSS Feeds. Check it out. Cause pictures make things pretty.

Additional useful resources for RSS tags:

Get GPS for your email, you won’t regret it.

Automation. It’s where the world seems to be headed, isn’t it? Don’t get left behind by letting website and newsletter integration become another task for another day. We get it–change is hard. We’ve been in this place, remember the human intern who just made newsletters?

Say goodbye to hours spent each week gathering content and updating your email newsletter template with new words and pictures. Say hello to gobs of time opening up on your calendar you can use doing more important things for your business.

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