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HeadStand

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Hello @HeadStand,

I'm interested in your app, but unfortunately, I can see not a single example how different email newsletters could look like in the screenshots section in the marketplace.

Before I post my questions, some facts about my community

  • I have a huge member database (> 100.000) and the community is operated in the european union (EU), so I'm bound to different strict privacy regulations and laws. As I am a commercial operator, this makes it even worse for commercial mailings.
  • My members have very different status (new members, inactive members for longer than 10 years, members that love emails, members that hate emails and never want to receive any - not a single - in their lifes unless consciously opting in by themselves), and I have to configure each newsletter very carefully

These are the types I want to send

  • An automatic email newsletter with upcoming events for the next month. Can I?
  • An automatic email newsletter with only "most popular" or only "new" contents in forum topics, blog entries. Can I?
  • An automatic email newsletter advertising "new and paid/commercial downloads files". Can I?
  • An email newsletter with manually added raffles contents. Can I?

If I have different email newsletters configured

  • is there a (un)subscription mask, where each member can opt-in or opt-out individually for each newsletter type? Where is this located?
  • will members only be subscribed by the admin in the ACP (=whole member groups selected by admin) or is it required for each member to subscribe first before they receive a newsletter (even if I select groups in the ACP as admin)?
  • can I configure, that only members (honored in addition to the member groups settings) receive emails, that are opted-in to the native IPS bulk email field ("send me news and informations"? To be GDPR compliant, I will setup the central and most important "bulk email" field during registration / in the notification settings, to permit me to send out mass mailings to those interested members. I also wrote a topic about "email marketing" HERE. So far, there are no options to filter members by this field with the current IPS functionality, so it should be honored somehow with your app... This restriction is very important for me!
  • If a member is opting out of the "bulk email field", is it possible to stop ALL newsletter directly?
  • Can I trustworthy avoid to sendout newsletters to banned members (in banned groups/banned temporarily/banned indefinitely/marked as spammers) in every case? Can this absolute requirement be associated if I configure new newsletters to sendout to f.e. the "members" group (even if they are in a primary "banned group" and still in a secondary "members group"?
  • What about "validating members"? Members, who haven't activated their account, or who were moved back to "validating" status according to "bad emails" (emails that can't be received, there are different tools in the marketplace for this like mail bouncer and others) shouldn't receive newsletters. Is this honored?
  • Can I avoid somehow, that members, that haven't been active/logged in for longer than 1 year will receive my newsletters? Do you have any recommendations how to achieve this?
  • If new members register in the community (and are opted in to bulk emails), will they receive the newsletters automatically if their members group has been set to receive these newsletters?

Sorry, if there a any misunderstandings or already answered questions above, but I'm very concerned currently about email privacy, and further, I'm a customer first looking for examples and case studies before just trusting in feature sets, and I didn't find these answers or examples.

A showcase, how members are proceeding (from registration to account termination) to receive newsletters would be really nice.

Thanks a lot for a response and best regards!

Edited by Cyboman
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I have been a long time user of the app, so I can jump in with some answers.

16 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

My members have very different status (new members, inactive members for longer than 10 years, members that love emails, members that hate emails and never want to receive any - not a single - in their lifes unless consciously opting in by themselves), and I have to configure each newsletter very carefully

If you have these members already separated in groups somehow, then your life will be substantially easier.  You can tailor newsletters to only send to specific groups.  This also answers your point about Banned members.  Just make sure your newsletter doesn't point to them.

20 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

An automatic email newsletter with upcoming events for the next month. Can I?

Yes, easily, and if you have multiple calendars, you can do a seperate newsletter for each.

20 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

An automatic email newsletter with only "most popular" or only "new" contents in forum topics, blog entries. Can I?

Yes, you can base it on number of views and number of replies, cut off for how old it is.

22 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

An automatic email newsletter advertising "new and paid/commercial downloads files". Can I?

I don't have downloads, but it works in Commerce.

22 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

An email newsletter with manually added raffles contents. Can I?

You can do any manually added content you like.

23 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

is there a (un)subscription mask, where each member can opt-in or opt-out individually for each newsletter type? Where is this located?

It is under manage profile - Newsletters.  

 

25 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

can I configure, that only members (honored in addition to the member groups settings) receive emails, that are opted-in to the native IPS bulk email field ("send me news and informations"?

You would need to setup a new Newsletter to default to no-one and then people would need to opt-in manually.  I don't see anywhere in the app that recognizes that field in IPS. Headstand can correct me obviously.

26 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

If a member is opting out of the "bulk email field", is it possible to stop ALL newsletter directly?

See above, probably not.

27 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

Can I avoid somehow, that members, that haven't been active/logged in for longer than 1 year will receive my newsletters? Do you have any recommendations how to achieve this?

You would probably need an app to move users into a group after their account has been stale for more than a year and then cut that group out of all distro lists.  I use https://invisioncommunity.com/clients/purchases/58978-inactive-members/ and it works well.

29 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

If new members register in the community (and are opted in to bulk emails), will they receive the newsletters automatically if their members group has been set to receive these newsletters?

As the Opt-in during registration does not seem to integrate with this app, I would say this isn't possible. They would need to opt-in to each newsletter. Again, if I'm wrong Headstand will correct me.   It would be a nice feature that the main Opt-In for bulk emails automatically subscribes the user to the default newsletters for their group membership.

Hope this helps.  

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Thanks a lot @CheersnGears for your response! I appreciate it.

This "opted-in to bulk mail" and "opted-out from bulk email" features become more and more important every day - due to all these privacy discussions and members reporting you to their email providers and legal agencies for "SPAM". I'm already talking to third party developers about creating global apps/plugins to enhance the overall IPS functionality, and I require this filtering option for a lot different use cases (not only for email). I even talked to IPS, but except for the like reaction by @Matt to my -> topic, there is no yes or no or coming soon feature feedback by the IPS management.

But in this case and topic I'm talking especially about the "newsletters" app!

There should be a function, that:

  • moves validated members to opt-in to specified newsletters (probably the specified "default groups" in the newsletters settings?) directly after registration or whenever they choose to opt-in
  • stops ALL EMAILS as soon as opted-out for bulk emails (at least as an optional general setting)

Most of my members

  • will never choose to opt-in to any additional newsletters, so I require to handle such "advertising for mailings" centrally and smart. Nobody is looking for more options to receive even more emails.
  • will never ever come back after registration, if they won't receive reminder emails (and I don't want to use manually generated "bulk email" for it, but the "newsletters" app with automatically generated content! ? )

I think, if such features would be available, I will purchase directly! ? 

But so far, whatever I do, I will be blocked and locked out of using email due to legal restrictions.

We really require professional email marketing, and the "newsletters" app associated to the "bulk email field" could become a very important part for it.

Thanks.

Edited by Cyboman
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If you haven't already, with regards to the marking as spam, you may want to look into a combination of SendGrid/SparkPost and the MailBouncer app. This will help you maintain compliance. I am not that familiar with GPDR, but are transactional emails treated differently than bulk email? Is sending out a "Hey, do you want to keep your account open?" email after 1 year of inactivity still considered spam?

 

 

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20 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

but are transactional emails treated differently than bulk email? Is sending out a "Hey, do you want to keep your account open?" email after 1 year of inactivity still considered spam?

Yes, some of them are.

F.e.

  • if I promote content like a "paid download" or a discussion about it to social media, it is recognized by the new IPS mailing templates ("could also be of interest..." section). But as this is commercial advertising already, it might already be illegal, if the receiver was not willing in to consciously receive advertising! And "consciously" means: (1) you require a checkbox (unchecked by default) to accept mailings, (2) describe every kind of use directly next to the checkbox (mentioning the use in your terms and conditions isn't legally enough anymore), (3) you need to provide evidence about this decision (=logs), (4) in some circumstances: double opt-in
  • you can legally inform your members "you want to close your account" after 1 year (without advertisement ^^), yes, BUT if they don't react to it and won't close their accounts, it's still your duty as the site owner to stop commercial mailings to long-term inactive members after email pausing for a longer term. Maybe not after 1 year email pausing, but after 2 or 3... It's already been in the discussion years ago where the first site owners have been sued for misusing privacy related data.

On the other hand, if a member communicates, that he doesn't want to receive any more emails, you require a one-stop-location for opting-out, not different locations! Don't know how to translate this, but this is anything like "confusing behavior" and red herring.

On the other hand, I'm not only talking about legal aspects. It just makes sense to link the "bulk email" field to the "newsletters" app.

  • Easily presenting an option to receive different email newsletters right on from the registration start
  • Don't let your members search for subscription masks
  • Automatism. Never lose the contact to your members

Therefore, I will do big marketing just before the registration ("accept emails now and get (A) extra features (B) raffle tickets for free (C)..., now or never" ? )

I already know the apps ^^ above, and I will use them in addition, but there are many many reasons, why the "bulk email opt" field should become the strongest and dominating option field for emails yes/no.

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14 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

you can legally inform your members "you want to close your account" after 1 year (without advertisement ^^), yes, BUT if they don't react to it and won't close their accounts, it's still your duty as the site owner to stop commercial mailings to long-term inactive members after email pausing for a longer term. Maybe not after 1 year email pausing, but after 2 or 3... It's already been in the discussion years ago where the first site owners have been sued for misusing privacy related data

It sounds like the Inactive Members app would be really good for this. It will send an email with no other advertising in it and it can be a simple "Hey, you've gone stale. Click here to log in and reactivate your account", and if they don't respond then it can move them into another group making them immune to emails. 

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To clarify a couple of things:

1. The app absolutely takes into account the "send me news and information" checkbox. If someone has unchecked that, they will not receive any newsletter. If a user checks it, they are automatically subscribed to newsletters where their group is in the "default groups" and they will receive the next issue. 

2. Putting an opt-in on registration is an interesting suggestion and I will consider it. 

Thank you @CheersnGears for answering all the other questions. ?

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Just now, HeadStand said:

To clarify a couple of things:

1. The app absolutely takes into account the "send me news and information" checkbox. If someone has unchecked that, they will not receive any newsletter. If a user checks it, they are automatically subscribed to newsletters where their group is in the "default groups" and they will receive the next issue

2. Putting an opt-in on registration is an interesting suggestion and I will consider it. 

Thank you @CheersnGears for answering all the other questions. ?

That's fantastic! I (obviously) wasn't aware of that and it changes a lot of things for me and probably the original poster too.  Thanks

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I don't have any integration with Clubs at this time. I would like to, and it's something I plan on adding, but it's not there yet. 

I have a whole list of features I've been meaning to add to this app. In about 2 weeks I plan on doing a sweep and adding in as many as I can. That includes clubs integration (and things like Club newsletters).

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On 5/4/2018 at 2:57 PM, HeadStand said:

I don't have any integration with Clubs at this time. I would like to, and it's something I plan on adding, but it's not there yet. 

I have a whole list of features I've been meaning to add to this app. In about 2 weeks I plan on doing a sweep and adding in as many as I can. That includes clubs integration (and things like Club newsletters).

That would be SOOO VERY HELPFUL! Thank you.

Does "Club Newsletters" mean that club owners will be able to create their own newsletters just for their club members?

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12 minutes ago, Josiah Wallingford said:

That would be SOOO VERY HELPFUL! Thank you.

Does "Club Newsletters" mean that club owners will be able to create their own newsletters just for their club members?

I would like to second the request for Club newsletters where club owners could make and send their own newsletters (pending permission from me, the admin).  

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Hello HeadStand,

I just installed and configured your newsletter application and I like it very much so far.

Suggestions for future updates:

  • content items for upcoming birthdays (= a birthdays list)
  • content items for topics/threads with latest posts (= the topics that had the last recent updates)
  • additional filters that filter on top of the existing ones: status like pinned, unpinned, locked, unlocked, hidden, unhidden
  • filter for events with the most participants (until newsletter creation)
  • filtering for special values in special database columns of 3rd party developers. I'm using the project manager app by @Fosters, maybe it could be possible to filter for issue status (open, closed, in progress...)? These status might be saved in a special table column, so maybe there could be an option to filter for special table columns (to be specified by the admin) and filter for special status (specified by the admin)? This would enhance the project manager tool immensely, and also for other apps, such a flexible filter would give us complete freedom of opportunities ? 

Questions:

  • If I send a test distribution
    # the inserted *|unsubscribe|* doesn't work on 4.2.9 (at least not in the test distribution email and neither in the HTML previews)
    # it doesn't have a greeting like in the official email wrapper ("Hi {member}"). Do I have to add this manually
  • if I insert the "images/fotos" content items, I only get thumbnails 100x100px. Is there a possibility to integrate images in a higher resolution? And add the "image titles" to the newsletter?
  • if I insert different forum categories, is it guaranteed, that members will only receive content items, they have permissions for? Or will all members receive the SAME newsletter, no matter the permissions? Is it possible that members without permissions to see forum contents (or downloads or gallery fotos) will be able to view forbidden contents?
  • there is an option for webview of the newsletters. can I lock guests out everywhere safely? so it is guaranteed, that guests never have access to these webview newsletter archives? Even if guests would get a newsletter (forwarded by email), they may not be able to get any live views...
  • Is there anyhow an option to integrate the cover images/event thumbnails of events into the newsletter? To show them more lovely to the customers?
  • How can I place my community logo in the HTML newsletters on the top of the newsletter? Do I have to configure this for the official IPS email wrapper or is this required to be in the newsletter template? Any suggestions how to perform this please?
  • If I insert event contents (events) into the newsletter, then next to the date/time informations I always see (GMT+4), everywhere. How can I get rid of this extra timezone information? I only want to show the national times (no need to show informations for international customers...)

Thanks and best regards!

Edited by Cyboman
Edited: added new suggestions
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31 minutes ago, Cyboman said:

If I send a test distribution
# the inserted *|unsubscribe|* doesn't work on 4.2.9 (at least not in the test distribution email and neither in the HTML previews)
# it doesn't have a greeting like in the official email wrapper ("Hi {member}"). Do I have to add this manually

I can answer that one,... it doesn't work using the test distro button.  What I do is create a test distro member group with myself as the only member and send to that. 

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15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

filtering for special values in special database columns of 3rd party developers. I'm using the project manager app by @Fosters, maybe it could be possible to filter for issue status (open, closed, in progress...)? These status might be saved in a special table column, so maybe there could be an option to filter for special table columns (to be specified by the admin) and filter for special status (specified by the admin)? This would enhance the project manager tool immensely, and also for other apps, such a flexible filter would give us complete freedom of opportunities ?

This one is never going to happen. It's very close to impossible, and even if I could somehow pull it off, I'm essentially guaranteeing to support any kind of data, no matter what it looks like, no matter where it came from.... if I did this I would be forced to double the cost of this modification just for the support alone. And even then it still wouldn't be worth it. ? 

That being said, custom modifications can be done for a cost. You can contact me via PM, or you can contact @Fosters to see if he's interested in doing it (since it's his code, you should probably ask him first). The newsletter app was designed so that other contributors can integrate with it easily.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

If I send a test distribution
# the inserted *|unsubscribe|* doesn't work on 4.2.9 (at least not in the test distribution email and neither in the HTML previews)
# it doesn't have a greeting like in the official email wrapper ("Hi {member}"). Do I have to add this manually

As @CheersnGears mentioned, this doesn't work with a test distribution. Let me give you some background (which will also answer some of your other questions). When a newsletter distributes, it generates an issue and stores it in the database. It then queues all the recipients for distribution, and kicks off a background task. The task cycles through the recipient list, sending the issue out in batches. 

The unsubscribe link is connected to an issue. A test distribution generates a "dummy" issue that isn't saved anywhere. As a result, the unsubscribe link would never work, because it would be connected to nothing. I left the placeholder there so that Admins could see where the link would go, but I didn't want to put a broken link in there. When you do an actual distribution, the unsubscribe will be replaced with an actual link.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

if I insert the "images/fotos" content items, I only get thumbnails 100x100px. Is there a possibility to integrate images in a higher resolution? And add the "image titles" to the newsletter?

You can customize the layout of any content type. When you add/edit a content type, you have the option to "use custom template".

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

if I insert different forum categories, is it guaranteed, that members will only receive content items, they have permissions for? Or will all members receive the SAME newsletter, no matter the permissions? Is it possible that members without permissions to see forum contents (or downloads or gallery fotos) will be able to view forbidden contents?

Content is the same for all members. Remember, the issue is generated once (at publish) and sent to everyone in batches. This was designed intentionally and I will not be changing this logic. The reason behind this is that it would eliminate the bulk mail possibility, as I would have to generate a separate newsletter for each user (taking secondary groups into account, as those affect permissions). Distributing a newsletter to thousands of members like that... it could take days, depending on how many recipients you have. Think of this more like a fancy bulk mailing feature. It's not notifications, it's not a digest.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

there is an option for webview of the newsletters. can I lock guests out everywhere safely? so it is guaranteed, that guests never have access to these webview newsletter archives? Even if guests would get a newsletter (forwarded by email), they may not be able to get any live views...

ACP -> System -> Applications allows you to set permissions on any module you want. You can adjust the permissions there.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

Is there anyhow an option to integrate the cover images/event thumbnails of events into the newsletter? To show them more lovely to the customers?

You can "use custom template" for this.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

How can I place my community logo in the HTML newsletters on the top of the newsletter? Do I have to configure this for the official IPS email wrapper or is this required to be in the newsletter template? Any suggestions how to perform this please?

You can use a newsletter template for this, of you can drop it into the Newsletter header (when you add/edit a newsletter). Instructions for newsletter templates are on page 11 of the documentation included with your download.

15 hours ago, Cyboman said:

If I insert event contents (events) into the newsletter, then next to the date/time informations I always see (GMT+4), everywhere. How can I get rid of this extra timezone information? I only want to show the national times (no need to show informations for international customers...)

That's actually IPS generating that string out of the calendar. I just tell IPS I want the date and time and that's how they do it. Time zones and dates are calculated based on the currently logged in member. However, since the distribution runs in the background, I cannot assume there will be a member available (in fact, if you run your tasks with a cron job, there won't ever be one). Therefore I have to use generic IPS methods that don't rely on that... and this is what you get.

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