Email Marketing with phpList and ExpressionEngine

In this day and age where MailChimp and other email marketing services have become the norm, fewer people opt to use their own mailing list software such as phpList. SendGrid and other similar services can be easily integrated with EE through their API and they certainly have their own advantages.

However, there are clients that can’t afford a couple hundred bucks a month, or that couple hundred could be best put toward social media marketing or other mediums.

There are ongoing misconceptions about running your own mailing list software:

  • Your IP/domain will get blacklisted - That could very well happen if you send spam, do not have unsubscribe links, or send emails to people who didn’t sign up. If you send really good content, both the open rate and click rate will be much higher, and folks who don’t want to receive any more emails will simply unsubscribe.

  • MailChimp / Emma / Etc give you higher open/click rates - This is far from the truth. Our clients’ open rates challenge the Email Marketing Benchmarks published by MailChimp.

  • MailChimp / Emma / Etc are easier to use and setup - Very true for the majority of cases. Though not for all. A good example is how we use ExpressionEngine to pull all the tour dates/ticket links from kebmo.com and output HTML formatted for email. Typing 25+ tour dates, locations and ticket links would be time consuming, and makes no sense since the data is already in EE.

Tips for using phpList with ExpressionEngine

  • Download our add-on to ensure that people can easily sign up for your mailing list using phpList on your ExpressionEngine site.
  • Create an HTML template in phpList using a responsive email template such as Salted.
  • If data is to be pulled from your EE site for your newsletters, you can easily create an EE template that pulls the data and spits HTML to be copied and pasted into phpList.

Taking a step further

Depending on your needs, you may want to create a custom Channel/Template that generate the complete email HTML to be sent. Using ExpressionEngine’s flexbility this could be achieved in little time, and will result in a very efficient system to generate emails. This also provides a better user experience than your standard web-based drag and drop editor.