How to create a marketing campaign using SugarCRM
Companies that use SugarCRM can take advantage of the Campaigns module to aid their marketing endeavors. It can help you create both email and newsletter campaigns to be mass-mailed to relevant contacts, leads, targets, or users, and help you track and measure the results.
Creating a marketing campaign with SugarCRM is not complicated. You can use a wizard to walk you through campaign setup, or you can manually set up the campaign for more flexibility in the creation process. The latter process is actually not difficult, and that will be the approach we take.
Before you start creating the campaign, make sure you have a few SugarCRM items set up. Some may already have been set up by your administrator – if any aren’t, you’ll need an admin to do the job for you:
- Outbound Email Settings: Set the outbound email server configuration up on the Admin page under Email -> Email Settings.
- Campaign Batch Size: You must specify the number of email messages to be sent out per batch in the Admin page under Campaign Email Settings. A batch can be thought of as doing the same thing to a number of objects simultaneously. SugarCRM uses batch email sending to avoid bogging down your outbound email server (and possibly looking like a spambot). The default setting is 500, but SugarCRM’s recommended setting is 200.
- Bounce Handling Account: You must specify an inbox for handling bounced emails set up in the Admin page under Email -> Inbound Email.
- Campaigns Scheduler: Enable the scheduler job that automatically sends out email from the Admin page under Scheduler -> Run Nightly Mass Email Campaigns.
- Bounced Emails Scheduler: Configure the scheduler to process the bounced campaign messages in the Admin page under Scheduler -> Run Nightly Process Bounced Campaign Emails. This send the bounced emails to the inbox used for bounce collection.
Once all of the above is set up, you can begin creating your campaign.
Creating a campaign
To start the creation process, log in to SugarCRM and click on the Marketing tab, then click on Campaigns. You should see the options for creating and viewing various elements that pertain to campaigns, including newsletters, email templates, diagnostics, and lead forms.
Click Create Campaign (Classic). In the first window, fill out the basic information and a description for the campaign. Select a start and end date as well as the status and type. The Status of the campaign indicates where it is in the process (Planning, Active, Inactive, Complete, In Queue, or Sending). The type of campaign should most likely be email or newsletter (telemarketing and merge mail campaigns are also available). Once you’ve entered the basic information, click the Save button to continue.
In order for a campaign to be effective, it must have an associated list of target email addresses, so under the Target List section, click the Create button. Give the new target list a name and a description and leave the Type as Default. Fill out the information and click Save. You should now be back in the Campaign page, and the newly created list should appear under the Target List section. Click the new Target List name link to reveal the page where you can actually add targets to the list. Under Targets, click Create and then fill out the information for the target (name and email address are the two most important elements) and click Save. After you save the first target, it should appear under Targets. Click Create again to add another target to the list.
If you have a large number of users to add as targets, you can import them from a file. SugarCRM provides a file template to use for target imports – click Download Import File Template from within the Upload Import File page. You’ll find instructions on using the imports template within the downloaded .csv file. Once you have a file in the proper format, go to Marketing -> Targets -> Import Targets.
To track the results of your campaign, you can embed a single Tracker URL into an email template. Each Tracker URL represents a unique key associated with a campaign. When a user clicks on a tracker URL, a click-thru campaign log entry is created.
From the Campaign page, locate the Tracker URLs section and click Create. In this new section, enter a name for the tracker URL and a URL that can be accessed by either the managers of the campaign (internal or external URL) or targets (external URL). You can also choose to make this URL an opt-out link, which will be added to the email in the campaign. This is probably the most widely used option, as it gives targets control over whether they continue seeing campaigns. Click Save when you’ve finished setting up your Tracker URL.
Creating a Tracker URL for your campaign
Now that you’ve set up the Tracker URL, it’s time to configure the heart and soul of the campaign. The Email Marketing section is where you create the actual email that is sent out for the campaign. From the Campaign page, under the Email Marketing section, click Create. Settings include:
- Marketing record: Internal name of the campaign
- Status: Active or Inactive
- Email template: The template used for the email campaign
- Target(s): The list(s) the campaign is to be sent to
- Bounce handling account: Which account handles bounces
Probably the single most important element here is the email template. If this is your first time creating a campaign, click the Create button next to the Email Template drop-down. (Once you’ve created a template, you can reuse it for another campaign.) When you click the Create button a new WYSIWYG window opens where you can create the campaign-specific email template. The template can include text formatting, images, HTML, and more. You can also add variables such as Salutation, Name, First Name, and Last Name that allow you to make the campaign message user-specific.
Creating an email template for your campaign
After you complete the template, click Save. At this point, you’ve created all the information you need for the campaign, and you can activate it. Back on the Campaign page, make sure the newly created template is listed under Email Marketing. After you’ve completed each section of the campaign, click Edit in the campaign window and then select Active from the Status drop-down, then click Save.
You can now send a test email from the campaign. Just as you created a real target list, create a Test target list that includes all the email addresses you want to receive the test campaign. Then click the Edit drop-down on the Campaign page and select Send Test. Select the campaign message to be tested and then click Send. Upon successful receipt of the test message, you should see the details of the campaign (including response by recipient activity, message queue, messages sent, viewed messages, click-throughs, and created leads) on the Campaign page. If the test is successful, you can go back to the Edit drop-down and select Send Emails to launch your campaign.
Creating a marketing campaign need not take too much time or bring on added stress. SugarCRM makes the creation of email or newsletter marketing campaigns so easy you’d be remiss in not taking advantage of this powerful feature.