Cronycle allows you to prepare, format and send curated newsletters to your audience directly from your boards. This tutorial explains how to manage your newsletter subscribers. First, we use two terms:
- Subscribers: these are the persons currently subscribed to a specific newsletter. You can do one newsletter per board, each with as many issues as you want but only one draft per board at once.
- Contacts: these are all the contacts you have added over time, whether currently subscribed (to any newsletter), not subscribed yet, or unsubscribed.
How to add newsletter subscribers as contacts?
While each newsletter subscriber is visible from the newsletter editor (click on “audience & send”), all your contacts with their current status are listed on a Contacts page. This is also where you can add new contacts, with 4 different ways:
- Add an email address and name manually (Quick entry)
- Import a list using a CSV file which you probably exported from another tool
- Connect to Mailchimp to import your contacts in Mailchimp
- Connect to Google Contacts to import those contacts
In all cases, you need to make sure you have permissions before sending newsletter emails to your audience. More on this in the last section.
Formatting your CSV of contacts for newsletters
What are CSVs? A CSV is a file format which is a standard for storing structured text. “CSV is the shortened form of comma-separated values, which stores large amounts of tabular data (numbers and text) in plain-text form” (Source Leawo). You can recognize it by its extension: .CSV
These files are often used to manage and transfer newsletter subscribers information:
“A CSV contact file typically consists of name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and other contact information, and it also supports custom fields, images, and other types of media. When you want to update your customer contacts information in batch, you can open the CSV file to edit, modify or add new contacts to the CSV file, which can then be imported to your phone Address Book.Leawo
You can open and modify your CSV file in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheet for example. Avoid Numbers. In both cases, you can sort by column – for example sorting alphabetically by name, or sorting by opt-in first. This way you can find those contacts that did not opt in. If that’s the case, you can then either ask them to opt in using the subscribe URL provided by Cronycle (in newsletter set up); or remove these contacts all-together. You should remove those who marked you as spam if you have this data point in the CSV. It is not good for your sending email address reputation to be sending to mailboxes where you are marked as spam.
Both Excel and Google Sheet will also allow you to export a sheet listing your newsletter contacts as CSV. Before you do that, you need to check that the format is:
- 1st column: “email” – this is the only compulsory column
- 2nd column: “first_name” – this is an optional column
- 3rd column: “last_name” – this is also an optional column
Note that the titles must be exactly “email”, “first_name” and “last_name”. Other columns will be ignored. If there is a contact without an email address, it will not be added.
If you get errors, such as names missing or not displayed correctly, it is likely an issue with the way the text is encoded. We use Unicode, a standard method for representing a great variety of characters from many languages across the world. Alas, there are two versions, UTF-7 and UTF-8. We support UTF-8, which is the most common of the two and recommended for security reasons. If your CSV is encoded in UTF-7, accented letters and non latin alphabets will become unreadable by our contact list. To fix this, follow the following instructions:
Workaround #1 for Windows only: you can open your CSV file in Notepad in Windows, do a “Save As” setting the type to “All Files”, use the “.csv” file extension, and then select UTF-8. After doing that, you’ll see the characters which were not recognised by UTF-8. Once you fix those up, try to upload the new file to Cronycle and it should work a lot better.
Workaround #2 using Google Sheet: if you are not using a Windows machine, this is a good and simple alternative. Google Sheet automatically saves new files as UTF-8 when selecting to download as CSV. Read this simple step-by-step how to (promised, it is easy).
Importing contacts from other platforms
We have an integration that lets you import your contacts from Mailchimp or Google Contacts. In both cases, we complete your list in Cronycle with the new contacts from Mailchimp or Google. We do not synchronise the lists, which is for the best, as subscribers may unsubscribe from one type of communication but not from another. So you do need to manage your newsletter subscribers in Cronycle.
GDPR compliance & list clean up
GDPR is the European privacy regulation which requires you to ensure that all your subscribers in Europe have opted in to your email communication (among other things). It is your responsibility to ensure this is done properly for all your contacts for newsletters. Make sure to follow the local regulation of your audience.
So when you switch from one tool to another, only export current subscribers who opted in. If that is not possible from your current tool, the exported CSV file should have a field (column when opened in a worksheet) for opt-in. Use it to identify and remove all contacts that have not opted in, save a new file and import in Cronycle. If you import from Mailchimp, you will be able to select the right list, just make sure your list is ready before connecting. Google is not as good at this, so thread carefully here!
Take this opportunity to do a spring clean and remove subscribers who marked you as spam (it happens…). This way, you will have a nice, clean and compliant subscriber list. Do a spring clean on a regular basis (hint: not only in the spring!), as it improves your and all Cronycle users’s email reputation. This is very good practice when managing newsletter subscribers.
After you have sent newsletter issues, you can check metrics by clicking on the publishing settings > Newsletter > Past Issues.