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MailChimp & Mandrill – An Email Management Platform for Your Application

by CAKE LABS Articles 23 January 2017

In this Innovation Session, Charitha Ranasinghe of the CAKE Connect team spoke about the benefits of using MailChimp Mandrill.

Creating an Email

MailChimp together with Mandrill is a powerful platform to use for email generation to be sent through your application.

MailChimp can be used to design and test your templates. The design process is very easy to use; in fact, it’s as easy as working on a Word document. After creating the required template, it can then be previewed in a variety of email clients, browsers and even operating systems.

Once the emails are sent, you can track its progress/success rate with their powerful reports. Analytics on the performance of the email, such as how many people opened it or clicked its links can all be tracked.

 

Real World Application

When it comes to real world application, we can use MailChimp as our template designer and testing platform for email campaigns. The next step would be to define the dynamic content area in the template using handlebars.

Ex:

“`{{#each restaurants}}

<li>{{this.restaurantName}}</li>

{{/each}} “`

 

This is where Mandrill comes in. Mandrill is an add on for MailChimp that can be used to send personalized, one-to-one e-commerce emails, or automated transactional emails.

You use it by exporting the MailChimp template to Mandrill via the MailChimp dashboard using the Mandrill API (https://mandrillapp.com/api/docs/messages.nodejs.html#method=send-template). From there, the dynamic content can be pushed to the relevant handlebars defined in the template.

Ex :

“`{

“rcpt”: “charitha.ranasingha@trycake.com”,

“vars”: [

{

“name”: “firstName”,

“content”: “Charitha”

},

{

“name”: “restaurants”,

“content”: [

{

“restaurantName”: “Peach Valley Chinese Restaurant”

},

{

“restaurantName”: “The Commons Coffee House”

}]

}

]

}“`

The main advantages of using this approach is that the Marketing / Product person for your application can make any necessary changes in the template static content (Such as adding a “Happy New Year” tagline in the body of the email) and publish it to Mandrill. What this means is that the developer or designer does not need to get involved with the email campaigns once the initial setup work has been completed.

At CAKE LABS, our CAKE Connect team uses this approach. The Product team in the US handles all the static data which frees up the developers to attend more urgent tasks.

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