Creating an e-mail newsletter with Simplenews

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Creating an e-mail newsletter with Simplenews

What is Simplenews?

Simplenews is a popular Drupal module used for building and distributing e-mail newsletters from the admin end of your Drupal website.

Why use Simplenews?

Simplenews can be a good alternative if you don't have the budget or the time for a third party system like Campaign Monitor or Stream Send. While both of these services do offer their own Drupal modules, you still have to create the bulk of your campaign on the 3rd party website. Simplenews is also a good alternative if you don't have a need for sending complex HTML based e-mails.

How do I configure Simplenews?

First, install the Simplenews module. Need help installing a module? Check out this post on installing Drupal modules on Once installed, head on over to the Simplenews settings page. You should see something like this: The General tab allows you to set content types and taxonomies to be used in your newsletter. The Newsletter tab will allow you to set default settings for your newsletter campaigns. Setting that can be change include priority, sender information and format. (Simplenews can only send plain text e-mails, unless you install the Mime Mail module, which is still in development for Drupal 6.x) The Subscription tab allows you to synchronize email subscriptions to user accounts. That way, if a user deletes their site account, their subscription will be deleted too. In this tab, you can also adjust the copy for your default confirmation e-mails. The Send mail tab allows you to change the settings for sending mail. By default, 20 messages will be sent on each cron run. You can adjust this setting to have unlimited messages sent on a single cron run, if you wanted. If you have a large database of subscribers, however, this may not be the best idea as your Cron runs will fail if they take longer than 30 seconds.

How do I create an e-mail?

When you installed Simplenews, it should have created a content type called "Newsletter issue". You create an e-mail just like you would any other content type. Remember, unless you have installed the development version of Mime Mail, you will only be allowed to create plain text e-mails for now, so don't worry about any HTML formatting. First, give your Newsletter issue a title. Try to craft a headline that is short, descriptive, and intriguing. Next, select the newsletter this issue belongs too. Newsletter are based on taxonomies. This can become useful if you want to run segmented newsletters to different groups of users. For example, you could create the taxonomy term, "Red Sox News", for a newsletter about the Red Sox. You could then create a term for "Patriots News" for a newsletter about the Patriots. Then, add your newsletter content. Simplenews does come with some variables that can be used for different types of repetitive and dynamic content, such as today's date, subscribe/unsubscribe links, and the name of the newsletter series. You can then send the mail, test it with your test address or cue it up for you next cron run! Have you used Simplenews before? If so, what was your opinion of the module?

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