What is CiviMail
This chapter introduces the ways CiviCRM can help you maintain relationships with contacts through email, using either CiviMail or other features. There are two main ways to send email in CiviCRM:
- The "send mail to contacts" action
- CiviMail (CiviCRM's 'mass mailer')
There are advantages and disadvantages to either method. The first is quicker and easier. The second is more sophisticated and offers better options for reporting.
Whichever option you use, integrating email to contacts with CiviCRM offers several benefits:
- CiviCRM lets you share a single address book across all the staff in your organisation, which is less work to maintain than leaving the responsibility up to individual staff, and increases the chance of having the correct email for each of your contacts.
- Every email sent is stored in the activity history of each of the recipients. So you can see, for instance, that John Doe made a donation three days after he received your April newsletter. Both outgoing and incoming email messages are recorded.
- Everyone at your organisation can see what email was sent and received, even if the staff person who sent or received it has left the organisation.
- You can use templates to ensure that your organisation's visual identity and branding are consistently applied to all your email communications.
- You can use "canned emails" for your most common emails (welcome emails, invitations to events, directions to your office, membership information, call for actions, etc).
- You can send personalised mass emails using tokens. Personalised emails have been found to get better response rates.
Advantages specific to CiviMail include:
- Bounced emails are handled automatically.
- Recipients can manage their own subscriptions to email.
- Statistics are available on who is reading your emails and what links they are clicking on.
CiviCRM's mail features, including CiviMail, interact with your mail server software. Configuring the mail server and CiviMail are system administrator tasks, which may also require professional assistance. You will also need to verify with your web hosting provider whether they meet the configuration requirements, and verify that they don't put limits you might exceed on the number of emails you can send per day.