Getting Started with SparkPost Email Delivery Service and Dada Mail

SparkPost is a new Email Delivery Service. In this post, I’ll go over how to set up Dada Mail to utilize it. Using a third party email delivery service is a GREAT way to cost effectively support large mailing lists, without having to chose a different, and perhaps more costly website hosting account just to bump up your hourly email limitations. Instead, keep your current hosting setup for your website (and your Dada Mail!), but get more horsepower  in the email sending department by using a third party email sending service. We have a list of various third party email delivery services that we curate here. One advantage SparkPost has over Amazon SES is a much easier setup.

Before we get started, you may want to make sure you can connection to the outgoing SMTP server using either port 2525 or port 587. For example, my shared hosting account on Bluehost does NOT have these ports open. For Bluehost, I would have purchase a dedicated IP address to be able to use port 2525. Your own hosting account may be set up differently – double check what you’re able to do with your webhost.

Ok! Here we go:

Continue reading…


Easily Use Dada Mail with Google Analytics Campaign Tracking

Dada Mail v10.7.0 comes with new options in the Send a Message, and Send a Webpage screens, to help you easily create special query parameters that can then be understood by using Google Analytics. with them,  you can then keep track of visitors that originate from your mass mailings.

In this blog post, I’m going to assume you’re familiar with Google Analytics, and using its UTM query parameters to create custom campaigns. But, if you’re not, check out the  Google Analytics site, the docs on Custom Campaigns, the docs on Best Practices for Custom Campaigns, as well as Google’s own URL builder.

So, let’s get to it! We’ll need version 10.7.0 of Dada Mail to have this feature available, so if you haven’t already, install or upgrade to at least  v10.7.0.

First, log into your list control panel, and make sure you’re on the Send a Message screen. Find and click the tab labeled, Options.

Within that tab, click the tab labeled, Analytics:

This will reveal all the options for transforming the links in your message to work with Google Analytics and its Custom Campaigns:

Add UTM parameters to links with the following domains:

Check this option to enable the feature itself. When it’s disabled (which is the default), none of the links in your message will be touched.

Dada Mail can add the custom UTM parameters to every link in your message, or only to links that go to specific domains. If you leave the textbox underneath this option blank, all links will have custom UTM parameters added to them.

But, if you would like to only target specific domains, just list them in the textbox – separate each domain with a space:

In the example above, I’ve enabled adding the UTM parameters, and I’ve listed two domains to add them to, dadamailproject.com and, dadademo.com. Don’t list these domains with, “http://” or, “https://” – just the domain itself.

The rest of the options available are the actual UTM parameters you can set. There are five:

For a full description of what each of these for, see the docs I’ve linked above – start with this one which explains the custom parameters. For your convenience, we’ve set defaults for Campaign Source to the app’s name and Campaign Medium to email, so that right off the bat, any outgoing links you have you’ll know are coming from Pro Dada’s email messages!

Campaign Term is an interesting one, as we treat it a bit special than the others. You may set a default for ALL links in the textbox provided, but Dada Mail will also do its best to try to find the text associated with the actual link click.

For example, if in the source of your message, you have the following:

<a href="http://dadamailproject.com">Dada Mail Mailing List Manager</a>

Dada Mail will set the Campaign Term to, Dada Mail Mailing List Manager. Then, you’ll know that that specific link was clicked, and not the link you have with the same URL in it, that says:

<a href="http://dadamailproject.com">
    Download and Install Today!
</a>

This will report a Campaign Term of, Download and Install Today! You can then track which links work better in your mass mailings.

In fact, all these parameters can be overridden in two other different ways.

The first is to simply set the parameters yourself. If you use Google’s Campaign URL Builder for example, and use the URL it creates in your message, Dada Mail will observe those parameters, and will not override them. For example, let’s set the Campaign Term to, “Best Mailing List Manager” in the URL Builder:

Here’s the URL it created for me:

http://dadamailproject.com/?utm_source=Pro%20Dada&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Best%20Mailing%20List%20Manager

If I then use this URL like so:

<a href="http://dadamailproject.com/?utm_source=Pro%20Dada&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Best%20Mailing%20List%20Manager>
    Download and Install Today!
</a>

Dada Mail will keep the Campaign Term, Best Mailing List Manager instead of using the text that’s within your anchor tag, Download and Install Today!, or with whatever you set in the Campaign Term in the Analytics Tag. Options!

Finally, you may set any of the UTM parameters using attributes inside the anchor tag itself So, for example, to set the Campaign Term in an attribute, I would use the following attribute: data-utm_term:

<a href="http://dadamailproject.com" data-utm_term="Give+them+the+goods">
    Download and Install Today!
</a>

Now, the Campaign term will be set by Dada Mail to, Give them the goods instead of, Download and Install Today!

Here’s the order of precedence to all this:

  • Any query parameters found in the link itself have the highest precedence.
  • Next, are the dada-utm_* attributes in the anchor tag, itself
  • Then, (for Campaign Term), it’s the actual text found wrapped inside the anchor tag
  • Finally, the parameters you set within the Send a Message/Send a Webpage screen will be used.

And that’s the new support for created the custom UTM parameters to be used in conjunction with platforms like Google Analytics. Give it a try, and let us know how it’s working for you. We’re looking forward on building upon this start of the feature and to add improvements over time!

 


Add Google reCAPTCHA on Dada Mail Subscription Forms

You’ve asked, we (finally!) answered: v10.2.0 of Dada Mail supports CAPTCHA on the initial signup form!

Although the app has supported CAPTCHA for many years for a whole bunch of things in the app, we never added support for the initial signup form. We were worried about the usability of forcing your potential subscribers to solve a CAPTCHA.

Why have we changed our minds?

Google’s latest reCAPTCHA system is a whole lot more usable to work with, and the threat of abuse on things like newsletter subscription forms is just not going away. So, why not make support at least an option?  Those who would like the subscription form to work as it always has still can. Everyone else can enjoy the enhanced security. Seems like a big win.

Another big change in Dada Mail’s CAPTCHA system is that we now only support the latest version of Google’s reCAPTCHA system (version 2). In the past, we also supported reCAPTCHA version 1, as well as a CAPTCHA system based on, Authen::Captcha.  To keep the code simple and bug-free for something so security-specific, we’ve removed these other choices.

Setting up Google reCAPTCHA in Dada Mail

Create a Site and Secret Key Pair

Sign up for the Google reCAPTCHA service at,

http://www.google.com/recaptcha/admin

and create a site and secret key pair for the site you have Dada Mail installed at, as outlined here:

https://developers.google.com/recaptcha/docs/start

Make sure you record both the site and secret key somewhere safe – we’ll be using them, later.

Configure Dada Mail to use Google ReCAPTCHA

Plugging in the site and secret keys, and telling Dada Mail to use Google reCAPTCHA is done in Dada Mail’s global configuration. The easiest way to work with that is through Dada Mail’s included web-based installer, so an install or upgrade would be the perfect time to set all this up. If you have v10.2.0 (or later) of Dada Mail installed, you can also drop back into the installer to make these configuration changes.

Once in the installer’s configure screen, look for the Advanced Options. This is where you can setup the plugins/extensions, as well as many of Dada Mail’s more advanced features. If you do not see these options, click the button labeled, Show/Hide Advanced Options…

Next, look for a checkbox labeled, Configure CAPTCHA Options. Check the box, and the CAPTCHA options will be revealed.

Check the box labeled, Add CAPTCHA on all subscription forms if it’s not already checked.

Now, you’ll need to plug in the site key and secret key in the textboxes labeled, reCAPTCHA Site key: and, reCAPTCHA Secret key:

Once that’s all set up, you can test to make sure if everything works, but clicking the button labeled, Test CAPTCHA Configuration… If everything works correctly, you’ll be shown a working reCAPTCHA v2 widget!

google_recaptcha_v2

And you’re done! Complete the installation process, and enjoy a CAPTCHA-full Dada Mail.

Here’s what my own subscription form now looks like, with the added reCAPTCHA widget,

google_recaptcha_v2_1

Just remember, if you have a subscription form that you’ve added directly to your website, and you have CAPTCHA now configured, those forms will have to be updated. The code available in the list control panel under, Appearance: Subscription Form HTML will do the trick.

Missing CPAN Module?

Dada Mail’s Google reCAPTCHA support requires the Google::reCAPTCHA Perl module, which you can install from CPAN in a few different ways.

Need More Help?

We offer installation services for Dada Mail, including setting up Google reCAPTCHA for your site. See all our installation services here.