Using external content can help you streamline your campaign deployment process. You can use the get tags to interface a Content Management System with the platform. In many cases, the connection is almost completely automated.
For a highly reliable and automated way of sending to users from externally controlled content:
- Create a Template to grab the content using one of the tags.
- Schedule a publishing event in the Calendar.
- Activate Workflow Approval in List properties.
This process deploys a campaign at the scheduled times. When each campaign starts, the content is grabbed into the template and an approval message is sent. Once the message is approved, the campaign is deployed to all contacts.
The Get tags allow you to grab the content hosted on an external web page and insert the content into your Template or Article. This content can be used in the body or subject line of your message.
NOTE: Get commands will fail if using a URL that requires a redirect.
SmartGet is designed to pull external content from a specified URL into a template when a campaign is published. The content is only grabbed at run-time, and not on a per-message basis. Even if there are 100 contacts on the list, only one instance of the content is generated.
Some practical uses of SmartGet include:
- embedding a common header or footer into every message
- embedding common opt-out content into every message
- embedding content, current news or information from an external Content Management System
SmartGet can be nested up to eight levels. The content that is retrieved using these commands can also contain additional tags to pull external content.
WebGet is an extension of the SmartGet, added in version 11.7, allowing you to pull external data from a page requiring a User-Agent string. The content is only grabbed at run-time, and not on a per-message basis. Even if there are 100 contacts on the list, only one instance of the content is generated.
XSLTGet is an extension of the SmartGet, allowing you to pull external structured data from an XML page, such as an RSSFeed or API. The content is grabbed at run-time and formatted with an XSLT style defined in an article. Any data elements defined in the XML content can be inserted into your template content. XSLTGet supports the same commands as SmartGet.
CacheGet allows a higher degree of per-message dynamic personalization. Unlike the SmartGet tag, the CacheGet tag pulls content for groups of messages generated during a list run. If there are 100 contacts on the list, then 50 instances of the content may be generated.
Some practical uses of the CacheGet tag include:
- embedding advertising specific to a recipient’s zip code or state
- embedding content, current news or information from an external Content Management System with personalization based upon demographic or geographic profile information associated with contacts
The CacheGet tag is designed for applications that require delivery of unique pieces to many contacts. Due to resource constraints, this is not a one-to-one mechanism, so it is not possible to deliver messages using unique content pulled from an external source for each and every email. However, for applications that require some personalization for groups of contacts, the CacheGet command works well.
Note: Broadcaster customers can pull unique content from external sources on a per-message basis; however, this functionality is not available to SaaS customers because of the enormous resource load it can place on the system.
Using Cacheget for Targeted Advertising
It is common for newsletters representing commercial interests have some desire to embed advertising or marketing information. Targeted advertising is often more effective than advertising that is not focused at a specific type of contact. The CacheGet command can be used to setup a template to pull targeted advertising information. To do this:
- Create a Template with your normal design and formatting.
- Determine how you will target your advertising, such as by demographic characteristics like gender, age, or income or geographic characteristics like zip code, state, or country.
- Ensure that your selection criteria are exact enough to cover your audience without being too specific. Your model must fit into the few-to-many scenario best addressed by the CacheGet feature. An example of poor targeting (one-to-one) would be trying to deliver ads by passing the email address. A better targeting model would be to use the zip code and/or gender.
- Test your template by creating test contacts with custom data matching your targets and then sending test messages to them.
The CacheGet command can be used to pull any type of content including plain-text, HTML, or image tags. Some experimentation and testing is recommended before you attempt a large deployment.