A while back we were tasked with a combination of things:
- Develop a new large-scale site complete with CMS
- Transitioning an existing client with a major online presence to something that could better handle their administrative, payment processing, and e-product inventory
- Find a tool that met our and our clients’ business needs
- Find a framework that we could build on with great support and one that we could really lead with (both nationally and internationally)
We searched high and low for many months, investigating all kinds of software, stacks, and offerings until settling on Orchard CMS – an open source content management system developed in part by Microsoft and based on .NET & MVC. We love Orchard because of it’s modularity, flexibility, scalability, and yet it still manages to be easy to use. It’s our go-to solution for larger sites, we’ve built large conventional content heavy websites, directories, custom applications, and all kinds of cool tools.
Alas, one problem it does have, is that unlike a piece of software like WordPress (which has millions upon millions of users and installed base) – the module and plugin landscape for Orchard isn’t quite as deep. However, since we’re primarily a .NET shop – and because of Orchard’s heritage, we can quickly add anything our heart (or clients) desire. To that effect we’ve built, maintained, and are now releasing a bevy of modules.
The first module – is Ati.Mailchimp – a Mailchimp Module for Orchard.
What It Does
Managing mailing lists via MailChimp is a common practice for many companies. The need to integrate forms on your site to capture and collect email signups for these mailing lists can be cumbersome. With the Ati.MailChimp module installed on your Orchard site it adds the functionality to integrate MailChimp with Orchard’s built in Custom Forms module via a workflow activity.
How It Works
Once installed the module will add a new workflow activity under Orchard workflows that can be used in conjunction with the Form Submitted activity in order to capture the email, first and last name fields from the custom form and send them over to the appropriate list in MailChimp.
Installation and Setup
From you Orchard CMS website admin panel select Modules from the side menu. Search for MailChimp and click Install to download and install the module.
Click Ok to install the Ati.MailChimp featured and the installation is complete.
At this point if you do not see the MailChimp workflow and/or the MailChimp settings, recycle the website application pool and they should show up.
You will then need to enter your MailChimp API key under the Orchard settings for MailChimp. To locate your API Key, login to your MailChimp account and click your account name in the top right corner. From there you can select Account to view your account settings. On the account settings page select the Extras menu item and then API Keys. Copy the API Key and enter it into the Orchard admin panel.
Now that you have your API Key entered you can setup a new workflow by selecting Workflows from the admin menu in Orchard. Select Create new Workflow Definition. Drag and drop a Form Submitted activity and a MailChimp activity to the workflow area and connect them starting from the Form Submitted activity.
Set the Form Submitted activity as the activity that Starts The Workflow. Edit the Form Submitted activity. You need to select which form you would like to use to capture the information to send to MailChimp. Save the activity settings which will bring you back to the workflow layout.
Now edit the MailChimp workflow and enter the Mailchimp List ID of the list you would like the sign up to integrate with. The List ID can be located in the MailChimp site after you login and select Lists from the top menu. Click the name of the list you want to use and then choose the menu item Settings. Click the menu option List name and campaign defaults and you will see a section called List ID. Copy this ID over to the Orchard workflow into the List ID field.
In the Email Address Field you can click the token menu item located on the right of the input field. This brings up a menu of all the possible fields. Select the email address field that is for the custom form you have already created to capture the user’s info. If you need instructions on creating Custom Forms you can visit the Orchard documentation here. You can also add the First/Last name fields as well if you are choosing to capture them. Save the workflow and configuration is complete.
Add your custom form to your site and upon successful submission the user’s information will be added to the MailChimp list!
If you have any questions, or need any help installing it (or find any bugs or issues) feel free to comment or reach out.