Custom newsletter database

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4 - Data Explorer
4 - Data Explorer

I’m planning on creating a newsletter with different categories and I’m looking for advice on how to allow users to:

  • customize newsletter by selecting what categories they would like to receive first

  • customize newsletter by selecting the order of categories they would like to receive them

I have 14 categories and I want to connect this database with Mailchimp to automatically send the content to subscribers weekly.

Is this something I can do with Airtable and Mailchimp?

7 Replies 7

Why don’t you just use MailChimp on its own to do this? That’s precisely what MailChimp is designed for. You don’t need to add an extra unnecessary layer to your workflow. MailChimp lets you create forms where the user can choose what categories they want to receive newsletters for.

I always like to start the weekend by admonishing experts for second-guessing customers. :winking_face: This weekend shall be no different. LOL Read on to see what at least one old expert has learned over the years.

Here’s one good reason for establishing the “headwaters” of this newsletter process in Airtable -

The data in the newsletter is useful for many outbound (and possibly inbound) content processes and there is a collaboration effort required to fabricate, edit, approve, polish and reuse the content.

We cannot underestimate the vast benefits of establishing content and meta-data about content in a manner that allows the organization to leverage digital asset value. Even if we don’t fully understand the opportunities for other adjacent use cases, we can envision the likelihood that at some point in the not-too-distant future, additional requirements will emerge.

Let’s explore a second reason. MailChimp certainly enables users to create content workflows that are seemingly unending – however…

Imagine a scenario where other Airtable data is being gathered and used to guide these timed and ordered marketing messages.

Such a case would then require the customer to learn two APIs - Airtable and MailChimp.

Okay, I’m feeling innovative today - let’s explore one more reason. :slightly_smiling_face:

Imagine embedded Airtable form links in the content serving as a call-to-action.

Each form response could easily be crafted to push performance analytics right into the same table where content (or content fragments) are created and managed.

Oh dang - just thought of another one! I’m Outta’ Control! (as Regis Philbin would say - actually, he never said this; Dana Carvey did and Regis had to get a release to use that phrase for his autobiography)

What if you created a collection of keywords for each content item and used those for SEO purposes in each web instance of the newsletter (MailChimp supports this) and then you traced the responses based on keywords.

Now your “content” management platform has become a database of useful analytics for targeted campaigns. Databases are best for data, and Airtable has the ability to be both a content development platform and a market analytics platform.


I don’t have any specific recommendations for integrating Airtable with MailChimp, but I suspect IntegroMat and Zapier might be helpful for at least prototyping a process without code or cost per-se.

Whoa. You’re making a TON of assumptions there, Bill!

The ONLY thing the original poster asked about was performing 2 simple tasks with MailChimp, both of which are perfectly handled by the MailChimp platform itself. MailChimp has its own database tools, its own form-building tools, its own newsletter automation & newsletter ordering tools, its own content management tools.

In fact, MailChimp is the perfect platform for using MailChimp! Go figure. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Either of these 2 tasks would be significantly complicated by adding Airtable into the mix, because then, as you correctly pointed out, it would require setting up complex automations with Integromat.

Indeed, but we must appreciate the possible reasons why customers ask these questions. We must give them credit because they have likely already entertained a solution without Airtable and chose to involve Airtable.

That is very possible… let’s see what he has to say.

You are right Bill, I already tried to do this with Mailchimp and I can’t, mostly because I want to do it with the free version.

The limitations of the free version of Mailchimp made me try to do it with Airtable; even tho this is the first time I’m using Airtable.

I’m not really interested in the second task, so let’s leave it aside for now. Hopefully, I can do this later.

As for the first task; For example, in Mailchimp, the user can select the category to start from (one out of 14). Let’s say the chain starts from category 6 and once they get to category 14 the chain stops. No way to automatically select or tag users with the categories they already read, to send the users the categories 1 to 6.

If the chain starts from category 1, is all good.

Also, the users should be accordingly tagged when they complete the chain so that they can receive updates.

I hope I made myself clear. If you wonder why I’m trying to do this with the free version, is because I am unemployed and I’m building a tool to help my community.

Yeah, I always try to not wonder about anyone’s incentives. There could be many reasons and it’s not my place to question motives. This is why economists always seem to get it wrong despite relatively sound and predictable free-market mechanics. The free versions of anything tend to create constraints which are no different than business requirements.

Now that we know the requirements a little better, perhaps there are some really crafty marketing types in the Airtable community that can help you along.