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I'm looking for a particular piece of software, I'm not sure if it exists, or whether I'd need to create it myself.

I'm preparing to start up a company selling XYZ, and I'd like to manage email lists of past and prospective customers. The software should be able to be hosted locally and be open source with no license necessary:

  • I'd like the software to create a form that users can fill in online detailing their interests with fields that I specify.

  • I'd like to be able to browse these users and add / remove groups as necessary.

  • I'd really like the online shop to be able to pass details of customers for inclusion on the list incase they're not already on it (and they agree to be put on it during checkout) so some sort of API would be nice. This would allow me to automate content as well.

  • Security is of course a top concern.

  • The ability to send newsletters would be great with customised content for each interest - it'd be great if part of the newsletter could be made up of content for each category the prospect is grouped under (e.g. an additional paragraph for each category)

  • HTML content with images, and CSS styling

  • Statistics - tracked links in newsletters, who clicked on what links etc

  • "Scoring". Being able to score the prospects (how well do they respond to newsletters, how often do they buy)

  • Great, simple UI. Goes without saying, a great product is no good if it's too complicated to use!

  • I think you are asking for 4-5 different softwares: 1. a web server that can handle HTML, CSS, and process forms (php/JSP?) 2. a database or data storing software to store the information acquired from the customer input 3. a management software that would allow you to manipulate the accumulated data 4. an e-mail software that allows you to send newsletters and track who receives them (tracking will likely be linked to #1) 5. some sort of way to respond to newsletters and something to allow "buying". – user2813274 Aug 20 '14 at 20:16
  • I'm fine with a webserver and server set up including database installation. I've received mass mails with links that including tracking information, so the tracking is managed by the mailing/newsletter software and not by grep'ing the server logs. – user3791372 Aug 20 '14 at 20:18
  • The tracking information is usually done by embedding a small (1 pixel) image that is loaded from a webserver with a unique URL, such that the webserver marks the e-mail as "read" when it gets a request for this image and uses the unique URL to identify which customer received it - there are also commercial solutions that use their own web-servers of course. - the web server would then notify you in whatever way you want that person X read email Y or clicked on link Z, no need to go looking through logs. – user2813274 Aug 20 '14 at 20:19
  • No, mailchimp, nor other commercial offerings are not suitable - see that "open source" requirement above. This is not a place for you to spam your company. – user3791372 Mar 1 '15 at 13:23
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MailChimp seems to fit your requirements.

It contains a large number of analytical features to track responses to campaigns.

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Sounds like you're looking for a customer relationship management (CRM) platform. There are a number of open-source CRM systems out there, but they might not have all the features you outlined in one place. Most CRMs can, however, connect to other services, which might help meet your needs.

Two big open-source CRMs are SugarCRM and CiviCRM. There are a few others as well.

  • Saying Sugar or Civi is an answer is kind of like saying you need a sledgehammer to pound a nail. First it would take days/weeks for even a programmer to learn the whole system. Second some of this stuff wouldn't be available on the free version of Sugar (not sure on Civi). Lastly even if you learned it, figured out how to edit the backend, and figured out a way around the pay stuff, you are still doing tons of extra steps beyond the mailing lists to get to that point. – blankip Mar 25 '15 at 2:39
  • You can't deny that the sledgehammer would accomplish the task, however, it will simply take a bit of work. User3791372 asked for recommendations for open source software that would help accomplish certain objectives. Sugar or Civi would come close, especially since I don't know of any elegant solution that would specifically meet the listed requirements with minimal elbow grease. But by all means, if you know of a tailored solution, you should post it as an answer. I'd be interested in hearing about it too. But the original poster may not see it, since this question was asked Aug 2014. – ZeroFlux Mar 25 '15 at 17:08

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