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Jun 01, 2022 • Issue #81 by

How I Automated Email Management

If you're receiving this email, it means one of three things: you signed up to the Essential Guide to Airtable, filled out a form on my website or read an existing send and thought you'd want to read it.

Unlike most creators, I like to make things complex so each one of the options above uses a different system. The authentication on my website uses Memberstack, my website uses Webflow forms while this email is sent through Convertkit. Oh I was on Revue up until a month ago so I have sign ups there too!

How do I combine all of these to provide a (somewhat) seamless email experience? Airtable, and lots of webhooks!

Step 1: Create a central source of truth for subscriber status

My big challenge is that I offer two products which are non-exclusive: the Essential Guide to Airtable and this newsletter. Folks who sign up to the course go through Memberstack can then subsequently sign up to the newsletter and vice versa. Ideally my authentication platform (Memberstack) would also my email delivery service (Convertkit) but unfortunately that's not the case so I need another system to be the source of truth for subscriber status.

So in order create a single source of truth, I created an Airtable base with a sign ups table where I track the status of each subscriber.

Step 2: Send every sign up to that single source of truth with webhooks!

Every time someone signs up to the newsletter or the Essential Guide to Airtable, I send that information to Airtable using a webhook (learn more about webhooks in Airtable here). That webhook provides the subscriber information (email mainly) and based on whether the webhook comes from Convertkit or Memberstack, I can tell what product they want.

That webhook triggers a short script that checks whether the subscriber already exists, if they do, it updates the relevant record with the product. Othewise, it creates a new record for that subscriber.

With this setup, I know I can rely on Airtable to have the right status for each subscriber.

Step 3: Send the subscriber to Convertkit

Now that every subscriber gets their status updated in my base, I can send those subscribers to the right platform. Here again, I use a short script to send subscribers to Convertkit. I send that subscriber with the right tags based on the product fields in Airtable.

Note that if you're not the scripting type, you can use Zapier which offers Convertkit and Memberstack integrations.

You might be reading this and thinking, what a complicated system just to send emails! And you'd be absolutely right. But I will say this, having that intermediary system—Airtable—as a single source of truth made it much easier to ditch Revue when their email deliverability bombed. I could just upload my single source of truth to Convertkit!

If you're trying to wrangle multiple systems into one email management system, you can definitely use a similar setup. Or if you're like me and just like making simple things really complex so you have something to write about on a weekly basis—this should work just fine too!

Until next week, keep building!

Aron

Automate All the Things
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