I mentioned in a post before that I had found a solution to replace mailchimp.  The solution to which I was referring is called Mautic. Mautic is a fairly ambitious marketing automation tool.  It can do email marketing, forms, analytics, social media marketing and more.  It is built on symfony and supports plugins.  A marketplace will soon be available to sell plugins as well.

Mautic is available as an open source package that you can install on your own server.  There is also a free cloud hosted option, with a caveat.  The free cloud hosted version does not let you import CSV lists for your email contacts.  That was a deal breaker for me since I needed an easy way to import my lists from shopify.  At some point I’ll try to make a cron job or a plugin for shopify or mautic or something to sync the lists, but I need an easy import option in the mean time.

I chose Linode  for the hosting of my mautic instance.  At some point I’ll go through the whole server set up, but honestly it was kind of complicated for me and to be sure I don’t miss anything I’ll have to set up and test a brand new one.  That’s a little more effort than I’m up for tonight so I’ll just outline the basic process:

  • Sign up for linode and prepay a small amount by credit card (you will only need the lowest option of 5 dollars a month
  • Create a new “linode” (virtual machine)
  • Point a domain at it: Assuming you have a domain name for your shopify store, you can define a subdomain and point that at your server.
  • install OS image of your choice (I used ubuntu server because it’s what I run on my desktop so I’ve set up LAMP on it before)
  • install apache, php, and mysql
  • install postfix
  • install mautic:
  • follow these instructions to enable https and get signed certificates from letsencrypt:  THIS STEP IS ABSOLUTELY REQUIRED.  If you do not use HTTPS you will not be able to include the tracking code in your shopify theme.
  • Get the tracking code from your mautic instance and paste it into theme.liquid on your shopify site

You are now good to go.  In our next post we’ll be looking at sending out our first email.

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