Monday, August 10, 2015

Installing the Sitecore Email Experience Manager

Introduction

The Sitecore Email Experience Manager (or EXM) is a free module provided for Sitecore, which can be harnessed not only for simple emails, but marketing activities. With the advanced marketing capabilities available today, it's no longer best practice to blast a stale and static email to every user, hoping for high conversions and low subscriptions. Sitecore EXM brings a number of key features to the table. which include:
  • Team collaboration - Creating the emails themselves and even the landing pages is a collaborative effort with everyone working together using the same workflows and assets to deliver a consistent end product.
  • Automated emails - Sitecore allows emails to be triggered on events, behaviors and any of the other customer experience data. You may use this to send a welcome email upon registration, a confirmation email upon submitting a form/request or perhaps even a happy birthday message on the users birthday.
  • A/B + multivariate testing - Test whether or not factors such as subject, formatting, media and even timing to see what variables deliver the highest conversion rates.
  • Personalization - Sitecore is collecting data on each user which can then be used to send relevant emails to your users. By sending the right information the users will appreciate the email more and are less likely in unsubscribe and more likely to follow through with a call to action.

Installing Sitecore Email Experience Manager

The first step is to download the correct EXM package from your Sitecore version from the Sitecore Developer Portal. This is not be be confused with the Sitecore Campaign Manager (for pre-version 8) available on the Sitecore SDN. Also please note that this download itself is not the sitecore package.
  1. Extract the download and find the package.zip file - this is the Sitecore package
  2. Login to your Sitecore instance's administration desktop. Then click Control Panel > Administration > Install a package
  3. Upload the package and then click Next and Upload
  4. After the upload is complete click Next to start the installation
  5. Read and accept the license agreement, the click Next
  6. Make a copy of the installation notes and click Next
  7. The package details will now show, you can click Install
  8. Once complete, you should restart the Sitecore client
If you use multiple server for content delivery, analytics, and email processing for example, there are some deployments that will need to be made to those servers. These files are included in the file downloaded from the Sitecore dev portal (they are not packages that need to be installed).

Once installed the following steps from the installation notes need to be followed:

  1. Attach the Sitecore.Exm database. The file can be located in the Data folder.
  2. Add the connection string "exm.dispatch" (the SQL Server connection string) to /App_Config/ConnectionStrings.config
  3. Run Sitecore.EmailExperienceManager.sql for the reporting database (Analytics) of your instance. The file is available at Data folder.
  4. Publish your site using smart publish. 
  5. In the App Center, configure the Email Delivery service. - This is the paid MTA service
The Sitecore Email Experience Manager is now installed and ready to use. On the first load you will be promoted to enter some default settings:


Simply enter the site's URL along with some general email settings and you are ready to go.

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