Posted to Volacci's blog on October 9th, 2013

Marketers’ Uses for Drupal Rules Module

Flexible if/then framework can supercharge your Drupal Marketing

Drupal is known as the most flexible content management system. It is commonly regarded as both a blessing and a curse that, with Drupal, design is limited only by the imagination, coupled with the ability to actually implement what the mind imagines. Drupal’s flexibility extends way past design though, allowing savvy site owners an opportunity to use the platform as the core of both an online presence and a digital marketing hub. One tool that we’ve recently revisited for new practical applications is the Drupal Rules Module.

The Rules Module allows Drupal users to create a series of actions that are automatically executed once a triggering event takes place. At its simplest, a rule could do something like post a welcome message every time a user logs in to a site. Another application would be to email an administrator every time a user logs in to a site, or a far more complex rule would be to change the physical layout of a page in response to data about the user.

Marketers who are familiar with Rules, or willing to be trained in their application, can build many creative ways to make their jobs a little bit easier. Our CEO, Ben Finklea, did just that in a recent demonstration to the office.

A Rule to Assist Content Distribution


As you may have noticed, we put out a lot of content at Volacci, from a lot of different contributors. Once a new piece of content is published, the entire office will often promote it on social media. Because we’re interrupting each other’s day to share pieces of content with each other, we often send some headline suggestions and hashtag ideas so that any team member can just open the email, scan the content real quick and promote it without having to come up with a hook or angle on their own. This is an effective distribution system, but it takes time, every day, from one of our team members to write the email.

Solution Idea:

Using the Rules Module, Ben was able to automate this task so that any time a team member published a piece of content, they would automatically receive the following email with prepopulated fields including an article summary, hashtag suggestions (based on our internal tags), a link to the article and a general message to please share the content:

----TEMPLATE - Copy & Paste into a new email and edit.--------

New content has been posted to our website:

New Google Analytics Audience Reporting Will Empower Marketers
written by: Chris Gaffney

One of the biggest announcements to come out of this week’s Google
Analytics Summit was the plan to unveil Google Audience Reports, a
demographics-based report replacing the current Traffic Source option. The
introduction of such offerings through Google Analytics holds tremendous
potential for marketers, and promises to further the effectiveness of
targeted outreach efforts, advanced segmentation and comprehensive marketing
automation programs, like Net Results.

Here are some helpful social sharing headlines:


Hashtag ideas:
#google analytics
#google news

-----END TEMPLATE------

Solution Implementation:

With this Rule in place, the content author now only needs to add in a few headline suggestions and a shortened URL (which we use for better tracking and analytics). As a frequent contributor to the Volacci blog, this has saved me a bunch of time (far more than the five minutes it took to create the Rule) from re-writing a standard email every time I post a piece of content.

Moral of the Story:

What makes this Rule worth writing about isn’t what it accomplishes. Sending an email in response to a triggering condition is an extremely mild accomplishment by Drupal standards. What makes this Rule remarkable is how it has impacted our workflow here at Volacci. In under five minutes of monkeying around with Drupal Rules, Ben was able to create an automated system that has made each of our daily work days a little more efficient.

As Drupal marketers, this goes to the core of our mission: using the strengths and customizable possibilities of Drupal to make our work easier and more efficient. What other CMS provides the degree of flexibility and customization possibilities evidenced by that one simple Rule? I challenge all Drupal marketers to stop and think about the possibilities for how a simple Rule could help improve your workflow or make your office slightly more productive. I'll bet you can come up with an innovative approach, or at least a desired end goal.

Do any ideas jump into your mind? Leave a comment below and maybe we can help brainstorm a solution for you!

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