If our email visual builder isn't your jam and you have a resource on your team who is familiar with HTML, then you're in luck! You can create an entire email using HTML. (Note: This is separate from inserting an HTML block in the visual builder.)
All you have to do is create an email and select "Advanced" in the setup screen:
Once you set up an email in the HTML builder, it cannot be changed to our visual builder, or used as both an HTML AND visual builder.
- Name: Provide a clear, unique name for your new email.
- Email List: Select an Email List to associate with your email. This will be used to send your email to a group of email subscribers.
- Segment: Each email should be set up as a Campaign Communication for your organization, and then Segments are used to specify a version sent to a particular audience. You have the option of selecting that Segment here, to make the email accessible from the Campaign in Virtuous CRM.
- Subject: Each email must have a subject line. Be sure to create one that will engage your supporters and compel them to open your email!
- To insert a merge tag in the subject line, click on the tag icon to pull up a list of merge tags to use, then select the merge tag of your choice.
- From Name: Each organization has a default sender set up in their email settings. By entering a value for the From Name, you can customize the sender for a specific email. Use this to personalize emails "from" a specific team member.
- From Email: Similar to the From Name, a custom email address can be entered to personalize any email.
Once you have entered all the details for your email, click "Next" in the lower right of the screen to move on to the Build step.
In the upper right hand corner, click Actions and then HTML Guidelines.
You'll see a handy set of guidelines/things to keep in mind as you navigate the HTML builder:
- Opens and link tracking are automatic.
- External style sheets aren’t supported.
- Design your code for an email, not for a web page, to get the best results in most email clients.
- iFrames and form code are not supported but are usually stripped out by the email client.
- Media queries aren't supported.
- Non-standard HTML tags generated by proprietary software, like Microsoft Publisher or Frontpage, won't display correctly in many browsers and email clients.
Building Your Email
You can input your code on the left hand side of the screen and as you build, you'll be able to see the preview on the right hand side of the screen.
Preview Options: The preview defaults to a computer view. To change your preview to a phone view, click on the phone icon next to the monitor icon above the preview.
Merge tags: To insert a merge tag into the body of your email, click on the spot in the code you would like to insert one, click on Merge Tags on the top of the builder, and then select the merge tag you would like to use.
You should then see it appear on the left hand side with the code that includes the email body.
Additionally, you'll see it appear on the right hand side that includes the preview.
While working on your email, you may periodically see an autosave warning at the top of the screen:
The autosave will temporarily cause the page to display a spinning icon instead, but should not last more that a few seconds. It is recommended that users do not cancel this process to avoid losing any progress in editing your email.
You can manually save your progress at any time by clicking on the Actions button in the upper right. There, users can choose to save and continue working, or save and return to the main email screen.
Use the Preview option to see what your email will look like, on a desktop screen or on a mobile device. Send a test email to see your email in your inbox and make sure it renders correctly. Note: Merge Fields and custom senders will not be populated for a test email.
Once you have finished putting your email together, you must publish it before sending. Click here to learn more about publishing emails. Once your email is ready to use, click Next in the lower right to continue through the wizard and send your email.
The Target step provides options for determining the recipients of your email.
When creating a new email, you were required to specify an Email List. This list will be used as the default for sending the email, which would be sent to the primary email address of each Individual on the list. But this is just one of three options:
Selecting the Send to List option will allow you the option of including or excluding specific records based on a Contact or Individual query, allowing for greater flexibility when sending an email - just click the "Show Advanced Options" link.
When sending an email via a list, your email list must be created a minimum of 15 minutes prior to sending your email. It is recommended that you create your email list before creating your email, to allow time for the list to be generated.
Choosing to send to a Contact query will allow users to select one or more Contact queries, and then specify which Individuals within the included Contacts should receive the email:
- Primary: Only the primary email address for the Primary Individual will be used.
- Primary and Secondary: If there are email addresses for both the Primary and Secondary Individuals on any records, both the primary email address for the Primary Individual and the primary email address for the Secondary Individual will be used.
- All: The primary email address for each Individual listed under a Contact record will be used.
Sending an email using a Contact query will add all of the Individuals receiving the email to the Email List specified on the email, making it easier to manage future sends.
Choosing to send to an Individual Query will allow users to select one or more Individual queries. The primary email address for each Individual from a Query should receive the email. Sending an email using an Individual Query will also add those Individuals receiving the email to the Email List specified on the email.
Once you have made your selections, click Next again to continue.
The specify step is where you will determine when your email is sent. If your email is ready to right away, click on the "Send it Right Now" button on the left.
For future delivery, use the calendar option on the right to select a day up to one year in the future for sending your email. Once a day is selected, click on the clock to specify a time of day as well. Double-check the time zone to make sure you are choosing the correct delivery time.
Once you have chosen a delivery date and time, click on "Send Later" to confirm.
Clicking on either the "Send it Right Now" option or the "Send Later" option will advance to the send step, where you will confirm your selections.
Once an email has been scheduled to send, you will need to cancel the send from the Sent Email screen and then re-schedule a new send if there are any changes to be made.
Now you are all set to code and craft your emails with ease!