(DM-7) Sending non-Activity and Email Marketing Messages

So far we have looked at managing messages within the structure of an activity... so working with one of the eleven standard messages, or creating custom messages for attendees of a specific activity.
The great news is that you can send email based messages in other situations too! You can send them:
  • To individual attendees on topics specific to their attendance, from the Bookings area.
  • To individual or groups of contacts on any topic you choose, from the Contacts area. Great for your marketing!
Since these messages may often contain similar content and be sent to different contacts at different times, you can define commonly used paragraphs of text in an item called "Message Text".
Let's take a look at how these all work!

Defining Message Text

Message Text is the idea that you can define the words of a message that you quite often send, and then use those words to start off a specific message you are creating.
To go to the Message Text area:
  • Go to Messages - Message Text
This area has a similar format to the messages area of an activity. You have a search area on the left, and the ability to edit a message on the right.
To create a Message Text:
  • Click on [Create Message Text]
A new Message Text appears on the right hand side.
When creating a Message Text, you have the same functions available on the local menu: View, Shortcodes, Images and Attachments.
In terms of shortcodes, you have access to the Sender, Contact and Activity groups, but not the Invoice or Payment ones.
You will notice a few things different from a Message Text to the messages you will already have worked with:
  • There is no text/sms area. Message Texts are only for the email portion of a message
  • When you save a Message Text, there is no "Autosend" option that appears, as a Message Text itself cannot be sent - it can only be used as the basis of starting a message
  • There is a Message Topic field

Using the Message Topic Field

The message topic field is like the name by which you search for and reference a Message Text. When they are searched for and listed on the left side, it is the contents of the message topic field that you are working with.

Creating Non-Activity Messages

From within Contacts:
  • Go to Contacts, and add at least one contact to the Contact List
  • From the Contact List local menu, click on the [Send Message] option.
From the Bookings - Attendees area
  • Go to Bookings - Attendees
  • Click on the small [Mail] icon next to the attendee's name
From the Bookings - Responses area
  • Go to Bookings - Responses
  • Click on the small [Mail] icon next to the attendee's name
In each case, you will open the Send Message window...

Using the Send Message Window

The Send Message window appears. There are some options for how you construct the message at the top, and an area where you create the message subject and main contents at the bottom.

Clearing Message Content

This Send Message window will retain the content of a message until you explicitly delete it.
If the window options with content you do not want to use:
  • Click on [Reset Form Entries]

Starting your message from a Message Text

To do this:
  • Set the "Start with:" option to "Existing message text"
  • Start typing the name of the topic of the Message Text in the search field and select the one you wish to use
  • Click on [Insert]
The chosen Message Text will be inserted into the message!
Note that when you insert a Message Text, it will replace whatever text is already in the message area.

Associating the Message With an Activity

This type of message can be associated with an activity. This is great if you want to create a marketing email inviting everyone to sign up to your latest workshop, as you can associate the message with that activity, and include a link to the booking form so they can easily sign up!
To associate the message with an activity:
  • In the "Message for:" option, select "Specific Activity".
  • Use the "Choose activity:"search box to select the activity (using the activity's internal name)
The activity will now be associated with that activity, so you can use activity based shortcodes like [Booking click here] to do things like create a link to the booking form.

Editing and Viewing the Message

Once you have selected the right options, you can edit the message as required.
To view the contents with the shortcodes substituted:
  • Click on [View Message]
You will see the message in view mode to be sure all the shortcodes are working correctly.
To go back and edit the message:
  • Click on [Edit Message]
To actually send the message:
  • Click on [Send Message]
From Contacts view, the message can be sent to any number of contacts that you add to the Contact List.
From the Bookings - Attendees and Bookings - Responses areas, you will be sending the message to just one contact at a time.

Summary

We have seen how it is possible to send individual email based messages to any number of contacts, and to individual attendees too. This is done via the Send Message window, which allows you to create a message based on some pre-defined content stored in an item called Message Text. The message can reference a specific activity, and the content can be viewed before being sent.