Email is likely the main mode of communication you use to stay in touch with your stakeholders. In SparkInfluence, you can draft messages to relay important updates, disseminate information about available tools and resources, issue calls to action, send newsletters, and more.
Creating an email that your advocates will open and engage with is crucial to your advocacy success. Think carefully about the subject, the timing and the content of your email. Anything too formal and your stakeholders may ignore it, too informal and depending on the content you may be flagged for spam.
To get started, Click into the Communications area of the platform.
Click the green Create New Email button about halfway down the right side of the page.
Enter a title. NOTE: This is for your internal reference ONLY and will NOT be seen by subscribers. You’ll fill out the email subject line that recipients will see in the next step.
Nearly every outbound communication you send (like a call to action, newsletter, invitation to an event, update on issues, etc.) is considered a regular send. Click Next and you’ll be taken to the “Let’s Dive Into The Basics” screen.
Here, you will add Email Subject, From Name (use something your recipients will recognize, like your name or the name of your organization or company), and From Email Address (this email address will receive ANY AND ALL replies to your email, including hard bounces and out-of-office replies). If you want to personalize the To field, so that your stakeholders receive the message to Joe Smith rather than firstname.lastname@example.org, add those merge tags here. Email Content Pre-Header is a single line of text that will explain your email to Stakeholders. This applies to iPhones ONLY, and can be thought of as a tagline for your email. Both the Personalized To Field AND the Pre-Header are optional.
Click Save & Next Step, and you’ll be prompted to Specify Recipients.
Don’t see the recipients you’re looking for listed? The recipient list shows all saved searches you’ve created. This lets you segment your stakeholders easily, then select only that group you want to receive your message. See: Creating a saved search.
Once you’ve selected your recipients, you’ll be able to choose a template for your email— if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to select the “Base Template”.
To create and save custom templates for future communications, see: Saving a template.
In the “Compose Your Message” email editor, you can customize nearly every single element of your message—colors, images, fonts, sizing, layout… you name it!
Be sure to click the blue Save button in the top right of the editor screen periodically so you don’t lose your work. If you want to check out how your email looks before you send it, you’ve got some options. Click to drop down the Actions menu at the top left of the screen under “Compose Your Message”.
Clicking Preview will take you to a screen that shows you how your email will render on a desktop as well as on mobile.
Clicking Send Test will pop up a modal where you’ll have two options.
Entering an email address in the first field will send the draft message to that email with the subject line “TEST: Your Real Subject Line”. If you have added merge tags/fields to the body of your email (like a greeting, “Dear [first-name]” or anything else) and you want to test those merge fields, then search for the name of a stakeholder in the second text field. Remember, if searching for a full name, you must use quotation marks. Once you have selected your test stakeholder, sending the test will include their actual information in the draft message to the email address you’ve already specified. Please note that the stakeholder will NOT be notified in any way or get a copy of the test email. This is for your testing purposes ONLY.
Once you are satisfied with your email and ready to send, click Finalize & Send Email at the bottom of the “Compose” screen.
If you see red buttons, you’ll be prompted to fix whatever is causing the error and won’t be allowed to send your email until you do.
Once you have cleared all error messages, two more sections will pop down on the screen—you will see the option to test/edit your message further or send. There are two send options—Send Now to drop your message in the queue for immediate delivery or Schedule for Future Send, where you can select the date and time you would like your email to be delivered to stakeholders.
Regardless of which send option you’ve chosen, once finalized, you will see a note that your email has been queued in the system and will appear in inboxes soon.
You should also then see it in the Email Dashboard under Sent emails.
Depending upon what other messages are queued in the SparkInfluence system by all of our clients, your message MAY take a few minutes to go out. The system also takes a few minutes to start pulling in stats from your email, as well, so give it a little time before you start to worry!