Even if you don't have graphic design experience, you can create professional-quality email messages in Message Designer. The designer interface is easy to use and intuitive.
Use the Message Designer to create and modify email messages. You can:
- add and remove stories (i.e., content),
- insert headings, text blocks, and images, and
- apply custom templates.
The designer's formatting tools make it easy to:
- add borders and spacing,
- change font styles and colors, and
- manipulate images.
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Let's learn about the Message Designer's three main areas.
- Navigation Bar - Across the top are the four primary tabs you'll use to design and configure your messages.
- Canvas - In the middle is the canvas, which is where you'll add and manage message content.
- Content Properties - After adding or selecting content on the canvas, a properties panel appears on the left where you can configure the content. The options vary depending on the content type (e.g., selecting text provides typical formatting options while selecting images provides image-formatting properties).
The Template tab is where you can apply templates to modify the look of your message without changing its content. Here, you can see every available template that you can apply to your messages.
NOTE: Templates must be activated in order to be available.
Selecting a Template
The gallery always lists the currently-used template first. If you want to find a template in a different folder, click the Folder menu to select a folder.
Click a different template thumbnail to use it for your message. Communications Professional will attempt to automatically migrate any message content or stories you have from the old template to the new template (see below). However, if the new template does not have enough available Message Content Areas, you may see some content truncated or lost.
Edit templates in Message Designer
If you want to quickly edit your template while working on a message, you can do so on the Template tab.
- Click your template's Edit button to open Template Designer 2 (this automatically saves your work).
- When you’ve made your modifications, click Save to update the template.
- Click Return to navigate back to your message in Message Designer, along with a notification indicating a new version of the template is available. Click Update Template to switch to your new template.
Keep the following details in mind about the Template tab:
- The template used in the message always displays as the first item (regardless of the folder selection).
- You can edit the in-use template even if that template is deactivated.
- You cannot edit an in-use template if it has been deleted. This disables the Edit button.
NOTE: Only users with template editing permissions can make changes directly from Message Designer.
The Design tab is where you build your messages, of which content types are the heart and soul. In Message Designer, you add content to Message Content Areas, which are indicated by the Add Content button. These layouts are defined in your message's template, and are set up with all the settings you'll need to tell your organization's story.
To start adding content, click one of the Add Content buttons. The available content types (again, dictated by the template) appear in a menu next to the Message Content Area.
Click the content type you'd like to add to launch its properties. Now, you can add content and format it as necessary using the Rich Text Editor.
NOTE: Editing options may be limited based on the Theme properties in the template.
This is the text-only version (all HTML is removed) of your message, which you can see and edit by selecting this view.
To view the text-only version, click the menu at the top right and select Text Version.
NOTE: This version is shown to recipients who opt to receive text-only emails (i.e., they use a text-based email client).
As you're creating a message, the text-only version is automatically created for you alongside the HTML version. Once your message is finalized, the best practice is to verify and reformat this version to fix any possible spacing, bullets, style issues that may not convert properly from the HTML version.
TIP: Content you add to your text-only version is not automatically added to the HTML version, enabling you to add unique text-only content, if needed.
- Undo - Click this to undo one or more actions you made while creating your message. This is the best way to quickly and easily fix mistakes you've made or changes you don't want to keep.
- Redo - Click this to redo actions you've made while creating your message, but had then undone.
NOTE: These buttons are only available when editing the HTML version of your message.
The Properties tab is where you'll set high-level properties for your message. There are four main sub-tabs in the Properties tab:
Name (message properties) sub-tab
There are several options available in the Name sub-tab.
Enter a Message Name. This is for your own organizational purpose, so contacts won't see this.
Click the Folder menu to store your message in an available folder.
Tentative Send Date
A good way to stay organized is to set a tentative send date for each message. By doing so, everyone on your team will know "who's sending what, when" by simply taking a peek at the Communications Professional calendar. If you have concerns about sending too many messages, or if you need to keep oversight over other child accounts using Communications Professional, this is an invaluable tool.
Click the Tentative Send Date field and select your desired send date and time.
Sharing the Mailing Activity Report
If you'd like to automatically share the message's Mailing Activity Report:
- Check the corresponding box to enable several additional options.
- Click the Share Report menu to select a time to begin sharing the report.
- In the Email Addresses field, enter the email address(es) for the individual(s) you'd like to receive the report (maximum 100 addresses).
- Enter a Message to any report recipients.
- Check the Allow access to the Details Tab box to give any recipients additional information from within the report. If enabled, an email will be sent with login instructions that will allow the recipient to access this one report for 90 days. They will be able to see details down to the contact level, but will not be able to make any modifications.
Targeting is where you'll set the recipients for your message. See Targeting to learn more.
TIP: Use a Sender Profile to quickly populate the "From," "Friendly From," and "Reply To" fields.
- The From email address is displayed next to the "Friendly From." Some bounces and all out-of-office replies go to this address.
- The Friendly From is the name that contacts see in the "From" field.
- Enter the Subject Line for message recipients. Click the Personalization icon to the right to add any personalizations to your subject line.
NOTE: Subject Lines are required for all messages. If you enable A/B Testing, Subject Line A and Subject Line B are required.
- Check the Use Targeted Subjects box to set alternative subject lines that display to contacts in the specified target groups. Refer to the Targeted Subject Lines section of our Targeting article to learn more.
- The Reply To email address receives all email replies.
You can A/B test your Friendly From and Subject Line via the menu at the top. When you select either option, the Envelope page expands to allow you to enter an "A" version and a "B" version for the selected field.
Google Analytics is a popular tool that many organizations use to track their web visitors. You can track hyperlinks in your Communications Professional messages with Google Analytics, helping you to better understand your audience.
See Google Analytics to learn more about setting up Google Analytics in Communications Professional.
Review & Send tab
The Review & Send tab is your final stop before sending your message. Here, you'll have the chance to check the look and feel of your content, test your personalizations, and ultimately send your message to your targeted contacts.
Let's learn about each of the Send & Review tab's three sub-tabs:
Check Content sub-tab
The Check Content sub-tab gives you the chance to review the look and feel of your message before you send it. This sub-tab comprises the following features/areas:
You can review three different versions of your message: Desktop, Mobile, and Text. Click the dropdown at the top right to switch between and view these different versions, ensuring you see exactly how each version looks before you send your message.
Run the Personalization Test to ensure that all message recipients have valid personalization field values in your message.
NOTE: You can only check Communications Professional personalization values; integration values cannot be tested.
Virtual Inbox Test
Run the Virtual Inbox Test to see how your message will look in various email clients.
The test section updates to display three categories of email clients: desktop, mobile, and webmail.
- Click the arrows on the right to expand the categories and view which email clients were tested.
- Click Failed tests and Passed tests in the panel on the left to see which email clients failed the test and which ones passed.
NOTE: It may take a few minutes for the test to complete; you can continue to work as the test is running, and results will auto-update in real-time as results are compiled.
Also, you can run this test multiple times, with each set of results saved for future reference. To view them, click the dropdown and select a test (you may have to click Back to view this menu).
TIP: Virtual Inbox Test is run on a variety of desktop, mobile, and webmail email clients. To see a list of the email clients that are currently included, visit the Email on Acid "active email clients" page, scroll down, and click to view the full client list.
Get Feedback sub-tab
The Get Feedback sub-tab allows you to gather feedback from your colleagues before you send your message to your contacts.
Three feedback options are available:
Send Test enables you to send your message to yourself and/or specific individuals before it goes to your contacts.
- Click the Test Recipients menu to select a test group or a list of email addresses for your test.
- Enter a message to add to your subject line in the Prepend to Subject field. Additionally, enter a recipient email address for all test replies.
- When ready, click Send Mail Test.
Send for Review
The Send for Review option lets you gather feedback.
- Click the first menu to select a test group or a list of email addresses for your review.
- Enter a Due Date and Instructions for your reviewers in the corresponding fields.
- Check the Include test message in invitation box if you'd like to send a test message along with your reviewer invitation.
- Use the Email Comments to the Author, Send an Email to the Reviewer, and Send a Due Date Reminder to Each Reviewer to fine-tune the properties for your review message.
- Finally, click Send for Review to finish.
An email message will be sent to the test group or the list of email addresses that you specified in step 1 (above), and a copy will be sent to you.
The message indicates the name of the message to be reviewed, when the review period ends, and a link to the message in the Reviewer tool.
NOTE: When the review period ends, you'll receive a message with a list of the reviewers' comments.
Information for your reviewers
If you're going to have others reviewing your email messages, it's a good idea to:
- Inform your reviewers of your request, especially if they are new to your account and unfamiliar with your review procedures.
- Refer your reviewers to instructions on how to use the Reviewer tool.
- Notify your reviewers that the review-request email message will be from Reviews@informz.net; this should prevent them assuming it's spam and deleting it.
NOTE: Your reviewers might not know that "Informz" is a previous name of the Communications Professional product.
Click this option to see how many contacts will receive your message.
The Send area at the bottom of the page gives you everything you need to get your message sent and into your contacts' inboxes.
You have several scheduling options for your message:
- Send Message Now
- Schedule One-Time
- Daily or Weekly
When you select an option, the page expands to let you fine-tune your selection.
Additionally, you'll have several different delivery methods:
When you've set all your message options, click Schedule Message at the bottom of the page to send.
The Auto Resend feature enables you to easily and automatically resend a message to contacts who did not open the original message. You must configure this option while creating a (original) message; it cannot be set up after a message has been sent.
Learn all about the Auto Resend feature.