Higher Logic offers an innovative tool for ensuring that your members receive email updates with content that is tailored to them: Smart Newsletter!
AVAILABILITY UPDATE: The Smart Newsletter feature is now available to ALL customers. To have it enabled in your account, create a case with our Customer Support Team.
NOTE: Smart Newsletter is not available in Canada.
With Smart Newsletter, you:
- configure the layout,
- customize the content,
- specify the target audience, and
- select your own "send" schedule.
After you configure, customize, and test the newsletter, set the Send schedule. That's it -- you're finished!
Now, the newsletter will be automatically sent according to your schedule and with your selected content types.
IMPORTANT: Smart Newsletter is not a replacement for your community digest emails. Digest emails are unique to a single community, whereas Smart Newsletter can be configured to include content from your entire site and non-site (i.e., external) content.
Smart Newsletter benefits
Smart Newsletter is a great option if you regularly send newsletters because it can save you time and effort by automating the newsletter creation. After you've configured your Smart Newsletter, it:
- mines, and gets populated with content (discussions, blogs, etc.) from, the entire site;
- can include content from the web;
- can include, per recipient, any content that a recipient can otherwise access, based on their permissions;
- is independent of (not a replacement for) the existing system-scheduled daily and weekly Digest emails, which are community-specific;
- learns more about each recipient's interests every time they click a link in it (it gets "smarter" over time and with regular use/engagement); and
- is a mobile-friendly email message.
NOTE: Each site has only one Smart Newsletter; you cannot create multiple newsletters or have different versions for different groups or different communities within a site. Be sure to consider your entire audience, and create a newsletter that has content with "global appeal."
Smart Newsletter uses machine learning to build a profile of each recipient's interests based on what each user clicks in each newsletter. When future newsletters get sent, they include content that is increasingly tailored to each individual recipient.
Create your Smart Newsletter
ACCESSIBILITY: Any time you're designing webpage or email-based content, it's more important than ever to keep modern accessibility principles in mind. Because this article touches on content design, we recommend referring to Best Practices - Accessibility and its associated resources.
Your Smart Newsletter is fully customizable in that you select which types of content to include; arrange where in the newsletter the content will display; and set color defaults for titles, text, and links.
To create a Smart Newsletter:
- In the Admin Toolbar, click Admin.
- Navigate to Email > Smart Newsletter > Setup.
- In the Content section of the Setup tab click:
- Create email layout & design to create your newsletter on the design page.
- Edit email layout & design (shown below) to make changes to your newsletter on the design page.
TIP: If you return to an active or in-progress newsletter, a thumbnail also displays now. Click it to see a sample of a Smart Newsletter.
NOTE: The sample Smart Newsletter is not a preview of your Smart Newsletter; it contains "dummy" content to demonstrate how the different Content Types display in the Smart Newsletter. If you want to preview your Smart Newsletter — populated with content from your site — send a test newsletter to yourself from the Test tab.
The design page
- If you are accessing the design page for the first time, the canvas will contain only the logo placeholder and the "drop content" prompt.
- If you are returning to an existing newsletter — whether it's enabled (i.e., "active") or in progress — any work that you have done and saved will display.
You can add a variety of types of content to your Smart Newsletter.
The default Content Type titles (Blogs, Library, RSS, etc.) represent the sources in your community site that are suited to newsletter content. These default titles can be used in your newsletter or you can customize them.
NOTE: Changing the title of a Content Type does not alter the content that it presents.
|Shows the latest community blogs that are relevant to the user.
|Shows the newest events in the community that are relevant to the user.
|Shows the newest Library Entries in the community that are relevant to the user.
|Shows a list of clickable topics from a targeted feed. An Admin must input a valid RSS feed URL.
|Shows the latest community discussion threads that are relevant to the user.
|Shows new community members who joined at least one day ago. Their profiles must include a picture and Bio info in order for the member to be included in the newsletter (which will include these two fields).
|Shows the discussion posts that have not received at least one reply. The post must be at least two days old.
|Shows the members who have interacted the most with community discussion posts.
Before you start creating your Smart Newsletter, you should know what you can do on the designer's tabs.
- Build - This has the building blocks for your newsletter. It's here that you upload an image as your logo and add the Content Type placeholders that eventually get populated with your content. Refer to Add content placeholders, below.
- Design - This is where you customize the colors of the title, text, and links of your Content Types. It reflects what's been added on the Build tab, but presents "dummy" data so that you can preview the layout. Refer to Customize content appearance, below.
TIP: Both of these tabs have a Save button; it's a good idea to periodically save your work as you build the newsletter.
This section provides some important notes that you should review prior to building a newsletter.
- A logo is required. We recommend that you save your logo file where it can be accessed during the newsletter-creation process. Note the following logo maximums:
- Dimensions: 500 pixels wide x 250 pixels tall
- File Size: 5 MB
- The designer performs a validation. For example, it will check all RSS feeds to verify their validity.
- The designer denies duplicate Content Type titles. If there are duplicates, a notification displays and the Save button remains disabled.
- The designer denies blank Content Type blocks. If a Content Type has been added to the canvas but has not been edited, a notification displays and the Save button remains disabled.
Add content placeholders
The Build tab is where you configure the content of your Smart Newsletter. Here, you add the "placeholder" building blocks and arrange them to design the look of the newsletter.
NOTE: You cannot change the layout of a Content Type, but you can manage how the Content Types are arranged.
To build your newsletter:
- Under Logo, click Upload newsletter logo. Logo images can be uploaded from your device, an external drive, or from a link.
- Navigate to where the logo image is stored and select it. When the image populates the Upload window, click Save.
- Click-and-drag a Content Type block from the Content Types section onto the canvas.
- Click the pencil icon to edit the block, and in the edit panel:
- Specify a title for the section or leave the default.
- Specify the maximum number of Posts (or Entries, Events, Threads, Members, etc.) to display or leave the default of 1.
- Click Save to preserve your changes.
- Click Back to Build to add more content.
Repeat steps 3 and 4 to add content to your Smart Newsletter.
TIP: After you've added and edited two or three Content Type blocks, click Save and visit the Design tab to make sure that the appearance and layout are as you expect; return to the Build tab to continue working.
Customize content appearance
The Design tab is where you customize the colors of your Smart Newsletter content. Here, you choose which colors to use for the title, text, and links in your newsletter.
NOTE: If you have specified colors for your site theme using the Color Picker in Theme Editor, those colors will be set as the defaults. The default colors can be overridden as described in this section.
Which colors are which?
Refer to the image below to see which Design tab setting controls which newsletter text element. The red, green, and purple boxes highlight which text element is controlled by which Design tab setting.
Change text colors
To set your newsletter's text colors using a HEX code, type/paste the code into the field.
To set your newsletter's text colors using the color selector:
- Click the colored box of the text element that you want to customize.
- In the color selector:
- click one of the preset color boxes in the lower section;
- specify a HEX code;
- specify RGB values; or
- click into the color box and use the color slider.
TIP: The color is applied to the text element on the canvas in real time so that you can see how a color looks as you customize. Watch the title text auto-update in the following video.
NOTE: The A box works in conjunction with the opacity slider. Adjust the opacity by either moving the slider or specifying a value in the A box.
- Click the colored box to close the color selector.
- Click Save.
Repeat these steps for the other text elements that you want to customize.
If you change a text element's colors by using the color selector, click Reset to:
- re-apply the default colors of your site theme.
- re-apply the last published colors (if your site theme color picker is toggled off or if site theme colors were not specified).
Now that you have built and designed your newsletter, configure the Setup options.
After you have built and designed your Smart Newsletter, work through the required and optional sections of the Setup tab to finish configuring your newsletter.
Click the Setup tab to:
- build and design the newsletter,
- exclude Users based on Security Groups,
- select when to send the newsletter, and
- enable Smart Newsletter.
You must specify the "envelope" fields that are shown in the following image. Note that Friendly reply name and Subject are free-text fields that accept letters, numerals, and "special" characters.
NOTE: These fields are required. If either field is blank, the Send Smart Newsletter check box (in the Status section) will not be enabled.
Select newsletter exclusions
You can exclude Users from receiving the newsletter by excluding the Security Groups that they belong to.
- Click Select Security Groups to Exclude to open the Security Group selector dialog.
- Check the boxes next to the Security Groups you want to exclude.
- Click Select to exclude the Security Groups.
TIP: When choosing Security Groups to exclude:
- Use the Search field (magnifying glass icon) to refine the list.
- Check the counts in the Users column to confirm how many Users you're excluding.
The Select Security Groups to Exclude link is replaced with the names of any Security Groups you selected.
- The Security Groups are listed in the order in which you checked their boxes in the selection dialog.
- You can click this unified link to change your selections.
Schedule the newsletter
You have to configure a send schedule for the newsletter. Use the dropdowns to choose the:
- number of weeks between send jobs (1 = weekly; 2 = bi-weekly; 4 = monthly),
- weekday on which to send the newsletter, and
- time of day to send the newsletter.
NOTE: The scheduler uses the default time zone of the site.
Enable the newsletter
You have to enable the newsletter in order for it to be sent.
- Check the Send Smart Newsletter box.
The newsletter will be sent according to the schedule.
NOTE: When you have finished configuring and scheduling the newsletter, click Save. A message displays at the top of the page indicating the next scheduled send date and time. The Save button is now deactivated until future changes are made that require saving.
Test your Smart Newsletter
Before sending your newsletter, it's a good idea send a test to yourself (or a colleague) to ensure that the newsletter displays as intended and includes the content that you expect.
NOTE: Test newsletters contain the real content (from your site and elsewhere on the web) that you have configured in the designer.
- Click the Test tab.
- Specify an email address.
- As you type, the system will query your site and display suggested matches (community members' names with email addresses).
- Click a name to select it. (You can also arrow down to a name and then press Enter.)
- After you select a community member, you can repeat the process to select more community members, as shown above.
- Click the x of a selected entry to remove it.
- Click Send.
The initial Smart Newsletter email test could take up to a few hours to arrive because it is gathering data from your site and elsewhere that it will use to populate the Content Types that have been included.
If it hasn't arrived in a few hours, check your spam/junk folder.