When to use it
There are two types of automatic emails in Salsa - Streaming Emails and Autoresponses. Streaming Emails are enhanced autoresponses, adding the automation features of autoresponses to the design template and statistics reporting features of email blasts. Usually, we want our emails to look pretty (email templates) and we want to know who opened our emails and clicked on the links in them (email metrics), and Streaming Emails accomplish those goals.
To sum that up:
Autoresponse + Email Template + Email Metrics = Streaming Email
Use either autoresponses, streaming emails, or some combination of the two to set up a cascading stream of automated emails that are sent to a supporter. Common examples of this in action include:
- A Welcome Series which is sent to new supporters
- A series of nurture emails which are sent after a supporter makes a donation via a Salsa page (a post-donation drip campaign)
- A series of nurture emails which are sent after a supporter signs an online petition
NOTE: Since Streaming Emails are "enhanced autoresponses," why don't we just use those all the time? They do have some limits. When you add streaming emails to a page (on the Follow Up tab), they can only pull in merge fields from the Supporter Table. If you need to merge in data from any other table (such as merging the donation amount and transaction date to create a donation receipt), you'll need to use an Autoresponse.
How to get there
Before you attempt to use Streaming Emails, ensure you have the package installed. It's free and you can contact our client success managers to have it added to your account.
First, create a new Autoresponse (trust us!).
Second, fill out the basic information on the Configuration tab of the Autoresponse and then save it. If you have the Streaming Email package installed, the option to update it to a Streaming Email will appear.
Once you convert from an Autoresponse to a Streaming Email, your workflow changes from this...
The first step of creating a Streaming Emails is very similar to the process for creating a regular email blast. Below are your configuration options:
Reference Name - A unique name for this Streaming Email that is only used internally, and will not be shown to your supporters.
NOTE: Salsa will list Streaming Emails by their reference name so entering a meaningful value in this field is critical to the utility of the Streaming Email you're creating.
Select an email template - Select the email blast template you want to use by clicking on its thumbnail image
On this tab, you will set up and edit the content of the Streaming Email that your supporters will receive in their inboxes. These fields are identical to the fields in the Email Blast tool. (For more on setting up a regular email blast, please refer to the Email Blast documentation.) Streaming Emails, like autoresponses and regular email blasts, can include Merge Fields in the content of the email. Unique to Streaming Emails is the limitation that these merge fields can only be populated with supporter data, and not data from which will be stored on other tables (such as donations data).
This step allows you to turn off open and link tracking (both of which are enabled by default), as well as make your streaming email publicly available as a web page. The options below are all unchecked by default.
Do not track links - Check this box to disable link tracking in this streaming email.
Why disable link tracking? In order to do the actual tracking of link clicks, Salsa creates a unique URL for each link contained in your email, for each supporter who will receive the email (3 links in an email sent x 3 supporters = 9 different URLs). This means that your original URL - for example, www.SaveTheWorld.org - is converted into a Salsa-specific URL, like http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/dia/track.jsp?v=2&c=opG%2B4. Some organizations may wish to not have their original URL changed. In this case the choice is preserved URL and no link tracking or modified URL and link tracking.
Do not track open rates - Check this box to disable the tracking of open rate statistics.
Why disable open rate tracking? Disabling open rate tracking would remove the "Display images below" option that your supporters may see in their email client upon receiving a streaming email ONLY IF your email content and template do not contain any images. To track opens, Salsa automatically inserts a small 1x1 pixel image to be downloaded by your supporter in the email client - this is to 'acknowledge' the supporter has actually opened the email blast (which is confirmed by the image download). It is extremely rare that this tracking be turned off.
Add to web page - If your organization is displaying Salsa's available Email Blast Archive page to allow web visitors to browse past issues of your email newsletters, click this box if you wish to add this Streaming Email to the archive page for public viewing.
On this tab you will select the type of trigger (Reply, Individual, and Timed) for the Streaming Email and what conditions must be met for the email to send. For more on triggers, please refer to our documentation.
- Reply Emails: Sent almost instantly to the supporter who took action.
- Individual emails: Individual emails are not supported for Streaming Emails. Do not select this option.
- Timed triggers: Sent on a timed delay to the supporter who took action. You set the time of the delay on the Hours Delayed for Timed Trigger field.
Apppend All Values: If this box is checked, the message will be appended with a dump of data fields available from the referring Salsa page (the page that is triggering the streaming email). Its intended function is to deliver a list of potential merge fields to campaign managers in the process of configuring a message.
Be sure to copy the merge fields you intend to use into a message and un-check this box before going live with the Streaming Email.
Send Condition: Here you can set a send condition that will tell the Streaming Email to fire if and only if it meets a certain criteria. Streaming Email send conditions are identical to Autoresponse send conditions. Read more about send conditions under the Send Conditions header in the Autoresponse documentation.
Hours Delayed for Timed Trigger: (Only applicable for Timed Trigger type emails) By way of example, if you want to have a call to action automatically go to anyone three days after completing your sign up page, the Hours Delayed field would be set to 72.
On this tab you can see a live preview of what the HTML and Text-only versions of the Streaming Email look like. Note that there was no Validation tab in this process, unlike regular email blasts. Because streaming emails are sent on an individual basis, Salsa won't need to check things like targeting or unsubscribe links in streaming emails. However, you should still ensure that you are keeping the message size to a reasonable length and not including Word Code.
The major advantage of Streaming Emails over regular autoresponses are the tracking and reporting options. To see how well your Streaming Emails are doing, navigate to the list of email triggers (from the first step of this guide), then under the "Statistics" column, click the “View Stats” link.
Clicking on that link will take you to Salsa’s email performance report, which provides all of the same information that a regular email blast does. To learn more about how to interpret each of the statistics recorded on this page, visit our documentation on Email Statistics and Reporting.