Recent software enhancements are in red.
The main method of communication with your supporters in Salsa Engage is via Email. In this section, we will cover how to create and send an email.
Step 1: Getting Started
- Click the Email tab, and then select the Emails tab.
- Click the + Create an Email button.
Step 2: Create A New Email
Fill out the Name this email field to give the email an internal Email Reference Name. This will be used internally by campaign managers to distinguish between emails, to ensure that the name is unique.
There are new search, sort, and show criteria on the left side of the tab. The Search... field allows you to search for any email names that CONTAIN the words you type into the Search... field.
Sort by methods...
- Date Modified
- Date Created
- Date Sent
- Open Rate
- Click Rate
- Click-Through Rate
- Name A-Z
Show (filterable views)...
- Default View (the newest emails that are not favorited and not hidden)
- Favorites Only (selecting the star in the upper left of the email preview)
- Hidden Only (the HIDE link in the upper right of the email preview)
- All Items (not filtered)
Grid View and List View
The two buttons above the previews of your existing emails are Grid View and List View.
- Grid View shows your existing emails in a tile layout of up to three squares across (depending on the size of your browser window).
- List View shows the existing emails one at a time, with information about the email demographics to the right of the email preview.
Back to Top
Return to the top of the screen using the back to top link, which always stays in the bottom right of the screen. Also within the "back to top" area is information about how many existing emails are displaying currently on the screen and how many total existing emails there are within Engage for your to review.
Copy an Existing Email
Start your new email by using an email that was created previously. This option is the default option for creating new emails.
Use a Pre-Designed Template
Start your new email by using an email template that has been designed based on non-profit marketing best practices and shared with your organization.
Start Fresh From a Layout
Start your new email completely from scratch. We have a basic design template that can be used, or you can select a general layout to suit your needs, or you can start completely from a blank slate, or you can upload your own HTML code.
Step 3: Choose Email Targets
Select the Audience: Who should receive this email?
1. Choose from one of the options:
- Click the Entire List button to send to your full list.
- Click the Selected segments of your list, or specific supporters button to send the email to only certain people. If you choose this option, you'll be given two additional options:
- Choose group(s) to receive this email - The first option will be to choose a segment of your list. These will need to be set up ahead of time in the Audience module.
- Choose additional supporters to receive this email - You can also add specific supporters if they are not part of the segment you chose. Start typing in the search box and all supporters who match your search conditions will be shown. Hit the + symbol next to the supporters you want to add. You can add as many as you want.
- Click the Use a Custom Supporter Query button to send the email to supporters as defined in an ad hoc Supporter Query you can create "on-the-fly". For example, select everyone within a 50-mile radius of a particular zip code. The query to define the audience runs when the email is sent. Spot-checking results of the query are not possible on-the-fly; if that is a requirement of developing the audience, defining a dynamic Group is necessary instead.
2. Define Who should NOT receive this email? - The last step in this section is to choose who shouldn’t receive this email. Depending on what type of email this is, you have the option to exclude subscribers who are not interested in those email types or to ignore preferences and send to subscribers who aren't necessarily interested in those types of emails. By default, we will automatically not send to supporters who have opted out of the Email Campaign that you are sending to. You have the ability to override preferences and send to them anyway. However, this is not recommended because they specifically took the time to tell you they don’t want to receive this type of email. This could lead to a full unsubscribe or the message being marked as spam by the supporter. Either of these options would lead to poor email deliverability for your organization.
3. Similar to the above selection, you can choose whole segments who won’t get the message or just individual supporters. Use Do not send to these groups and Do not send to these supporters to limit who gets the email.
4. Total Audience Reach represents a count of eligible recipients based on the targeted list from Step 1 but subtracting a count of the list of Supporters excluded in Step 2.
5. Click the Next: Compose Your Email >> button in the lower right-hand corner.
Step 4: Compose Your Email
Create the Email
Choose the layout that the email will use OR click Code My Own at the bottom of the window.
- Code My Own enables you to code your own HTML to create an email from scratch. You can use the following controls to add canned content. When you are done, click Next: Final Steps >> at the lower right-hand corner of the window.
- Choose a link - Opens the Choose a link window, which enables you to include a link to your Salsa Engage pages or external URLs.
- Add an Image - Opens the Select Your Image window, which enables you to add images from your Salsa Engage Asset Library or your computer.
- Add a Merge Field - This enables you to add Salsa Engage merge fields.
- Add Unsubscribe Link - This is a link that a supporter can use to unsubscribe from future emails.
- If you choose a pre-made layout, click the Next: Composer button at the lower right-hand corner of the window. You'll be taken to the Compose Your Email page. The Visual Editor help topic for detailed information.
Compose Your Email
The Compose page is where you'll do the bulk of your work. This is where you enter your content, select & edit images, add links, and adjust other custom elements.
As you can see in the image above, all the basics of an email are present towards the top of this page: The From Name, From Email, Reply to Email, and the Subject Line. Your default system settings should populate these fields for you.
Caution: Never use the following domains for your From email address:
To manage your default outgoing email settings...
- Click the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen .
- Click the Switch To... button, and then select Email Defaults.
- Fill out the appropriate fields.
Note: The button at the end of the Subject Line that looks like a silhouette is called the "Insert a Personalized Field" button. This will be discussed in detail in the Visual Editor section below.
Preheader Text (aka, Preview Text)
Do you use preheader text in your emails? There are currently more emails opened on mobile devices than on desktops. The shift to mobile has made the use of preheader text important for anyone using email to grow supporters and revenue.
Engage is designed to pick up the first line of your email text to use as a preheader, and it ignores any graphics that you may have placed above the text. If you are not seeing the intended preheader in your test email on any device, you can add HTML code to create a dedicated preheader:
- In the Visual Editor, add an HTML Element to the very top of the email, and then paste the following source code into the Element:
<div style="display: none; max-height: 0px; overflow: hidden;">
Insert hidden preheader text here
- Replace "Insert preview text here" with your text. NOTE: Make sure you place hidden preview text as the first element in the body, and that it is at least 90 characters long. Since different email clients on desktops and smart devices support different line lengths, be sure to test your email before going public. Following are a few examples of what preheader text looks like when done wrong and done right.
Pro Tip: Create a white space after your preview text so that email clients don’t pull other distracting text or characters into the content. Add a chain of zero-width non-joiners (‌) and non-breaking spaces ( ) after the preview text you want to display. The series of “‌ ” then fills any remaining preview text space.
<div style="display: none; max-height: 0px; overflow: hidden;">
Insert hidden preheader text here
<!-- Insert ‌ hack after hidden preview text -->
<div style="display: none; max-height: 0px; overflow: hidden;">
‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
The Web Version toggle enables you to automatically publish a web version of the email, hosted by Salsa Labs, that supporters can see by clicking a link in the email. This is useful if you have images or other elements in your email that may be blocked by email clients.
If your email contains merge fields and the supporter clicks the Web Version link to view the email as a web page, the web page will be personalized for your supporter. For example, if you were to include a "First Name" merge field, the web version of the email would be populated with the first name value on record for the supporter (for example, "Chris"). However, when the supporter uses the Share element to push the email to social media, the shared version will not include personalized data for that supporter. Instead, the shared version will use the default values that you set when you inserted the merge field into the email.
The Web Version toggle is ON by default. (If you don't want to create an online version of your email, click the toggle to OFF.) When the toggle is set to ON, the Edit Settings control is enabled.
Web Version Settings
- Click the Edit Settings icon to the right of the Web Version ON toggle. The settings dialog box appears.
- On the Web Version Settings tab, enter a Page Title. Click the help icon for details.
- Enter a URL. Click the help icon for details.
- Click the Web Version Status tab.
- Select an option:
- Leave the Stay Published radio button selected if you want the on-line version of the email to remain available indefinitely.
- Click the radio button for Redirect at date and time to following page to redirect the supporter to a different URL after a given time and date. When you select this option, you are given controls to choose a date and time and to add a link to a Salsa Engage page or external URL.
- In the URL field, enter a custom URL. This phrase will replace the system generated URL produced by Engage
- Click the Social Share Attributes tab. This enables you to add a title, description, and image that viewers will see when your content is shared on social. The tile will be the title of the social post. The description will compose the body text. The image will appear as the image for the social post.
- Click Save Configuration>> when you are finished.
- In your email form, include the Web View Link element.
A/B Split Testing: Create a split test (up to 5 versions)
The tab with the "+" sign towards the top left of the "Compose Your Email" page allows you to create multiple iterations of your message for the purposes of deciding which version is more successful.
The basic steps for creating test emails are as follows:
- Fill in your Subject Line.
- Create your email blast.
- Select the "+" sign to generate up to five different copies of your email.
- Make slight alterations to your various copies.
- Move on to the final steps, select the percentages of who will get what, and then send your blasts.
To make an effective test, you may wish to follow a few of these guidelines:
- Isolate one variable per test - Subject, salutation, From name... keep the change confined to a simple, easily identifiable factor.
- Consider statistical significance - If you send your test to 100% of your list, you'll really only learn what works for some future email blast, and not really be able to do anything with the information for the current blast. Picking a smaller percentage of your list to send to means a bigger portion will get the optimized email. The trick here is to get enough responses to each version that you can gather useful enough information to determine which email "won". If your entire list is very small, your sample size may be statistically insignificant. If you have a fairly large list of people (thousands or even tens of thousands) you can begin to get good data out of smaller subsets of your list.
Salsa recommends sending the test to only 25-30% of your total list.
- Re-test the things you know work - It's an ever-changing world out there, and what works for this year's gala can fall flat the next. If you're invested in testing for the purposes of optimizing your emailing effectiveness, then don't forget to revisit old tests you've run!
The Visual Editor
The Visual Editor is the primary tool used to build the body of your email blast. Scrolling down the page, you’ll reach a visual editor. Constructing the body of your message is very similar to how you create forms in Activities, as the Visual Editor contains many similar tools across Salsa Engage. See The Visual Editor for Activities and Messaging for detailed directions.
For each type of design element you place into your page, there's a separate set of finer controls which allow you to further edit and design your form or email.
Since most of the options revealed by clicking this icon are covered in The Visual Editor for Activities and Messaging, we'll only cover the tools and elements specific to email.
The Text Box - When you click the Pencil icon in the Form field, you'll see the "Edit Text" window.
Although you'll find the Text Box used extensively elsewhere, one key option that is available to your email composition that isn't seen anywhere else is the "Insert a Personalized Field" button. This is the same button available to you at the end of your Subject Line field above. This button brings up a window that allows you to personalize your message with a merge field (or fields) of your choosing. For example, if you wanted to send someone a birthday message and really make it stand out in ALL CAPS, scroll down to find Date of Birth, or use the Search field to quickly locate it among the other choices. Select your ALL CAPS radio button, and then decide if you want any messaging to be placed in lieu of missing data on the supporter's record.
Once you're done, click the Save Content button.
OrgInfo - If you want to add one or two places where you can insert your organization's contact data. You'll notice these are all merge fields. Remove any you don't want, or click and drag to reorder them to your liking.
There's no need to overwrite your contact information; merge fields will pull your info automatically as the blast is being sent.
If you find you need to update your organization's contact info., you can do so by going to your Settings, which is the tools icon in the upper right-hand corner.
The first tab you'll see upon arriving on the Settings page is the "Set Org Details" tab. Here's where you can edit your address, phone, and email. You can click the "Save It!" button in the lower right-hand corner when you've made your edits.
Spam Checker: What's Your Score?
Click the Request Your Score button evaluate your email's content: it's links, images, and verbiage. Certain phrases, keywords, link types, and other components of your message may trigger spam traps on the receiving end, so we try and provide you with a little data to help clean that up if needed. Salsa uses SpamAssassin for its spam scoring. We've tried to make the spam messages more friendly to actual humans, as the actual codes that SpamAssassin produces are decidedly cryptic. If you do have email content that's considered spam-ish, Salsa will try to give you some guidance on what needs to be changed.
Note: A general rule of thumb is to note that a cumulative score of 5.0 or higher means you'll more than likely hit spam traps. A lower score doesn't mean you won't hit certain email clients' spam triggers, but the odds are less that they'll be routed into junk folders. No score means you're sitting at a relatively comfortable 0.0.
Once you're done making your choices, you can save, go back, or move forward in the process by clicking Next: Final Steps >>.
Step 5: Schedule, Test, and Send
- First, you will review who the message is getting sent to. You will see the total amount of targeted supporters and what segments/individually added supporters it is based on.
If you've elected to send an A/B test, you'll see an additional field with options to help you select which percentages to use and how the "winner" is chosen.
Salsa recommends sending the test to no more than 25-30% of your total list.
You can also tell Salsa Engage to automatically determine the winner after a period of time you set, or that you'll be the one to manually pick a winner.
- If the targeting count looks right, and if you've set up any needed A/B testing criteria (if that's not present, you don't have to worry about it), the next step is to send yourself a test message to confirm what it looks like when you actually get it in your inbox.
When you are editing your email blast in the visual editor, this is not how the finished product should look. A close approximation of the final product can be seen in the Preview. An even better approximation is the Test email that you can send to yourself (preferably outside of your foundation's domain... to a personal email, for example).
Type in an email into the box and click the Add button to add that email to the test. If you leave the Save these addresses for future tests checkbox checked while adding emails, they will be saved so all future email blasts created will automatically have those test emails added.
NOTE: We strongly recommend sending test messages of each email blast to multiple email domains, as email providers have varying standards for spam-checking HTML. For example, consider sending the test message to a personal address at Yahoo or Google as well as your organization's email. If your organization is blocking the test email or otherwise noting it may be spam, that is because we are sending emails that are on behalf of your organization, yet your email server is suspicious because it did not send the email. It is likely that our email servers need to be whitelisted to perform such an action. Please review our documentation on making sure emails get to supporters.
PRO TIP: It can be challenging to create emails that render well in all email clients, because email clients, unfortunately, have little standardization in the way they display HTML. Here is a helpful resource that other clients of ours have used to mitigate these kinds of problems: http://www.email-standards.org. Another great resource is a program called Litmus (http://litmus.com). It allows you to test the email across various clients. Another thing that you may wish to do is keep an eye on the Results of your email blasts in the Email Client stats area of the results, to see what email clients your constituents are using. If you start seeing that a significantly large amount of your constituents are using Outlook, you may wish to tailor the emails towards Outlook recipients.
- After you have all the emails added, click the Send the Test! button to send a test message to each of the emails you enter. After confirming the message looks good, you will decide when the email is going out. If you want to send it right away just leave Send Immediately checked and click the Send Now button.
If you want to schedule the email to send at a future date and time, click the Schedule for a later date checkbox and two new boxes will appear. Click in the first one to set a date and then use the next drop-down box to choose a time. The timezone is based off the local timezone of the campaign manager saving the time. Click the Send Later button and your email will go out at the date and time you set.
If you need to stop a scheduled blast the Cancel the blast option will be present on the Status tab. Canceling the blast removes it from the send queue so you can make modifications and reschedule it to send at whatever date and time you would like.
Step 6: See the Results
After you have sent an email blast and given your supporters some time to open and read it, you can get some details on how the email performed. Information about charts and graphs accompany the charts and graphs themselves.
The table on this tab lets you see who emails were sent to and emails' "opened" status. To see Supporter basics, click the Email or Name of the email that you are interested in. Click Download Details as CSV to download your results, to your hard drive, as a CSV file.