Blast Email is PensionPro's solution to customizing and sending emails to multiple recipients. This article covers setting up Blast Email preferences and includes steps for troubleshooting common Blast Email issues. For instructions on using Blast Email to send communications, refer to the article Blast Email.
Tier Availability: Team, Business
Security Rights Required: Blast Email
Table of Contents
- Blast Email Setup
- Common Blast Email Issues
Blast Email Setup
PensionPro does not send Blast Emails directly; instead, it transmits the necessary information to a mail server, which creates the emails and distributes them as appropriate. The Blast Email preferences are used to define a connection to a mail server and determine how PensionPro communicates with that server.
Establishing a connection to a mail server is a highly technical process, and should involve consultation with an IT professional. Many organizations manage their own mail servers which can be configured and used for the purposes of sending Blast Email. If an existing mail server is not available or is undesirable for any reason, PensionPro can provide a connection to a SendGrid server and establish the necessary preferences.
SendGrid vs. Custom Mail Server
PensionPro is able to provide Blast Email delivery via SendGrid. If a firm opts to utilize SendGrid, PensionPro will handle the necessary setup and maintenance. However, any technical assistance or reporting requests must be made through PensionPro's Help Desk. This is a good option for organizations seeking a low-involvement Blast Email delivery solution. Refer to SendGrid for more information.
Alternately, a firm may choose to incorporate Blast Email with its existing mail server. In this case, the Blast Email preferences will need to be set manually to establish the connection; refer to the instructions in the PensionPro Preferences section, below. This option is best suited for organizations who wish to maintain full control over their email activity.
Security Rights Required: Maintenance
To access the settings for Blast Email:
- Navigate to Maintenance > Preferences > PensionPro.
- In the Views list on the left, expand the General category and select the Blast Email view.
To edit a value, hover over an entry and select Edit on the right.
The following list contains descriptions of each Blast Email preference. Firms who have opted to use a SendGrid server provided by PensionPro will have the proper preferences established upon initial setup, and should not edit these settings unless instructed.
|Blast Email Batch Size||The number of Blast Emails transmitted to the email server in a single batch. Maximum of 20.|
|Blast Email Interaction Type||
The Interaction Type applied when a Blast Email is automatically saved as an Interaction. Options are Email or Email Blast.
|Blast Email Sending Pause||The number of seconds PensionPro will wait between batches when transmitting to the email server. Increasing this value can make it easier for a server to process a large quantity of emails.|
|Email Protocol||The email protocol to be used. Options are SMTP (most common) or MAPI.|
|Email Server Name||The name or IP address of the server, either in xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx or mail.myserver.com format.|
|Email Server Password||The password for the email server (if required).|
|Email Server Port Number||The port number to be used. 587 is the most common standard. 465 and 2525 are less common and should only be used situationally. Other port numbers may be specified as required. Port 25 should not be used.|
|Email Server Username||The username to sign in to the email server (if required).|
|Use SSL||Set to match the email server's SSL settings. Options are Yes or No.|
DNS Records for SendGrid
If using a SendGrid server provided by PensionPro for sending Blast Email, the following DNS record types can assist in ensuring proper delivery. These settings are typically maintained by the organization's IT service.
Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
PensionPro recommends adding the following item to the organization's SPF records:
- include: sendgrid.net
DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM)
Although optional, establishing DKIM verification can improve deliverability in certain situations. For assistance in setting up DKIM, please submit a Support request ticket to the PensionPro Help Desk.
Common Blast Email Issues
This section details the most common issues users experience when sending Blast Email, along with tips for prevention and/or resolution.
Cannot locate Column Selection or Filter
If the desired Column or Filter cannot be found during Step 4, ensure that the Blast Email Template has the proper Mailing Type set. Each Mailing Type affects the Columns and Filters that are available for selection. For more information, refer to the article Blast Email - Mailing Types.
Contact is not showing in Recipients grid
There are a number of factors that could result in a desired Contact not appearing in the Recipients grid in Step 5. Review all of the following to identify the most common causes:
- Review the Filters in Step 4 to ensure the Contact meets all criteria.
- Review the Column Selections in Step 4. In some cases, the Contact may not be made available if a column references data that does not exist.
- Verify that the Mailing Type is correct, and that the Contact meets the eligibility criteria for that Mailing Type, as outlined in the article Blast Email - Mailing Types.
- If the Mailing Type requires a Plan association, ensure that the Contact has been assigned to a Plan Contact Role.
- If the Blast Email is being sent as a Data Collection Request/Reminder, ensure that the correct Task is active within the Data Collection Project.
- If the Blast Email Template has From Type set to Employee Plan Role, ensure that the Employee Role specified in the From Role field exists for the Plan.
- Review any Merge Fields used in Step 2. In some cases, the Contact may not be made available if a Merge Field references data that does not exist.
Recipients grid shows duplicate Contacts
In most cases, if the Recipients grid in Step 5 is listing each Contact multiple times, with no difference in the data between each entry, the cause lies somewhere in the Column Selections & Filters that were applied in Step 4.
The Recipients grid will attempt to generate a list of Contacts by returning data based on the Column Selections. If a Column retrieves data for multiple records, the Recipients grid will create multiple entries, matching each Contact to each piece of data (unless prevented by any Filters). For example, if Project Name is a Column Selection, and a Plan contains three Projects, each Plan Contact would be shown three times—matched once to all three Projects.
This holds true even when the returned records each contain the exact same data. Continuing the above example, if the three Projects are Annual Administration Projects for three different Plan Years, Project Name may be the same across all three of the entries shown for the Plan Contact. In this case, the defining piece of information would be Project Period End (however, this is not obvious if Project Period End is not added as a Column Selection). To resolve this particular scenario, an additional Filter based on Project Period End should be applied to limit the results shown.
In general, when this issue arises, pay close attention to the Column Selections to determine which Columns might be returning data for multiple records, and either remove the Column or apply additional Filters as necessary.
Contact did not receive Blast Email
If a Contact was selected as a Blast Email recipient, but they report that they did not receive the email, the email likely either could not be delivered, or was filtered out by the Contact's organization. Try the following:
- Ask the Contact to check their spam/junk folder for the email.
- Check the Contact tab > Interactions view in PensionPro for the Contact in question to confirm that a Blast Email was sent.
- Determine if the Blast Email was reported as delivered.
- In most cases, the receiving server will return a message stating whether or not it is accepting the email. If the receiving server rejects the email, the returned message will contain an error code specifying the reason for rejection.
- Firms using SendGrid can request Blast Email delivery details. Please submit a Support request ticket to the PensionPro Help Desk. Be sure to specify the date the email was sent, the subject line of the email, and the address of the recipient(s) (if applicable). Delivery reports are only available within 30 days of the Blast Email being sent.
- Firms using their own mail server should refer to their IT representative.
- If the Blast Email was reported as accepted by the receiving server, the Contact will have to work with their own IT representative to determine the reason that the email was not delivered to their inbox.
- In many cases, this is a byproduct of strict email filtering. Asking the Contact to whitelist the sender's domain (example: @firmname.com) can resolve the issue in some situations.
Inconsistent formatting on sent Blast Emails
In rare cases, the formatting of the Blast Email received by the Contact does not match the formatting as shown in the Edit Subject & Body editor in Step 2. Most often, this manifests in inconsistent font styling and line breaks inserted in undesired locations. This only applies if the Blast Email Template's Use HTML preference is set to Yes.
To prevent this issue, the Body of the Blast Email Template should be crafted entirely within the Subject & Body editor. Drafting the Body in a word processing software—such as Microsoft Word—and then copying/pasting the text into the editor is not recommended, as hidden formatting is sometimes carried over into the Blast Email from the word processor.
If the issue is affecting an existing Template, the recommended resolution is to delete the Template and recreate it, applying any desired formatting within the Subject & Body editor. Alternately, use View Source in the toolbar of the editor to open the HTML source code of the affected Template, copy the entirety of the code, and paste it into the View Source window of the new Template; this should carry over the text of the Body along with the HTML formatting, leaving anything else behind.
If the above items did not resolve a particular issue with Blast Email, the PensionPro Help Desk can assist. To expedite a solution, please provide screenshots of the following Blast Email steps alongside the Support request:
- Step 1: Information
- Step 2: Subject & Body (showing the entire contents of the email Body)
- Step 4: Filters (showing all column selections and filters)
- Step 5: Recipients