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Blast Email Overview

Blast Email can be used to send one email template to multiple contacts in the system based on the email type. Here users can send out requests for census information, data collection, alerts for new information and send mass emails for many other applications. The Blast Email Screen displays a list of Email Templates and the last date the template was used.

 

Software Requirements: Team, Core, Essential, Premium, Business
Security Right Required: Blast Email

Blast Email Preferences

Before a Blast Email can be used users should set their Blast Email Preferences. If the user has purchased SendGrid, which is an email relay service,  through PensionPro, these preferences will already be set. For more information on setting Blast Email Preferences for the first time, please click here.

Please Note: If SendGrid was not purchased through PensionPro and the user is utilizing their own email server, PensionPro does not have access to their server and the User's IT Team will need to configure their own server. The email server settings should be reflected on the Blast Email Preferences. 

 

Blast Email Templates

To view all current Blast Email Templates, click Communications on the top menu bar and click on Blast Email. From here, users can Add, Edit, Copy and Delete templates. Double-clicking any template will open it. Below are descriptions of all the fields listed on the grid on the Blast Email Templates screen. 

  • Created On: This field shows the date on which the blast email template was created. It can be used to determine the chronological order of template creation dates.
  • Name: Name shows the name of the blast email template created. Used to help determine the correct version and template for selection.
  • Last Sent: Last sent shows the date that the Blast Email was sent. It is primarily used to display the most recent distribution dates for that email template.
  • Delete: Click on the template once to select it and then click on the red X to delete the selected template.

 

To Add/Edit a Blast Email Template

  • Click on the add icon above the upper right-hand corner of the grid to create a new Blast Email Template. A name for the Template and Mailing Type is required to create the new template. A description of each Mailing Type and their application is included below. The remainder of the fields on the slider is directly related to the Mailing Type and how the template will be used. Once a Mailing Type is selected, additional fields will populate to complete before the new template can be saved. The Use HTML checkbox will determine whether the template will be HTML-based or plain text. (See Blast Email Template Types). Once all information has been added, click the Save button, or dropdown and click Save and Open. The new Blast Email Template will show up at the top of the grid once clicking Save. Double-click the template to open it and make additional changes.

To Copy an Existing Blast Email Template

  • Click on the template to be copied and then click on the double paper button next to the add button above the upper right-hand corner of the grid to create a copy of a Blast Email Template. This will create a copy of the selected Template and all information within it. This includes all Template information, subject and body, attachments, and if the user is a Premium or Business tier user, the filter selections will copy over as well.

 

Home Tab

This tab displays all the information provided from the template creation screen. Like the template screen, the information on this tab is editable by clicking on the Edit button above the right-hand side of the grid. 

  • Template Name/Description: This is the name of the Template and the description. This is the Template the user has chosen to open to send a new Blast Email.
  • Use HTML: This is where users determine whether or not this email will be edited in the general blast email editor, or on the web using our HTML editor.
  • Mailing Type: The mailing type is used to determine contact, plan, and project data needed for selection of appropriate contacts for the Blast Email. Selecting the correct mailing type will verify that the correct Contacts will populate in the Recipients grid for mailing.


See below to understand which mailing type should be chosen to bring back each set of Contacts.

  • All Contacts – This will provide a list of all Contacts in the system. This selection has no association to a Plan, so users are unable to link the From Address to a role, and must enter the specific email address they wish to send the blast email from. This Mailing Type will only include Merge Fields for Contact, Sales, and Relationship fields.
  • Census Reminders – This will provide a list of Plan Contacts that have annual Data Collections linked to them, that have the first Task of the first Task Grouping completed but the rest of the Tasks in that grouping are not complete. By selecting this option, and any other except for All Contacts, users will also be prompted to provide a From Type, which can be linked to Plan Role or a static address. The option to CC other Plan Contacts who hold roles within the Plan is also available. Users can add as many CC’d Plan Contacts as there are Plan Contact Roles available.
  • Census Requests – This will provide a list of all Plan Contacts that have an Annual Data Collections Launched but the first step (Request Sent) is not completed. Sending the Blast Email to these recipients will complete this step and activate the next one in the sequence.
  • General Web Collection Reminder – This will provide a list of all Plan Contacts that have General Web Collection projects linked to them, that have the first Task of the first Task Grouping completed but the rest of the Tasks in that Task Grouping are not completed.
  • General Web Collection Request – This will provide a list of all Plan Contacts that have a General Web Collection Project Launched but the first Task (Request Sent) is not completed. Sending the Blast Email to these recipients will complete this Task and start the next one in the sequence.
  • Plan Contacts – This will provide a list of all Plan Contacts.
  • Plan Contacts (no duplicates) - This will provide a list of all Plan Contacts, but will not bring back any duplicate records for the Contact. This Mailing Type will only include Merge Fields for Contact, Sales, and Relationship fields.
  • From Type: This is where users can select who the email is sent from. Users can either choose Employee Plan Role and then select a role below, or users can choose Static Email Address and type the address in below. For the Employee Plan Role, the Blast Email will be sent from the employee who is assigned to the role for the plan. For the static address, the Blast Email will be sent from the static email address entered. (Note: If an Employee Plan Role is chosen and recipients are not populating as intended, verify that the employee plan role is in fact associated with the Plan intended to send the Blast Email to).
  • Include All Plan CCs: This checkbox determines whether this Blast Email should CC all the Plan Contacts that have been marked to be CC'd on all emails being sent regarding the Plan. Users can click on the Plan Details > People > Contacts tab and mark "Yes" on the Please CC field by clicking the Edit button for a Plan Contact. Previously, this functionality was used only for emails sent through PensionPro to Plan Contacts. Users can extend that functionality to Blast Emails as well by clicking this checkbox.
  • Send to CC Option: This dropdown allows users to choose Plan Contact Roles they would like to have CC'd on this email. Click the role from the dropdown and then click on the plus sign to add that contact to the list to CC. Users can add as many CC's to the email as they would like by repeating this step. The Plan must have the Plan Contact Role assignment for the role chosen to be CC'd for a recipient to be carbon copied. For example, if the plan does not have an Accountant plan contact role and "Accountant" was selected as a CC, The Blast Email does not have an Accountant to CC for that particular plan. All applicable CCs will appear as such on the Blast Email when sent.

 

 

Subject & Body Tab

This tab is where the actual message of the Bulk Email is created. It is broken up into three sections; Subject, Body, and Merge Fields. Whenever a change is made to Subject and/or Body, users should save the changes by clicking the Save button. Once the Save button is clicked users will receive a popup notification, prompting them that they can now navigate away from the tab.

Note: Images being added to the body of a Blast Email must first be hosted on the web (Photobucket, Shutterfly etc.) PensionPro does not host images directly. Once the image is hosted on the web, the user can add that information to the message body and the image will show.

  • Subject: This is a standard text box which will be the subject of the email when it is sent out. This field is unable to contain HTML but it can contain Merge Fields.
  • Body: This is where the actual content of the email is created. When users first access the page, and  “Use HTML” was not checked on the Blast Email creation, the textbox will work similarly to the Subject section; it can hold standard text, and Merge Fields. However, if the user selected the “Use HTML” box, a button will appear below the textbox. By clicking the button, a browser instance will open. From here, users can add effects such as bold, italics, size, colors, etc to the text to make the Blast Email look distinct. Note, when entering text through the HTML editor and using the enter key to create space, the space will not hold if there is no text within the entered field. To keep space between sections without text use the keystroke <SHIFT>+<ENTER> to inserts a line break. 

For example:

Dear Colleagues, 

Today is your deadline

<SHIFT>+<ENTER>

January 16, 2016. 

  • Merge Fields: On the right-hand side of the Message Body are Merge Fields. When users need to include information such as Contact, Sale, or Plan information, these fields will vary depending on the selected Mailing Type. To add these to the Subject or Body, either click the Arrow button next to the respective textbox or double-click the Merge Field and the field will be added to the current cursor position.
  • Adding Images in the HTML Editor: Users can add images to Blast Email Templates, by using the HTML Editor. To insert an image, click the Insert Image button. Enter the web address of the image and the Width and Height of the image and click Insert. Images must but published on the web. PensionPro cannot host the image for the user. Images not hosted on the web will not display in the Email.
  • Using the View HTML Button: As users add content for the Body of the Blast Email, the HTML code updates in the View HTML Button(</>). Users can also add content by pasting HTML code from an outside source into this field. To use the View HTML button, open the HTML editor and click the (</>) button to open the View HTML window. Users can add HTML to the window to create and edit content for their Blast Email. Click Update to save changes to the HTML code.

 

Attachments Tab

The purpose of this tab is to upload and configure files that will be attached to the blast email once it is sent. This functionality is similar to other File Upload screens in PensionPro, except users are unable to Archive the files. Functions such as being able to Edit the Attachment name and downloading it locally are still present here.

On the grid, users will notice a column titled “File Size”. This correlates directly to the size of the files uploaded (in KB). Below this column, the total amount uploaded for this email (number on the left) and maximum that an email can have (number on the right), are available for tracking data amounts on the Blast Email. These numbers are calculated in KB for better accuracy. The maximum amount that is allowed on one email is 2,000 KB or 2MB.

 

Recipients Tab

The purpose of this tab is to determine who will be receiving the Blast Email. There is no limit to the number of recipients selected. The list can be quite large, so to filter down to only those whom should receive the blast, filter options are available above the grid by clicking the down arrow next to Options.

Recipients are pre-filtered based on the type of the Blast Email. Contacts missing an email address on their Contact Details screen will not appear in the Blast Email Recipients List.

Within Options, users will see Data Filters and Selections:

  • Selections: This portion will determine which columns will appear when users refresh the Recipients tab. Users will notice that some selections will be greyed out and selected. Email, First Name, and Last Name are selected by default; these fields are required for the basic Recipient refresh. Any others are determined by which Merge Fields were used on the Subject and Body tab. This way, users will know how the fields will be populated the blast is sent out.
    • Did You Know: (Premium and Business Only) Clicking on the Options button in the Recipients Tab now allows users to select and display Task Status, Task Category, and Follow-Up Date as field columns.
    • Adding an abundance of field selections from the Options menu can lead to delayed results. In this case, users should de-select unnecessary fields from the Selections window.
  • Data Filters: By clicking the Add button, users will create a new Data Filter to put limits on how much data will be displayed. The first dropdown on each filter has the same information as selections. The second dropdown will change based on the first, but it allows users to determine what conditions they would like to put on the filter. The third and final field will contain the value with which the user would like to apply the filter. Example: Selecting “First Name” “Is Equal To” “Bob” will filter the recipients to find only accounts with a recipient with first name “Bob”.
    • Did You Know: (Essential, Premium, Business Only) Clicking on the Options button in the Recipients Tab now allows users to select and display Task Status, Task Category, and Follow-Up Date as field columns.
  • Using Communication Lists
    • Communication Lists allow users to organize a list of contacts that receive certain Blast Emails. When users launch a Blast Email, the communication List can be selected as a filter to streamline the recipients list fo the Blast Email. 
    • Users can select to display Communication List as a field selection on the Blast Email Recipients tab.
      1. Click on the Options button.
      2. Expand the Contacts node under the Selections window. 
      3. Check the box for Communication List.
      4. Click the Options button to hide the Options window.
      5. Click the Refresh button.
    • Users can add filters for Communication Lists on the Recipients tab of a Blast Email.
      1. Click the Options button.
      2. Click the Add button next to Data Filters.
      3. Select Contacts - Communication List for the field dropdown menu (left).
      4. Select an operator in the operator dropdown menu (middle).
      5. Select a Communication List in the value dropdown menu (right).
      6. Click the Options button to hide the Options menu.
      7. Click the Refresh button.
  • Saving Filters
    • At any point, users can save both the filters and selections they have made to Blast Emails. The next time a user opens that Blast Email Template, the Recipients tab will open with the filtered data, and the filters and selections intact.
      1. Click the Options button.
      2. Add filters and/or field selections in the Options window.
      3. Click the Save Filter Preferences button at the bottom of the Options window.
    • Premium & Business Features Only

 

Send Emails

The final tab, Send Emails, is where users will finish by sending the blast emails. There are two options, Send a Test Email and Send the Blast Email.

Note that if a subject or body is missing, an error will show on the errors tab stating that a Blast Email must have a Subject and a Body. Users will also receive a message here for No Recipients Selected if there are in fact no recipients selected on the Recipients tab.

  • Send Test Email: The purpose of this option is to send an example email to any email address the user intends. When the user first opens the slider, the To Address will be populated with the email tied to the user's account, but the user may change it. Users can also set any number of test emails they would like to send the blast to. By clicking Send, the resulting email should have all of the text and applied effects, the merge fields populated by the Top recipients that were selected, and the CC removed. The email address that was entered in the slider will be used to override the To Address. Sending a test Blast Email 5 times will take the top 5 recipients selected, use them to fill in the merge fields on each of the emails, and send each one to the email address the user defined in the slider.
  • Send the Blast Email: Once the email has been completed and is ready to be sent, click the send button, and the emails will be sent to the recipients and any CC’s that were selected to be included. The progress bar below the buttons will show the progress of the emails as they are being sent. Once the emails have been sent a Success Message will display. If there were any errors while sending, those will appear on the Errors tab. The errors tab will also display errors if there is either no Subject or Body or if there are preference settings missing that are required to send an email. Both of these tabs are able to be copied via right-click to copy and then paste them in plain text wherever the user prefers.
    • Important Note:
      • If one contact is in two different contact roles, and both are CCed on a blast email, it will only send one email to that CC and they will not receive an email for each role.

Note: At this time, there is not an option to forward saved or already sent emails within the system. 

 

Interactions

Whenever users send any Blast Email, it will create a new Interaction for each of the emails being sent out. If the email addresses are for valid contact records in the PensionPro system, it will create a participant for the “To” and the “From” of the blast email. CCs will also be added as a participant on the interaction if they are not already the “to” or “from.”

For Blast Email Types that link to Plans, in addition to the above actions, it will link this Interaction to the Plan for the associated contact role.

 

New Preference: Blast Email Interaction

There is a Preference under the Blast Email Preference Type that allows for the user to select what kind of interaction a Blast Email will become when the Blast Email is sent. To navigate to this page, click on Maintenance>Preferences>PensionPro and select "Blast Email" from the Preference Type dropdown. From here, users will see the dropdown where they can select Blast Email from Preference Type and modify it. 

 

FAQ

  • I am trying to send a Blast Email with a "Plan Contacts" Mailing Type, but cannot figure out how to send to only Active Plans. How can I accomplish this? Users can send to only Active Plans in this case by clicking on the Options button and clicking the Add Filter button. The user can then select Plans - Plan Status from the Filter menu, select "Is not equal to" in the operator dropdown and choose their Plan Status list value for deactivated plans in the value dropdown menu. They should click the refresh button to update results.
  • I've sent a Census Request Blast Email to a contact on a plan, but I need to resend the same Blast Email to another contact. How do I send the Census Request Blast Email to the new contact since the census request process for the Data Collection has already been completed? Users have the ability to copy the original Census Request Blast Email to a new Blast Email template. The user can then change the Mailing Type to Plan Contacts and send the Blast Email to the New Contact. Directions on how to do so are below.
    1. Click Communications > Blast Email from the Application Menu.
    2. Click once on the Census Request Blast Email Template to highlight it. Click the Copy Button to the right of the screen.
    3. Change the Name and Description of the Blast Email Title so it is easily recognizable and different than the main Census Request Blast Email sent.
    4. Click Save and Open.
    5. Click the Edit button on the Home Tab.
    6. Change the Mailing Type to "Plan Contacts."
    7. Click the Recipients tab
    8. Click the Options button and add any filters to help find the contact(s) the Blast Email should be sent to.
    9. Click the Refresh button and select contact(s) to send the Blast Email to.
    10. Click the Send Emails tab and click the Send the Blast Email button.
  • I am trying to send a Census Reminder Blast Email, but when I filter by Projects Task Name, the only item that pulls back is the Census Request Sent task of the Data Collection Project. Is there something I am doing wrong? If a user wants to send out a census reminder to plan contacts and filter further by other Project Tasks that have or have not been completed, the user can change the Mailing Type of the Blast Email template to "Plan Contacts." When the user returns to the Blast Email Recipients tab, the user can filter on other Project Task names. Please note that other filters may need to be added to display only current Data Collection Projects.
  • Can I copy HTML content from another source and add it to the Blast Email HTML editor so I can avoid recreating the code from scratch? Yes. Users can copy their existing HTML code from their outside source, click the View HTML button on the Blast Email HTML editor and paste the HTML code into the View HTML window and click Update.
  • If I have filters on the Blast Email Templates Grid, will they disappear once I close out of Blast Email? Yes. If a user adds filters to the Blast Email Templates Grid and closes out of Blast Email, the filters will clear once Blast Email is reopened. 

 

 

  

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