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PensionPro 2.0 - Blast Email Overview

Blast Email can be used to send one email template to multiple contacts in the system based on the email type. Blast Email allows users to send requests for census information, data collection, alerts for new information, and general notices en masse. 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 Rights Required: Blast Email - Add/Edit Templates, Blast Email - Send Emails

 

  Note: Tabs and fields will vary depending on the tier the user is on.

Menu:

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 Security Rights

The Blast Email Security Right lets users add, edit, and delete templates, modify the Subject & Body of the email, save Data Filters & Selections, send a test Email and send out Blast Emails to multiple contacts at once.

 


Blast Email Templates

To view all current Blast Email Templates, click Communications from the Navigation Panel and select Blast Email. From here, users can Add, Edit 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: Shows the name of the blast email template created. Used to help determine the correct version and template for selection.
  • Description: Shows the description of the template.
  • Category: Shows the category assigned to the template.  It can be used to group and filter the list of templates.
  • HTML: Shows if the template format being used is HTML.
  • Mailing Type: Shows the Mailing Type being used for the template.
  • Last Sent On: Last sent shows the date that the Blast Email was last sent. It is primarily used to display the most recent date that for that email template being used.
  • Last Sent By: Shows the name of the user who last sent a blast email using the template.
  • Created By: Shows the name of the user who originally created the template.
  • Updated On: Shows the date that the Blast Email was last updated on.
  • Updated By: Shows the name of the user who last updated the template.

 

To Add/Edit a Blast Email Template

  1. Click the Add icon in the upper right corner of the grid to create a new Blast Email Template.
    • A name for the Template, Mailing Type and Category is required to create the new template. A description of each Mailing Type and their application is included below.
    • The remainder of the fields in the window are 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 HTML checkbox will determine whether the template will be HTML-based or plain text. (See Blast Email Template Types.)
  2. 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 after clicking Save.
  3. Double-click the template to open it and make additional changes. To return to the Templates grid, click the breadcrumb text Blast Emails.

To Edit an Existing Blast Email Template

  • Hover over the template to be edited and click the Edit icon. An Edit Blast Email pop-up window will appear. Edit the desired information and click Save.

To Copy an Existing Blast Email Template

  • Click the template to be copied and then click the More menu > Copy. A Copy Blast Email pop-up menu will appear. Complete the information and click save to create a copy of the selected Template and all information within it. This includes all Template information, subject and body, attachments, and the filter selections.

To Delete an Existing Blast Email Template

  • Hover over the template to highlight it and click the Delete icon to delete the selected template.

Information 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 the Edit icon in the upper right corner 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 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, Firms, Sales, and Relationship fields.
  • 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, Firms, 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.
  • Proposal Contacts: This will provide a list of all contacts linked to a SalesPitch Proposal.
  • Prospect Contacts: This will provide a list of all contacts linked to a SalesPitch Prospect. 
  • 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 the From Address field 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.)
  • From Address: This field will appear if the Static Email From Type is selected. The email address the Blast Email will be sent from should be entered here.
  • 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 the Plan Details > People > Contacts tab and mark Yes on the Please CC field by clicking the Edit icon 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. Note: This field will appear based on Mailing Type selection. 
  • 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. Note: This field will appear based on Mailing Type selection.
  • Document Specification Selection: When the Mailing Type selected is Plan Contacts the user can choose what set of document specifications are returned for use as merge data.  The data returned is controlled by selecting either:
      • Newest Effective Date: (Default) This returns the newest set of document specifications even if the effective date is in the future.
      • Current Effective Date that is Active: This selection returns a set of document specifications where the effective date is the current date or in the past and the status is active.

Subject & Body Tab

This tab is where the actual message of the Blast Email is created. It is broken up into three sections; Subject, Body, and Merge Fields. This tab is editable by clicking the Edit icon in the upper right corner of the grid. Whenever a change is made to the 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, indicating the information was saved successfully. 

Note: Images being added to the body of a Blast Email must first be hosted on the web, as 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. If you have a website that has the image on it, you can right click and open the image in a new tab, then copy the URL to use.

  • 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,  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 insert a line break. 

For example:

Dear Colleagues, 

Today is your deadline

<SHIFT>+<ENTER>

January 16, 2022. 

  • Merge Fields: On the right 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 icon. Enter the web address of the image and the Width and Height of the image and click Insert. Images must be 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 icon(</>). Users can also add content by pasting HTML code from an outside source into this field. To use the View HTML icon, 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. Note: This will only appear if Use HTML is enabled.

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 where 1000 KB = 1 MB. The maximum amount that is allowed on one email is 4,000 KB or 4 MB.

Filters Tab

The purpose of this tab is to determine who will be receiving the Blast Email by filtering down to only those who should receive the blast. Filters can be added in the Filtering grid by clicking the Edit icon and selecting the Add new rule button.

  • Filtering: By clicking the Add new rule button, users will create a new Data Filter to put limits on how much data will be displayed. The first dropdown allows the user to select the piece of information they would like to filter on. The second dropdown 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”. Users can also add additional Columns Selections in the Filtering tab by selecting the desired columns under the Column Selection menu on the left. The Column Selections will appear under the Columns section.
  • 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 for the Blast Email.
    • Users can select to display a Communication List as a filter selection on the Blast Email Recipients tab:
      1. Click the Add new rule button.
      2. Navigate to the Contacts section within the dropdown.
      3. Select Contacts - Communication List.
      4. Select the desired communication list from the Value dropdown.

Recipients Tab

Recipients are populated based on the type of blast email, along with the filtering applied. Contacts missing an email address on their Contact Details screen will not appear in the Blast Email Recipients List.

Review Tab

The review tab provides a high level overview of the action details. This tab allows users to quickly review the Blast Email information prior to sending the blast. After reviewing the action details, the user can send the blast or send a test to themselves first. 

  • Send Test Email: The purpose of this option is to send an example email to any email address the user intends. When the user clicks the button to send a test email, 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 TEST EMAIL, 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 pop-up window 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. If there were any errors while sending, those errors will appear for review.
  • Send the Blast Email: Once the email has been completed and is ready to be sent, click the SEND BLAST EMAIL button, and the emails will be sent to the recipients and any CC’s that were selected to be included. The progress bar will show the progress of the emails as they are being sent. Once the emails have been sent a Success Message will display. 
    • Important Note: If one contact is in two different contact roles, and both are CC'd on a blast email, it will only send one email to that CC and they will not receive an email for each role.

Finish Tab

The final tab, Finish, is where the user can review the Blast Email Details for the blast that has been sent. This tab will include the number of recipients selected, number of emails sent and number of emails that failed to send. Clicking the Start Over button in the bottom left will take the user back to the Information tab. If there were any errors while sending, those errors will appear for review.

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 Type

There is a Preference under the Blast Email Preference Type that allows 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 Maintenance > Preferences > PensionPro and select Blast Email from the General menu dropdown. Here, users can edit the Blast Email Interaction Type preference. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 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 adding a Plan Status filter. The user can 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.
  • 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 Navigation Panel.
    2. Click once on the Census Request Blast Email Template to highlight it. Click the More menu > Copy button in the upper right corner of the grid.
    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 icon in the upper right corner of the Blast Email Information grid.
    6. Change the Mailing Type to Plan Contacts.
    7. Click the Filters menu and add any filters to help find the contact(s) the Blast Email should be sent to.
    8. Click the Next button to move to the Recipients menu and select contact(s) to send the Blast Email to.
    9. Review the Blast Email information and send the Blast Email.
  • 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 the current Data Collection Projects.
  • Can I copy HTML content from another source and add it to the Blast Email 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 Source button in the Blast Email and paste the HTML code into the View Source 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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