The email creation workflow
Emarsys offers a very intuitive workflow for creating email campaigns. These are presented in the form of a wizard with the following steps (visible at the bottom of the page):
- Email Settings - Here you define the campaign settings for the email, including name, category, recipient source, and so on.
- Content Creation - Here you add the content blocks to your email, including text, images, links and personalzation.
- Deliverability Advisor - Here you check that your email settings and content are compliant with our standards to ensure optimal deliverability.
- Scheduling - Here you define the launch schedule for the campaign.
In this article we concentrate on the Content Creation step.
The email editor is split into three sections, from left to right:
- Live editor
Selecting a tab displays the controls for that tab on the left, while the live preview is always visible on the right.
Email Basics tab
The first tab in the Content Creation step of the wizard is the Email Basics. Here you define the content that the recipient will first see in their mail client or in a lock-screen notification on a mobile device.
- The Subject line, From (name) and From (email address) are all mandatory, and all can be personalized.
- If you do not want to use your own From (email address) , you can choose to Use Emarsys reply mail management.
- Preview text (also known as pre-header) will be shown in some mail client inboxes, or on the lock screen of a smart phone. Choosing the right preview text can be really helpful in increasing the open rate of your emails.
- Insert "Unsubscribe" link will activate the Emarsys unsubscribe feature and add this to your email.
- Insert "Show online version" link will add this link to your email.
Content blocks are what make up the body of your email. The blocks are created when you design your template and are typically filled with placeholder images and text. Building an email should be nothing more than arranging the blocks in the right order and pasting in their content.
Adding content blocks
To add a block to the email, click it. You can now see all the places in the email where you can insert it. Click Insert or drag here to place the block.
Alternatively, drag it over onto the preview and drop it where you want. If you drag it, the preview will only show one location at a time for you to drop it into.
Working with blocks
Each block has a toolbar, which becomes visible when you hover your mouse over it.
The following functions are available in this toolbar:
Combined segments are currently not available for selection in the Block targeting feature.
To see exactly which parts of the content blocks can be edited, use the Highlight editables switch.
Email content: text
Your template and blocks should already be set up so that all text content is automatically in the style and format that you want, so you only need to paste in the words. However, you do still have a formatting toolbar available in all blocks that contain editable text.
You can use this toolbar to format the text, personalize it, and add conditional text and links. The Clear formatting icon can be used to remove any formatting that might have been included with text that has been copied and pasted from another editor or website.
Email content: images
As with your text content, your email template should have placeholder images of the right dimensions in the content blocks. You can replace the images by simply dragging and dropping them over the block.
It is possible to drop images into text blocks, but this is not recommended.
If you drop an image into a text block, it will be treated as if it were a special character and all the text formatting options (e.g. linking it) are available. Some browsers will also render this as the image URL, rather than downloading and displaying the image itself.
If you drop an image into an image block, you will be able to edit it using the image properties.
To display the Image Properties window, click on any image and select Image properties.
In the Image Properties window, you can specify the settings of your image.
- Desktop image URL - If you are hosting your own images, this is the path to that server. You can swap images by entering a new URL here.
- Image width / height - The actual dimensions of the image.
- Display width / height - The dimensions of the image after Emarsys has resized it to fit the block.
- Image alternative text - This is displayed if the image is unavailable for download.
- Mobile image settings - Here you define what happens on mobile devices - whether the image is shown, hidden or replaced with a dedicated mobile version.
Entering an Image alternative text will help you in better deliverability, as email providers often categorize images without such text as spam.
The Media Database is where you can store and manage your content files (images, MS Word, and PDF documents, HTML files, etc.). You can create and name folders for these files, thus having your own free online document archive hosted on Emarsys servers.
Executable files (.exe) cannot be uploaded to the Media Database.
The Media Database window has a toolbar with five options:
Please note that folder names can contain only standard English alphanumeric characters (a-z, 0-9) and the underscore and dash (_, -). Blank spaces are not allowed.
The actual permitted size of the files may vary based on your account settings. In case of retina images, for example, the image file size is 4 MB.
Images should only be uploaded in the following formats, as they are supported by all standard email clients: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .tif, .tiff.
- Do not extract zip file - This keeps your zip file compressed.
- Keep original file name - The Copy url option (see below) copies the original file name, instead of using an internal code, so the original name is visible in links, etc.
- Prepared for retina screens - The uploaded image will be prepared for retina screens, which means it will be kept in the highest resolution and resized on display.
- Always show upload settings - This displays these settings above the list of uploaded files.
Please note that not all options are available for everyone; the number of displayed options depends on your account settings.
Deleting an image in the Media Database makes it unavailable for selection, but it does not immediately delete the image from the servers. images are archived and their URLs will still point to them, so there is no danger to the campaigns that have been sent our previously.
The image inserted is a copy of the original one. This way, the accidental deletion of the original image from the Media Database will not affect the display in an email or form. This also means that if the image is updated or overwritten in the Media Database, this will not affect the email or form either.
Here you can set the URL of the image or select an uploaded image from your Media database. You can also see the dimensions of the original image and the display dimensions. You cannot change the dimensions of an image once it has been added to the email - you must do this in the Media database or an external editor.
We recommend the image size to be at least twice the size of the fixed display size in width and height. Emarsys can then ensure that it is displayed properly on all devices.
The ratio of the image and the display should also be the same for the best possible image quality.
You can set an Image alternate text if your image does not appear for some reason.
In the Mobile image settings section, you can select whether the same image should be shown on mobile devices as on desktop, whether the images should be hidden on mobile devices, or whether you will use a dedicated mobile image.
Email content: attachments
The only way that you can add attachments to an email is by using Triggered Email. This functionality is not supported in our standard email editor.
You have three options for personalizing your email content.
You can personalize your text content by using variables to populate the text with values from your Emarsys database fields. To personalize your text in this way, proceed as follows:
You can check the variables you have used in your email in the Scheduling step, by opening the Advanced Scheduling page and clicking Check Personalization.
Here you can view all the variables, check how many contacts have values for each one, and define alternative text to be shown in the cases where no value exists.
If you do not define alternative text, for contacts who have no value for a field, the variable will be replaced by a blank space. If you think this is a risk, you should make sure that your email design allows for it.
The email editor also comes with predefined templates for conditional text blocks, which you can apply to any text content. To add conditional text, proceed as follows:
- Place your cursor in the text block where you want to add the conditional.
- Click the Conditional text icon.
You can choose from the following conditional templates:
With this option you can display text targeted at customers based on their gender. You can also personalize this conditional.
With this option you can define conditional text based on an exact or a partial match for the contact's email address. You can also personalize this conditional.
With this option you define text based on the recipient's country. You can also personalize this conditional.
You can define as many countries as you like, as long as they are included as values in the Country field of the Emarsys database, and that you have spelled them correctly.
With this option you can select from any database field and define conditional text for one single value of that field.
Previewing your email
In both views you can edit the content directly in the live preview.
The two preview modes show an approximation of how the email will be displayed on desktop and mobiles in general. If you want to check how your email will render on specific mobile devices, you will need to use the Inbox Preview.