Direct Marketing

The Direct Marketing app in Aiir lets you create email newsletters to send to members of your Listener Club.

Members will only receive emails from Direct Marketing if they have not opted out or unsubscribed.

In addition to composing a newsletter, the app lets you target specific groups of members, view statistics on sent emails, and assign emails to be sent on particular events.

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Creating a newsletter

You can create a newsletter either using a  template or from a blank canvas

Template based emails allow you to easily add blocks of content in predetermined styles. This means you can have feature images and column layouts.

Creating from a blank canvas builds a  HTML + Text email which you can design using the standard editor. 

Manage Templates

You can manage these with the Templates tab of the Direct Marketing tool. These templates provide the overall shape of the email, with the header, background and footer. The content for template based emails is managed separately, so you can have several different templates and choose which one you would like to use. 

More templates are also available in the  Templates Gallery. You can preview a template and import it to your site. New templates can also be created from scratch, or custom ones may be built with your site design. 

When importing a template, remember to update it to include the necessary legal information with terms and conditions and links in the footer. 

Email templates by default use the  Zurb Ink framework which provides various built in appearance options, making them easier to create. 

Template Tags

Template tags make it easy to customise various elements of your templates. Tags may be included in the template by default, and you can add more. 

Default values can be set for each tag item on a template, and can also be updated on a per-email basis. Tags are often used to change background colours, custom links and header images. 

To create a tag, write a term in braces. For example, writing  {title} in the template would create a field for that. 

You can also specify tags to be colours, images or URLs. 

  • {link_*} 
  • {images_*} 
  • {color_*} 

These tags will then use appropriate inputs to make these fields easy to manage. 

Default tags include: 

  • {UNSUB_URL} 
  • {BROWSER_URL} 

These tags are required, and the URLs will be included by default. 

Template Based Emails

When creating a template based email, you can choose a template to use and customise any of the tags. 

You can then add the following blocks of content: 

  • Text Content 
  • Custom HTML 
  • Image with Text (aligned left or right) 
  • Image Columns (images with text, either 2 or 3 columns) 
  • Horizontal Divider 

You can save these emails and update the blocks of content at any time. You can also copy a template based email to create a new one with the existing content. 

You can press the  Convert to HTML + Text button when editing an email to create a copy of the email you can edit using the WYSIWYG editor. This is useful if you wish to make further adjustments once you’ve prepared all your content. 

Create an email

The  Name field is purely for your internal reference, and is never visible to the recipient. 
Subject will be used for the email subject line and appear in the recipient's inbox. 
From is who the email will appear to be sent from. This is often left as the default (the club name), so that the user can recognise regularly sent newsletters. 
Category is another internal reference, which you can use to group emails under their purpose. 

Emails must have a HTML version and a plain text version. 

The  HTML version of the email can use rich content, just like a web page. It's worth bearing in mind that while most web email providers (such as Gmail and Outlook.com) support almost everything a regular web page can display, Microsoft's desktop Outlook application has many limitations which prevent certain elements from appearing. This is because Outlook uses the Microsoft Word rendering engine, rather than a typical web browser engine. 
One example of a limitation is the inability to display background images. 

The  text version of the email will appear to recipients who use an email service or application which does not support HTML emails. Therefore it cannot contain images or links, instead you should include URLs for the user to insert into their browser. A button is provided which attempts to convert the HTML email to a text only version. This isn't perfect, so it is recommended that you check over the result and adjust it to look suitable. 

Links in emails must be 'absolute' URLs. This means they must include the full domain name at the beginning (e.g.  http://www.example.com), unlike links on your website, which do not require this. Links inserted using Page Finder will automatically prepend this for you. 

All emails must contain a  link to unsubscribe from your newsletters. Aiir provides a placeholder which you must use in your message, normally near the end. When the email is sent out, this will be replaced for each recipient with a URL which takes the user directly to a page where they can unsubscribe. In the HTML email, the placeholder must be included in a link - it is not a link itself. Click Show Placeholders to see a list of available placeholders which can be dropped into the message simply by clicking on each one. 
Aiir will not allow an email to be sent out until unsubscribe links have been included. 

You may also like to use other placeholders, such as  {MEM_FNAME} to insert the recipient's first name. This allows you to personally greet each recipient at the start of your message. 

Creating and saving an email does not send your email to anyone - you can edit it as much as you like before proceeding to send. 

Sending emails

To send your email, either for a test or to your club members, click the Send tab. 

Select your email from the drop-down menu. 

The first section lets you send a test email so you can see how your email looks before sending it to your club members. This email should send immediately, so if you do not see it in your inbox within a few minutes, check your spam box. 

The second section lets you choose which portion of your subscribers will receive the email. Bear in mind that even  All Members does not include members who have opted not to receive emails, or members who have unsubscribed. 
Click the  Calculate button to check how many members this email is estimated to reach based on your selection. 

Finally you can choose whether to send the email as soon as possible, or to begin sending at a specific time. 
Emails sent to members are scheduled to send in regular batches, so may not begin sending immediately. 

Once an email has been sent, or scheduled to be sent, any changes made to emails will not affect the sent/scheduled message, but will apply if the email is selected to be sent again. 

Beyond sending

The  Message Log tab shows details of sent emails, excluding test emails. The Status and Action columns are particularly useful. 

Status will show you the progress of your email being sent, and once it has completed, the number of members it was sent to in brackets. Don't be concerned if it does not send to all recipients immediately if you have large member database. Emails are sent in small batches, to spread the load. The more recipients, the longer your email may take to process. 

Once the email has completed sending, click  Tracking to see the number of members who clicked on links in the email. Numbers alongside {TRACKING_PIXEL} indicate the number of members who opened the email. Please note, this technique relies on the recipient allowing images to be visible. Recipients who do not display images in your newsletter, will not be tracked. 

Links in emails

If a recipient clicks on an  update my details link, but the person is not currently logged in, we present them with an information page, and then automatically log them in, and take them to their details page. 

We automatically log them in, because they may not have a password set (i.e. if they joined by filling out a regular form, or were imported) and because it makes things as simple as possible for them to gain access to the details we hold about them, which is important for data protection. 

They then gain a 'long life' cookie on their system, which keeps them logged in for as long as the cookie is present. 
This generally solves the issue of them not necessarily having a password. However they're welcome to set one, if they choose to do so. 

The information page they see is a friendly notice which lets them know what's happening, and includes the necessary blurb for the EU cookie directive.

Reports

The report available in this tab offers a detailed spreadsheet of statistics on recently sent emails. 

It is in CSV format, so to open the file, you must have a compatible spreadsheet application installed such as Microsoft Excel or Apple's Numbers. 

Audiences

The Audiences section allows you to identify a portion of the subscriber database by filtering based on selected properties such as the recipient's age, gender and location.

Once an Audience has been created, it can then be selected on the Send tab, to send an email to only the subscribers matching the audience parameters. 

Settings

The Settings section lets you select emails to be automatically sent at particular events. 
The two events available are:

  • on member's birthday
  • when they complete the registration process

You need to create the email first, but not send it - then go to the Settings section and select the email.