ClickDimensions offers a wealth of functionality, but as a new user, creating and sending an email is likely the first task that you will tackle. Our help site provides a number of articles that go into great detail about how our email functionality works, and we also offer free live training on setting up emails as part of our ClickDimensions Academy. If you need to get your first email out as quickly as possible or just want to try your hand at the process before deep diving into the specifics and advanced options, this document will walk you through the basic steps necessary to create your email, send it out, report on it, and ensure high deliverability. Click on the tabs below to progress through each step of the Quick Start Guide.
- Learn about some recommended actions that should be taken in preparation for sending out your first bulk email.
- Follow the steps in the quick start guide to gain a high level understanding of how to create, send, and report on a bulk email using ClickDimensions
Step 1: Set-up
Before you create and send out your email, there are a few items to keep in mind:
Have you created your marketing lists?
In order to send out a bulk email, you will need to create at least one marketing list of recipients. ClickDimensions emails can be sent to multiple static and/or dynamic marketing lists at once, so feel free to utilize whichever lists you want. If you are new to Microsoft CRM and have not previously worked with marketing lists, you can find some educational resources by clicking on the tab for Step 5.
Have you imported unsubscribes from your previous email provider?
If you have migrated to ClickDimensions from a another email provider, it is highly recommended that you import your unsubscribed recipients or suppression list into CRM in order to avoid the possibility of sending those recipients emails. This can be accomplished by exporting your unsubscribe data and importing into into CRM as Unsubscribe records using the native CRM import tool. The import tool utilizes a wizard to streamline the data import process, but a detailed description of the process can be found here if needed.
Are you using subscription management or a global unsubscribe option?
Any emails sent to 500 or more recipients at once must include either a global unsubscribe link, or a link to a subscription management page. This is a requirement to comply with our terms of service and also a technical requirement; you will not be able to send your email unless it has one of those two links. A global unsubscribe link can easily be added to your Email Template using a button within the editor (and is included automatically when making a new template using the Drag n Drop editor). Subscription Management pages are used to allow recipients to opt into or out of specific topics of emails instead of taking an all or nothing approach. Once created, a Subscription Management page can be linked to an Email Template using the Link Manager. Click Here for more information about subscription management.
Have you set up CNAMEs?
CNAMEs are used to brand the links in your emails so that they display your domain instead of ClickDimensions' once the links are converted into a trackable form when sent. An email CNAME is not required in order for your email to be sent out to your recipients, but it is highly recommended because having the right branding on your links will make your email seem more professional and legitimate. Setting up CNAMEs requires making changes in your organization's DNS host, so your web administrator may need to assist you. Click here to learn more about setting up CNAMEs.
Have you set up an SPF record and included customers.clickdimensions.com?
SPF, or Sender Policy Framework, is a standard framework that some mail services use to verify the validity of the source of an email. More specifically, an SPF record is a record that some recipient mail servers will check to confirm whether or not ClickDimensions has permission to send emails on your company's behalf. Adding ClickDimensions to your SPF record is not required in order to send out your emails, but doing so will improve both your internal and external email deliverability. To include the ClickDimensions mail servers in your SPF record, simply add this include statement to your SPF record at your domain’s DNS host: include:customers.clickdimensions.com. Click here for more in depth instructions on updating your SPF record.
Step 2: Create an Email Template
This guide focuses on creating an Email Template using the Drag and Drop editor. This editor automatically makes your email responsive, which means it will look good on smaller screens like phones as well as on larger screens. We offer several other editors for Email Templates as well, and information about each can be accessed from this Introduction to Email Marketing article if you would like to try one of those editors.
Watch a Video on the Setup of the Drag and Drop Editor
Choose a Layout
The first step toward creating your new Email Template is choosing an initial layout. Above the right hand sidebar of the Drag and Drop editor, there are three tabs: Layouts, Content, and Styles. The Layouts tab provides a list of different layouts to pick from. You can see the design area (the 'canvas') change on the left as you click on different layouts. You can always come back and change your layout choice and your content will shift to take on the new layout.
Add Additional Blocks
Choose the Content tab at the top right to see a list of the different block content types that can be added to the template. Click and drag a content type over to where you want it in your template.
Style the Entire Email
Choose the Styles tab at the top right to edit the background, borders, and font properties of the Email Template as well as the text heading styles.
Change between Page, Header, Body, Columns, and Footer to edit each section's styles.
You can tell which styling section applies to a certain block in the Email Template's canvas by mousing over that block and looking at the text that appears over the top left corner of the block. You can also apply styling to specific blocks by clicking on a block and then, under Edit Content in the sidebar, click on the Style button. This will let you set unique properties for just that block.
Click on an Image Only or Text + Image block within the editor. The sidebar will change menu options pertaining to that particular selected block. If you select a Text and Image block, you will see text edit options below the Select Image button in the side bar. Click the Select Image button in the sidebar to open the Image Manager.
Select any Text Only or Text + Image block, and you will see the text editor in the sidebar.
Here you can type your text or use the Paste as Plain Text button to paste text from elsewhere.
Always remember to save your work as you go! The save button is in the top left corner.
Step 3: Create an Email Send
Email Sends are the records used to send out your Email Template to your Marketing Lists. For a more detailed discussion of Emails Sends, click here. To begin, navigate to Marketing > Email Sends in CRM, then click New to create a new record.
Begin by selecting your Email Template record using the Email Template lookup field. This will auto-populate the Subject, Preheader fields, and Editor Type fields with the corresponding values already set on the Email Template record. These values can be changed here if need be.
Next, specify the values you want to use for the Email Send's From Name and From Email. There are three options for setting these:
- Manually input any value you want to use into the From Name and From Email fields
- Select a user in the From User field to auto-populate the From Name and From Email fields with that user's name and email address.
- Check From Record Owner. This will dynamically set the From Name and From Email values as the name and email address of the recipient's owner. Whereas the first two options will show the same values to every recipient, every recipient could potentially see different from values if they are each owned by a different user in CRM.
After specifying values for From Name and From Email, use the Send Immediately field to indicate if you want the Email Send to be sent as soon as you click the Send button, or if you want to schedule it to go out at a later time. If you set Send Immediately to No, the Send On field will become active, and you can specify a date and time at which the Email Send will go out.
It is recommended to test your Email Send before sending it out. To do so, place the email address(es) in the Test Emails field. You can place more than one email address in this field. The email addresses also do not need to be associated with a user in CRM, so you can use your personal email address as well. After adding an email address, click the Test button at the top of the Email Send record.
This will send a copy of the email to the test email address(es) and also display a Spam Assassin report that scores your Email Template to indicate how likely it is to be considered spam once sent out. Click here to learn more about the Spam Assassin report. Now Save the Email Send. Doing so will populate the Email Template editor iFrame and allow you to add recipients to the Email Send. If you need to make any changes to your Email Template, click Open Editor within the Email Template editor iframe to access the Email Template editor and make any changes. This will not change your original 'master' copy of the Email Template record; changes made here will only be reflected in this particular Email Send.
Recipients can be added to the Email Send as either Marketing Lists or individual Leads, Contacts, or Accounts. To add Marketing Lists to the Email Send, view the subgrids for Marketing Lists, Contacts, and Leads and click the plus icon. This will open a lookup field in which you can find and select your Marketing List(s) and/or Lead(s) and Contact(s). Click here for more information about adding individual recipients.
Send out the Email Send by clicking the Send button at the top of the record.
Step 4: View Email Statistics
Once the Email Send has gone out to its recipients, email statistics will begin funneling into your CRM to show how the email performed. Statistics for the Email Send can be found by opening the Email Send's record from the Sent view, then clicking Email Statistics.
Email Statistics opens a window that displays several different tabs which present information about the Email Send's performance. The Overview tab displays a series of pie charts depicting interaction rates, open rates, click rates, and bounce rates for the Email Send.
The Email Clients tab lists different email clients and devices used to view your email and a graph displaying the percentage of opens generating from desktops vs mobile devices.
The Conversions tab shows how many website visits and form submissions were initiated from the Email Send.
The Click Report tab shows a list of every link in the Email Send that was clicked at least once. It shows the number of unique and total clicks generated for each of these links, and if a link is clicked on in the report, it will display specifically who clicked the link.
The Recipients tab displays a list of every recipient of the Email Send, as well as their individual statistics, such as the number of times they opened and clicked the email and whether their email was delivered or bounced.
The Click Heat Map tab displays an image of the Email Send's Email Template and visually indicates which links on the template were clicked and what percentage of the total clicks that represents.
The Social Shares tab displays a count of how many recipients shared the Email Send's content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Google+ and also lists specifically which recipients shared the email.
Step 5: Working with CRM
ClickDimensions' Email Send functionality works in conjunction with Microsoft CRM records, specifically Marketing Lists, Leads, Contacts, and Accounts. A basic understanding of what these records are used for is necessary in order to send out your Email Send since these records are used to specify recipients, but a more comprehensive knowledge of the records will help you market more effectively by utilizing CRM to its fullest and segmenting your recipients into more specific groups that have expressed interest in your company and your products. Click the links below to learn more about how to utilize marketing lists in Microsoft CRM and to learn about how Microsoft differentiates leads and contacts within CRM.
- Marketing List Definition - Microsoft
- Marketing List Management & Segmentation - Microsoft
- Working with Marketing Lists - The CRM Book