Creating Email Content

You create email documents in a manner similar to creating them in your regular email software. After creating your email document and entering text and attaching it to a dialog, you can preview how the email message will actually look by previewing the formatted email. Merge content is not filled in while the dialog is in the In Design mode.

This section describes the process for creating the content contained in an email document.

Page Name

Definition Name

Usage

Document Designer - Email Document Designer Page

RY_EDOC_DESIGNER

Define content for email documents.

Merge Content Page

RY_VC_MAIN

Add merge content to the email text or subject field.

Dynamic Content Page

RY_VC_ADAPT_DC1

Use to specify details about dynamic content.

Document Designer - Marketing Center Page

RY_DOC_MKTCTR

Define Marketing Center information for email documents.

Email messages must have From, Reply-To, and Bounce email addresses associated with them. Within the body of the email, you can insert any text, HTML, or merge content fields.

In a typical email application, your personal email address is usually specified as the originator’s address, and is used as the mailbox for replies and bounced emails. In Online Marketing, you have to specify these addresses (or mailboxes) for the email document.

The Document Designer allows you to specify mailboxes for the Reply To, From, and Bounced fields. For a mailbox to appear in each field’s pull-down list, it must first be defined in Mailbox Setup and be of the same SetID as the email document.

Warning! Be careful not to use a person’s email address for any of these mailboxes, due to the potential number of emails that can return to these addresses. Also, bounced Online Marketing emails contain a tracking number that allows Online Marketing to track their relevant information in the database and then discard them. Any non-Online Marketing emails (such as personal emails) delivered to an address that has been designated as a bounce mailbox are discarded.

Use the Document Designer - Email Document Designer page (RY_EDOC_DESIGNER) to define content for email documents.

Image: Document Designer - Email Document Designer page, Address section

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Document Designer - Email Document Designer page, Address section.

Document Designer - Email Document Designer page, Address section

Field or Control

Definition

From

Choose an address from the available options for the email's sender.

Reply To

Choose an email address from the available options to indicate where you want replies to this email to be sent.

Bounced

Choose an email address from the available options to indicate where you want any bounced emails to be sent. Remember not to use a person's email address for the Bounce address, because it could potentially receive large numbers of emails.

Use the Merge Content page (RY_VC_MAIN) to add merge content to the email text or subject field.

Online Marketing allows you to include merge content in the email Subject line for personalization. To personalize an email subject line:

  1. In the email Subject field, type any text you want to include as part of the subject.

    If the subject will contain nothing but merge content syntax, you don't need to type any text.

  2. At the point where you want to include merge content, type a pair of curly braces ({}) in the Subject line.

    For example, if you want to personalize the email with the respondent's name, you might enter “A Special Offer for {}”.

    Note that you can include more than one set of curly braces if you want to include multiple merged items.

  3. Click the Merge button to display the Merge Content page.

    Notice that each set of curly braces you included in your Subject line now contains a merge content button. By default the first button is highlighted, indicating that it is active. You can make any button active by clicking on it.

  4. To select the content to merge, browse the folders in the Browse section and select the content you want to use.

    Depending on which content you choose, more fields are displayed on the right side of the page. Enter the appropriate information for your merge content.

    Field or Control

    Definition

    Profile Fields

    Click the Apply button next to the field you want to merge. If you want to include a default value, enter it in the Optional Default Value field.

    For example, if you want to personalize an email to a respondent's first name, you can select Individuals, People, First Name for the merge content. However, in some cases you might not know the recipient's first name, so you might choose to include some appropriate generic text (such as “Pet Lover” or “Baseball Fan”) as the default for when the first name is not available).

    If the profile field is of type Date (for example, birth date) then you can choose the date format in which to display the date.

    Document Fields

    Click the Apply button next to the field you want to merge. If you want to include a default value, enter it in the Optional Default Value. This type is available if other documents that contain data entry fields exist in the same dialog.

    If the field is of type Date (for example, birth date) then you can choose the date format in which to display the date.

    Current Date

    Select a date format from the available options and click Apply.

    Current Time

    Select a time format from the available options and click Apply.

    Recipient ID

    The ID that is assigned to each person in the database. You cannot make changes to this value.

    Tracking Number

    A code used to identify the respondent, the action, and the target audience. You cannot make changes to this value.

    The merge content tag appears in the appropriate location, replacing the button.

Image: Merge Content page

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Merge Content page.

Merge Content page

Merge Content from a Multi-row Profile

If you select a multi-row profile in the Select Content to Merge grid, the page displays a Selection Criteria grid above the Profile Fields grid that allows you to create a criterion for selecting the content to merge.

Image: Document Designer - Selection Criteria

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Document Designer - Selection Criteria. You can find definitions for the fields and controls later on this page.

Document Designer - Selection Criteria

Field or Control

Definition

Help icon

Click the Help icon to know more about how you can create a complex criterion.

Field

Select the profile field to be used for creating the selection criterion. The field lists all profile fields of the multi-row profile selected.

Operator

Select the operator to be used for creating the selection criterion. The field lists all operators associated with the multi-row profile.

Value

Enter the value of the field selected to form the selection criterion. The options available for the Value field varies based on the operator selected. For example, if the profile field you select is a date field and the operator is Is Greater Than, the Value field includes a date prompt that helps you to choose a date easily.

Or/With

When you add more than one field to the criterion, the page displays the Or/With field that allows you to connect the selected fields. By default, the field displays With.

Note: After you create or modify a criterion, make sure to click the Apply button against each profile field in the Profile Fields grid for the criterion to take effect.

Guidelines for Including Merged Content in Email Subject Lines

When using this feature you should consider the following guidelines:

  • Selective and thoughtful use of merge content is always recommended, as use of personalization must be weighed against your requirements for speed in executing your broadcast email jobs and rendering of web pages. When many merge content tags are included, performance will be impacted.

  • The total character length for the email subject line is 254 characters; this includes all characters that make up the Online Marketing merge content syntax. If applying merged content exceeds the maximum characters, an error message will be displayed and you will need to either change the currently applied content or cancel out of the merge process.

Merge Content can be copied and pasted to places that are enabled for merge content use. If the place where the merge content is pasted is enabled for use, but is an invalid location for the merge content type that was pasted, then an error will be displayed. (For example, Dynamic Content cannot be used in the subject line.) Any merge content that contains a reference to other dialog data will not pass dialog validation until it references data in the correct dialog. Therefore, an internal web link in Dialog A that links to another document within Dialog A can be pasted into a document inside Dialog B, but the link will have to be reset to point to a document inside Dialog B. Similarly, a document field in Dialog A that points to Document 1 that is pasted into a document in Dialog B must be either removed or changed to point to a valid document inside Dialog B.

Document fields can be used in other places in a dialog (for example, Decision Point and Update Profile actions). These places must also always point to valid documents within the dialog. Dialog Validation will catch these if they are not valid uses.

Note: When you clone merge content by using cut and paste, you should keep the ID as is so that the system knows exactly which merge content to clone.

You create the body of your email document in the same way that you would do so in your email application: by entering and formatting the information (text, HTML, or both) that you want to include in your message. This section describes how to:

  • Enter text information.

  • Enter HTML information.

  • Enter multi-part MIME (both text and HTML) information.

Entering Text Information

To enter plain text information in the body of an email document:

  1. In the Email Document Designer, click the Text tab in the email body area.

  2. Enter plain text into the text box, or click the Import Text button to import text from an external source.

    Note: You can enter merge content into the email body by typing a pair of curly braces {} and clicking the Merge button.

  3. Click the Save button.

See Importing HTML and Text into an Email Document.

Entering HTML Information

To enter HTML information in the body of an email document:

  1. In the Email Document Designer, click the HTML tab in the email body area.

  2. Enter HTML text into the text box, or click the Import HTML button to import HTML text from an external source.

    Note: You can enter merge content into the email body by typing a pair of curly braces {} and clicking the Merge button.

  3. Click the Save button.

Image: Email Document Designer - HTML tab

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Email Document Designer - HTML tab.

Email Document Designer - HTML tab

See Importing HTML and Text into an Email Document.

Entering Multi-Part MIME Information

A multi-part MIME document contains both text and HTML information. To create a multi-part MIME document, simply enter text in both the HTML and Text sections of the email body and save the document.

Online Marketing enables you to include web links in email documents just as you would in any normal email message, with the added benefits of allowing you to:

  • track which recipients have clicked on the links.

  • analyze impression and click-through rates for these web links.

To include a web link in an email document:

  1. In the body portion of the email document, include curly braces ({}) where you want the web link to appear.

  2. Click the Merge button.

    The Merge Content page appears.

  3. In Step 1: Select Tag, select (or navigate using the Next and Previous buttons) the tag that you want to represent the web link.

  4. In Step 2: Select Content to Merge, click Web Link.

    The Web Link builder appears.

  5. Enter information about the web link in the Web Link builder.

    Field or Control

    Definition

    Name

    Enter a name for the link. The name must be unique.

    Format

    Specify whether the link is text (for text emails only) or HTML (for HTML emails or web pages).

    Label

    If the Format is HTML, you must specify a label. The label will be displayed instead of the actual URL. For example, in “To learn more, go to our home page,” you could specify “home page” as the underlined clickable label, while the URL you are linking to (for example, http://www.active_sports.com) is the actual URL.

    Image

    You can specify an optional image if you wish. For example, you might have an image representing your web page that you want to be the clickable link to the page. Note that a label is still required when an image is used, because the label becomes the [ALT] text that displays until the image loads completely, or if the image does not properly render.

    You must enter the full path to the image, for example:

    http://www.active_sports.com/images/home_link.jpg

    Type

    An Internal link is created in and served by Online Marketing dialogs. An External link is not created in or served by Online Marketing dialogs. A Cross-Dialog link refers to any active Online Marketing dialog other than the current dialog.

    Note that URLs to Online Marketing web documents are generated automatically by Online Marketing when the dialog is deployed. Online Marketing URLs identify the web page’s location and provide additional information, such as the target audience that the respondent belongs to, the dialog, and the identity of the respondent. Because the URLs are not generated until the dialog is deployed, you will see a placeholder to remind you what will be inserted there.

    URL

    (External link type only): Enter the URL of the link. The URL must be in the form http://<web_address> (for example, http://www.peoplesoft.com).

    Note: For the internal and cross dialog link types, the association of a web page to a link is done in the Dialog Designer.

    Append Values

    (Optional, External link type only) Enter text to append to the end of the URL. For example, you can pass in offer codes or other values that can be embedded in the merge content. So if the web link is inside an email, the person clicking on the email can send a code or some other personal info through that URL, and then they may get more personalized content in return. More merge content can be added to this field by adding {} to the text and clicking the Merge button. This will allow you to merge directly into the Append Values field.

    Replace URL Prefix

    If you want to customize the first part of the URL, replacing the standard server name with an alternate name, enter the alternate name in this field. This is useful, for example, if three different divisions send out dialogs from the same server, but want the URLs to reflect the individual divisions.

    Note: The new prefix you specify must be set up as a valid DNS entry on your Online Marketing web server. Consult your Online Marketing system administrator.

    Track click-through by recipient

    If you want Online Marketing to track each recipient who clicks on the web link, select the Track clickthrough by recipient check box. Online Marketing assigns a special code, called the tracking number, that it uses to track the respondents who use this link. Note that if you do not select this check box, you will no longer be able to track submits. Further, records in documents and profile tables will not be tracked to their original submitters.

    Track web link offers

    If you want Online Marketing to track web link offers (email sent or web page shown), select the Track Web Link offers check box.

    Note: Choosing to track both clickthroughs by recipient and web link offers will slow your outbound email send rate and web page rendering, because additional data must be logged.

    Link Category

    Select a category that best describes the link from the available options. This will enable you to group web links by type in CRM Analytics, so you can compare the success of different categories of links.

  6. Click Apply.

The web link is inserted into the document at the place you specified. The email document shows the web link inserted in the text area. Note that if you have chosen a document in a dialog other than the current dialog, the link will contain a dialog ID number. This number allows Online Marketing to track respondents across different dialogs.

Note: If you want to delete a web link item from a document, put the cursor after it and press the Backspace key until the entire merge content tag is gone.

See Understanding Dialogs.

Cross-Dialog Links

When you create a web link that references an active Online Marketing dialog other than the current dialog (called a cross-dialog link), be aware that the following actions will break the link to that page and result in a “page not found” error:

  • The targeted dialog is not live after the link is created.

  • The dialog containing the targeted response page is made inactive (changed to In Design, Paused, or Completed state).

Note: The actual association of cross-dialog links is performed in the Dialog Designer.

See Understanding Dialogs.

Dynamic content gives you the ability to dynamically insert content for recipients based on their preferences and profiles. By specifying rules for when different content sections should appear, you can give the most relevant offers to each of your customers. Dynamic content can also reduce both the number of audiences and the number of documents needed to test numerous messages. Thus, with dynamic content you can test more personalized, relevant offers to your audience in less time.

To insert dynamic content into an email document:

  1. In the Email Document Designer, insert curly braces ({}) at the point in the body of your email document where you want the dynamic content to appear.

  2. Click the Merge button.

    The Merge Content page appears.

  3. Click Dynamic Content in the Select Content to Merge section.

  4. Enter a name and description for the dynamic content.

    The Name uniquely identifies the dynamic content object within the dialog. When you create a dynamic content object from an existing profile or document element, that element’s name is pre-filled in this field.

    The Description is optional and can contain up to 254 characters.

    Note: You cannot use quotation marks or periods in dynamic content.

  5. Enter the Sections information.

  6. Enter the Layout information.

  7. Enter the Advanced information.

Dynamic Content Sections Information

The Sections part of the Dynamic Content builder is where you define your dynamic content object’s content sections, conditions, and content. You can add sections one by one using the Add Section button, or you can create a group of sections based on a profile or document choice field using the Load button.

Note: Loading a large group of sections will slow down the load action. Therefore, the Profile and Document field picker is restricted to only show choices with a choice value of less than 60.

Note: The order in which the content sections appear in this list is their ranking for the purposes of determining which content sections will be displayed when the number to be displayed is limited, as set in the Number of Sections to Display text box. You can use the Move Up or Move Down buttons to move the content sections around in the list.

Image: Dynamic Content Sections section

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Dynamic Content Sections section.

Dynamic Content Sections section

Field or Control

Definition

Section Name

Provide a section name that is unique within the Dynamic Content.

Selection Criteria

The left side of the expression can be any profile or document element with the exception of a many rows per contact profile. The appropriate set of operators will be displayed for the element type. The right side of the expression can contain valid values (chosen from a list or typed in as text) corresponding to the element on the left side.

You can use the And, Or and With functions to create more complex conditions.

Note: If you select With function to create a criterion, the fields of the selected profile alone are available for selection. However, if you select And or Or functions, you can use fields from any profile to form the criterion.

Content

The Content text area lets you enter text associated with the content section. You can enter text or raw HTML content. If, for example, this content is part of an HTML email, you can also specify an image for the content (for example, <IMG SRC=image_location>). You can include other merge content objects in the text by embedding them using the Merge button.

You also have the option of pointing to external content that might reside in a content management system, at a URL, or in an external file system. Refer to the Extensions documentation, particularly the section on sample servlets where an example is given how to do this. After the extension is developed and registered, the extension syntax can be entered in this tab.

Backup Text

The backup text is optional—you can enter text to be displayed if problems are encountered evaluating conditions for the content section.

See Understanding Extensions.

Dynamic Content Layout Information

The Layout section lets you specify the content headers, footers, and content section separators. Each text area accepts either text or HTML (typically, the HTML is used to specify a path to a GIF or JPG location).

The buttons to the left of the text areas show the location of the separators when the document is rendered.

Image: Dynamic Content Layout section

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Dynamic Content Layout section.

Dynamic Content Layout section

Field or Control

Definition

Content Header

The contents of this text area are displayed immediately preceding the rendered dynamic content.

Content Footer

The contents of this text area are displayed immediately following the rendered dynamic content.

Per Section Header

The contents of this text area are displayed before each content section.

Note: Care should be taken when specifying this header in conjunction with the Section Footer.

Per Section Footer

The contents of this text area are displayed after each content section.

Note: Care should be taken when specifying this header in conjunction with the Section Header.

Section Separator

The contents of this text area are displayed to separate sections of content.

The most common use for the various separators is to provide a visual division when displaying blocks of content. Content Headers are most effective to call out a topic in a page, while the Section separators are useful for providing separation between similar types of content. In a typical situation you would likely not use both a Section Header and Section Footer in the same document.

Note: Because no validation is performed to verify that the text you enter is valid for the type of document in which the dynamic content object is embedded, you should take care to specify a separator format that can be rendered correctly for the document type.

Dynamic Content Advanced Options Information

The Advanced Options section contains features designed for more advanced implementations of dynamic content sections. These features are administrative and regulate the runtime behavior of retrieving and displaying dynamic content. Typical users should not need to modify these settings unless they want to override runtime defaults or provide special processing.

Image: Dynamic Content Advanced Options section

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Dynamic Content Advanced Options section.

Dynamic Content Advanced Options section

Field or Control

Definition

Track Content Sections

When selected, this setting turns on tracking for content sections sent in email messages. Each time a particular content section is sent in the email, the count is incremented (for example, if a particular content section is included 3 times in a single email, this counts as 3).

Backup Text for follow-up e-mails

This text area is for specifying optional text to be displayed in follow-up emails in situations where the dynamic content object encounters an error when obtaining content, or if the timeout is exceeded. Only text or raw HTML is permitted in this field—you cannot embed another dynamic content object or extension in it. The field is limited to a maximum of 2000 characters.

This field can only be used for follow-up emails—for broadcast email jobs, it is better to halt the job when a timeout occurs, identify the problem (for example, bring the network back up if it has gone down) and then pick up where you left off and send the remainder of the job with the correct content. If a timeout is reached or an error occurs in a broadcast email job, the job will go into a state of Failed. The problem should be investigated and the job restarted.

Use the Document Designer - Marketing Center page (RY_DOC_MKTCTR) to define Marketing Center information for email documents.

Note: The Marketing Center tab is available only if you have enabled the Secure Prospective Students by Marketing Center option in the Higher Education Options. Refer to the CRM for Higher Education documentation for more information about this option.

Image: Marketing Center page

This example illustrates the fields and controls on the Marketing Center page.

Marketing Center page

Email documents display a Secured Document check box; when this check box is selected for a document, the document search function will display that document only if the user is authorized to access it.

The Opt-out check box on the email page is used to opt out of Online Marketing email from specific Institutions. That is, the institution associated with the Marketing Center that is selected for opt out is compared with the institutions from which the person has opted out in the Do Not Email by Institution profile. If the two match, then the email is not sent to that person. The check box defaults to Selected for the initial Marketing Center. If user selects another Marketing Center for opt-out, the existing opt-out Marketing Center is automatically cleared. When a save occurs, the system performs an edit check to ensure that at least one Marketing Center has been selected for opt-out. If no Marketing Center was selected, an error message displays directing the user to select one.

Additionally, at least one Marketing Center is required to be defined for a secured document. When the document is saved, the system performs another edit check; if no Marketing Center is defined, the user is directed to define at least one.

You can import text files and HTML-formatted files into your email documents. You can also import both a text version and an HTML version (referred to as “multi-part MIME”) into your email to accommodate recipients who have email applications that can handle HTML as well as those who do not.

Importing text or HTML into an email document replaces any information already in the email document. However, after you have imported the text or HTML file, you can modify the imported information and insert merge content into your new email to personalize information in the document.

Note: If you import a document from a file, the character set for the file must be UTF-8.

To import a file into an email:

  1. Create the email document.

  2. Click the HTML tab or the Text tab, depending on the type of text you want to import.

  3. Click the Import HTML or Import Text button.

  4. Select the file you want to import and click OK.

    Note: Any text in the email file is replaced by the imported text.

  5. You can preview the email or open the email to view the imported text.

    If you preview an HTML email document, the email will be opened in your default browser.

  6. If you are importing a multi-part MIME document, repeat steps 2-4 for the remaining content type (text or HTML).

Note: You cannot import binary files into email messages.