Home

Download this help site
(PDF 80MB)

Download

Sending email blasts

You can use Wild Apricot to send mass emails, known as email blasts, to people in your contact database (members, attendees, donors, etc.). You can use email blasts to broadcast announcements or send out newsletters.

You can control who receives your email blasts by searching or filtering your member list or contact list, or by selecting a saved contact or member search.

You can choose one of the professionally designed email templates provided by Wild Apricot, create your email blasts from scratch, use a previously sent email. In either case, you can add text, graphics, and links, and control the layout and appearance of the message. To personalize the message, you can use macros to insert specific information such as the recipient's first name or organization. 

Emails created using Wild Apricot's new generation of email templates are responsive – meaning that they will automatically adjust to fit smaller screens – and will appear the same on different email clients, subject to some variations.

After you've sent your email blast, you can track opened, clicked, and undelivered mail, and review email failures.

►  SHOW ME  (4:45)

Getting started

There are a number of ways you can start putting together your email blast.

 Read more/less

To start without selecting a template or any recipients, follow these steps:

  1. Click Email drafts under the Emails menu.
  2. Click the Compose email button.

To start by choosing the template you want to use, follow these steps:

  1. Click Email templates under the Emails menu.
  2. Click on the template you want to use. Templates are grouped by type. Custom templates that you have created or copied yourself. The Themed templates are professionally designed templates in a variety of colors and styles, with sample content and graphics. The Basic templates are simple templates in a variety of layouts, with boilerplate text and no graphics.
  3. Click the Send email option.

To start by choosing the contacts or members you want to email, follow these steps:

  1. Click the List option under the Contacts or Members menu.
  2. Search and filter the contact or member list to display only the contacts or members you want to email. For instructions on searching and filtering, see Contact list.
  3. Click the Email contacts or Email members button.

You can also choose to email the registrants for a particular event by clicking the Email registrants button, or email contacts on an event waitlist by clicking the Email waitlisted button.

In either case, the email wizard appears to walk you through the steps involved in composing and sending your email blast. If you chose the template first, the email wizard will appear and take you to the Design tab, where you can begin customizing your email. If you selected the recipients first, you'll still be able to adjust the recipient list before sending the email blast.

You can move to the next step in the email wizard by clicking the > button, and to the previous step by clicking the < button. You can jump from one step to another at any time by clicking the tab name.

Saving and exiting

You can exit the email wizard at any time by clicking the EXIT menu in the upper right corner. You'll have the option of saving your changes and exiting, or exiting without saving.

 Read more/less

Step 1: Choosing a template

Unless you began by choosing a template, the first step in the email wizard is to select the template you want to use as the basis for the email. 

 Read more/less

Templates are grouped onto different tabs by type. Custom templates that you have created or copied are displayed on the Saved tab. On the Themed tab are professionally designed templates in a variety of colors and styles, with sample content and graphics.

 

On the Basic tab are simple templates in a variety of layouts, with boilerplate text and no graphics.

 

Among the basic templates are a Simple template, which consists of a single cell layout with no headers or footers – suitable for clients who want to send a plain message quickly – and a No layout template, which consists of a single content block and no layout or text formatting – suitable for clients who wish to design their own email templates from the ground up.

To choose a template, just click on it. You will be automatically taken to the design step, where you can compose and format your message .

Step 2: Designing your email content

With the template selected, you can now design the content for your email blast. This can involve adding, replacing, and formatting text, as well as adding or replacing graphics, links, and macros. You can also modify the layout of the message and change other aspects of its appearance.

 Read more/less

Wild Apricot email templates divide the message body into rows and columns. You can click individual cells to insert content and adjust cell settings.

A draft of your design will be automatically saved every 30 seconds. If you wish to exit without saving your changes, click the EXIT menu in the upper right corner and choose the Exit without saving option.

After you are finished designing your email content, go to the Preview tab to preview your message.

Adding and replacing text

To add text to the email from the Compose your email screen, simply click where you want the text to appear and start typing. To remove existing text, select it and press Delete on your keyboard to remove it or start typing to overwrite it.

You can format your text using the various toolbar options

Icon

For consistent results throughout your emails, you should format your text using text styles (e.g. H1, Normal, etc.) rather than individual font options (typeface, size, etc.).

Adding and removing pictures

To add a picture to your template, click where you want the picture to appear then click the Image icon within the toolbar.

From the window that appears, you can choose a picture that is already in your account or upload new pictures from your computer or network. For more information, see Inserting and editing pictures.

Icon

When you insert a picture, you are really inserting a link to the picture stored on your account. If you move, rename, or delete the image from your account, the image will no longer appear in your message. Instead of uploading and inserting pictures, you can edit the HTML code directly to display an image file stored on another website.

To set or change the properties of the picture, position your mouse over the picture in the template, then click the  Settings  option. From the image settings toolbar that appears, you can change any of the image image's properties, including s ize, alignment, margin, and borders, and how adjoining text wraps around the image. 

You can also resize a picture by clicking on it then dragging its selection handles.

To remove an existing picture, position your mouse over the picture and click the  X  icon in the top right corner of the picture.

You can also delete a picture by selecting it then pressing the  Delete  key on your keyboard.

For more information, see Inserting pictures.

You cannot send attachments with your email blast, but you can insert links to online files and to files uploaded to your Wild Apricot account. For more information on uploading documents, see Inserting documents and files.

You can also insert links to a web site, site page, event page, or email address.

To insert a link in your email blast:

  1. Click where you want the link to appear.
  2. Click the Link dropdown in the toolbar towards the top of the page and select Insert or edit link

  3. From the Insert link window that appears, select the destination for the link. 

     

    Enter a website address or email address in the Website URL or email field, click the Site page tab to select a page from your site, or click the Event tab to select an event from your site. For events, you can choose whether to link to an event's detail page or registration page.
  4. Enter the link text you want to display to the recipient.
  5. You can also enter a tooltip to be displayed when a mouse pointer is positioned over the picture, and control whether the link opens in a separate browser window.
  6. Click Insert link.
Icon

You can also link a picture to a document, web site, site page, event page, or email address. Before clicking the Link dropdown, select the picture you want to link.

Personalizing the message with macros

Using macros, you can personalize your email blast to include specific information about the recipient such as first name or organization name.

To insert a macro in your email, click within the email where you want the macro to appear, then click the Macro icon on the content editor toolbar.

From the list that appears, select the macro you want to use. For a complete list, see Available macros.

Icon

You should add a link to the {Unsubscribe_Url} macro so recipients can easily unsubscribe from your mailing list. If a link to the {Unsubscribe_Url} macro does not appear in your email, one will be automatically appended to the message.

Setting the message background

When you first begin editing your email or email template, general settings appear in the settings panel on the left.

To display the general settings again, just click on the background area outside the content areas of your message.

From the general settings,  you can change the settings that apply to the entire message, including the overall background of  the message. For the background, you can choose a background color or image.

To set a background image for the message, click the Select button beside Background image. You can now select an image to be used as the background. You can choose a picture to be inserted from the pictures already in your account, or upload one or more new pictures then choose one of them to be inserted. For best results on different devices, choose an image that is no bigger than 600 pixels wide.

After you have selected a background image, you can choose how the image is repeated – horizontally, vertically, both (tiled), or not at all – and set the horizontal and vertical alignment.

Icon

Background images are not supported by some email clients (e.g. Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013). If you set a background image, be sure to also set an appropriate background color as a fallback.

To choose a background color for the message, click the Background color control. You can then select a color from the drop-down palette or enter the hexadecimal code for the color (e.g. #FF0000 for red).

Choose the X option in the upper left corner if you don't want a background color.  

Icon

To display the General settings panel again, click the  Appearance  icon at the top.

Changing the font set

From the General settings panel, you can change the default typeface used in the message by choosing a font from the Font set list.

After selecting a default typeface, you can still change the font for selected text using the font and text style options appearing on the content editor toolbar. Selecting a different typeface from the font set list will not override any custom text formatting. To clear custom text formatting and revert to the default typeface you selected using the Font set list, select the text then click the  Clear formatting  icon within the content editor.

 

Setting cell properties

Wild Apricot templates divide the message body into rows and columns. You can click individual cells to insert content and adjust cell settings.

For each cell, you can set the following properties:

SettingDescription
Background colorThe background color of the cell. After clicking the Background color control, you can select a color from the drop-down palette or enter the hexadecimal code for the color (e.g.  #FF0000  for red).
Background image

An image to be displayed as the background for the message. To set a background image for the message, click the Select button beside Background image. You can now select an image to be used as the background. You can choose a picture to be inserted from the pictures already in your account, or upload one or more new pictures then choose one of them to be inserted. After you have selected a background image, you can choose how the image is repeated – horizontally, vertically, both (tiled), or not at all – and set the horizontal and vertical alignment.

Icon

Background images are not supported by some email clients (e.g. Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013). If you set a background image, be sure to also set an appropriate background color as a fallback.

PaddingThe distance (in pixels) between the cell content and the cell border.
MarginsThe amount of space – in pixels – that appears outside the cell. You can set the top, bottom, left, and right margins separately.
BorderThe width of the cell border (in pixels). You can set the top, bottom, left, and right border separately, and choose a border style and border color in each case.

Changing the layout

You cannot add or remove individual columns and rows while modifying an email or email template, but you can switch to a different layout with a different combination of columns and rows. When you switch layouts, your content with be automatically repositioned without any loss of content or formatting.

Icon

If you want to send a message that consists solely of a picture or image, you have to switch to the 1 cell, no headers/footers layout.

To change the layout for your email or email template, follow these steps:

  1. Click the Layouts icon towards the top of the screen.
  2. Click the layout you want to switch to. Most layouts include preheader, header, and footer areas. The exceptions are the 1 cell, no headers/footers option – a single-cell layout with no headers or footers – and the No layout option – a single block without any layout or text styles.

  3. Click the Apply button.

     

If the new layout has fewer cells that the previous one, the content in the final cell will be appended to the last cell in the new layout.

Icon

If you choose the No layout option, all email content is combined into a single content block with no text styles.

After switching to a different layout, you can undo the layout change by clicking the Undo layout change button within the layout panel.

 

Any changes that  you have made since the layout change will also be reversed.

Icon

If you don't want a particular layout cell to appear in your email, leave the cell empty, then click the HTML icon on the content editor toolbar and delete all the HTML code.

Copying and pasting external content

You can copy and  paste content from external documents or web pages with minimal loss of formatting and no subsequent editing errors. To paste copied content, click where you want the text to appear then click the  Paste  icon within the content editor.

Icon

On browsers other than Internet Explorer, you may be prompted to use keyboard shortcuts instead of the Paste icon to paste your text.

The email editor will try to preserve as much of the text formatting as possible, but will discard any incompatible formatting – formatting that it cannot reproduce itself. 

Whether graphical images are pasted along with the text depends on the source from which you copied the content. When pasting from sources that store images using URLs – such as Google Docs, web pages, and emails – any images included in the content will get pasted. When pasting from other sources – such as Microsoft Word – images will be discarded. 

Accessing the HTML code

You cannot access the HTML code for the entire message, but you can access the HTML for individual cells by clicking the HTML icon within the content editor toolbar.

Icon

Exception: If you're using the  Blank  template, clicking the  HTML  icon will display the HTML code for the entire message since it consists of a single cell without any layout.

Step 3: Previewing the email

Once you are finished designing your message, you can preview your email blast. You can preview it as it would appear on mobile and desktop platforms with different screen widths.

 Read more/less

A preview of the email appears while you are editing it, but for a more realistic preview, click the Preview tab at the top of the email wizard.

Click the preview options – Desktop and Mobile – to preview the email at different screen widths.

From here, you can send a test message to yourself by clicking the Send a test button.

Icon

Test emails use fake data in place of macros, not the actual data from your database. So, don't be alarmed if you see some unfamiliar content in the test message.

When you are finishing previewing your email blast, you go to the Recipients tab to finalize the list of recipients.

Step 4: Choosing recipients and other delivery options

With the content of the email blast complete, you can now select your recipients or finalize the recipient list (depending on whether you started the process by selecting recipients). You can also specify the email subject, the reply-to recipient, and enable email tracking.

 Read more/less
Icon

The maximum number of email recipients you can choose depends on your billing plan.

Finalizing the recipient list

To add recipients to the list, click + Contact to add individual contacts or + Contact list to add lists of contacts, including results from previously saved searches

Icon

If you add recipients using a saved search, the search will be performed when the email is sent.

For instructions on using saved searches to assemble a mailing list, see Assembling mailing lists (below).

To remove a recipient or a group of recipients, click the red X over the recipient or group.

To remove all recipients, click Clear all recipients.

Icon

Only one email will be sent to each unique email address even if you add a recipient multiple times (directly or through groups and searches). Recipients will not see the names or email addresses of other recipients. 

Specifying the email subject

You are required to specify a subject for your email. The subject can be a mix of characters and macros, allowing you to personalize your message with information like the recipient's name. To insert a macro, follow these steps:

  1. Click within the subject line where you want the macro to appear.
  2. Type { within the Subject field or click the  { } at the end of the Subject field. A list of available macros appears.

     

    Sample data is displayed beside each macro, using your own contact information.
     
  3. Click the macro you want to insert.  The macro will now appear within the subject line.

At delivery time, the macro will be replaced with the corresponding information about the contact.

Setting the Reply to address

By default, the Reply to address is the address entered in the Contact email field on the your Organization details screen. You can, however, change the Reply to address, as well as the name of the sender, by clicking the Change reply to button.

 

You can then select a different contact from your contact database.

To specify a reply-to recipient who is not in your contact database, you can enter the name and email address directly in the fields provided.  

Enabling email tracking

To enable email tracking, so you can see how many of your emails were opened and clicked after your email blast is sent, click the Enable link and open email tracking checkbox.

Step 5: Reviewing and sending your email blast

After you've finalized the list of recipients, you can review and send your email blast. 

 Read more/less

If there any issues with your email that would prevent it from being sent – e.g. no recipients or subject – an alert will appear at the top of the screen and the issues will be highlighted in red.

Until these issues are corrected, the Send button will be disabled. To correct an issue, click the link beside the error message.

If there are no issues that would prevent your email from being sent, you can review your message and click the Send button when you are ready to send your email blast.

Icon

Once you send your email blast, it is added to the email queue, and may take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours to be actually delivered.

Continuing composing a draft email

To continue composing a previously saved draft message, follow these steps:

 Read more/less
  1. Select the Email drafts option the Website menu.
  2. Click the saved draft you want to continue editing.

You can now continue composing your email message.

Creating a new email using a previously sent message

To use a previously sent message as the basis for your new email blast, follow these steps:

 Read more/less
  1. Select the Email log option under the Email menu.
  2. Click the previously sent message you want to use.
  3. Click the Save as new email button at the top of the screen.

     

You will be taken to the email wizard's design stage. The recipients of the previously sent email will be automatically selected. You can now compose your message and refine the recipients list.

Tracking your email

You can track your email and see delivery information and a summary of opens and clicks.

 Read more/less

After you send your email blast, a summary appears listing:

  • number of recipients
  • number and percentage of failed messages
  • number and percentage of messages delivered

If you've enabled email tracking, you'll also see:

  • the number and percentage of messages opened
  • the number and percentage of recipients who clicked one or more links

To view the email summary later, or for a more detailed report, click Emails then click Email log.

From the email log, you can view the failed and delivered email addresses, and the number of clicks for each link. For each email message received, you can see whether the email was opened and which links the recipient clicked on.

For more information, see Tracking emails.

Archiving email blasts

Wild Apricot does not provide an option to archive a newsletter or other email blast by creating an online version of the message. However, you can create one yourself by following these steps:

 Read more/less
  1. Open your email blast within your email log.
  2. Click the Save as new email button.
  3. From the Design tab, click within the email body then click the HTML button on the editing toolbar and copy the code for the entire message to the clipboard.
  4. Click the X button in the upper right corner of the email wizard and choose to exit without saving changes.
  5. Create a new content page on your site and open that page in edit mode.
  6. Click within the body of the page then click the HTML button.
  7. Paste the copied code then click Save.
  8. Remove the teaser in the header, replace any macros with corresponding text, and remove the copyright statement and Unsubscribe link in the message footer.
  9. Save your changes to the page.

You can now return to your email blast and add a link to the online version of the message. You could, for example, have the link read "Having trouble viewing this message?". You can also create an email blast archive page and add a link to the email blast page. For each subsequent email blast, you could create a new page using these steps and add a link to the archive page.

 Assembling mailing lists

Instead of selecting your recipients each time you send an email blast, you can set up and select mailing lists. There are a couple of different ways you can set up a mailing list in Wild Apricot:

 Read more/less

Using advanced search criteria

  1. Perform an advanced member or contact search, using selection criteria to determine which contacts are included.
  2. Save the search (Community plans and above only).
  3. When you want to email the members or contacts who match the search criteria, click Add contact list and select the saved search. If your pricing plan does not allow you to save searches, you can simply click the Email members or Email contacts button after performing the search.

By creating a member group

  1. Create a member group containing the members you want to email.
  2. When you want to email the members, go to the advanced member or contact search, choose the Group participation criteria, and select the member group.
  3. Click the Search button.
  4. Click the Email members or Email contacts button.

Using an email subscription form

  1. Add an email subscription form to your site, allowing visitors to opt in to your mailing list.
  2. When you want to email those who chose to opt in, go to the advanced member or contact search.
  3. Choose Email preferences as the search criteria.
  4. Click the Subscribed to emailings check box.
  5. Click the Search button.
  6. Click the Email members or Email contacts button. 

Email blacklists

An email blacklist is a list of email servers considered to be sources of unsolicited emails (aka spam). If an email server ends up on a blacklist, the delivery of its emails can be affected or even blocked.

There are, however, both reputable blacklists, and bogus blacklists set up by opportunistic organizations attempting to extort funds from legitimate organizations like Wild Apricot. 

Wild Apricot regularly checks to make sure that we are not included on any reputable blacklists, and in the rare occasions when we have been erroneously added, we have taken the necessary measures to immediately rectify the situation. 

Variations in email clients

  • On Apple iOS devices, content will automatically reflow from multiple columns into a single column when the screen width is less than 480 pixels. On all other mobile devices, multiple columns are maintained but the columns will be narrowed.
  • Background images are not displayed when messages are viewed on Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013 (though Outlook provides an option to view the message in a web browser).

Troubleshooting and workarounds

 How do I email event registrants using a previously sent email?

Normally, when you want to use a previously sent email as the basis for a new email blast, you start by opening the previously sent email within your email log and clicking the Save as new email button. However, if you want to email registrants for an event, you should click the Save as template button instead and save the email as a custom email template. Now, go to the event registrants list and click the Email registrants button then select the custom template you just created as the basis for your email blast.

 
Wild Apricot Inc. 144 Front Street West Suite 725, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5J 2L7