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Act-On Software

Email Composer Overview


The Act-On email composer offers a number of features to allow for targeted email delivery, automated personalization of messages, and a number of ways to import your specific email design.

Below you will find an overview of the design process, from composing to sending.

New Message

When you navigate to Outbound > New Message, you'll see several options for starting a new email:

  • Blank Message – Begin composing a new message using the default layout with no pre-existing content
  • Draft Message – Import a draft message that you previously edited. Upon sending the draft, your message will move from Drafts to Sent Messages.
  • Template Message – Similarly to Drafts, resume editing a previous message. The Template will still remain in your Templates section after your message has been sent.
  • Sent Message – Copy a message that has already been sent, reusing its content and settings.
  • Upload Message Code – Import a pre-designed HTML file or a zip file with HTML and images. This will create a raw HTML block in your message so that you can continue to edit the code as needed.
  • Plain Text Message – Generate a plain-text message with no images or hyperlinks. Plain-text messages do not include tracking for opens or clicks, but may be necessary for email clients that are older or have very rigorous security settings.

The first step is to address your message and enter some general categorization data.

  • Message Title: Enter the title of your new message. The title is for your own reference and will not appear to customers.
  • Subject Line: Enter your the subject line that customers will see in their inbox. See Tips for Email Subject Lines for some suggestions.
  • Sender: Choose who should appear in the From area of your message. In addition to the From addresses you've added, you can also personalize the From address based on the recipient's information.
  • Reply To: Choose which email address will receive any replies to this email. Make sure to make this person aware that they may receive responses.
  • Recipients: Choose lists or segments to send to, or specify individual people. For lists, you can choose from your Account Lists, Marketing Lists, Form Submissions, or Webinar Lists.
  • Suppress Against: Select lists and segments to suppress your message against. If a contact exists in both a sending list and a suppression list, they will not receive the message will not be sent to.
    • We recommend creating a targeted segment to send your message to, instead of adding a large list to then subtract a large suppression list. See Defining a Segment for more information.
  • Subscription Category: Once enabled in your Act-On account, this feature lets email recipients opt in or out of specific email categories. Choosing a Subscription Category sends this message only to users who have opted in to that category.
  • Add to Act-On Campaign: The Campaigns feature gives you the ability to group multiple email messages, forms, landing pages and media together into a single convenient reporting view. Choose a Campaign to add this message to for consolidated reporting.
  • Update CRM: Choose whether to attach a 'Sent' note to CRM Leads/Contacts.

Use our simple but powerful drag-and-drop editor to build your email. Your message appears on the left of the screen, and your design tools are available on the right..

A stationery is the “wrapper” that surrounds the actual content of your message. It serves as a theme that you can apply to your message to add layouts and styles that you use often. Choose a Stationery from dropdown to see additional options:

  • Responsive Design: Allows you to enable or disable the responsiveness of your message.
  • Message Width: The default width for all new messages within the message composer is 600px, however you can edit to any value between 300px and 1200px.
  • Align Message: Allows you to align your message to the left or center of the screen.
  • Background, Inner Background, Boarder Color, Thickness, and Corner Radius allow you to set the styling of your stationery to create the custom branding that suits your organization.

Content Blocks

Open the Content section to access the drag-and-drop blocks that make up a message:

  • Greeting: Choose from 8 personalized greeting options, and select a generic greeting to use if you are missing the necessary data.
  • Rich Text: The Rich Text block is a WYSIWYG ("what you see is what you get") message editor that you will use to create the body of your email. Learn more about using the Rich Text Block in Email.
  • Signature: Your default signature will display, however you can choose from any signature you have created. Learn more about creating an email signature.
  • Media File Download: Choose an item from your Media Library and insert a download link into your message. You can label it with text or a graphic, and set it to expire on a given date if desired.
  • Form Link: Choose a Form that you have built and insert a link to it into your message.
  • Time & Place: Create a meeting/event and insert the details (plus a calendar download) into your message.
  • Multiple Choice: Insert a simple poll question into your message.
  • Image: Choose an item from your Image Library to add to your message.
  • Business Card: Enter contact information that the recipient can download to their contacts in the Vcard format.
  • Spacer: Put extra padding between the other blocks in your message.
  • Dynamic Content: Add conditional content sections to your message.
  • Custom Content: Add your own HTML by pasting in code or uploading a file. This is useful if you want to add custom code blocks that would normally be stripped out by the validation in the Rich Text block.
  • Social Share: Add social media icons to your message for easy sharing.
  • Sections: Add areas to your message where more content blocks can be placed. Sections allow you to easily create one-, two-, and three-column layouts in your emails.

Using sections, you are able to quickly design unique message layouts and have more control over the placement of your content. You can choose 1, 2, or 3 column sections.

You can create more complex layouts with more columns by using a Rich Text block and inserting a table, but generally using more than three columns can create display issues on mobile devices.

Header and Footer

See Email Headers and Footers for more information.

  • Message Styling has three tabs:
    • Message: Allows you to control the font, font size and padding on your message content. Clicking Enable provides control over line spacing, text color, and link color.
    • Header: Allows you to control the padding on your message content. Clicking Enable provides control over font, font size, line spacing, text color, and link color.
    • Footer: Allows you to control the padding on your message content. Clicking Enable provides control over font, font size, line spacing, text color, and link color.
  • Edit Plain Text Version: Selecting Plain Text Version will generate a text version of your HTML email. Most people receive and view their email messages in an HTML format, and a great amount of time and effort is spent creating high-quality HTML messages as a result. However, there are still email clients and mail servers configured to accept only plain text content.
  • Validate Clickthrough Links: Select clickthrough links to view all links contained in your email, along with the associate anchor text. Choosing (Test) will allow you to test your clickthrough links to ensure they reach the correct URL.
  • Download Creatives: Download creatives allows you to download the HTML & CSS of your message that you may pass on to anyone (such as rental list owners or channel partners) who need to send this message from their own systems, note that you will not get any meaningful tracking or reporting in such cases.
  • Check Spelling: Message-wide spell check is available for all text blocks (headers, footers, etc).

After you design your message you will want to review for accuracy.

  • Preview Your Message: Email messages or templates to be previewed within your web browser to see what your message layout will look like for the recipient. When previewing your message you will have 3 different previews: HTML, Text, and Mobile.
  • Sample Preview: By enabling Sample Preview, you can check the personalization of the email to some of your target audience.
  • Validate Message: Checks your message for required components, such as a subject line, sender name, recipients, content and opt-out links.
  • Spam Score: Using Spam Assassin, Act-On will provide you a Spam Score based on your message.
  • Test with Litmus: Generate previews and test how your email's content will display in the most common email clients
  • Check Account Limits: Ensure your message will launch successfully, based on your account limits and current usage.
  • Check Full Personalization: Check for personalization errors that would cause a message to not be sent to one or more contacts.
  • Check Spelling: Message-wide spell check is available for all text blocks (headers, footers, etc).

Sending an email message is a quick and easy process.

Under the Send tab of the email composer, you will see four options to send your message:

  • Send now
  • Send at the following time
  • Time Zone Send
  • Send Over Time

See this page for more information.

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