Writing a Composer Email

Overview

Regardless of how Composer is launched, the basic workflow for crafting the email is largely the same. This article outlines various options for writing and sending an email from Composer. To learn more about ways of launching Composer, read Methods to Launch Composer.

Select the Source of the Email

There are several options for the source of the email.

  • Start From Scratch. Create a new email by starting from the beginning.
  • Start From Template. Choose a channel and then pick a template from which to start.
  • Copy a Sent Email. Choose a channel and then pick a previously-sent email to copy.
  • Resume Draft. Choose a channel and then pick a draft to continue editing.

    Note: When choosing the “Resume Draft” option, any recipients currently assigned to the draft will be replaced with new recipients.

    Tip: This functionality enables an entirely new set of recipients to be used for an email after it has been started. Use case:
    – An email is started from a query, meaning that different recipietns cannot be specified in the “Select Recipients” stage.
    – New recipients are needed.
    – Simply close the current draft, run a new query, and then launch Composer, resuming the draft of the email. The new query will completely replace the recipients in the draft.

Basic Workflow Sequence


Selecting a source for the email brings up the basic Composer workflow, visually represented by a series of links running across the top of the screen. Navigate to each step by clicking the “Next” or “Continue” button. It is also possible to click the links themselves to navigate in a non-linear fashion. Some pages validate entries, e.g., on the “Create Email” page, all information (except channel) needs to be entered before clicking “Next” or “Continue,” but clicking another page’s link at the top would navigate to that page.

Create Email

Here the basic parameters of the email are set:

  • Subject. This will appear as the subject of the email.
  • Preview Text. This is an optional field that will appear as the gray line of text beneath the Subject when the recipient views this email from their inbox.
  • Channel. A channel can be selected at several stages of the creation process. It is recommended to select it here. Read more about channels.
  • Who is it from? Select the sender name and email. The name will appear in the “From” field of the recipient’s email client, and the “Reply To” email will be where the reply goes. Note that these fields are arbitrary and independent of each other. For example, you might have your school email be the “Reply To” email, but you might want the “Name” to be something more generic like “The Admissions Department.” See below for formally sending an email on behalf of someone.
    Note: Only a single email address can be supplied in the “Reply To Address” field. 
  • Editor Type. Choose which editor to use. The “Drag & Drop” option is the visual editor, allowing for easy layout of text, images, different types of text, links, etc. The “Rich Text” option is for simple text-only emails.

Send On Behalf Of

Composer gives the user the ability to send an email on behalf of someone else. The email will appear as if it were sent by that person and will also display as coming from that person when the email is viewed in a portal. There are 3 options for the “Who is it from?” step:

  • Send from “myself” sends the email from the user currently logged into Composer.
  • Send “On Behalf” allows the user to select who the email is coming from. Options are available in the drop-down according to the permissions given to the currently logged-in user (see below). If the logged-in user has no communication permissions to send on behalf of anyone, this option does not appear.
  • Specify Sender Name and Reply To Address in the same way as always.

It is necessary that the user has the proper “Send on Behalf Of” permissions. This must be granted by the SysAdmin. To view existing permissions, click the Communications Permissionslink in the Communications section of the System homepage. To add a new communication permission, hover over the +Add menu and select Communications Permission.

Write Content

In this step, the actual content of the email is created, and the screen will look different depending on whether the “Drag and Drop” or “Rich Text” editor was chosen in the previous step.

Option 1: Drag and Drop Editor. This has numerous options for creating rich emails with images, different formatting, etc. — read more about the Drag and Drop Composer editor here.

Option 2: Rich Text Editor. The rich text editor features a simple interface and is a good choice for simple text-only emails. Select a theme on the right to set the background, header, social media options, footer, etc. Read more about Composer themes.

The text editor itself is very simple, allowing for basic text formatting and links.

Select Recipients

If Composer was launched from query results or an advanced report, the list of recipients will be displayed without the ability to include or exclude groups. If launched from a group (as in the screenshot here) or channel, groups can be included and excluded. In all scenarios, manually exclude individuals by unchecking them from the “Include” column. Alternatively, press the “Include All” or “Exclude All” buttons to add or remove everyone listed to the recipients list.

Select a channel if it has not yet been selected. A channel can be selected at several stages of the creation process. Read more about channels.

Target Recipients

By default, the email will send to those individual already selected. For child-based groups (students, applicants, et al.), there is an additional option to target parent/guardians.

Clicking “Parents/Guardian” displays the email addresses of those parents or guardians, with the additional ability to select contacts with different relationships to the children, e.g., those with legal custody, emergency pickup authorization, etc. When targeting Parents/Guardians, uncheck a student to remove their parents from the targeted group. There is no way to remove parents from being targeted if their student does not have the “email 1” field filled out.

The recipients are recalculated at the moment the email is sent based on the selected recipients/groups.

Note: This feature is designed to only work with recipients that are students, not recipients who are a mix of students and non-students.

Groups, Recipients

Included Groups. There are several ways to select groups. Typing a name will auto-filter a list, or click the “Browse” button. To select the group, click the green arrow on the right and the group’s name will be entered. You can select as many groups as desired. Note that if a person appears in more than one selected group, they will only receive one email.

Excluded Groups. Select groups to exclude in the same manner. Any people on these lists will not receive the email.

List of Recipients. See how many people will receive the email. Those who will (i.e., those in the Included Groups minus any in Excluded Groups) are listed here. This list can be a helpful way to double-check whether the right people will get the email. To remove anyone, uncheck the “Include” column for that individual. Note that anyone who is a member of an included group but would nonetheless not get an email is grayed out. The reason is indicated in the “Exclude Reason” column. Read more about email statuses and resolutions.

Preview and Test

Preview a version of the email. Note the desktop/mobile icon  in the upper left corner. Click it to toggle between desktop display and mobile display. This is helpful to see how the email will display on mobile devices.

To send a test email, enter one or more email addresses separated with commas or semicolons and click “Send Email.” This is helpful to confirm how an email actually looks when viewed in an email client.

Choose either “Random” or “Me” for merge data. Simulate how the email will look for a random recipient or yourself. “Random” will use a different recipient’s data for each test email sent. Read more about merge fields.

Confirm and Send

On the final step of the workflow is the opportunity to review and edit the major elements of the email. The page is divided into several sections.

Content: Confirm the channel and content of the email. Click either link to return to that portion of the workflow.

Review: Select review applicable options. Read more about Composer’s review process.

Email:

  • Select “Draft” (default) to send the email right away when “Send Email” is clicked.
  • Select “Send Later” to schedule the email. This option opens a Delivery Schedule entry box at the bottom of the section. Enter a date and time and click “Set Schedule.” The email will be sent at the specified date/time.

Review the subject line, replies, recipients, and cc options. Click to jump back to the sections of the workflow.

Send a Copy to: Specify one or more email addresses to send a copy of the email to. This feature simply sends the email to any address specified. It is not connected to any person records, does not verify against anyone’s email address in Veracross, and is not recorded as an email in the system. Because of this, merge fields will not work in cc’d emails, distribution lists do not work in the cc field (must be specific addresses), and this feature should not be thought of as giving the ability to add “ad hoc recipients” because a true recipient is connected to an actual person record. The Composer cc feature should be used purely for administrative purposes.

Click Tracking: The “Track Clicks” option will track any links that are clicked by recipients of the email. Read more about click tracking.

Click Send Email to send the email.

Publish to Web: Enter a title and summary and pick an image (if not done in prior step). Selecting “Draft” will publish the article immediately after clicking “Publish to Web,” and “Publish Later” opens a Delivery Schedule entry box at the bottom of the section. Enter a date and time for publishing and unpublishing as desired and click “Set Schedule.” The article will be published/unpublished at the specified date/time.

Tags: Select tags for the email (if utilizing the extra-cost News Management module). Use them to filter content within channels for displaying in portals. For example, use a “graduation” tag on news articles and Composer emails relating to graduation, and then pull in articles with that tag in a portal component on a “Graduation” page in the Parent Portal.

Tags are managed directly in a field called “Publishing Tags” in content screen components and “Portal Component Publishing Tags” in Composer emails. To add a tag, simply start typing; if it already exists, autofill options appear. To add a tag, hit [Enter], and to remove a tag, simply click the small “X.” Note that tags are for administrative use only to give greater flexibility in article publishing; the names of the tags do not display in the portals.

Click Publish to Web or Set Schedule to publish or schedule the article.