IAMI Help - Mailmaker

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Mailmaker is a powerful mail merge type application for creating email newsletters and mail shots. Like any mail merge program, two elements are required: a template and a database of target email addresses. IAMI's Mailmaker uses the CRM Centre as the data source, and the same page editor as used for creating Site Pages to create the email template. For further details on these modules, please refer to the relevant sections of this manual.

Mailmaker helps you organise your mail shots into projects. Each project can have any number email templates. Apart from the organisational advantages of this approach, the built-in opt-out function is project based, in that if a recipient opts out of receiving emails of a particular type (e.g. newsletters) they will stop receiving all subsequent emails of this type but still receive emails of other types (e.g. safety bulletins).

After clicking the Mailmaker item, you will see a list of your projects, which might look like this:

Creating and Modifying Projects

To create a new project, click the NEW PROJECT button. To change the name or description of an existing project click the icon. Either will take you to a screen which looks something like this:

Creating Mailings and Email Templates

To create a new email template and mailing within a project, first click the  icon to open up the list of email templates associated with the project:

To create a new email template click the NEW MAIL button, or to edit an existing template click the  icon. Note that if there is an email run in progress this icon is animated and becomes . To see how many mails have been sent simply hold your mouse over this icon. While a mailing is in progress, an additional icon will appear: . This is the ABORT icon and if clicked will abort the mailing run. After clicking the  icon, the template configuration screen is shown:

Plain Text or HTML

This sets the format in which you want your email to be transmitted. Plain text is the safest, but means you can't use images and don't have much control over the layout. In the past, Plain Text would have been the preferred format for business mailings because many corporate email systems couldn't handle HTML emails, but this is no longer true. DO NOT create your email using HTML then switch to Plain Text, otherwise your recipients will see raw HTML code which will appear as gobbledygook. 

Test Mailing Address

Enter an email address which for which you can receive emails to check your emails arrive as you expect them to. It is strongly recommended that you test your email thoroughly, especially after making changes, because one the mailing is started it's too late to correct it. The test function takes the data from the first entry on your data list to populate the mail merge tags on your template, but it sends it to the address you specify. Make sure you click SAVE to save any changes you made.

Composing Your Email

If you have selected Plain Text format, double-clicking the Message Body box will open up a large, plain text editing window. If you have selected HTML then the standard IAMI HTML editor pops up. this is the same editor that is used for editing Site Pages and other HTML documents. For details about this editor, CLICK HERE.

Inserting Tags

Each email can be customised by inserting mail merge tags into the message body. Tags are characterised by being enclosed in double curly braces, e.g. {{crm_ac_firstname}}. You can use any data field from your data source, as well as some special tags for inserting dates and an opt-out link. To see a complete list of tags available, click the link in the COMPOSE YOUR EMAIL section on this page. Here's how these tags might be used for a simple email:

Dear {{crm_c_title}} {{crm_c_firstname}} {{crm_c_surname}},

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
To stop receiving these notifications, please {{optout}}.

Kind regards
IAMI Helpdesk 

Typically, once populated, this would arrive in the recipient's mailbox as:

Dear Mr Gary Barnes,

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.
To stop receiving these notifications, please CLICK HERE.

Kind regards
IAMI Helpdesk 

Specifying Your Data Source

At this time, the only data source which can be used with Mailmaker is the CRM centre module account and contact database. By default, all contact records are selected for inclusion in mailings, but you can apply a filter (which you must previously define in the CRM module) to select certain records based on set criteria. You must also tell Mailmaker which field contains the email address to use. In most cases this will be the email address in CRM CONTACTS.

Last Mailing Information

The process of actually sending emails runs in the background, so once initiated you can log out and close your browser. Emails are sent at one per second, so a mailing of 600 will take about 10 minutes to complete. Once complete you can review the results in LAST MAILING section. This will tell you how many emails were sent,  how many email addresses were rejected (because of badly formed addresses), and how many opt-outs were encountered. there is also a complete log of the sending process which can be used for troubleshooting.

Viewing a Mail In Progress

When a mail run is in progress the  and  icons are visible on the Mailing List for the project. You can see how many emails have been sent by holding your mouse cursor over the  icon. To abort a mailing in an emergency, click the  icon. Clicking the  icon takes you to the email template editor page, where an additional panel is displayed at the top of the page:

This warns that there is a mailing in progress and disables features on this screen. An ABORT MAILING button also appears which can be clicked to stop the mail run in the event of an emergency. As you click the REFRESH button the number of emails sent should increase at the rate of about one per second. Once the mailing is finished, this panel and the ABORT MAILING buttons will disappear.

Managing Opt-Outs

It is always good practise to provide an opt-out link embedded in your emails so that recipients have the choice to stop receiving them. This is done by using the {{optout}} tag (which inserts a hyperlink labelled CLICK HERE into the email). If a recipient clicks on this link in their email, their email address is automatically added to the opt-out list for that particular project. They will still continue to receive emails from other projects unless they explicitly opt out of these as well. To manage opt-outs manually, click on the  icon on the Project List screen. This will take you straight to the opt-out manager:

This is simply a list of email addresses. To remove an opt-out (which means that the recipient will start receiving emails from this project again) remove the email address from this list by clicking the  icon. To modify any address, simply click in the appropriate box, make the amendments and click SAVE. To add an address manually, click into the box labelled ADD and enter the email address, then click SAVE.

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