It’s April – the clocks have rolled forward, the evenings are brighter, and now you have our latest Product Update to read.
Does life get any better?
This is one of our chunkier Product Updates and it’s filled to the brim with exciting enhancements and improvements – we’ve been working hard!
To see what we’ve been up to recently, read on…
Improved Feature: Ad-hoc Email Templates and Email Sequencing
As promised in our last Product Update, and in line with client feedback, we have added some major new functionality to our email capabilities, all designed to help save you admin time.
- Email template: You can now create email templates that can be recalled when sending ad-hoc emails to individuals and groups. This is useful for sending the same emails to different people, for example, offering a place to someone on a waiting list. Or perhaps you want to create an email template with your logo and footer so you can use it every time you send an email.
- Email Sequences: We’ve also added functionality so you can send a series of timed emails automatically. We call these Sequenced Emails.
- Recurring emails: You can now have the system send recurring emails automatically. For example, if you wanted to send an email to your members on their birthday, you can, each year, automatically.
Sequences give you the ability to create and schedule any number of emails at dates and times of your choice.
For example, you may have an upcoming event that you want to send a sequence of reminders for. Or you might want to drip feed content to people on your waiting lists to keep them engaged.
How to use it…
These new features can be found under the new header, ‘Email’, on the menu bar.
The ‘Send New Email (BETA)’ integrates these functions and enables you to load your pre-saved templates and sequences.
A. Create your email template(s):
Step 1: Select ‘Email Templates (BETA)’ from the ’Email’ menu.
Step 2: Click on ‘Create email template’.
This will load the screen which allows you to create a new template:
Each option above is described as follows:
- Give your template a name.
- Add up to 3 attachments to the emails with a maximum file size of 10 MB/file.
- Subject header of the email.
- Insert any field data that you record in the system. Select the field you want and the system will populate the email with that contacts’ data automatically.
- Add images to your email – a logo, for example.
- Enter the content of your email.
- Use the template to create a sequence of emails to be sent at various dates and times of your choice. If you create a sequence of emails, the template will include all emails that have been created in the sequence.
- Last, but not least – don’t forget to save!
B. Email Sequences:
When creating a template you’ll see below the email editor the option to create a sequence.
Selecting ‘Yes’ gives you the ability to create the next email and set the scheduling parameters. There is no limit to the number of emails you can add to the sequence. Go wild!
Sequences give you the ability to create and send any number of emails at dates and times of your choice.
In the example below, we have chosen to send the second email on a fixed date which will be set at the point of sending the first email. For example, when you come to send the first email on the 1st May, you select you want the second email to go out on the 12th May, the third email on the 25th May and so on:
The second scheduling option is to set a fixed time in which one email should follow another. For example, send email 2 one week after email 1; send email 3 two weeks after email 2, and so on.
When you are finished, click ‘Save’ at the top of the page.
C. Send a New Email:
To send a Group email:
Step 1: Hover over ‘Email’ on the menu bar and select ‘Send New Email (BETA)’.
Step 2: Select the group(s) of contacts you want to send the email to and click on ‘Next’.
Step 3: You will be presented with a blank email editor and the list of contacts you are emailing.
There are also a number of options identified in the screenshot below.
The options are described as follows:
- Load Email Template: Here, you can load any saved email templates. If the template you created included a sequence of emails, the sequence of emails will also be loaded.
- Sending Options: You now have three sending options as shown below
If you select to ‘Send a test email’ the system will send a test to the email address you are logged in with.
If you select ‘Send now’ you will be asked if you want to send the email once or recurrently. Selecting recurrently will give you the choice of weekly, monthly, bi-annually or annually (great for sending Happy Birthday wishes).
The same email will then be sent in accordance with whichever option you selected based on the day of sending – e.g. if you selected weekly, it will then send on the same day the following week, or if you chose annually, it will send the following year on the same date, etc.
You can edit scheduled emails up to one hour before sending.
Selecting to ‘Schedule for later’ will allow you to select the date and time you want the email to be sent. Again, you can choose to send the email once or on a recurring basis.
Please Note: the scheduled date and time must be greater than 60 minutes from the current time.
If you have chosen to send an email template that is part of a sequence and in its settings, the subsequent emails are due to be sent on a fixed date, you will need to set this now.
- Attachments: You can add up to three attachments to an email with a maximum file size of 10MB per file.
- Print: If you want to print your message rather than email it, select this option.
Please Note: you have the option to filter on people with an auto-generated email ID if you only want to print the message for those without a valid email address.
- Email editor: Write your message here and personalise using the ‘Insert field’ option that will populate the email upon sending.
- Preview: Clicking on ‘preview’ allows you to see the email before it’s sent – self-explanatory. No excuse for typos!
- Linked members: If you have members that are linked together and who share the same email address you can choose to send one email to the lead member or multiple emails out to all the members.
To send an email to an individual member from their record:
To send an email from a members’ record simply hover over the ‘Member’ icon on the toolbar and click on the ‘Send email (BETA)’.
All the options listed above for sending a group email are available when sending an individual email from a member’s record too.
The only exception is option 7 which refers to ‘linked members’ as this does not apply.
You will be able to see the status of any email sent by looking at the email history in a contacts record. This is found at the bottom of their record or using the ‘Sent email’ reports found by hovering over ‘Email’ in the menu bar.
Why it’s Better…
Though we had email templates for things like welcome emails, requesting payments, sending reminders etc, if you wanted to ‘create an email template’ for a non-system email, you would need to create the email outside of the system (in Word, for example) and copy and paste the text in to the system when it came to sending the email.
Plus, if you have a number of administrators, they may not have had a copy of the word document to refer back to.
There was also no way of preparing emails in advance to go out on a specific date. You would have had to set calendar reminders and then sent your email(s) manually.
Thankfully, these are now problems of the past!
We have made changes to the menu navigation in the system.
Here is what we have changed:
When you click through to any group you’ll see all actions related to a member now under the ‘Member’ icon.
The options available vary depending on what type of group you’re viewing. For example, a standard group won’t have an action for requesting payment whereas a membership category you will.
If you have selected a member in the table, actions will become available.
If no member has been selected, certain options will be greyed out as shown below.
We’ve made similar changes in the members record consolidating actions under 4 new menu options – Member, Payment, Activity Log and Linked Members.
When you hover over these new icons you will be presented with a drop-down menu which replaces the old icon list.
These changes have also been implemented in the financials section when scheduling payment requests or viewing/editing upcoming payments.
Now, if you want to make an edit to a payment request you will need to hover over the ‘Payment Request’ icon.
Any changes to the emails, such as turning them on or off or editing the template will now be found under the ‘Email settings’ icon.
Why it’s Better…
In short, it’s more efficient. The previous menu bar required you to scroll across the top menu to find the selection that you wanted. If you wished to link a member, for example, you’d have to scroll through two pages to find the option.
Now, these options can be displayed under a relevant heading for you to choose from, rather than scrolling across to find it.
Improved Feature: Event Category Deletion
It’s now possible to delete event categories (for example, if you created one by mistake, copied an event with more categories than you need or a category within the event has been cancelled).
Here’s how do it:
Step 1: To delete a category from an event, click on the ‘Events’ tab in the toolbar:
Now, click on ‘Edit’ next to the event that contains the category.
Step 2: Once you are in the edit screen of your event, select the category you wish to delete:
Step 3: Click ‘Delete Category’ as shown below:
Why it’s Better…
Previously, the only way of removing an unwanted category was to set the closing date to a date in the past. This would remove the category from the list of options when somebody was looking register but still show within your admin view (annoying, we know!).
Now you can simply delete the category.
Improved Feature: Terms and Conditions
The system now allows you to select and deselect whether you want to display your Terms and Conditions on your online registration forms for new members. Here’s how you do it:
Step 1: Hover over ‘Admin’ and click on forms.
Step 2: Scroll all the way to the bottom left-hand side of the page.
Much like the rest of the left-hand side of ‘Admin > Forms’, the Terms and Conditions now have a handy tick box to select and deselect whether they’re turned on or off.
Clicking on ‘Set terms and conditions’ will then open a pop-up window where you can insert the text.
The body editor will allow you to paste text, add images and hyperlinks. When you are done press save on the pop-up box. You will need to press save again on the toolbar to complete the process.
Your Terms and Conditions will then be displayed at the bottom of all forms accessed through the registration link that we provide in your settings page.
To view these links, hover over ‘Admin’ and click on Settings:
Why it’s Better…
Before, there was no way to remove the terms and conditions link after you had added content to it.
The ability to edit the text for Terms and Conditions
With the need to be GDPR compliant (more information on this later), we understand the the wording ‘Terms and Conditions’ may no longer be relevant to what you are asking members to read and agree to.
In cases where you may want to display your Code of Conduct, Privacy Statement or Membership Agreement, for example, you will soon be able to edit the statement to reflect agreement to these instead.
Improved Feature: Time Zones
The system’s default time zone is set to British time – either GMT or BST.
For those who live outside of this time zone, we have now added the functionality to make the time zone customisable.
To change the time zone, go to ‘Admin > Settings’.
Next, choose your time zone and click save at the top of the page.
Why it’s Better…
Changing your time zone will mean that emails sent from the system will leave at the time set according to your location.
Please Note: this will not change the times shown against any emails sent before the time zone has been changed.
A further enhancement will show payment requests and payment dates time stamped with the localised time. Keep your eyes peeled…
If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! That was a lot of information to wade through so you can pat yourself on the back for managing it.
Whilst dense, we hope you found all the information interesting and are excited by the new updates and enhancements. We certainly are!
Whilst this Product Update has come to an end – no need to despair – you can read some of our past Product Updates below.
Past Product Updates:
Until next time!