Sending manual emails and newsletters

You can use Wild Apricot to manually send manual emails or email blasts, to people in your contact database. You can use manual emails to broadcast announcements or send out newsletters.

You can send a manual email immediately or schedule it to be delivered automatically at a particular date and time.

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

For suggestions on dealing with email issues, see Troubleshooting email.

Getting started

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

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

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

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

  1. Click Templates under the Email 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. 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.

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 SAVE & EXIT option in the upper right corner. exit option-jA4.png

You can save your draft at any time by clicking the Save link in the upper left corner. save link-Frw.png

A draft of your email will be automatically saved every 30 seconds.

You cannot exit without saving.

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 or newsletter. You can choose one of our professionally designed templates, duplicate and modify them, or create your own templates from scratch.

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. templates-060.png

On the Basic tab are simple templates in a variety of layouts, with boilerplate text and no graphics. templates-7i4.png

Among the basic templates is 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.

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

Designing the content of your message is like using building blocks: you stack different kinds of layouts on top of each other to form the structure of your message. Then, you add your content by inserting different email gadgets into the various cells within your structure.

For more information on designing your email content, see Using the new email editor.

You can save your draft at any time by clicking the Save link in the upper left corner. You can save and exit by clicking the SAVE & EXIT option in the upper right corner.

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

For guidelines on designing emails that are successfully delivered and not blocked by spam filters, see Best practices for composing emails.

Step 3 - Previewing the email

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

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. preview-58g.png
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, 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 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.

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. recipients-Oqg.png
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. recipients-y48.png

To remove all recipients, click Clear all recipients.

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.

For more information on email macros, click here.

Setting the Reply to address

The Reply to address for manual emails defaults to the address of the current administrator. You can, however, change the Reply to address, as well as the name of the sender, by clicking the Change reply to button. reply to address-lkU.png

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 is sent, click the Enable link and open email tracking checkbox. For more information on email tracking, click here.

Step 5 - Reviewing and sending your email

After you've finalized the list of recipients, you can review and send your email. If you want, you can schedule the message to be automatically sent at a particular date and time.

If there any issues with your email that would prevent it from being sent – e.g. no recipients or subject – the issues will be highlighted in red. errors-xa8.png

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.

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

To schedule your email, click the Schedule for later option. With this option enabled, fields appear where you specify the date and time you want the email to be sent. You have to specify both the date and the time. The time you set here corresponds to your organization’s timezone.

Once you specify the date and time, the Schedule button becomes enabled. email-IDw.png

Clicking the Schedule button will schedule the message for delivery and return you to the Emails list where the scheduled email will appear. For more information, see Scheduling emails.

Continuing composing a draft email

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

  1. Select the Emails option the Email 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, follow these steps:

  1. Select the 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

If you've enabled emailing tracking, you can track your email and see delivery information and a summary of opens and clicks.

After you send your email, a summary appears listing:

  • number of recipients
  • number and percentage of failed messages
  • number and percentage of messages delivered summary-2qc.png

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 tracking-P6U.png

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

Sending follow-up emails based on email tracking

If you want to send a followup email to recipients who didn't open your message or didn't click any of its links, follow these steps:

  1. Make sure that email tracking is turned on for your email.
  2. After sending your email, go the email log, open your message and click the Delivered tab.
  3. From the Delivered tab, click the Filter drop down and select either Not opened or Open but not clicked, depending on who you want to send the followup to.
  4. Click the Send again to selected button.
  5. Modify your email as you wish then send the message.
Our method of tracking opens is not 100% accurate. Email programs that block messages from displaying images may prevent our servers from determining whether the message has been opened or not.

Assembling mailing lists

Instead of selecting your recipients each time you send a manual email, 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:

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.
  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 into 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 emailing check box.
  5. Click the Search button.
  6. Click the Email members or Email contacts button.

Attaching files to an email

You cannot attach files (like PDF files) to an email, but you can include a link to a file stored on your Wild Apricot account. The link can appear as text or a graphic. For more information, see Inserting documents and files.

Linking to the web version of an email

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

  1. Create your email and send it only to yourself. 
  2. Save the email as an email template by opening the message within the email log and clicking the Save as template button.
  3. Within the Website module, select the Files option. 
  4. From the File management screen, expand the EmailTemplates folder and select the subfolder with the name of the email template you just created. 
  5. Within the email template folder, right click over the index_preview.html file and select the Properties option.
  6. Copy the portion of the file location beginning with /resources and ending with index_preview.html.
  7. Return to the email log and open the email you sent to yourself.
  8. Click the Save as new email button. 
  9. Within your email message, enter some link text. You could, for example, have the link text read "Having trouble viewing this message?". 
  10. Select your link text then click the Link icon and select the Insert link option.
  11. In the Website URL or email field, paste the file location you copied earlier then click Insert link.
  12. Select the recipients for your message, then review and send it.

You can also create an email archive page, then create a new email template for each email, and link to each of them from the archive page. 

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 normally displayed when messages are viewed on Yahoo and Outlook 2007/2010/2013 (though Outlook provides an option to view the message in a web browser). Recipients can enable the display of background images in Outlook by unchecking the Don’t download pictures automatically in HTML email messages or RSS items option within their Trust Center Settings.


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