Messaging Module

Fresh Vine offers a robust Email Campaign tool. This means we have provided you with simple tools to send beautiful emails to groups of people. This is not a replacement for your personal email account, or to send an email to a single person.
Whether it's a group email, a community-wide email, or a message going out to a specific, filtered group of individuals, we've got you covered. There are a lot of exciting features in the email campaign system, so if we're missing anything, let us know!

Sending an Email

Sending a message in Fresh Vine is really pretty simple. We've put in place several safeguards, to ensure steps aren't overlooked. These steps are crucial in ensuring your messages get sent, reaches people's inboxes, and doesn't get caught by spam or become blacklisted.
To get started, navigate to the People section to send a message to the whole community, or a Group to send a message to a particular group, and click Send Message.

Details

Setting your email details is a crucial first step to sending a successful email. Write your message subject, and decide whether or not to include the Message Prefix (set in the Admin section).
Selecting whether the message is public or private is up to you. Making the message Public will allow the recipients to share the message online. Making it Private will discourage the recipients from sharing it, as there will be no public link available.

By setting a "From" Email Address, you can control who the email appears to be coming from. You need to have the correct access and make sure the addresses are verified before being able to select one.
By setting a "Reply-to" Email Address, you can direct your email replies to a particular email account - yours, a group email address, or your organization's.

Select your Content Layout and Template (if you have templates created) before updating and moving on to the next step. The Content Layout cannot be changed once you move on.

Writing

Before you're able to send your email, you need to have a good "Delivery Score." This is important so that you don't get caught in spam or worse, blacklisted. One great way to boost the score is to write something different from the Subject in the Message Preview box. The content you write here will show up at the top of your sent email. For many individuals, when they receive an email, they will see the first bit of the email before they open it - in this case it will be your Message Preview. The Message Preview is also the pre-defined copy for social media sharing, so when someone shares your email via social media (like Twitter or Facebook), the box pops up for them to write in (the text that goes in the social media post). This box that pops up will be pre-defined (bug changeable by them) with this Message Preview that you write. One more note on social media sharing: Fresh Vine will use the screen shot it creates of your email for sharing purposes.

Delivery Score

The Delivery Score will change as you update the text in the Message Subject and/or Message Preview. It will give you suggestions of how to better improve your send-score.
A few general tips: limit your use of spammy "buzz-words" (FREE!, Money Making, Give it away, Cures Baldness...) - phrases like these all get caught by spam filters, limiting the likelihood of your message being sent successfully. Limit your use of punctuation!!!! Don't write in ALL-CAPS. All of these tips will help you to be a better email-writer, and help your message to get where it's going.

Email Body

Now moving on to the body of the email. Depending on which layout you've selected, you have different boxes to add content to - whether that is text or images. We've provided a great Email Editor, so you can format your text to look the way you want it.

Images

Resize your images. A general rule of thumb: you want your images to be 2x px wide as the width of the email. For example: if you want your image 250 px wide, make it 500 px wide. The reason for this, is that on high density displays (smart phones, tablets, modern computers), the images will appear crisper.

Simplify your text

Break your text into bigger chunks, with fewer words. You're better off having an email with three main topics, each with only 50-75 words. It's easier to skim over three large headings and read what's important (to the recipient), than to read through all of the text in search of what they may be looking for.

Send to groups wisely

Any content relevant to less than 75% of your audience: it's better to send it in a separate email and filter your recipient list to the people it will be most relevant to.

Focus

This filter page is where you can narrow down, or focus your list of recipients. You are able to see the numbers update in real-time at the top of the page, as you're filtering your list.

Focused List

On the Focused List page, you're able to see everyone who will receive the email you're about to send. If you need to exclude certain individuals, you're able to do that on this page. Also, if you have an updated email address for someone, and want to make sure they get this email, right-click to open the Edit-Profile page for the individual in a new tab.

Review

On this review page, you have the ability to send the message right now, or schedule it for some time in the future. This page shows you all your settings, number of recipients, subject, preview and body of your email. If you need to make any changes, you can go back to the appropriate page to make your updates.

You can also send this as a preview email to yourself or a select number of individuals from the bottom of this page, and duplicate your message. See more on this below.

Sending and Scheduling

The Sending page lets you know that the email has been added to the queue. If there are no other messages in line before yours, your message will send immediately.

Every message that is sent out by Fresh Vine must first pass through our queue. This process allows us to verify that each of your messages is sent to each of your recipients. The larger your recipient base the longer it will take to finish sending.

Most of the time your message will begin to send immediately after you click on the send button. If not you'll be able to see what place your message rests within the queue. As the messages above yours finish sending, your message will then be sent.

Technical Information:
Fresh Vine utilizes a third party email sending service that ensures every message is correctly signed, verified, and sent. After the message is sent our system stores a verification key that we can use to track back any abuse/spam notifications. This same verification key allows us to know that an email was successfully sent (though does not guarantee delivery). These keys are only available to select members of our staff.

Email Settings

Subject

The subject is what will be used for the subject line of your message. This is the very first thing your recipients will read of your message.

Message Preview

After the subject, this is the text your recipients will read next. This should be explicit about the purpose and content of your email. It appears in the very top of your message at the very top of your template. When received on a mobile phone, or in most modern email clients this preview text appears immediately below the subject.

In addition this preview text is also used as the default social sharing message with publicly visible messages. When you click to share on Facebook, or to tweet the public link to this message the preview text is what is automatically filled in for the user.

Default Message Prefix

It can be helpful to have a prefix applied to all your email subjects unless explicitly disabled. When defined (on the email settings page) it will be prepended to the subject line for any message that does not disable this option. This will transform this subject Potluck Fundraiser Friday at 7pm into MN-Vipers: Potluck Fundraiser Friday at 7pm where MN-Vipers is the Message Prefix defined on the email settings page.

Tip: The shorter the better, if it is too long it will push your subject out of view on many mobile devices lowering your open rate.

Visibility

Each message can be visible or not. It is not possible to send a public message from a private group. Therefore all messages from private groups are automatically marked as private. If it is visible your message will:

  • Appear on the public email list at https://yoursite.freshvine.co/email/
  • Have a functional public link to read the message online
  • Include Social Sharing buttons when viewed online
  • Be accessible by people inside and outside of your community online

Private messages will appear in a personalized message history for the individuals who were included in the recipient list. This is the only setting which can be altered after the message as been sent.

From Email Address

The name on this email is what will appear in the recipients inbox. The address that you select must have previously been verified. If there are no verifiable options then your message cannot be sent.

Reply-To Email Address

If and when a recipient chooses to reply to a message you send this address specifies to whom that message will be delivered. This can be helpful if you send an email from your organization asking for volunteers, then all the replies can go to the individual who manages those volunteers. This address must also have previously been verified. If there are no verifiable options your message cannot be sent.

Content Layout

The content layout allows defines the number of rows and types of columns for your email. Each column has an image space at the top, and a text space underneath. You do not need to fill both. Once a content layout is selected you cannot change it.

Email Template

This is the graphical wrapper around your content. Fresh Vine comes preloaded with a couple options that you can use, customize, or duplicate. You can also make your own. The template you select will

Filter

The filter allows you to target the audience for your message. The filter assumes a group if you are sending a group message. There may be messages that are tailored for a specific audience and the filter allows you to target them easily. The second step of the filter is focused list. This is a list of everyone who met the criteria of your filter. It will show those who will not receive your message (no emails, bad emails, unsubscribed), and it allows you to exclude recipients individually.

Removing a Message

You can only remove a message before it has been sent. Next to each of the Update buttons is one that is marked as Remove. Pressing the Remove button will delete your draft. Drafts are also automatically removed if they have not be modified in 90 days. This is done to remove clutter from your email dashboard and to dispose of messages that were abandoned. Once a message was sent it is not possible for it to be removed. This ensures that there is an accurate history of messages a person has received from your organization.

Sending Preview Emails

You can send a preview message to yourself and other select individuals from the Review page. This is a great way to confirm you like the way your email looks once it's sent. If you only send a preview message, you're then able to go back in and edit anything you need to before sending the message to the whole group of people.

Duplicating a Message

A few notes on duplicating a message:

Where can I duplicate the message?

Duplicating a message can be done both from steps in the sending process (on the Review page), as well as after the message is sent.

What gets duplicated?

The message itself gets duplicated. The Message Subject, Message Preview, the Content/body and images in the body.

What happens when I click the button?

Clicking the duplicate button immediately takes you to the new duplicated message. So if you haven't sent your initial message yet, realize you'll be looking at the new duplicated message, not your initial message.

Why duplicate?

There are a few reasons you may want to duplicate your message. Here are two scenarios to help you better understand why you would duplicate a message.

  1. You send basically the same email every week, just changing a few details in it. You can duplicate your message to make future messages simpler for you. So when you go to send next week's email, the duplicated email will be waiting for you as a draft.
  2. You're sending your email to a group in Fresh Vine. Your group and another group are teaming up and are attending an event together. You've just written an email to your group, informing them of the upcoming event. Rather than creating a second email for the other group, you can duplicate the message, specify it for that specific group, and send it to that group.

Tracking Readership

We want you to get the most out of the Email Campaign tool, and part of that means making sure your messages reach the recipients. We've done a lot on the back-end to make sure that happens, and have given you great tools to do everything in your power to ensure it as well.

You can track the emails you've sent, compare your open rates with those from previous messages (both group and all-community) and compare how your community does vs. the industry standard. You can view your subscriptions, and see why certain individuals may not be receiving your messages. All of this can be found on the Email Dashboard, with links to previously sent emails.

Troubleshooting & Tips

A great deal of time and energy has gone into making the Email Campaign system work great. We've taken care of the technical part (templates, bounce-backs, unsubscribes, sender verification, etc.), but the content is up to you. Message Content (including Subject lines and Message Previews) is one of the biggest factors in whether or not your messages are reaching inboxes and are being opened. There are a few things you need to do to ensure those awesome messages you're writing are being delivered. If you're getting members telling you they aren't receiving your messages, here are a few tips.

  • Look at your previously sent messages. Are your Subject lines & Message Preview the same? Make them different going forward!
  • Are your Subject lines fairly generic? Or are they specific? Make them specific! For example, don't say "Meeting Reminder" - instead, tell them what the reminder is for - "Reminder of our upcoming annual budget meeting next Tuesday"
  • Make the Message Previews even more specific. For example, (using the above-mentioned budget meeting): "Tuesday November 3rd, 7pm is our annual budget meeting. Childcare provided." Making it specific doesn't ruin the "surprise" of the message body. It does two main things: 1) It helps your messages to keep from getting caught by email providers as spam or simply deleted before they were ever received, and 2) It helps your people understand what's in the message body, so they're more likely to open your message.
  • Deliverability is based on the content of messages, Subject lines and the Message Preview. Email providers have software in place to catch "spammy" messages (or messages it thinks may be spam) - and either put them in a person's spam folder - or even worse, it may simply throw those messages out completely before they get to your members' inboxes. To keep that from happening, make your content very "human" - meaning they're longer than one or two words, and they're descriptive and unique.
  • Make sure your Message Preview is different than the Subject. This will help with deliverability as well.

Managing/Creating Email Templates

Creating a template can really be as easy or as complicated as you'd like. We've tried to keep things clear, but we'll explain things below.

Automated Messages

These messages are automatically sent to a person on the corresponding days (Birthday and Anniversary), or when you first enter their email address into Fresh Vine, as long as the message is turned on and set to send. The content can be edited from this page, and you can also set whether or not to have those messages send.
The list of an individual's received emails (including these automated messages) is found on their profile page.

Pre-formatted Content

Pre-formatted Content is different than a Template. An Email Template sets how the email will look - colors, fonts, backgrounds, etc. Pre-formatted Content is content that you'd like to have in many (or each) of your messages. It is generally (but not always) content that doesn't change, or may change just slightly depending on the particular message being sent.

An example of this: You may have a monthly email that goes out, with a budget update. The budget update gets put in every one of these emails. It explains where funds go to, and how far along the community is, with raising, or keeping up with the appropriate funds. Rather than writing the same thing out for each message, you can write it once in the form of Pre-formatted Content. Now when you go to send the message, all you need to do is open the text editor when writing your email, click the Dynamic Content button and select which content to add to your message. Preformatted Content button You can then make the appropriate changes to the Pre-formatted Content. In this case, you would most likely be updating the budget numbers.

Email Address Verification

Any email address (Organization, Group, and Leader site Users) that will be sending messages on your behalf must first be verified. Verification is simple. An email is sent to your email address with a link you must click. By clicking the link you verify that you are in control of that email address. Internally we log the time and IP address that verifies each email address.

If your account has unverified email addresses you will be able to resend the validation email from the home dashboard in your leaders site.

You may not need to verify the email address for your user account if you finalize the account by clicking the link in the email sent to you. By opening the page to set your password you have also verified your control of that email address.