- General Best Practices
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eNotify has always been a signature module of the Finalsite platform that we have improved year after year. Built on the principle that email marketing should be simple and fully customizable to fit your needs, it’s no wonder than eNotify is used by more than 850 schools to send more than 8 million cumulative messages each month.
But everything can, and should, be improved, including eNotify. Our Product Development Team has been busy working on major overhauls of our modules to improve them based on your feedback.
With that in mind, Finalsite is more than proud to announce, with a healthy dose of excitement, the newest Composer module: Messages. It’s like upgrading from the iPhone 8 to the latest iPhone X. The iPhone X does everything the iPhone 8 does and more, just like Messages. And best of all, current eNotify users will automatically be able to use Messages when it’s released later this year.
Our talented team of developers began work on Messages with the knowledge that the new features needed to meet with the changing demands of the school industry. Messages couldn’t just be an email newsletter tool — it had to be something more.
Don't worry — those social sharing buttons, stylish calls-to-action, personalization tokens, dynamic content, and drag-and-drop interface in eNotify aren’t going anywhere. They're being improved and built upon!
You’ll find a whole host of new features within Messages. And if you’re anything like we are here at Finalsite, a new Composer module with an exciting list of new features feels like Christmas morning.
To help get you started, we’ve outlined 10 key improvements and additions we’ve made that we know you’ll quickly wonder how you ever got by without them.
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10 Cool Things You Can Do With Messages That You Couldn’t Do With eNotify
1. Navigate with a new, easy-to-use interface
eNotify’s user interface was already simple to use thanks to a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG email builder, email engagement analytics, and a dynamic list builder to ensure emails are sent to their correct designation.
Messages features a cleaner, more modern look. Email statistics are now easier to read than ever in Messages, and an all-new activity log adds even more detailed info per message. All of this important information is readily available to you whenever and wherever you need it.
2. Admins can now set permission on email templates
One reason more than 8 million messages are sent every month through eNotify is the ability to create reusable email templates for specific needs. However, eNotify users have been unable to control who is and who is not allowed to use which template. While not the end of the world, it can lead to instances in which the “wrong” template is used for the wrong purpose.
Messages solves the problem by allowing module admins to create and set permissions on a per template basis. No longer will module admins have to worry about the possibility of an email sent out to a mailing list with the incorrect format.
3. Inclusion of built-in instructions for test emails
Most schools will want to send out a “test email” before broadcasting out an email to a large mailing list, such as parents or faculty and staff. Test emails are usually sent out to receive either feedback or the all-clear. However, eNotify currently doesn’t include a way for the test email-sender to include instructions, resulting in the need to send a follow-up email specifically with instructions for the test group. Why send two emails when one can do the trick?
Messages includes a new “instructions” field to correct this very issue. Now, emails sent through Messages will include instructions in plain text at the top of the “test” email.
4. A wider selection of email preferences than ever before
Privacy standards, such as the GDPR regulations in European Union, are constantly changing around the world nearly every day with no signs of slowing down in the future.
But have no fear, Messages comes complete with more granular options than ever before to grant your users the ability to manage their email preferences with far more customization than previously available. Users can continue to manage their email addresses and subscriptions, but now users can choose how they prefer to be added to each mailing list in the first place. More email preferences gives you greater control over your email than ever before.
5. Creation of Operational emails for need-to-know information
Most countries require that “marketing” emails contain an unsubscribe link to allow users to remove themself from a mailing list. As such, all eNotify marketing emails have an unsubscribe link so recipients can opt out of receiving any future emails you send. And while eNotify respects those users who globally unsubscribe, there are also critical “operational” emails, such as grade notifications, school closings, and weather emergencies, that every person in your email system needs to receive, particularly those that fulfill a contractual obligation, such as an enrollment contract with parents. That’s the difference between marketing (non-vital emails such as fundraisers, newsletters, etc.) and operational emails.
Messages differentiates between the two by always sending operational emails to every constituent in a select group, regardless of whether that user has unsubscribed in the past. Operational emails do not contain an unsubscribe link.
6. Inclusion of additional internal names, notes and tags
Messages brings the ability to create additional fields such as internal names, notes, and tags to help schools further improve internal organization. Schools often reuse the same subject lines over and over (such as Monthly Newsletters), which can make it hard to find the specific message you’re looking for. Now, with additional search fields, searching for these past messages is easier than ever, saving you time and frustration.
7. New and improved Find Recipient feature with a timeline view
Messages brings with it a new and improved “Find Recipients” feature that includes a clean and simple to read timeline view. While eNotify currently has a similar function, it can be difficult to find exactly who you’re looking for or see a clear timeline that cleanly displays when an email was sent, delivered, opened, if links within the email were clicked, and subscribes and unsubscribes.
In Messages, simply search for the recipient in the search bar by email address and let Find Recipients handle the rest.
8. Personalize subject lines to increase email opens
We’ve added the ability to customize and personalize first and last names in email subject lines, too! This new feature will allow your emails to stand out and feel more authentic to the recipients, which is proven to be more effective. A 2017 marketing study found that personalized subject lines can lead to a 50 percent increase in open rates However, the same study found that only 2 percent of emails use personalization. Now, with Messages, personalization comes naturally and effortlessly. And, as an added bonus, Messages also supports emojis in subject lines for that added bit of flair.
9. Integration of Resources into Messages
We’ve heard the demand, and now we’re proud to announce that the Resources module will seamlessly integrate into Messages. Resources, the newest file management module, replaces the legacy File and Media Managers, and allows schools to access files that have been uploaded for use on the website in emails. Resources will not be available with eNotify.
10. And Coming Soon: Drip Campaigns and Automated Workflows!
Saving the biggest (and arguably most exciting and innovative!) improvement for last, Messages will come with the ability to set up workflows (drip campaigns) so that a set of emails can automatically be sent out to recipients based on enrollment factors. Automated workflow emails will allow schools to create a series of emails to continuously engage and nurture key recipients, such as prospective families. Workflows inclusion in Messages comes with an additional charge.
eNotify was a powerful, yet easy to use, tool that drastically simplified and changed the way schools approached email marketing, giving each school the power to communicate with whomever they needed in the way that works best for both the school and email recipient.
Messages will further empower schools to communicate with their constituents directly in the simplest way possible. Think of Messages as the latest Ferrari 488 Pista to the eNotify Civic. Both get the job done and look great, but sometimes you need that extra bit of style and horsepower. And who hasn’t wanted to drive a Ferrari?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As Finalsite’s Product Marketing Specialist, Andrew writes blogs and creates videos to share information about all the latest and great Finalsite products. Andrew has more than 10 years of video production experience and a journalism education from the University of South Carolina. He is excited about bringing his experience and expertise to Finalsite.
- Email Marketing