Choose Create Email from the People tab of the Start Organizing menu to start creating and writing your email.
First, if you do not have a default group set, you will be asked to choose which group (or personal list) you want to create this email for.
Next you will reach the create page, where you write your email.
You can choose what editor to use, our visual editor or our drag and drop editor, with the mode toggle at the top of the page. Changing the email's editor mode will erase the contents of your email and flip the email to the other mode, starting from scratch there. You can read more about the two modes below. (You can set a default editor mode for your account by editing your account in the upper right menu.)
If you're editing an email draft, you'll be able to see if another member of your team is viewing the page. You can refresh the page to see if they're still on.
Either way, to get started writing your email, fill in the email's subject. You can enter more than one subject if you'd like to set up an automatic subject line test. If you enter more than one subject, we will randomly distribute each subject you enter among your email's targeted universe, and allow you to track the statistics of each subject individually to see which one performs best.
To set up a subject test, use the alternate subject field for a second subject, and click the green plus icon to add as many additional alternate subjects as you want. If you want to remove a subject line, delete the content and leave the alternate subject field blank.
Note: Don't make your subject too long, both because long subjects tend to perform worse, and also because subjects over the byte limit will be truncated and will break open and click statistic reporting. Less than 200 characters should be your goal.
Next, enter who the email is from. If you are not a partner, we append "via ActionNetwork.org" to your from line, so "Jane Smith" becomes "Jane Smith via ActionNetwork.org." If you are a partner, you can set your own append using an email wrapper.
You can enter more than one from line if you'd like to set up an automatic from line test. If you enter more than one from line, we will randomly distribute each from line you enter among your email's targeted universe, and allow you to track the statistics of each from line individually to see which one performs best.
To set up a from line test, use the alternate from field for a second from line, and click the green plus icon to add as many additional alternate from lines as you want. If you want to remove a from line, delete the content and leave the alternate from field blank.
Note: Testing from lines and subjects together is possible, but realize it will create a version for every combination, so two subjects and two from lines creates four email versions, and three of each creates nine.
Then, set where replies should go if activists hit the reply button to your email. An email address is required for the reply-to field. We recommend you set up a new email address to receive replies, and that you check it regularly so you can respond to your activists.
If your group has a default reply-to email set up in the Settings tab of the Group Manage page, you'll see it listed here. You can click Edit to change this email address for your email.
Note: You should use an email address from a domain you control for the reply-to field, not @gmail.com or @yahoo.com or something similar, but rather @your-organization.org. If you use one of these common domains for your reply-to email address, we will replace it with email@example.com in the from line of your email to ensure your emails are delivered to your activists. The reply-to email will still be the email you enter, so when activists hit reply the replies will still go to you.
Next, you can optionally add preview text, the text that some email readers like Gmail show before an activist opens the email. This text will not display in your email when it is opened.
The visual editor works like Microsoft Word, allowing you to quickly make simple emails and even write the HTML code yourself if you'd like.
If you are using our visual editor, you can choose an email wrapper for this email from the wrappers available to the list this email is targeted to.
Write your email in the larger tex box below. You can use the visual toolbar to customize the appearance of your email. The following options are available:
- Write your email in HTML. CSS style tags will be automatically inlined. See here for more details.
- Format headings left, right, center or justified
- Add text formatting: bold, italicize, or strikethrough
- Create bulleted or numbered lists
- Insert images from links or your computer and add a title/alt text, add image attribution, link the image, change the position or change the width. We recommend using images no wider than 600px, so it looks good across a variety of different devices. There will be an alert if your image is larger than 1mb
- Insert and manage a table
- Add a horizontal line rule
- Add links or hyperlinks
- Insert clips, which allow you to insert personalized and/or conditional content, like someone’s first name or highest previous contribution. More here.
- Insert emojis
- Insert pre-created HTML snippets
The email wrapper we offer is very basic, to make your writing stand out.
You can test multiple email bodies, which lets you test your creative like email text, buttons, images, and more. Below where you write your original email body, click the green plus button to ‘add alternate body’. This will copy your original body over to the alternate, where you can fully edit the body. Give your alternate body a name, which will appear on the ‘test results’ tab of your email manage page. If you want to remove an alternate body, delete the content and leave the alternate body blank.
Drag and Drop Editor
The drag and drop email editor allows you to create complex, mobile-ready emails like newsletters or two column layouts without any coding. In fact, custom code is not allowed, you have to use the drag and drop interface to do your work.
You can apply a layout to the drag and drop editor with the apply layout dropdown and button. Note that applying a layout will erase the contents of your email and replace it with that layout. Layouts are like templates, allowing you to set up a basic structure of your email to use over and over when you write a new one, such as a newsletter template where you fill in the blanks to add content each month. Action Network has layout templates for action, fundraising, and newsletter emails. You can read more about layouts here.
Use the drag and drop editor by dragging content blocks from the right sidebar into the editor window on the right. Click on blocks already added to customize content, change ordering, delete blocks, or duplicate them. After clicking on a block you can edit its parameters in the right sidebar. Block include columns (one column, two columns, three columns, etc...), images, buttons, text blocks, and more. Click the body tab in the right sidebar to access body parameters like background color or fonts.
You can save custom blocks that you’ve created so that you can re-use them easily (similar to snippets in the visual editor). After you’ve created a block you want to save, click the row and click the bookmark/save icon appear next to the trash and duplicate icons. If you don’t see the icon, try clicking further to the left to select the row. When you save, you’ll give your block a category name and tags, which are used to search for your blocks. The blocks you’ve saved are accessible on the blocks section, where you can drag them over to your email. To access the page where all your blocks are accessible, save and refresh the page. Blocks are shared with the group as well, so all admins can access the blocks you create.
You can test multiple email bodies, which lets you test your creative like email text, buttons, images, and more. Below where you write your original email body, click the green plus button to ‘add alternate body’. This will copy your original body over to the alternate, where you can fully edit the body. Give your alternate body a name, which will appear on the ‘test results’ tab of your email manage page. Use the ‘next body’ and ‘previous body’ buttons below your email content to navigate between your email bodies.
If you want to delete an alternate body, click the ‘delete body’ button in the bottom left.
If you want all URLs in your email to use the same source code, clips, or liquid you can add a link parameter below the Email Wrapper or Layout drop down menus. If you add a link parameter, here it will apply it to all the links in your email, including footer links. Do not enter the ? you normally would in this box, we'll add this for you. If you're adding multiple URL parameters, you should separate them with &. For more on how to set up URL parameters, click here.
No matter which editor you use, we add a small footer explaining why the activist is receiving this email and adding an unsubscribe link where they can unsubscribe from your list if they choose. All of this is done in the activist's preferred language.
Saving and Previewing
You can save and preview your email, which allows you to see what your email would look like without sending tests (though we still recommend sending yourself many tests!). This is useful for testing your personalized clips, without saving and sending the test as another activist. Click the red ‘Save and Preview’ button in the lower right. A pop-up, similar to the one on the preview page of your email, will appear. Type in the email address of the person you want to preview the email as, and click ‘go’. The preview will automatically refresh to show what the email will look like as that activist.
Saving and Testing
When you're done writing, click ‘save and refresh’ in the bottom right to save your email as a draft. You should also test your email — enter an email address (or multiple, separated by commas) and click "Save & Send Test Email" in the bottom toolbar to send a test to the addresses you enter. We will send you a test for each subject and from line combination you have written, so you can test them all.
You can even send a test to yourself but as another activist. This is useful for testing clips -- the email will be delivered to you but use their data, so you'd see their first name outputted, for example. To use this feature, click the "Send As Another Activist" button and enter the email of the activist you want to send as. That activist will need to be subscribed to your list to work correctly. Click save, then send your test, and we'll deliver the test to you (or whomever you enter in the test email box) using their data in the clips.
When you're ready, click "Save and Target Your Email" to move on to the next step.