Informz Help Documentation
Informz is Skidmore's chosen partner for creating highly-targeted, personalized email marketing campaigns.
Communications will commit resources to developing Informz email campaigns for any interested campus party. We ask that you review the below guidelines regarding deadline and smooth transfer of information be followed, to ensure efficiency and quality, minimize the potential for mistakes, and provide on-time delivery of your mailing.
We encourage Informz clients to approach the process thoughtfully, to maximize the potential of email marketing and communications.
- What is my target audience?
- Does this audience already receive regular Skidmore emails?
- If so, is my information unique enough to warrant a separate email, or should it be added to the one they regularly receive? How can I schedule mine so that there is no overlap? Or how can I schedule myself to provide information to include in someone else's mailing?
- How effective is my email marketing?
- What worked and what did not?
- What changes should I make for the next mailing, to increase effectiveness?
What every mailing needs
- Text, proofread by a proofreader from Communications
- Images, provided full size as separate attachments
- What name/office it should appear to be from
- What email address it should appear to be from
- What email address gets the replies
- What email lists we are sending it to
- A subject line (~30 characters)
- A second subject line for A/B testing
- Requested delivery date/time
General Informz Process/Timeline
The timetable below is a rough outline. You should also read through the additional materials, and tips and tricks, to understand the best practices that you should be considering with your email campaigns.
Please note: Requests of changes to a previous step, which has already passed, may result in delays in mailing dates (example: template changes after delivery of copy).
Suggested Preparation Steps
|1-2 months in advance of ideal delivery date||1) Determine your target audience(s)
2) Determine if your target audience is already served by a regular newsletter group (consult with Informz developers), to prevent overlap and duplicate mailings
3) Select a delivery date which does not conflict with other mailings already scheduled to your target audience (consult with the Advancement calendar, the Admissions calendar, or Informz developers where appropriate)
4) Communicate the requested delivery date to your department, the Informz developers, and any other applicable contributors.
* Wherever possible Communications will attempt to work with you for your requested delivery date. If you need to change that delivery date, please communicate that change as early as possible, and understand that the scheduling of other mailings or tasks might result in negotiation for a new delivery date.
5) You will serve as the coordinator, to collate contributor feedback at each step and deliver it to the Informz developer for action (although proofs may be sent to any number of people, it is easier if one person coordinates communications back to the developer.) Confirm the coordinator with the contributor group, so that the Informz developer works primarily with one person to eliminate any confusion in the feedback process.
6) If this is a new mailing type, you will need to work with Jenn Crewell or Andy Camp to design the layout for your mailings. It can include links to your Twitter or Facebook profiles, a Share This section, etc.
|1 month prior to requested delivery date||
1) Coordinate your email list
* If your mailing includes parents, alumni, admissions candidates, or other special groups, you may be able to request your mailing list through Advance (contact Jeff Beachy or Maureen Cummings if you are not part of Advancement)
If your list does not come from Advancement, you should generate a mailing list consisting of full email address as an excel file, one column for each heading, one address per line.
* If you are taking advantage of personalization, you can include First Name and Last Name as additional columns.
* There are standard campus lists available in our system already (students, faculty/staff), but any specific-target or outside-Skidmore addresses would have to be provided by you.
* Mailing to any student list is moderated. If your "From" email address has not been pre-approved to mail to the student list, your mail will not be delivered to the student list. Please make arrangements through the Dean of Students if you are not an approved sender for student lists.
|3-4 weeks prior to requested delivery date||1) Generate email copy, and have it proofed and approved internally by your department.
Then have it proofread by a Communications proofreader (Paul Dwyer, Sue Rosenberg.)
This will include selection and tentative placement of photos, photo credits, and
2) Agree upon two subject lines for your email - one primary and one for A/B testing. Keep the subject lines short and simple, under 30 characters, avoiding punctuation (refer to best practices.)
3) Agree on the From and Reply-to information for your email.
|2 weeks prior to requested delivery date||
1) Provide fully proofed copy, full-sized images (with captions and photo credits where necessary), web links, mailing list information, subject lines, list of requested proofreaders for proofs, and any other helpful information to your Informz developer (Andy Camp or Jenn Crewell). These should be sent as attachments to email, not embedded inside of the text of an email.2) Confirm the requested delivery date with your Informz developer.
|5-8 business days before requested delivery date||1) Proofs will be sent by your Informz developer to you and any other recipients
you designate. You will be responsible for collating requesting changes and communicating
them to your Informz developer for the next proof. Proofs can be circulated for as
long as necessary to ensure that the information is correctly presented.
2) Once a version is considered final, the mailing will be scheduled in the system, for delivery on the date requested.
|1 day after the requested delivery date||1) Request the link to the Informz mailing results page from your Informz developer, if it hasn't already been provided. You can use this link to track the statistics for your mailings, save them to an Excel file for later study, and learn more about how effective your mailing was. These statistics are only available in full for 30 days, so be sure to check them within that time frame.|
|2 weeks prior to next requested mailing||1) Review the excel files of statistics from your last mailing, and work with your
Informz developer to remove any recipients with repeated hard bounces, etc. You will
not need to submit an entire new email list for repeated mailings to the same group,
just a list of additions and deletions.
2) Make decisions about improvements, based on the statistics in your Excel report. Consider different subject lines, a different time of day or day of the week for sending out your mailing, changing the "friendly from", etc.
3) Repeat as above.