Controlling the Narrative: Effective Email and SMS campaigns


Now more then ever we are fighting over the story that will shape our understanding of the current crisis and what comes next. In Controlling the Narrative we will learn the mechanics of building email templates, composing beautiful and responsive messages, segmenting your lists, sending mass SMS messages, measuring and understanding our click through rates, as well as strategies around messaging and integrating these efforts across your campaign.

Prerequisite: Comfortable creating and using groups.


Training materials, including login information on the training database will be sent to everyone who is registered.

Day 1: Creating and organizing your lists, understanding opt outs

12:00 pm Eastern Time

  • Community agreements and introductions (tech and rev) - A
  • Orientation - N
  • Logging in and getting around - J
    • Hand out usernames and passwords
    • The training site does not send out actual email messages
  • Preparing for Mailings: Groups, Unsubscribe and opting out - J
    • Mailings always start with group you want to send to. If your contacts are not in a group, put them in a group first (smart or static). Demonstrate: All contacts who have attended an event in the last year. Should we make this group a mailing list? Yes (for now...)
    • Question: When sending an email, you can insert either an "opt out" link or an "unsubscribe" link. What's the difference?
    • Demonstrate removing contact from group (show contacts, select one, choose Remove from Group option).
    • Let's reconsider the "Mailing list" option for our group: Organizing groups vs Mailing groups: don't mix them! Create extra groups for mailings.
    • Need to brush up on groups? Here are screen casts on working with regular/static groups and smart groups
    • What about email messages on hold? The "No Email" privacy setting? See managing email lists.
  • Practice Time: think about organizing a workflow where you are planning a specific campaign and begin to create the groups you want to reach out to (choose one scenario): - A
    • scenario one: you plan to do a a major donor campaign and need to communicate to them regularly during the campaign - create an organizing group and a mailing group of donors who gave at least a single contribution of $500. What other groups, tasks, or things could you prepare using Powerbase for the campaign?
    • scenario two: you plan to do a campaign on an issue, e.g. the global climate crisis, and want to announce the campaign and do action alerts - create an organizing group and a mailing group of contacts who've attended at least 1 event. What other groups, tasks, or things could you prepare using Powerbase for the campaign?
    • hint: may want to consider creating campaigns
  • Anatomy of an effective mass email message - Watch screen cast on the anatomy of an effective mass email message - J
  • Working with Mosaico templates - Watch screen cast on creating Mosaico mailing templates - A
  • Introduce next assignment: A
    • Create a Mosaico template for your organization or project in the training database, make sure to include your first name in the name of the template - we will review templates you've created tomorrow

Day 2: Reporting and ensuring your email gets into Inboxes

12:00 pm Eastern Time

  • Review previous assignment, show and tell templates made, answer questions - N
  • Demonstrate steps to create a new mailing with Mosaico and schedule it; also see screen cast here and see the tip sheet here - N
  • Practice Time: create and schedule a Mosaico mailing with a message related to the scenario you chose on Day 1 using the template you created from homework yesterday. Send the email to the group(s) you created for the scenario. - N
  • Reporting and analyzing - A
  • Working with message templates & traditional email - Watch screen cast on traditional email and message templates - J
    • We have two types of templates: Mosaico and "traditional" mailing templates.
    • Traditional mailing templates are used for system email messages. Pro's and con's of editing them
    • Also used for creating Activity Email or PDF merge letter
    • Lastly used for scheduled reminders (more on that next)
    • Note: there is an extension (Mosaico Message Template extension) that allows you to use your Mosaico templates and it converts it to traditional HTML email templates
  • Scheduled Reminders - A:
    • Using Scheduled Reminders to schedule email messages (same information covered in the assigned screen cast) - Watch screen cast on sending email messages using scheduled reminders
    • Create your template using Mosaico templates or Message Templates with the text you want
    • Go to Administer menu > Communications > Schedule Reminders
    • Mention that Events also has built in schedule reminder functionality
  • Fighting the spam vigilantes - J
  • Introduce assignment: scheduled messages - J
    • Create at least one scheduled reminder in the training database; create mosaico template first

Day 3: Putting it all together

12:00 pm Eastern Time

  • Review Scheduled Reminder results from homework, answer questions - N
  • Online email signups and handling email subscriptions - J
  • All about SMS - J
  • Demo: Use schedule emails and groups for Drip Emails or Drip Campaigns - Drip Campaign Concept slides by Yee Won Chong - A
  • Don't forget the "traditional" ways to communicate: N
  • Peer-to-Peer Practice time - Breakout session (Share riseup pad with participants for breakout sessions): A
    • Share: How would you combine all methods for an effective campaign? Describe your most recent communications campaign; write some workflows on the riseup pad
    • Practice: create 1 or 2 communication pieces you could use in your campaign, e.g. print letters with labels, drip email campaign, sms message, create an email signup, create an action alert, etc.
  • Report Backs from groups - A
  • Evaluations - N
  • Wrap-up and Final Questions - N
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