Sending Email Newsletters in ocPortal Part 1

Newsletter options in ocPortalWhile e-marketing has taken more of a backseat in recent years to social media, it is still an important part of any digital marketing mix. ocPortal has an inbuilt email newsletter system which will allow you to send out either custom built newsletters or an automatic newsletter based on the content you have added to your website. This article will be split into two posts as there is quite a lot of information, and it makes it easier to digest and find the relevant information. This post deals with manually created emails and the second post deals with emails which have the content automatically generated from content posted on your website already.

Sending out a custom built Newsletter in ocPortal

The first option is to be able to send out a newsletter in the same way you would if you used an external program. Just like using an external system, the more technical knowledge you have regarding HTML and CSS then the nicer your email will look.

Newsletter form in ocPortal

The great thing about this system for websites who only send out intermittent emails such as an update once in a while then this option is extremely useful. It’s also very easy to use and if you have the content already written it’s a quick process.

Firstly log in to your adminzone, navigate to the Tools section and choose the Newsletter option. The next step is choosing “Choose Send out Issue” which will take you to the straightforward form to fill in.

The first option is the subject of the newsletter which will identify the email when you come back to it, and this will also be displayed to the recipient. The next section of the form is the main message box where you will fill in all of your content. If you are building a custom design for this email and haven’t already built a new template through the system you can build an email using HTML. To be able to do this you will need to disable the WYSIWYG editor which is found next to the Message heading above the input box. This option is within the red square on the attached image.

It is worth noting that the standard format for the email will include a site logo at the top of the email above any text or code which you input into this area. If you don’t wish this to appear you will need to build a new mail template or edit the existing one. If you wish to upload a custom logo you need to edit the trimmed_logo file in the Manage theme images section for your theme.

Below the main text box are options to set a delayed time to deliver your email at a set time. This is useful if you write an email in the evening but want it to be delivered during peak traffic hours for example. This will require you to set up Cron for your site or the timer will not work. I have previously written a tutorial for setting up timed content for ocPortal which I recommend reading if you are planning to delay the delivery time of your email.

The next two boxes deal with the display email and name which the recipient will see. It goes without saying the return email address must be correct and a genuine email address. The ‘from’ name is the name you wish the recipient to see in their inbox.

The next option is a tick box to allow you to only send HTML versions and not a plain text version. If your layout is very complex then this is a recommended option as the plain text version may look odd.

The next option is a Priority level which will be displayed to the recipient if their email software supports this.

The next section allows you to choose which usergroups you wish to send the email to. This could be the entire site member list to a limited group or perhaps a staff only email. This section also allows you to upload a CSV file of users to send the email to.

The last option before previewing the email is which template you wish to use. In most cases there will only be one option here, unless you have created more Mail templates. Once you have completed all of the form you can preview how the email will look in both HTML and plain text format. If the email looks ok you can click proceed to dispatch the email to those members you selected.

Part two of this post will discuss sending automated and periodic emails through the ocPortal email system.

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Author Spotlight

Steve Jarvis

Hi I'm Steve, I've been using computers in one form or another since i was 5 with a Dragon 64 and building websites since the late 90's. I'm currently employed as a digital marketing person for Planet X Bikes. When not writing blog posts or working i'm a family man (Wife and Daughter) and a PC Gamer

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