Have you signed up yet? Get yourself off to a flying start with MarketingPlatform by using either our Getting Started wizard, or using the step by step guide below. Alternatively, our support team would be delighted to help you with all your onboarding tasks. Just open the chat link below, or give us a call on +1 205-719-4444.
Your Dashboard: An Overview
When you login to MarketingPlatform you will arrive at your dashboard. This is your overview of your MarketingPlatform services, your “mission control”. From here you can see your most recent campaigns at a glance, see how people are interacting with your campaigns, understand how your Contact List is developing, and even quickly create new email or SMS campaigns.
Your Dashboard: Navigation
On the left hand side of your screen you will see the full MarketingPlatform menu. This is always available wherever you are in MarketingPlatform, ensuring you have quick and easy access to all functionality within the solution.
This menu can be expanded or collapsed by clicking on the top icon. We advise having the menu collapsed when you are creating campaigns as this will optimise the view of the editor, but the necessity of doing this does depend on your screen size and resolution. In the end, it all comes down simply to a matter of preference.
Under this menu you can access the following functions:
- Contacts Lists
- Contact Fields
- Email Campaigns
- SMS Campaigns
- Automated Flows
- Website Forms
We will come onto selected aspects of the above in more detail later in this guide.
Your Dashboard: Quick Links
Remaining with the Dashboard, at the top of the page you will also see below the header bar the following links:
View Email Stats – takes you to the Statistics section, where you able to get an overview of how your campaigns have performed, or drill down more deeply into the information for the full details on a campaign by campaign basis.
Create SMS Campaign – takes you directly to the SMS Campaign builder allowing you instantly to create, and schedule or immediately send an SMS Campaign. SMS credits are required as part of your subscription to make use of this functionality. Contact your local MarketingPlatform support team for further details or to purchase credits.
Create Email Campaign – opens the MarketingPlatform Email Campaign Builder. Here you are able to create a completely new campaign, adapt one you have created earlier, or simply view, resend or edit an existing campaign.
If you are a User Admin for your company or organisation, you will also be able to access the associated Admin functionality for your accounts under this dropdown.
There is also a system-wide search functionality available here.
Now you have made yourself a little bit at home, and familiarized yourself with the lay of the land,you will need to go through the basic steps needed in order to get you set up in MarketingPlatform.
We will look at how to create a Contact List, how to Import Contacts to that list, including how to map your contacts correctly, and finally take a look at how to Create an Email Campaign using our builder.
But first, let’s look at how you create a Contact List.
Creating a Contact List: Add Contact Lists
Your Contact List(s) is the basis for all your future campaigns. So before you do anything else, the first thing you need to do is to create a Contact List.
To do this, first click on Contact Lists in the left hand menu to expand the section submenu, and then click on Add Contact Lists.
This the opens the details required for you to create a new Contact List.
Creating a Contact List: List Basics
You will then need need to do the following under the Contact Fields section:
List Name – your new list needs a name. When devising one always give a list a name that will make it easy to find when you need.
Be careful not to choose a name that will make sense to you but not to others who may need to work with the system.
List Descriptive Name – add a little more information here to briefly describe what this list is for. This will help you be sure that you (and others) easily understand the purpose of this particular list.
This name is for your reference purposes only and will not be seen by email recipients.
Send From Name – this is the default “From” name and is what will be seen by your subscribers when you send a campaign email to them.
Send From Email – this is the default “From” email address used when you send a campaign to this contact list. Make sure your recipients can clearly see that the email is from you.
It is also the address to which notifications will be sent whenever someone subscribes or unsubscribes from this Contact List (if you check Notify the List Owner just below this section). You must choose a valid email address as your sender and send out from your own domain.
Default Reply-to Email – this is the email address that your recipients can use if they want to reply to your email.
We strongly recommend that you do not use firstname.lastname@example.org. Not only does this increase the chance of your email being viewed as spam, it also sends the wrong message to your customers.
Think about it a moment – you want to encourage a genuine dialogue with your recipients, and you are communicating with them. Do you really want to discourage them from doing the same with you?
Default form language – this sets the default language for any forms you create for this contact list.
Use the dropdown to select the correct language for your purposes.
SMS Country Prefix – finally for this section, you need to select the correct country code for the list recipients. This will ensure that any SMS Campaigns you create will be sent automatically with the correct country code.
Use the dropdown to make the correct selection.
Creating a contact list: Company Details
We then move onto the right hand side of the page, and first the Company Details section.
In order to comply with the CAN-SPAM and CASL acts, it is vital that you enter valid company details in this section, including your Company Name, Company Address, Company Email, your Company Phone Number and Company Domain. Doing this ensures that where these Contact Fields appear in your campaigns (for instance in your unsubscribe link, campaign headers or footers etc) consistent and correct information will always appear. Please note that your Company Domain must always include “www”.
Creating a contact list: Social Linking
Should you then wish to, you can now Connect this Contact List with Social Sites.
Click on the relevant social media icon to open a dialogue box to connect the list to your chosen social media accounts. This will mean that whenever a campaign is sent out to this Contact List, a relevant post will be made on your social media account(s) sharing the campaign. This is an excellent way to not only extend the reach of your campaigns, but to secure even more high-quality sign-ups to your Contact List. This step is not obligatory, but we can thoroughly recommend it as being a highly effective way of engaging with your audience.
Creating a contact list: Contact Fields
The next step is to chose the Contact Fields you wish to be used with this Contact List.
If it is not already selected, click on the All Contact Fields radial button. This will display the Available Contact Fields from which you can select. Just drag and drop the fields you wish included in this Contact List from the left column into the All Selected Contact Fields section on the right. You do not need to use them all, but the more fields you make available, the more information you can potentially gather from your subscribers.
Should you wish to, you are also able to create your own Custom Contact Fields for your Contact List. To create Custom Contact Fields, go to Contact Fields – Add Fields using the left hand menu.
After you have filled out the relevant details, scroll to the top and click “Save”. You have now created your Contact List! But since a list without contacts is not very useful, let’s see how you import your contacts.
Import Contacts to your List: Getting started
There are two ways of filling your lists with useful contacts. You can either do it manually with Add a Contact, or by using Import Contacts. The odds are you will need to use the latter to get any existing mailing lists you have into the MarketingPlatform system, so we will go through that one here.
First access the Contact List to which you wish to import your contacts by clicking Contacts in the left hand menu and then selecting Import Contacts.
Next, under Select Contact List(s) you will need to choose to which list you want to add contacts. If this is your first list, and you have only the one list to chose from (the one you created above in Create a Contact List), you will see this displayed here. Click on the radial button to select your list.
In the right hand section Import and Mapping Contact Fields you now have the ability to either drag and drop, or click to upload, the file containing your Contact List.
This file must either be a CSV, TEXT or Excel. If you use a CSV or TEXT you have to make sure that the “Field separator” is a comma (,) and that your file does not contain any commas in the cells. You also need to know if your file contains “headers” such as name, gender, email etc.
It is also very important that you use UTF-8. UTF-8 is not a real format but a way characters are encoded, i.e. a letter will have a code instead of a character. This makes it better for special characters across different languages. Depending on which type of OS you are running we recommend you use a CSV/UTF-8 convertor to be sure that the encoding is valid.
Import Contacts to your List: Advance Import Settings
Once you have imported your file you will notice the screen change to display Advanced Import Settings. Here you see your list presented underneath relevant Contact Field headings (those you selected under the Contact Fields step of creating your Contact List).
There are serious consequences if you mark your unconfirmed contacts as confirmed and then send out emails to them. As a minimum it will give you as the sender an extremely bad reputation, but it could also lead to fines and a high spam rating. To counter this, we rigorously monitor the spam score of the content sent out from our servers, and if we suspect that you are doing this we will contact you and your account may be suspended. For the sake of all our clients, yourself included, it is paramount not to have “bad senders” on our servers.
You also have the option here to Overwrite Existing Details, or Update Existing details, however, do not select these options if you are unsure or creating a new list.
You can also choose to add the contacts to your Autoresponders.
Once you have made these choices, you must check that the mapping of the headers to your Contact Fields in MarketingPlatform is correct. Use the dropdowns to define which Contact Fields in MarketingPlatform should correspond with which fields in your import – Email Address, First Name etc. If you have added your own Custom Contact Fields they will also appear here.
Once you are confident all is in order, click Save and the import will begin. The time it takes for the import will vary, but you will receive email confirmation from MarketingPlatform as soon as the import is completed.
You know have a healthy, well populated Contact List, and you are now ready to create your first campaign.