Email delivieries


Select create > email campaign to make a delivery in just a few minutes.


IMPORTANT: during the creation process do NOT open other windows with the browser and, especially if you have a “multi-company” account, do not switch between companies.


First of all, choose the group you intend to use for the campaign from the list. Remember that a “group” is a kind of container that can be used for countless campaigns.


The main screen (fig. 1) is used to choose whether to create a campaign from scratch, use a saved draft or reuse a previous campaign that was interrupted for some reason.




Figure 1: Main page of the Create section



Select “Create a new campaign” for a step-by-step guide to the creation of a new campaign.

Click on “Next” to continue.


IMPORTANT: Do not carry on actions on the Create section at the same time from different windows/tabs. That could lead to sessions overwritings and problems on the generated email messages.



New campaign




Figure 2



Delivery parameters


The next step requires you to configure the delivery parameters (fig. 2).

First of all, you can set a title to better recognize the delivery in Control area

Next, you can choose whether to deliver the campaign to all the users of the database associated with the group or to just the users belonging to a certain filter.

Here, in fact, the group of users to whom the email will be sent is chosen. Regardless of any selections, tests on different user groups may be performed at a later stage.


You are then asked to define the message format


You may choose HTML only, Plain text only or Multipart (HTML with alternative text). The Multipart format allows you to display a plain text message if a user’s email address is not enabled to receive emails in html format.




Dynamic text


You may decide whether to enable the use of dynamic text or not. Dynamic text is the equivalent of the Microsoft Word Mail Merge.


It is a code inserted in the message which simply retrieves the contents of a certain field inside the database.


For example, the dynamic text ${CONTACT}$ retrieves the contents of the “CONTACT” field in the database.

Let us suppose that the database includes a user called “John Smith” whose “CONTACT” field contains the phrase “Good morning John,”.

If you enter ${CONTACT}$ in a certain point of the html code, when the email is sent the contents of the field will be displayed instead of the variable.

E.g.: when John Smith receives the email, he will read the phrase “Good Morning John,” in that point.

This allows to you personalize a certain part of the email – in this case the initial greeting – for each single user.


Other parts of the message, such as the subject, the sender’s name or email address (Mail from), may also be personalized.


The dynamic text may also be used to enter various kinds of scripts in the message, such as mathematical, date, “IF-THEN” or other functions.


For further information, in “How to…”.



Include attachments


Attachments can be included in the e-mail.

When the use of attachments is enabled, the system opens a drop-down menu allowing you to choose how many files to attach to the message. The files, instead, are loaded at a later stage (fig. 3).





We do not recommend using attachments, however, as this adds weight to the email and increases the probability of it being considered as spam upon receipt

It is best to load the required document online and include a link in the text of the email.



Track opens / Track clicks


Statistics on email opens and link clicks, tracking how make times the group is opened and by who, and how many and which links are clicked on, can be enabled. Tools such as ClickTracks and TradeDoubler can be interfaced with ContactLab for post-tracking and campaign-management analysis.


Click on “Next” to continue to the next stage (fig.4).



Message contents: entering the campaign Subject and Text



Figure 3: Entering the email content



At this point (fig. 4), the contents of the email can be entered: the subject of the message, the html code and/or alternative text, which can be loaded from a file residing on your computer, entered by hand or imported from a webpage or a “template” (see 2.2).


The text can then be modified, using a special graphic editor if required, without the need to manually alter the html code (fig.5).





Figure 5: The HTML editor incorporated into ContactLab



As well as the html graphic editor, ContactLab also provides another editor, called Pagebuilder.





Pagebuilder is an editor present in Create > New campaign > Message content. This tool is used to modify the contents of templates (especially prepared for Pagebuilder) without the risk of damaging the html code and, therefore, without the risk of view errors by users.




Pagebuilder can only be accessed by customers who have activated it by contract. To see whether it is available, simply check that the “Pagebuilder” link is present under the html code entry area (see fig.6)









To rapidly learn how to use this powerful tool, consult chapter “Create –> Editors” which is entirely dedicated to Pagebuilder.


After entering the contents, click on Next.






Click on Next to view any notices reporting problems in the html content of the message.
In particular, notices may concern:


Rows longer than 400 characters. This means that the rows of the html code are too long. When a row is longer than 400 characters, some mail programs (e.g.: some versions of Eudora) truncate visualization there, cutting off the rest of the message.
The solution is to attempt to automatically correct the problem as suggested by the system. If this is not possible, copy the code to an external html editor and manually split the overlong rows (without damaging the structure).
Non-standard characters. Make sure the following are not present in the html:

– Accented letters entered from the keyboard. Replace these with &agrave codes or simple vowels + apostrophe.
– Word characters. Curly inverted commas and apostrophes, hyphens and ellipses of MS Word are replaced with the corresponding marks from the keyboard.



Link Tracking


A list of links present in the text is displayed (fig. 7). Select the links that must be tracked for statistical purposes (also, if is set, with an Analytics System cfr. “Configure –> Integrations”), give a name to each link and – if you wish – associate a category.

Attention: if the same link (meaning same URL) is both in the HTML version and the alternative text one, the system will take category and description from the HTML version.



Figure 7: Working on the links in the message

Preview this message on different clients

Here you can preview the email message as it will be shown different email clients, desktop, mobile, or webmails, with no need to send out a test delivery.

In order to use this instant preview service a subscription is needed. You can ask more information about subscribing to your Contactlab sales manager. The fee is calculated on the number of preview generated. Companies that have not subscribed to the service yet, can try it out using 10 free previews. A counter shows you in real time how many free previews you’ve already used or, for subscribers, the numbers of previews already generated in current year.


To generate a preview, click the Generate preview button. A new window with a series of thumbnails appears. Thumbnails are usually generated within a few minutes, but time can change depending, for instance, on html code weight and complexity.


You can check thumbnails generation progression at any time, through a progress bar. You can hide thumbnails not ready by clicking the “Status: completed only” link on top right. On the left, the “Devices” area lets you filter mobile, desktop, web clients, or show any.  To show only one or more devices/clients you can select them from the text box called “Specific”.

If you click one of the thumbnails, you enter the detail of that client.

Depending on the client, on top right you can have one or more icons:

 Message shown as portait (vertical layout of the device)

–   Message shown as landscape (horizontal layout of the device)

–  Message shown with images not displayed (as on clients that block image downloading by default)

If you close the preview window and you don’t apply any further change to the html code, you can then retrieve is via the View preview button. In this case the latest requested preview will be shown, and the number of used previews will not increase.

The Force a new preview button, instead, generates a brand new preview of the message. In this case the number of used previews will increase. Forcing the generation of a new preview can be useful, for example, if you made further changes to the html and you immediately want to see how they are rendered on the email clients.


All the campaign characteristics have been set. Proceed with delivery by clicking on “Next”.


If you decided to attach files to the message, you will now be asked to upload them (fig. 3 above), otherwise, you will go directly to “Summary and preview”.



Summary and preview


This screen (fig. 8) summaries all the campaign settings: subject, users, formats, options… You may like to click on “Preview” to see the message as it will be seen by the final user.


Attention: this “user view”, however, is how it is seen with a browser. An email client may see the email in a different way.




Figure 8: Campaign overview



Click on the “Publish on web” button, instead, to publish a static version of the message content. Use this button when a “taf_url” code is present in the text. See chapter 6.5 for further information about the Publish on web function.

You also need to publish this page in case of insert a link to share on social networks.


To modify any settings or contents, return to the relative point and make the changes. When you are satisfied with all the settings, click on “Next”.



Test delivery and Deploy method


The delivery screen is used to send both test and real campaigns (fig. 9). It is always best to send one or more test campaigns before the real one in order to check how the message is displayed and make any corrections or modifications.



Figure 9: Delivering the campaign


Select the filter for users enabled to receive test campaigns in the “User list” field. Click on “View” to display the list of test users. Press “Send test campaign” to proceed with dispatch. The test campaign has been sent. Check it and modify the message if necessary.


When you consider the test to be satisfactory, you may deploy the campaign. Select “The campaign will be delivered once” in the “Deploy method” box if you wish to send it immediately, or set an automatic recurring delivery (daily or weekly).


Special options

Automatically remove duplicate addresses: blocks replicate mails as they leave without physically eliminating them from the db (a logical and not a physical removal of duplicates, therefore).
The first address in the db is kept automatically while all the subsequent ones are blocked.
Extract the addresses from the database only at the time of mailing: if this box is not ticked, the system memorize the db as it is when you click on Finish.  If, however, automatically db update systems are active (e.g.: subscription/unsubscription or Data Exchange), this option must be ticked: this means that addresses will only be extracted when the mail effectively leaves the server.


Click on “Finish” to view a confirmation message then you can assign a main Commercial Category and other secondary (fig. 10) then move on to the communicate section where you will definitively confirm deployment of the real campaign.
Attention: after clicking on “End”, the campaign will be queued for delivery and it will no longer be possible to modify it, if any modifications are required, remove the campaign from the delivery queue and create a new one.







Deploy a campaign: Communicate section


In the communicate section, select your campaign from the list, click on it and then press the required button in the “Tasks” table: to deliver, “Deploy now”. You will be asked to confirm another time: click on OK to deploy the campaign. At this point, the campaign has been deployed: to view campaign information and statistics, go to the analyse section (cf. 5.0).






Save the campaign as a draft




During the creation process, it is always possible to save the campaign as a draft and then resume work on it at a later stage. To do this, simply click on the “Save” icon displayed at each step of the process (see figure to side). A name to assign to the new draft will be requested.  




Retrieving a work session


If the create process is interrupted for any reason (e.g.: if the browser window closes, or if you move to another section of ContactLab), you may retrieve the interrupted session when you return to create > new campaign. To do so, simply click on the relative link (figure 10).



Figure 10: Retrieving an interrupted create process



Attention: if you disconnect from ContactLab (logout), you will no longer be able to retrieve the interrupted session. If you need to logout and wish to keep a job you begun in the create area, save the session as a draft (see previous paragraph).