1 Using icontact The Preiss Company Resident Communication is one of the most important aspects of Student Housing. In an effort to both streamline and empower our company with respect to this field, The Preiss Company has begun a subscription to a marketing campaign service, icontact. icontact allows us to send s, track the acceptance of those s, automatically remove an bounced (returned) addresses, create surveys, among many other useful things. Guidelines icontact is considered a marketing tool, IT IS NOT TO BE USED FOR INDIVIDUAL RESIDENT . Please use your property or personal business account for such mailings. The purpose of icontact is to send out bulk s, surveys, etc, that apply to the whole property. An example would be party flyers, maintenance announcements, renewal deadlines, etc. icontact is a subscription based service, and as such, there is a limit to the amount of that can be sent. The current package (As of ) allows for each property to send 6 s a month (1 per week, and 2 extra). Please do not go over this amount for any reason, as all the properties are on the same billing account and overuse by one property will limit the availability of s for all the other properties. Always select the appropriate Campaign. This feature will be explained in detail further in this tutorial, but please note that each property has been assigned a Campaign that tracks the statistics of that properties recipients. If you do not use YOUR Campaign, you will skew the results of their statistics, and your property address will not be on the reply-to address. *Before we begin, please note that page 19 is the most important page of this tutorial. Keep that in mind as you walk through this tutorial.
2 First, open a web browser, and go to Log in using the username and password provided to you as the designated icontact asset at your property.
3 You will now be presented with the Welcome page.
4 Click on the My Contacts tab to view your available contact list(s).
5 In order to view the mailing list(s), click on the Lists button.
6 Here you will see a listing of all the mailing lists for all the properties. If this was the beginning of a new Lease Term, you would want to refresh your mailing list to reflect your new residents. Let s demonstrate this - click on the Add Contacts button.
7 Here you see a list of options: Import Contacts from a File import from a Microsoft Excel File Add Contacts One by One manually enter a contact s information Copy and Paste Contacts paste a list of addresses directly into icontact For this example we will use the Copy & Paste option. Note that resident management applications, such as OneSite, have the option to export lists of things such as residents names and addresses, which can be easily inserted into a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and subsequently uploaded into icontacts (or copied & pasted). Note: Most of the properties have already been set up with their contact list.
8 You are now presented with the Copy & Paste Import Interface.
9 To prepare to paste the contacts into the text scroll down to the text box area towards the bottom of the page.
10 As you can see here, we have a list prepared in Microsoft Excel which we will simply copy and paste into icontacts.
11 Now simply select the property account to which you would like to upload the addresses, paste the addresses into the text box, and click the Add Contacts button.
12 icontact will then update the list with the new addresses. Note that if an address is already present in the list, icontact will not import a duplicate contact, so it manages the list for you. It is important to remember that it may be advisable to delete and re-import your list after every lease year, so that non-renewing residents are removed from the list. icontact does have an opt-out feature wherein a link is placed at the bottom of every where the recipient can click to be removed from the list. Most of the properties have already been set up with their contact list, but if at any time you think that someone has been omitted, you can import your entire list, and only the new addresses will be inserted icontacts does not import duplicates.
13 Creation Now lets move on to creating an . In order to get started, click the tab labeled Create.
14 You are now presented with the creation page. There are a couple of options available. Here you may: Create a Message Create s to be sent to you contact list Re-Use a Sent Message Re-use any sent by any property Create a Survey Create surveys to be sent to your contact list (Please note that a survey is an , and thus counts towards your limit) For the purposes we will be using icontact, Auto-responders are not necessary, because we will be adding our contacts manually. They are used to send a Welcome to our contact list type when someone subscribes to the list (which people do have the option to so). Unfortunately the image library feature of icontact is limited to a size of about 500K of file size and probably will be very inefficient for the graphic intensive use that you will be using. The general way around this at most sites is to use another website as an image host. Some sites have had much success using facebook.com, or even flikr.com to store images, and then merely embed the link to the image in the such that the image appears when the is opened; it simply resides on the chosen website s server. (Please contact IT support for further information regarding how to set this up) For this tutorial, click on the link labeled Create a Message.
15 You are now presented with the Create a New Message page. Here you can: Create a New using MessageBuilder Use awesome icontact templates Create a New from Scratch Use copy and paste type functionality Copy & Paste an Use only if you are comfortable using HTML code If you have made a flyer or another communication is something such as Publisher, you would first want to save the Publisher file as a picture (usually a.jpg), then upload it to your image hosting option (i.e. facebook photo gallery), and then use Create a New from Scratch option to simply imbed that picture into the , and have it load from the facebook servers seamlessly upon the recipient opening the . For this tutorial, click on the link labeled Create a New using MessageBuilder.
16 You are now presented with the Message Builder page. Here you can choose a icontact template with which to make your . You are presented with two options: Continue with Message Builder This option will walk you through step-by-step in creating the in a fill in the blank type fashion using the selected template. Go Straight to Compose This option will allow you to directly compose the using the selected template. For this tutorial, click on the link labeled Continue with Message Builder.
17 You are now presented first with a preview of your using the selected template. This is in general how the finished will appear to your recipients. You may then scroll down and edit the message in order to customize the template to your liking.
18 Fill out the with the information you will to send and click the Next button.
19 You will now be presented with the Edit Your page. This is a VERY important page. Creation Guidelines Never put any copyrighted material in an official Preiss Company , that is anything sent out to residents (i.e. team logos, etc.). **The most important aspect of the entire creation process is Choosing the Campaign. Please make sure that you choose your property, otherwise the reply address on the will not your own.** The other options found on this page include: type You most likely ALWAYS want to select HTML subject Simply enter the subject that you want to appear in the recipients inbox Edit Your HTML You can change font size, color, etc. insert hyperlinks, basically all normal functions laid over the selected template design.
20 If you scroll down the page after editing you will notice an empty text box. This is the text that will be seen by those recipients without an HTML capable client (VERY rare these days). The best practice is to simply click the Copy Text button, which will copy the text from you and show only that unformatted to text to those recipients that do not have an HTML capable client. This way they still get the information of the , but with out the pictures, links, colors, etc.
21 The next step is to check the for federal CAN-SPAM act compliance (A law passed by the U.S. government to limit some of the vagrant unsolicited spam). Simply click the button labeled Spam Check and a pop up window will appear showing you the score of your . Note that icontacts, as a policy, will not send an for you that has a high score (over 5.0). Use whatever tips it gives you to reduce you s score to an acceptable level. This would especially come into play if you paste a picture from a image host such as facebook, as icontacts would merely see the link to a picture and nothing else. In this situation it is advisable to add some whitespace after your inserted picture and then after a few lines of that whitespace, add a paragraph of text (much like you would when creating a non-html part for your ), so that the spam analyzer sees this text and realizes there is more than just a picture in the . (Picture-only s are always flagged as a high likelihood of spam.) Our tutorial has been given a score of 1.1. Our is more than satisfactory.
22 You can now choose to merely save the for later distribution (if you wanted to go on and make a few customized templates ), or go ahead and choose the distribution list that will be the recipient(s) of your . Note that before proceeding, you have the option of sending a test (most likely to yourself) so that you may review the in the form that it will appear to the recipients, before you ever send the . This will allow you to note any oversights and make the necessary changes, before committing to sending the out to hundreds of recipients. For this tutorial, click the Choose Destination button.
23 You will now be presented with the Choose Destination page. Choose the recipient list that you would like for your s to be sent to. Please be aware that if you are sending the to multiple sites, it counts against each sites 6 per month allotment. For example, if you are a sending an to two properties, this would count as 1 for both properties, dropping the available uses from 12 s between the 2 properties for that month, down to 10 s between the 2 properties for that month (based on 6 s per property, per month). For our purposes we will not normally be using the Exclude Lists as they are simply a way to remove duplicates from multiple lists, but since it is highly doubtful that any properties have the same addresses, this would in reality never be an issue. It is built as a means of preventing a recipient on more than mailing list from getting two of the same . Choose YOUR list and click on the button labeled Proceed to Send. (For this tutorial we are usuing the Tutorial Test list.)
24 You are now presented with Schedule Delivery page. Here you can either send the message immediately, or schedule a date and time in the future to have to go out automatically (especially useful if you would like to send a rent reminder on the first of every month). Note that you must enter you initials to certify that this is not spam. For this tutorial, click the button labeled Deliver Immediately.
25 Congratulations! You have successfully sent a mass using icontacts! You will now be presented with a message status page.
26 The only other tab available is the Track tab. This area of icontact allows you to track your s and see the statistics associated with , and each campaign. If you so desired, you could go so far as to enter in (or the residents can update their profile by clicking a link at the bottom of each ) demographic information, to track response by gender, age, etc. Most of these Tracking options are very straight forward.
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