Sending emails

Q_Panel offers a fully integrated email capability for issuing of emails to panellists who have been selected for sample, imported by the Data Import service or have been selected using a filter within Panel Manager.  This section mainly deals with sample mailings, but the process is the same for import and filter mailings.

The Email Send service is an extra module and not part of the standard Q_Panel installation.

Overview of sample mailings

Once a sample has been processed by the Job Queue, Q_Panel can use the email addresses associated with the selected panellists to send out survey invitations and follow-up emails.

The Emailed column on the Samples screen shows whether a sample has already had emails sent out.  In the example below, the New Car Survey – England Only has already had emails sent out.

Note that the Emailed column will show a tick as soon as an email job has been submitted although the emails may not actually have been sent yet.

We recommend you start by creating an email template in the Email Template Manager with all the content and features you require. A choice of HTML or text-only message editing is provided. HTML emails can include linked graphics and hyperlinks, can merge many database fields, and can include special email identifier fields.

A near-WYSIWYG email editor is provided, but it is also possible to edit the HTML code directly. For all but the simplest emails some awareness of HTML will be helpful.  Users should remember that it is an HTML template editor (as opposed to a word processor), and different editing rules apply – see section below.

After you have submitted and run a sample job, the Mailing option will be enabled on the Sample Action dropdown menu on the toolbar.

Selecting Mailing takes you to the sample mailing screen, where you can create a new mailing.  A mailing can be based on the whole sample or a subset of the sample which could be by replicate, outcome code and/or quota cells.  The mailing will then consist of one or more waves defined as a percentage of the panellists in the mailing. Each wave may use a different email template.

You can import one of your pre-defined templates or you can create an email from scratch. You can ‘test’ the email wave by sending an example to yourself as though you were one of the selected panellists complete with links and the panellist’s merged data. When you are confident that the email is correct you can send it.

When an email is submitted you can choose to set an outcome code ‘Sent Email’ which will update the panellist contact history.  Q_Panel has a pre-defined outcome code for ‘Sent Email’ but you can create additional outcome codes, for example to use for reminder emails.

There is also an automatic Email Sent event saved against the panellist event history.

A special identifier field – response id - can be included in the email which when returned with an outcome code in the backfeed file will update the panellists’ contact history in the panel database.  Response ids can be assigned by Q_Panel or by the user.  (Response ids are only relevant for use in sample mailings).

Do Not Contact

Panellists may sometimes be set to Do Not Contact.  This can either be done using the Do Not Contact flag or by setting the Do Not Contact Before Date (typically these are set via backfeed based on outcome code settings – but can also be set in Panel Manager).

Any emails sent to a panellist with the Do Not Contact flag set, or with the Do Not Contact Before Date set to a date before today will fail – failed emails can be seen in Mailing Manager and Mailing Queue Manager.

It should be noted that sample emails will not be sent to panellists who have been set to Do Not Contact since the sample output file was produced.