How To Guide


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Email Marketing Overview

Advancement Toolkit Email Marketing Overview

The UF Advancement Digital Communications team oversees email production and scheduling across fundraising, alumni and special event programs. With approximately 20 million sends per year, email is a critical component in reaching the Gator Nation®, supporting the university’s growth and reputation, and conveying the UF brand.

To uphold best practices, coordinate timing and comply with UF Foundation policy, alumni- and fundraising-oriented emails sent to more than 25 recipients are expected to route through UF Advancement Digital Communications. Email addresses of alumni and donors are considered confidential and can only be used via UF Advancement servers.

Please contact Monica Vosilla, director of digital communications, or Tonya Gibbs, digital communications manager, with any questions or for more information on email marketing.

Email Marketing Components

Planning

While the average time spent reading an email, is approximately 10 seconds (Statista, 2021) planning and executing can take several weeks. Consider what you want to achieve and how you’ll gauge success.

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Development & Design

Emails blend the creativity of graphic design with the technical expertise of programming. Learn more about best practices and preview our templates, or wireframes, for a starting point to visualize content.

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Testing & Optimization

UF Advancement supports quality assurance on email requests. Our emails are tested prior to deployment for readability, spam filtration, device optimization, and accessibility through Litmus, the industry standard in digital proofing and testing.

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Deployment, Reporting & Analysis

UF Advancement uses Salesforce Marketing Cloud for email development and deployment. This system allows for responsive design, robust programming and data integration. Additional tracking is added to further assess deliverability and engagement.

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Timeline

While the average time spent reading a email is approximately 10 seconds (Statista, 2021), planning and executing an email can take several weeks. Please consider the following timeline as it encompasses the entire process from request to materials to review and approval.

The recommended timeline from the day you request an email to sending is at least seven weekdays. We recommend that project sponsors begin preparations at least two weeks in advance as the current timeline is contingent upon all materials — content, graphics, links — being finalized.  We also strongly encourage project sponsors to refer to the communications calendar in case the preferred send date has high email volume.

Email campaigns requiring assets from UF Advancement Creative Services, segmentation, A/B testing and multiple sends typically require 10 or more weekdays. Please contact Monica Vosilla if your request includes any special considerations.

Timeline:

Day(s)Task(s)
7Email request submitted to Quickbase project queue, www.uff.ufl.edu/commproject, for review by Digital Communications.
5Project approved and assigned; notification email sent to sponsor with link to access project.
4-3UF Advancement Digital Communications team builds email with the materials provided; email is tested via Litmus platform and sent to Digital Communications leadership for review; project sponsor receives a Litmus proof in their UF inbox for review.
2-1Sponsor provides feedback for a revision and/or approves email via Litmus; project sponsor uploads data file to the project request; suppression list(s) must be uploaded by 3pm day prior of send for AM scheduling or 10am day-of send for PM scheduling.
0Approved email is scheduled for send; project sponsor will receive a confirmation email with the scheduled send time.

 

Requesting Email Marketing

Email requests are handled through Quickbase, a project management system. With just a few steps, your project proposal will be in queue:

  1. Access the project proposal form – www.uff.ufl.edu/commproject
  2. Complete the project proposal form
  3. Add one or more email marketing requests
  4. Complete the request details
  5. Your request will be reviewed, approved and assigned within 1-2 days.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Submitting Data

❗ Effective with all emails sent after March 18, 2024, email data MUST come from the Ascend CRM. The Digital Engagement team will not be able to accept data from external sources, with the exception of suppression lists. 

Submitting data for your email send ensures an accurate and timely delivery. Delays or incomplete files will require rescheduling your send date. This step is the responsibility of the project sponsor. The UFA digital communications team does not request data.

Obtaining and submitting data:

  • Request data of DIS at least 3 weeks prior to your preferred send date.
  • The final data file(s) must be uploaded to the request ticket a minimum of 48 hours prior to send date.
  • Suppression lists for active campaigns must be uploaded by 3pm day prior of send for AM scheduling or 10am day-of send for PM scheduling.

Formatting data: 

  • Once you’ve received the data file, please check for the following:
    • Each data file submitted for the email send must be limited to one worksheet.
    • The worksheet must contain a minimum of two columns for Alumni ID & Email Address; one entry per row.
      If you have any personalization in the email, like first name, that field must also be included in the data file in its own column.
  • Submit the data file as a CSV.
  • Suppression and seed lists must be uploaded separately and labeled accordingly.

Example of formatted CSV worksheet: 

Email Roles & Responsibilities

Email production is a collaborative process between the project sponsor and UFA digital communications team. Please refer to this table for clarification on roles and responsibilities to successfully complete your email marketing request(s).

TaskProject SponsorDigital Communications
Submit email request to project management system.X
Accept and assign request pending the UFA communications calendar and information provided. Notify project sponsor of intake or clarify incomplete or rush requests.X
Secure finalized copy, graphics, links, sender name and email address. Enter in the project management system.X
Build email using best practices and digital expertise in Salesforce Marketing Cloud once all assets are received via the project management system.X
Test and optimize email for multiple platforms and email service providers.X
Review and approve email via Litmus.X
Add tracking links for more comprehensive metrics.X
Schedule and send approved email to designated recipient and seed lists.X
Provide email metrics monthly to project sponsors via shared drive.X