Templates define the look and feel of your mailings. There are two types of templates available in Enterprise, legacy templates, which require advanced HTML skills and offer unlimited flexibility, and drag & drop templates, which can be created by any user.
Drag & Drop Templates
Templates can be created using the drag & drop editor. The advantage of using a drag & drop template over just creating a drag & drop mailing each time is that templates include the ability to lock sections so they cannot be edited when the template is used to create a mailing. This can help guide those using the template and ensure that you have the static elements in your mailing each time without having to repeat your work each time.
To build a drag & drop template:
- Go to Mailings > Templates and Add a New Template using Drag & Drop Editor.
- Name your template and optionally include a description.
- Create your template as you would a drag & drop mailing. You can find complete details on the drag & drop editor here. You can use placeholder images and copy in content sections that you will allow to be edited. Providing copy on your images that instructs the user or by using the placeholder copy as instructional copy is a great way to make using the template easier.
- Once all of your static content and placeholder content is in place, you can start locking sections. You will want to lock both the Content and the Structure of a row if you are trying to prevent all editing when the template is used to create a mailing. Use the Unlocked/Locked to control the Content and Structure locking.
- Do you need to Unsync Versions to make any changes to your Text or Online versions? If you do, do that now. You may need to add or change locking based on your edits. Be sure to review each version if you have unsynced to ensure that your content and the locking is as you want it on all three versions.
- Save your template.
- Create a mailing using your new template: Mailings > Create a Mailing using a Template > Select your new template.
- Test, test, test!
Like legacy templates, if you have a drag & drop template that you no longer want to use or that you want to only make available seasonally you can use the Active/Inactive flag. Only Active templates will show up in the list of available templates when a user is creating a mailing, so is easy to hide and unhide as needed. Inactive templates that are in use in mailings can still be used, and if a mailing used a template that is inactive that mailing can still be copied.
Editing Drag & Drop Templates
Unlike legacy templates, if you make edits to a drag & drop template, any mailings that used the template will NOT pick up your edits. Your new edits will only be reflected after you save them for any new mailings that start by selecting the template that was edited.
The creation and editing of templates requires expertise not only in HTML design and production, but in the unique requirements and best practices of HTML targeting the e-mail environment.
Each legacy template consists of four Template Definitions and one or more Template Fields. Template Fields are sections of HTML and/or text content that can change from mailing to mailing. Template Definitions, by contrast, comprise the HTML and/or text content that does not change from mailing to mailing (with the notable exception of embedded mail merge fields, predefined links, and dynamic content).
Templates Definitions contain special markup tags that instruct Enterprise where to insert the appropriate template field content. They can also contain tags defining collapsible sections, which render their enclosed content only when a specified template field contains content.
There are four types of Template Definitions:
- Content Manager: this is what is displayed in the Enterprise Content Manager when creating a mailing. This definition cannot include any collapsible sections tags because all content sections must be visible within the Content Manager, regardless of whether they contain content.
- HTML Version: this is used to create the HTML version of the mailing. This version can contain collapsible sections, mail merge fields, predefined links, and dynamic content.
- Text Version: this is used to create the Text version of the mailing. This version can contain collapsible sections, mail merge fields, predefined links, and dynamic content.
- Online Version: this is used to create the (optional) online version of the mailing. This version can contain collapsible sections but cannot contain mail merge fields, dynamic content, or predefined links (with the exception of ##_subscribe_## and ##_login_##).
Templates are marked as "Active" by default but can be made inactive if they are no longer needed. Inactive templates will not be displayed in the drop-down list on the "Create a New Mailing" screen. Changing a template from active to inactive will not change any existing mailings based on that template: it will simply prevent administrators from creating new mailings based on that template.
There are nine types of Template Fields:
- Image: Allows content administrators to insert an image from their Image Library, as described in Adding Images.
- Image (block level): Allows content administrators to insert an image from their Image Library, as described in Adding Images. When this field type is used, the image tag inserted will include a style tag that declares the image as a block level element.
- List: This field type contains multiple list items, each of which contains a fragment of HTML or text. Content administrators can then choose from the available list items by clicking a radio button in the Content Manager, as described in Adding Content Snippets. Each list item can contain a Name, which is used for selection purposes but which can contain HTML if desired; and a Definition, which contains the actual HTML or text content to be inserted into the mailing. If the Definition contains content that would render poorly in the Content Manager, the template administrator can set the "Display List Definition" property of this field to "No", causing a Preview icon to be displayed instead of the actual Definition.
- Text (single-line, no formatting): Allows content administrators to enter text on a single line with no formatting. Leading and trailing white space entered into this template field type will be removed.
- Text (multi-line, no formatting): Allows content administrators to enter text on a multiple lines with no formatting. Leading and trailing white space entered into this template field type will be removed.
- Text (simple formatting): Allows content administrators to enter text with basic formatting (bold, italics, underline, superscript, etc.); hyperlinks can also be inserted.
- Text (standard formatting): This field type allows the same text editing options as Text (simple formatting), but with these additional formatting options: text alignment, bullets and numbering, horizontal rules, indent, outdent, and predefined links.
- Text (advanced formatting): This field type allows the same text editing options as Text (standard formatting), but with these additional formatting options: font face, font size, foreground & background color, style editing, tables, and image insertion (for images that are not part of your Enterprise image library).
- URL (with validation): Allows content administrators to enter a URL which will be validated to meet URL standards, and must begin with mailto:, [http:// http://], [https:// https://], or ftp://.
- Offer: If you are using Fishbowl's Promotions Manager, your site will be configured to allow use of the Offer template field type. This template field type allows you to easily insert currently available offers that you have created in Offer Manager into a templated mailing.
- Offer (block level): If you are using Fishbowl's Promotions Manager, your site will be configured to allow use of the Offer template field type. This template field type allows you to easily insert currently available offers that you have created in Offer Manager into a templated mailing. When this field type is used, the bar code tag inserted will include a style tag that declares the barcode as a block level element.
A Width and Height (in pixels) must be defined for all four types of template fields. These settings have no effect on the rendering of Text, RichText, RicherText and List fields within the e-mail or the Online Version, but they do serve two purposes:
- For Image fields, the Width and Height settings determine the desired size of the image when content administrators use the "Scale to Fit Template" option as described in Adding Images.
- For all field types, the Width and Height settings determine the size of the corresponding content box on the Edit Mailing screen. These content boxes can expand beyond their assigned width and height to fit their assigned content, but they will never contract.
There are three types of markup tags that can be used in the Template versions:
- 1. Field Insertion Tags: These tags instruct Enterprise to insert the contents of a template field at the specified location. Template Fields can be inserted manually or by using the Template Fields drop-down available in the rich text editor. The syntax is:
- where "templatefieldname" is the case-sensitive name of the template field. The tag cannot contain any whitespace characters.
- 2. Collapsible Section Tags: These tags, which must be used as pairs of opening and closing tags, encapsulate blocks of HTML or text which should be rendered only when the specified template field contains content. The syntax is:
<#=templatefieldname>...conditional content here...</#=templatefieldname>
- where "templatefieldname" is the case-sensitive name of the template field. Conversely, to render the conditional content only when the specified template field does not contain content, preface the field name with a hyphen in both the opening and closing tags:
<#=-templatefieldname>...conditional content here...</#=-templatefieldname>
- Collapsible section tags cannot contain whitespace characters, but the conditional content between the opening and closing tags may contain whitespace. This basic syntax can be entered manually or by highlighting a block of content in the rich text editor and then selecting the appropriate template field from the Make Section Collapsible drop-down:
<#=templatefield1,templatefield2,templatefield3>...conditional content here...</#=templatefield1,templatefield2,templatefield3>
- specifies that if content is entered into ANY of the specified template fields--in this example, templatefield1, templatefield2, or templatefield3--the conditional content will appear. Conversely, to display the conditional content only if content is entered into NONE of the specified template fields, insert a hyphen between the equals sign and the field names:
<#=-templatefield1,templatefield2,templatefield3>...conditional content here...</#=- templatefield1,templatefield2,templatefield3>
- This more complex "compound" syntax--referencing multiple template fields--can only be entered manually, not via the rich text editor. Nesting one compound collapsible tag inside another compound collapsible tag is supported.
- 3. Read-only Section Tags: These tags, which must be used as pairs of opening and closing tags, reference editable template fields which should be displayed in the Content Manager Version of the template as read-only content. There are cases, such as with headlines that might appear twice in a single mailing or where the HTML and Online version look very different but contain much of the same information, where you only want the user to populate the field once but want the entered content to display more than once. Using the example of the HTML and Online Version looking very different but repeating much of the same information, the first instance of the field can be made a editable field and the second (and any subsequent) references of it can be made as read-only tags.
Sample Template Code
Below is an example of a very simple HTML version (or Online Version definition, since it contains no personalization), with field insertion tags and collapsible section tags highlighted in red:
To modify the above example for use as a Content Manager definition, simply remove all the collapsible section tags. In some cases, it may be necessary or desirable to provide a Content Manager definition that is fundamentally different than the HTML version. Below is an example of a corresponding Text version:
<#=HeadlineText> ------------------------------------------------------------ <%=HeadlineText%> ------------------------------------------------------------ </#=HeadlineText> <%=BodyText%> Main Street Grill 44 King Street Alexandria, VA 22314