What You’ll Learn

  • How to create an email or SMS
  • How to view analytics for your message


On this page, we’ll show you how to create and send an email and SMS message.


Before you build an email, it’s helpful to first customize a template. Templates are the design that you’ll enter your content into. We have a library of template layouts to get you started. If you prefer to make your template while you create your email, that’s fine too.

1. In the left-hand menu, click Campaign and then select Communications. A list of already-created communications will appear. Or, if this is your school’s first communication, you’ll be prompted to create a new one.

2. Click on either the + in the top right or on the Create Communication button to start your communication.

3. Select the type of message you want to create: SMS, Email, or Email + SMS. Then click Next.

Note: You also have the option to create a Dynamic Content communication. These allow you to send multiple versions of a message to different audiences. Learn how to use dynamic content.

4. Enter a name for your new communication and click Save. You will be taken to the first tab of your new communication: audience.

5. Select who will receive the message by choosing an audience type.

SegmentSegments are groups of people who have shared demographics, academic interests, etc. and/or have done similar things, e.g. clicked a link in another email, started an application. You can load an existing segment or create a new one.

WorkflowsChoosing workflows will automate who receives the message based on a workflow. See the user guide for workflows to learn more.

6. Click the Setup tab and enter the requested information, e.g. subject line, name, or phone number of the person the message is coming from.

If you are creating an Email + SMS communication, be sure to fill out the details for each message type.


  • To personalize your email (and help avoid spam filters), click the icon for tokens and select a token to add. Tokens are like tags that insert a placeholder where the recipient’s first name, for example, will automatically be entered when the message is sent.

7. Open the Content tab. This is where you’ll add the text for your message, along with images or media. If your communication is an Email + SMS, you’ll see a content tab for each.

Below are directions on how to add content for basic SMS and emails. Note: for dynamic content communications, follow this guide.


For an SMS message, enter text, and an optional image or other media file:

The Text
Fill in the text for the SMS. To add an emoji or token, use the icons to the right of the text field. Tokens personalize messages by inserting the first or last name of the recipient. For example, "[user:first_name]" will be replaced with the recipient’s first name when they receive the message.

To attach an optional image, audio, or other media file to the text, Click Select File. Choose a file from the media manager or upload a new one.


Follow these steps to add content to your email.

  • Click the Choose Template button to open the template picker. 
  • Select a template for your message. The Saved Templates tab contains templates that you or team members have already customized for your campaign(s). The Basic tab contains templates you can customize. Learn about customizing templates
  • Add your content, e.g., text and images, to the template. You can also make adjustments to the template as needed.


  • Your additions and edits will be saved automatically.
  • To edit your email later, simply open the Content tab and make your changes.

8. To preview your email or SMS, click on the Preview tab.

  • If your message is an email, you can see how it will appear on a smartphone by clicking the Mobile button on the right.
  • SMS previews will automatically appear as they will on a mobile device.
  • A shareable link is provided if you want to send the message to someone else to review without them needing to log in to Element451.

9. Click the Test tab. It has 2 functions:

  • To check that your communication has all the required information. Below is a look at what you might see if all the information has not been entered. Click Open Step to fill in any missing information.
  • To send an optional preview by email or by phone for SMS messages. If the required information is entered, the screen will look something like this:

If your communication uses both email and SMS messages you can test both.

To test an email:

  • Enter a valid email address to send the communication to one person.
  • You can also send the test to a segment. For example, you may have a segment created for your team.

To test an SMS:

  • Enter a valid phone number with country code.

10. Once you're satisfied with your communication, click the Send tab. Like the test tab, it will check to make sure everything has been entered or indicated, including the audience. If everything is ready to go, you will see a screen like this:

For segment audiences: You can send your message immediately or schedule it for a specific time in the future. You will also see how many people will receive your communication. To check who they are, go to the Audience tab.

For workflow audiences: You do not need to indicate when to send your message. The sending day and time will be determined by the workflow’s set up.

 That's it! You've sent out or scheduled your communication.

Now you're going to want to see how it's performing. In the Campaigns menu of the left, click on Analytics. You’ll see of list of communications. Click on the one you want to check. A screen similar to the one below will appear.

For an explanation of what you can learn from your analytics report, check out this closer look at analytics.

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