Interspire tips and tricks

You can use the Interspire email software to send your own newsletter or other types of emails that have been created in accordance with Radboud University’s house style.

Steps

Log in to Interspire here

Format

A digital newsletter is meant to briefly inform people and then refer them to more information on the website. Write short, catchy introductions to news or background articles and then refer with a link to the expanded text on the website.

Creating a new mailing

It is preferred to create a new mailing from scratch. If you always copy the last mailing, after a while you will end up with a 'polluted' mailing and you will spend unnecessary time formatting.

If you create a new mailing with the button 'Create an Email Campaign' you can choose a template in the next step. Then you choose 'ru_new2014_basis_NL' for the Dutch version or 'ru_new2014_basis_EN' for the English one.

Example

Voorbeeld Interspire nieuwsbrief template

Header image

Want a different image in the header? Please email us the image at cms [at] ru.nl (cms[at]ru[dot]nl) of 600x89 pixels or larger and we will place the header image for you. You can also find other images in the image archive.

Editor

Copy text from Word or Outlook to Notepad before pasting it into Interspire. This way you avoid copying along unwanted code and then spending a lot of time editing the formatting. You can find Notepad under Start > All Programs > Office Accessories > Notepad.

Link colour

When you create a link, the link is automatically given the appropriate colour (colour code #33333333).

E-mail addresses that you include in the text are automatically marked as links. Be sure to colour-code them #333333 yourself.

  1. Click the icon to add a link.
  2. General tab: add the e-mail address in the 'Link URL' field.
  3. Advanced tab: type behind 'Style': color: #333333

Unsubscribe link

If you have a mailing that includes external recipients, you are required to include an unsubscribe link in the mailing (see the link in the upper right corner of the example). You do this with the button 'Insert Unsubscribe Link' or via 'Insert/edit link > Built-In Links > Unsubscribe Link'.

When recipients click on the unsubscribe link, Interspire stores that the person no longer wants to receive e-mail from that particular mailing list. This only works if the same mailing list is used repeatedly. If a person is on more lists, they will still receive mailings from those lists. If a mailing list needs to be updated from the RBS, please contact the Internet Communications Department.

Note: If you use group addresses and one recipient clicks on the unsubscribe link then the whole group is unsubscribed.

E-mail attachements

Sending an attachment in Interspire is not possible. It unnecessarily burdens Interspire and the mail server. It is possible to include a file link to the attachment. Please contact the Online Strategy and Infrastructure department for this.

Create and update sender lists

Sender

For a contact list (mailing list), you can set three sender email addresses:

  • List Owners Email: the recipient sees this email address as the sender.
  • List Reply-To Email: reply messages arrive at this e-mail address (often the same email address is used as List Owners Email).
  • List Bounce Email: bounced emails arrive at this e-mail address (e.g. from recipients whose mailbox is full). If you don't want to receive these in your regular mailbox you can have a separate e-mail address created for this purpose through your workplace support person.

Updating or filling a contact list

You can update an existing mailing list, create a new contact list or copy another one. When you copy a contact list, the contacts are not copied (the settings of the list are).

  1. Make sure you have an Excel file that contains only the contact information you want to run in. Put all the information in a separate column (name, e-mail addresses, etc.)
  2. If you want a personalized salutation, that information must be known for all recipients. For example, if you want to include the first name in the mail and you only have a first letter of some people, then you replace the first letter in Excel with 'prospective student', so that in the mailing you get 'Dear prospective student' and not 'Dear B.'.
  3. First save the Excel file as a csv file.
  4. If you only import e-mail addresses you can skip this step. If you have contacts with strange characters in the name or in another field, you have to save the file with encoding UTF-8. You do this by changing the extension of the csv file to .txt. Then open the file and choose 'File > Save as'. Then under 'Encoding' choose UTF-8. Then click on 'Save. This .txt. file can be used for the import.
  5. In Interspire, in the 'Contacts' tab, choose 'Import Contacts From a File.
  6. Select the appropriate contact list and click 'Next'. In the section File Details
    ‘Contains Headers’: 'Yes' if there are column headers.
    ‘Field Seperator’: usually this is a semicolon (;). For most lists this is not important because there is only one column of email addresses.
    ‘Field Enclosure’: leave blank.
    ‘Import File’: browse to the saved csv or txt file here.
  7. Click ‘Next’.
  8. Interspire specifies how many columns it reads out. Interspire asks which field(s) the contents of the 1st row belong to. If there is only an email address, choose 'email address'.
  9. If you update a list, after importing, Interspire indicates how many addresses were skipped because they are already in the list and how many addresses are new.

If you want to add new items to the contact list, it is best to create a new contact list otherwise you may not have the same data from everyone.

Custom fields

When creating the list, pay attention to the information you want to be able to display/collect (name, last name, inserts, etc.). You specify this when creating the contact list. To do this, put checkmarks at "Custom Fields. When you then populate or update the list, Interspire 'knows' what information to store. Custom fields are also used for a personalized salutation in the mail. Use the Insert a Custom Field button (below the left side of the editor) to add the variable. You then get the following salutation in the editor, for example:

Dear %%Name%%,

Good to know

Send test mai

If you want to send a test email to yourself and/or colleagues, it's better not to use the 'Preview Your Email Campaign' button because then you can't try out all the links and you won't see the salutation (if it's a custom field). Better to create a test contact list.

In your test list, for example, put your own e-mail address and that of a colleague you work with. Also include at least one non-RU address (e.g., Yahoo or Gmail), as the formatting in those is often different than in Outlook. There is also a button in Interspire to test this, but it does not display exactly what you would see in the particular mail program. So always test the email in different programmes.

In your test contact list, in the 'List Owners Name' field, put Test for the name. Then it is immediately clear to everyone on the test list that it is the test mail.

Browser

Preferably use Interspire with the Firefox browser. With this browser the editor works better than with Internet Explorer, in which for example the creation of links sometimes does not work. Firefox can be found in the Software Center of the ICT Helpdesk. You can also use the portable version. You can download Firefox here.

Contact

Not quite there yet? Please contact the Online Strategy and Infrastructure department: