Emma Tutorial

What's Emma?

Emma is the email marketing software that Institutional Marketing has chosen to assist departments/offices with the creation and sending of email campaigns. It has a drag-and-drop interface similar to CMS 4, manages subscriber lists, and provides reports to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. While departments are free to use any email newsletter service they want, we only provide support for Emma. GVSU-branded email templates are available for university use and we can help with basic troubleshooting. Departments are responsible for content and recipient lists.

For brand consistency and maintenance reasons, we are unable to accommodate department requests for custom Emma templates. 

Want access?

Contact Kelley Rogers (rogerkel@gvsu.edu) in Institutional Marketing. One account will be created per department/office, and access will only be given to faculty and staff. Set up will typically be completed within 1-2 weeks. 

To request access for new users, please have a current administrator contact Kelley. 

Emma accounts with no activity in a 12 month span will be deleted. 

The number of departments around campus using Emma has increased. This is great, but it has had an impact on our cost. To keep our cost to a minimum, please clear your contact lists in Emma. Emma retains a record of individuals who have unsubscribed regardless of whether you delete contacts.

Getting Started

After logging in, the first screen you'll see is the account summary. Click "Campaigns" in the top navigation bar.


If your account is brand new, click the blue "Create new campaign" button in the center of the screen. 

If you're starting a new email, the blue "Create new campaign" button is located on the right side of the screen.

If you want to edit an existing email, click the email's name. 

the Campaigns screen

First, you'll want to name your email from the default "Untitled Mailing". Click the pencil icon in the upper left corner. (Located in the pink rectangle.)

To view your template options, click "Show templates" and thumbnail images will appear. Template options are dependent on your office/department. To change your template, click any of the thumbnails.

An email open for editing

Adding and Editing Content

Content Types

The left column is where your content options are - images, text, text with images, buttons, social media icons, videos, etc. Any of these can be dragged and dropped onto your email.

Information about what each option can do.


When dragging a content block in, you'll see yellow "DROP HERE" bars, showing where your content can be placed. The yellow bar will change to green when hovering over an available location. 

Content drop indicators

Text formatting and adding links is done via the toolbar that appears after clicking on text.

Hint: The "paragraph" drop down includes options to make formatting headings and sub-headings easier! 

Text editing options

Clicking the yellow bar's gear icon will bring up any styles and settings for that content block. You can adjust things like image quantity and alignment, margin and padding around your image and/or text. 

You can also rearrange content blocks by clicking and dragging the 4-way arrow.  

Article settings/styles

To add an image, click any of the gray placeholder images. You'll have the option to upload an image from your computer, find one in your image library, use a shared image, or even add one from Facebook after linking your profile.

If you're creating your own header image, it will have to be 640 px wide to fit correctly. 

Adding images

Full Width Image

To create a full width header image on the "GVSU 2017" template, there are a few steps you'll want to take: 

First, drag an "Image" chunk onto your email and either upload a new image or select one from your photo album. (Hint: images need to be at least 640 px wide!)

Before saving the image, click the gear button next to the padding text box and adjust all 4 values to 0. Now you can click "SAVE".

Emma's "Add Image" screen

At this point, you'll see the image on your email. Hover over your image and click the gear icon that appears in the yellow toolbar.

By default, Emma includes a small margin on each side. You'll want to drag the Margin slider all the way to the left to remove it. Now the sides of your image should line up with the blue header bar. 

If you need assistance, feel free to contact Kelley (rogerkel@gvsu.edu).

Emma toolbar

Duplicating an Email

Once an email has been built, you may find it easiest to make a copy of it for future use. You can duplicate your email before or after it's been sent.

Before Sending:

From the "Emails" screen, click the down arrow button to the right of your email, Click "Duplicate".

After Sending: 

Click the "Sent" tab under the "Emails" page title. You'll see a list of all the emails you've sent. Click the down arrow button to the right of your email, then click "Duplicate". 


A very useful feature in Emma is the ability to preview your email in desktop, mobile, and tablet views before sending. Click the "Preview" button in the toolbar and you'll be able to toggle between desktop, mobile and tablet views.

However, be aware that not all mail apps correctly display the mobile-formatted email! 


Preview - Desktop

An email preview at desktop resolution

Preview - tablet resolution

An email preview at tablet resolution

While in mobile view, please scroll through your entire email and ensure that everything is visible. In other words, that nothing overhangs into the margins on the left or right sides, indicated by the arrows. 

Preview - mobile resolution


Contact lists are added by uploading an Excel spreadsheet or .csv file. To add recipients, click the "Audience" button in the top toolbar. 

  • To create a new audience group, click "Groups" (indicated by a green arrow) then click the "Create a new group" button on the page that appears . 
  • If your audience group already exists, click "Imports" (indicated by a pink arrow), then the "Import contacts" button on the next screen.
    • First, you'll import your list via selecting the .csv or .xls file on your computer. 
    • Now you'll be prompted to map your fields. If there are any fields you do not need to import data for, choose "Ignore" in the Contact Fields column. If your file has a header row, check "Skip" next to the Row 1 column heading.
    • Next, you'll choose what group the contacts should be added to. 
    • Finally, you'll see a summary screen. If everything looks correct, click "IMPORT". The import process typically takes a few minutes to complete. 

Importing contacts

Only need to add a few recipients to a group? There's an easy way to add them - and you don't need to create and upload a file. 

From the Contacts screen, click the blue "Add Contact" button on the right side of the screen.

At the top of the next screen, right under the header is where you enter the email address. (See the area noted by the pink rectangle... it's very easy to miss!) Once you enter the email address, the "SAVE" button will be active. Before clicking "SAVE", you may want to select what group(s) the email address should be included; those can be found on the right side of the screen. 

Add a single contact


Before sending your email, it's never a bad idea to run a quick test. This can be done by clicking "Send test" and specifying the recipients. A test email can be sent to 10 addresses at once. 

Sending your email

Once you're ready to actually send the email, click "Review & Send". From there, specify your recipient list(s) and subject line, and confirm your sender information.

You'll have the option to send the email immediately or schedule it for later.

Test your campaign

Campaign Results

Want to know how successful your email was? After your email is sent, you'll begin to see reports on the Response section of your account. You'll also receive an email 24 hours later with data. 

Click the name of a mailing to display a summary screen. Basic statistics can be seen here (green block), and to see much more detailed data, click any of the tabs - "Opens", "Clicks", "Shares", etc. (in the pink block).

Campaign response summary screen

Cleaning Up Recipients

Emma handles recipients differently than you may expect. Instead of keeping separate lists for each group of email addresses you upload, Emma has one list of all email addresses and knows which groups each email address is a member of. (If you're familiar with Gmail, it's the same concept; instead of putting email in folders, you put labels on them - and one email can have multiple labels.)

As a result, you can't simply delete unneeded groups. (This can cause "orphaned" email addresses -- addresses that are no longer associated with any group.) You need to delete the recipients first. 

NOTE: These instructions assume that you a) upload a new recipient list every time you send an email, and b) that you do not need to save any existing contacts. If a recipient group needs to be kept, contact Kelley (rogerkel@gvsu.edu) for assistance. 

From the Audience section, click "Contacts" on the left. In the "ACTIONS" drop down, select "Archive all".

Archive All

An alert window will appear, confirming that all active contacts will be removed. Click the "ARCHIVE" button.

Don't worry! "You will no longer be able to send email to these subscribers" just means that until you upload a new list, you will not be able to contact your recipients. Archiving contacts does not permanently unsubscribe them from your emails, and archived contacts can be included in groups in the future.

Emma alert message - "Are you sure you want to archive ALL active contacts?"

After cleaning up your active contacts list, you'll probably want to follow the same steps for your Error contacts. According to Emma, contacts with a status of Error or Opt-Out do not count toward your audience total for billing purposes. However, email addresses are typically in this category because they have incorrect formatting (missing the @, have a misspelling, etc.) or they "hard bounced". (A hard bounce indicates a permanent reason an email cannot be delivered — the email address or domain no longer exists, the mail server has blocked delivery, etc.)

You can find this list under the "ERROR" sub-navigation. 

Location of the "ERRORS" menu in Emma

Now that you've archived your contacts, you probably have at least one group that can be removed.

To remove the empty group:

Click "GROUPS" in the left column.

Put a check in the box that appears to the left of the group's name, and click the "ARCHIVE" button that appears above the column of check boxes. The empty group has been removed. 

Archiving a group