Graphic with an email icon and text Project: Mass Email

Project Overview

Information Technology Services (ITS) began the project to refresh the design of mass emails and bring them further in line with university branding. After receiving feedback from customers, the project expanded to explore how to create a more streamlined request and fulfillment process utilizing the ServiceNow software.

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Project Details

The project team created four (4) new email templates that customers will be able to choose from when requesting a mass email campaign: The Memo, The Flyer, The Double Feature and The Newsfeed. Below are samples of the different template designs and their description.

The Memo

Mockup of The Memo mass email template

The Memo is great for communicating a focused piece of information with a prominently featured hero image to catch the reader’s attention. There’s a large text section to share your message and you can add two unique links: one for the image and one for the button. The Memo is great for calling your audience to action.

The Flyer

Mockup of The Flyer mass email template

The Flyer is perfect for advertising an event or other one-time announcement, like a sale, with an edge-to-edge hero image sure to engage your audience. A text section allows you to supplement your image with more information. The image and button can be linked to direct your audience to take action.

The Double Feature

Example of the Double Feature mass email template

The Double Feature is great for messages with multiple pieces of information, like events and sales. Featuring up to five text sections in two columns, message organization has never been easier. The large hero image and button can be linked to provide more information to your audience.

The Newsfeed

Mockup of The Newsfeed mass email template

The Newsfeed is perfect for sharing several pieces of related information, like resources you provide. Up to four content sections with their own image and text plus an introduction section makes organizing your message easy. With up to five unique links, The Newsfeed offers the most flexibility for sharing additional information.


Customers will now download a pre-formatted Microsoft PowerPoint file to add their text, for a more complete visualization of their desired campaign. Each template also features space for a logo, social media links (not available for student organizations), contact information, at least one image, at least two links and customizable background/color scheme. Customers can also receive a post-campaign analytics report including how many people opened the email and how many times links were clicked, giving insights into how the message was received. 

The fee to send a mass email campaign will remain at the same $26.00 price. Customers will be able to pay with a Workday Worktag, an intramural form, or by charging it to the sender’s U-Bill, depending on the sender. In addition, customers will no longer be charged extra for sending the same email campaign to multiple lists (e.g. sending an email to a list of students and sending the same email to a list of employees).

Furthermore, customers will no longer need to contact the Office of the Registrar for a list of student email addresses or need to contact University Human Resources for a list of employee email addresses. By completing the new service request form in the IT Portal, customers will simply need to specify to whom they’d like their email sent. The appropriate office will automatically be contacted and the email addresses will be sent directly and securely to the IT Solution Center.

New Request Processes

For Student Organizations

  1. Complete the Event Authorization process, if applicable.
  2. Fill out the pre-formatted PowerPoint file
  3. Determine payment method (intramural form or U-Bill)
  4. Package any included images
  5. Complete the approval process through SAC
  6. Complete the request form in the IT Portal

For Colleges, Departments, Units and Faculty/Staff Organizations

  1. Fill out the pre-formatted PowerPoint file
  2. Determine payment method (Workday Worktag, intramural form or U-Bill)
  3. Package any included images
  4. Complete the request form in the IT Portal

For Researchers

  1. Fill out the pre-formatted PowerPoint file
  2. Determine payment method (Workday Worktag, intramural form or U-Bill)
  3. Package any included images
  4. Complete the request form in the IT Portal, including IRB approval documentation

For Class Projects

  1. Fill out the pre-formatted PowerPoint file
  2. Complete the Instructor Approval Form
  3. Determine payment method (Workday Worktag or U-Bill)
  4. Package any included images
  5. Complete the request form in the IT Portal


To ensure all emails are digitally accessible, all images included in mass email campaigns will require alt/descriptive text beginning June 15, 2021. You can learn more about alt text and best practices in the IT Portal.

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Current Status

The new service request form is now live. The product page in the IT Portal has been updated with detailed information on how to request a mass email with the new templates and process. All mass email requests submitted moving forward will be fulfilled using the new process, described above.

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Schedule & Timeline

June 2020

  • Identified a need to update the design of mass email campaigns with new university branding

July 2020

  • Solicited feedback about the current mass email service from past customers, campus communicators and student organizations

August 2020

  • Analyzed feedback to find themes
  • Student Activities Center independently updates their approval process for student organization mass email requests

September 2020

  • Began drafting new templates based on customer feedback

October 2020

  • Began mapping out the request process for various customer types to identify feasible changes

November 2020

  • Began meeting with stakeholders to discuss improvements to the request process

December 2020

  • Began creating knowledge base articles for training IT Solution Center staff
  • Began drafting updates to the customer-facing product pages

January 2021

  • Identified additional forms to improve the request process, especially for those sending a mass email campaign for research or a class project
  • Finalized the pricing and payment process

May 2021

  • Began assembling and testing the service request form in the IT Portal, powered by ServiceNow
  • Began communicating with stakeholders and campus about launch date

June 15, 2021

  • New mass email campaign templates and request process launched

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

No. Student organizations will not be able to directly link to their social media accounts from a mass email campaign, as per Student Activities Center (SAC) policy. SAC recommends that student organizations add links to their social media accounts on the organization's website through the student organization database.

June 15, 2021. Customers will be able to download the PowerPoint files to fill out on June 15 and any requests for a mass email campaign submitted on June 15 or after will use the new templates and request process.

Yes. Student organizations must still fill out the Qualtrics approval form through the Student Activities Center before submitting a mass email request in the IT Portal. If you're advertising an event, you'll also need to complete the event authorization process before requesting a mass email campaign.

No, images are not required to send a mass email. Images do tend to improve engagement and click rates and are encouraged if it makes sense for your message. If no images are included in the request, no images will be included in the email.

It is recommended to budget 7-10 business days to complete the entire request process. The IT Solution Center requests 3 business days to create and schedule the email campaign AFTER all approvals are completed and all necessary items are received. The IT Solution Center will not begin creating the email campaign until they receive your list of emails, your payment information, your completed PowerPoint template file, your packaged images and any other required documentation.

Sample Timeline (in business days):

  • Days 1-2: Customer completes the PowerPoint template file, packages images and completes any other required documentation
  • Days 3-5: Student organization completes the Student Activities Center review process
  • Days 6-7: the Office of the Registrar and/or University Human Resources compiles and sends the list of emails to the IT Solution Center
  • Days 8-10: IT Solution Center creates and schedules the mass email campaign

For many researchers using the mass email service, the Memo template tends to work best when constrained to limited text and few, if any, images. The Memo allows, but doesn't require any, images to be included and features a simple space for text.

$26.00 per email campaign. The price will remain the same even with all of the added features and customization options. You'll be able to pay with a Workday Worktag, an intramural form or by charging it to your U-Bill, depending on sender type. See the chart below for details. You also will no longer be charged extra for sending the same email campaign to multiple lists (ie. sending an email to a list of students and sending the same email to a list of employees).

Payment Options

SenderWorkday WorktagIntramural FormCharge to U-Bill
Student organizationNoYesYes
Department, unit, faculty/staff organizationYesYes (uncommon)Yes
ResearcherYesYes (uncommon)Yes
Class ProjectYesNoYes


The current/old design will be unavailable after June 15, 2021. The new email templates are designed using updated Iowa State University brand standards, for campaign recipieints to enjoy a refreshed look. However, you can request a custom color for the background, button and headings, so you could try to replicate the look if desired.

Your request will be fulfilled using the process in place before June 15 and your content will be formatted using the same design already in place. If you'd like to utilize the new templates or request process, we recommend waiting until June 15 to review and fill out the request form.

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