Create or view email marketing messages


Updated: November 1, 2016

Applies To: Dynamics Marketing


Microsoft Dynamics Marketing is scheduled to be retired on May 15, 2018. After that date the service will no longer be available. Please plan accordingly. For details, see the blog post Microsoft Dynamics Marketing service will be discontinued, and learn what’s coming next.

With Microsoft Dynamics Marketing you can create graphically-rich email designs and track usage and responses to your mailings. You can also create email templates and use any existing design as a template for a new campaign or email blast.

To see your existing marketing emails or create a new one, go to Marketing Execution > Email Marketing > Email Marketing Messages.

This takes you to a list view, where you can search, sort, and filter as needed. You can also read the number of outgoing messages you have scheduled, and the number of messages remaining in your subscription. The toolbar provides standard commands for adding, deleting, copying, invoicing, and organizing messages. For more information about these commands, see Learn how to work and get around in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing.

To work with marketing emails, you’ll need Edit/View Email Marketing permissions. More information: Work with user accounts and staff contacts.

  1. Go to Marketing Execution > Email Marketing > Email Marketing Messages, and then click NewNew button.

  2. A short form opens, which helps you get started with your message. Fill it out as follows:

    • Template: This is an important setting that controls which type of editor you’re able to use to design the email. You can’t change this later. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing provides both a graphical, drag-and-drop editor that requires no coding experience, and a text-based code editor that lets you design your HTML code. Select “Blank email” to use the graphic editor; select “Blank email with HTML editor” to use the code editor. Or you can choose a template that provides an initial design and other settings, while also controlling which editor will be available. You can choose a dedicated template or use any existing message as a template (see also Create or view templates for email marketing messages).

    • Company: Enter the name of the client company you’re creating the email for (who you may later invoice for the work), or your own company. This will affect the ways you can use the email; for example, you’ll only be able to send this email to lists that also belong to this company. You can’t change this after you save the email.

    • Send externally: If you’re creating an email that will be triggered by an external system, select this check box. You can’t change this after you save the email. (This option is only available if you have set up the SDK for your instance; see Configure the SDK and Dynamics 365 Connector for details.)

  3. Click Submit to go to the maintenance page, where you’ll finish setting up your new email (see the following section).

The maintenance page for email marketing messages is arranged in three top-level tabs: Summary, Edit Content, and Preview. Choose the Summary top-level tab Summary top-level tab button to work with all types of metadata associated with your message, including: message name subscription center associated company, campaign, event, performance and tracking data, and related records such as invoices, notes, and team. You can also define contact lists here to address the email and send it directly, rather than using campaign automation.

At the top of the Summary tab, you’ll find the basic settings and metadata for your message. This is also the second page you’ll see when creating a new message (before you have saved it at least once). The following table describes available settings.




Assign a status for the message. This value can be useful for sorting and filtering your records and for supporting internal processes or policies. Your admin can customize the values available here; see Create custom drop-down values and folders for details about how to customize drop-down values. (Category type = Email Category.)

After you send your message, the Status value automatically updates to track the progress of your email through the delivery system (thereby overwriting your custom Status setting, if any). For a description of each send-status value that can appear here, see Track email send status.


Deleted emails are assigned a status of “Canceled”. Canceled emails are hidden by default on the Messages list page and elsewhere in Dynamics Marketing. Use the show/hide inactive button Show All/Active Only button on the list-view toolbar to show or hide messages marked with a Status of “Canceled”.


Assign a category for the message. This value can be useful for sorting and filtering your records and for supporting internal processes or policies. Your admin can customize the values available here; see Create custom drop-down values and folders for details about how to customize drop-down values. (Category type = Email Category.)


An internal name for the email. This name appears on the list page and is also shown to identify your email elsewhere in Microsoft Dynamics Marketing (for example the campaign-automation canvas). Choose a short, unique, and informative name.

Send externally

If you’re creating a transactional message and you want it to be triggered by an external system, select this check box. This function requires the SDK, so this check box only appears when the SDK is enabled for your site. See also Configure the SDK and Dynamics 365 Connector.


You cannot change this setting after you save the email.

Send recurring

This check box only appears for messages with a Designation of “Commercial”. You should only enable it when designing a welcome message to be sent to contacts who submit a landing page and/or complete the double opt-in procedure.

For more information about the special situations where you might use this setting, see Create and customize landing pages, Set up the double opt-in system, and/or Validate, test and send messages.


Use this setting to establish how you will use the email. Your setting here will affect the functionality available for the message. Choose one of the following:

  • A/B testing: The email is to be tested against a similar, but slightly different, design to see which is the most effective. See also Use A/B testing to test response rates.

  • Campaign Automation: The email is to be used as part of an automated campaign on the campaign-automation canvas. See also Automate campaigns with the campaign canvas.

  • Double opt-in: The email is to be used to request confirmation of double opt-in. This setting is only provided when the selected Company is enabled for double opt-in. More information:Set up the double opt-in system

  • Transactional: The email is to be sent to just one (or a very few) recipient for the purpose of direct communication rather than marketing. Examples include order confirmations and shipping notifications

  • Commercial: A bulk email that includes promotional messages, offers, and solicitations. The email will be sent to all contacts included on the Lists tab of the Summary top-level tab (unless the Send Recurring box is selected, which is a special case). See also Validate, test and send messages.


The company for whom you are designing the email. This will affect how you can use the email; for example you will only be able to address this email to lists that also “belong to” this company. You must define this when you first create the message, and you cannot change it later.

Created by

The user account used to create the message. This cannot be changed after you save the message.

Subscription Center

Specify which Subscription Center plug-in should be used. All marketing emails must include a link to a subscription center (where users can subscribe and unsubscribe to emailing lists). In your design, place the link as a placeholder. Establish the plug-in to use here, which you can change later if needed.

Forward to a friend

Select which Forward to a Friend plug-in should be used. Like the subscription center, you will design your email by placing a Forward to a Friend link as a placeholder. Establish the plug-in to use here, which you can change later if needed.

Double opt-in link

This setting only appears when Designation is set to “Double opt-in”. Specify which double opt-in link plug-in should be used. Like the subscription center, you will design your email by placing a double opt-in link as a placeholder. Establish the plug-in to use here, which you can change later if needed. More information:Set up the double opt-in system

In addition to the basic settings, you can add many other details about your email projects. To see these, open the Details fold-down located just under the basic details.



Create date

Defaults to the day the message was created, though you can also change it.

Bounce handling

Controls how to handle hard bounces, which indicate that a given email address is invalid (typically because the server and/or user account do not exist). Choose one of the following:

  • Purge Hard Bounces: The system will delete email addresses that result in a hard bounce from their contact records. Administrators can specify whether purged email addresses get logged (see also Configure email marketing and marketing automation options).

  • Retain Hard Bounces: The system will log hard bounces and show them in email performance statistics, but will keep the addresses in their contact records, which means you risk using them again.


Your email-send reputation may suffer if you allow too many hard bounces to occur, which will eventually reduce your message deliverability as more of your messages get flagged by spam filters. If you decide to retain hard-bouncing addresses, then you should keep an eye on your performance statistics and manually remove the bad addresses (see also Analyze the performance of email marketing).

Division, Program, Campaign, Event, Job, Source Code, Phone, and Offer

You can associate your marketing email with any or all of these type entities. This can be convenient because it lets you jump directly to any associated entity by choosing its field label here. Likewise, your marketing message will be listed (and linked) in the Email Marketing tab on the maintenance page for each specified entity.

Google Analytics

Select this check box if you want Google Analytics tracking codes appended to the hyperlinks in the email.

Microsoft Dynamics Marketing will set the tracking code parameters as follows:

  • Campaign Source = Microsoft Dynamics Marketing

  • Medium = Email

  • Term = [blank]

  • Content = [blank]

  • Campaign Name = [Email Message Name]

Topic and Type

Use these fields to help track and organize your emails according to your workplace practices. Your site administrator can customize the values available for each of these drop-down lists to ensure they match your business. See Create custom drop-down values and folders for details about how to customize drop-down list values.


To move the message to another folder (available through the main navigator), select a target folder name here. See also Organize messages using folders.


The importance flag is part of the email standard and most email clients report this value in their message list.

Select an importance grade from the list. Normal is the default—in most cases, you should keep this value. Abuse of the “high” setting is sure to annoy your recipients and can also hurt your organization’s reputation, landing more of your messages in recipients’ spam folders. You will be prompted to reconsider and confirm your setting if you change the importance to “high.”

You’ll see the Links fold-down section when a message has been queued or dispatched. It displays a list of all the hyperlinks in the message. For each link shown here, you can see the full link as you authored it, a friendly name for the link (editable), and the final destination of the link (also editable).

When you send a message, all of the links it includes are automatically parsed and replaced with redirect URLs that identify the recipient and redirect through the Dynamics Marketing service, which logs the click and forwards the contact directly to your specified destination. As a result, you can actually edit the final destination of a link even after your messages have been delivered.

To edit a link destination:

  1. Click the target URL in the Hyperlink URL column. The link turns into an input field with Save and Cancel buttons.

  2. Edit the text field as needed. Note that, if your links include dynamic text (such as a value from the contact record), then include these using placeholders on the form [-pX-], where X is an incrementing integer that matches the order in which you placed the dynamic values in your original link (starting with zero). For example:
    If you want to link to:
    Then use:[-p0-]+[-p1-]

  3. Click the Save button to apply your changes.

You can also edit the Friendly Name value using a similar technique. The friendly name appears only in Dynamics Marketing, so you can use it any way you like. The name you enter here will also be used to identify this link elsewhere in the interface, such as on the Performance tab for your message (in the Link view under Details).

The Validation Errors fold-down section is displayed if you try to test-send or send a message that fails the validation check. Look here to find out what you need to fix before you can continue.

After you have saved your message at least once, you'll be able to see the related-information tabs below the dotted line. Use the drop-down list at the top of this area to change the tab.




Lets you route your email design for approval. You can create an approval workflow and track its progress from here.


Lists all contacts to whom you sent the email and tracks their engagement. Here you can see information about the number of opens, clicks, and forwards. Note also that the Type column here will report any hard or soft bounces.


Lets you send a simple email related to the current marketing email. All emails sent using this tab for the current marketing email are also listed here. These emails will also be visible in the site-wide email list.


Lets you record and view expenses related to the current marketing email. These expenses will also be visible in the site-wide expenses list.


Displays the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing digital-asset management tool. If you upload a file using this tab, the tool will create a folder named after your current marketing email (if it doesn’t already exist) and save your upload there.


Lets you create an invoice for the current marketing email and lists all invoices already created using this tab.


Use this tab to choose the marketing lists you’ll send the email to. You can add both send and suppression lists here and sequence them by priority (which affects segmentation-controlled content for users on more than one list). If you use more than one send list, you can design your email so that some parts of it appear for contacts on some static lists but not for others (that is, apply segmentation to your content). You can’t attach segmented content to queries, only to static lists.

In the list of lists, you’ll see columns for Suppression and for Subscription. The Suppression check box is selected for lists that you specified as suppression when adding them. The Subscription check box is selected for lists that are configured to be included in your subscription center. As a rule, all lists used as send lists should have this check box selected (this setting is part of the list setup).


You might use campaign automation instead of the Lists tab to address your email. The Lists tab is ignored when you use campaign automation.


Displays any log messages associated with your email. These are generated automatically.


Lets you view, add, and reply to notes added to the marketing email by you and other users. You can also add quick notes here without going to the tab by clicking the Notes toolbar button at the top of the maintenance page.


Lets you see and add orders (such as external stock photos, copywriting, or design work) associated with your marketing email.


Displays key performance indicators that can help you evaluate the success of your email, such as opens, clicks, forwards, unsubscribes, and bounces. You can see a chart, a summary, and individual details, and also compare actual to estimated results.


The Summary view offered here includes links leading to extra details about emails that were blocked due to cross-campaign and contact-permission rules, and to details about unsubscribe events. Click these links to find out which contacts were affected by which blocking rules and who unsubscribed from which lists.

For more information about the information shown here, see Analyze the performance of email marketing


Lets you view and add products related to your email.


Lets you view and add information about the results of your marketing email. These items are not generated automatically, so use these to manually add performance details that you can also use in the context of the results feature found at Marketing Execution > Results > Results.


Lets you establish a team of staff contacts that are working on the marketing email. This provides a convenient place to look up and contact staff while also ensuring that all team members are able to view and edit the email.

After you have set up the basic metadata and saved a new marketing email, you’ll be able to start designing the content of your message by clicking the Edit Content button Edit Content tab button from the top-level tab selector just below the page title. The type of editor you see here will depend on the template you selected when creating the email. You’ll have one of the following:

  • Graphical editor: An easy-to-use graphical interface for designing the content and layout of your email. This editor is available only if you selected the “Blank email” template when creating the email, or chose a pre-designed template (or existing email) that is also based on this editor. See Design message content using the graphical editor for details about working with this editor.

  • Code editor: A code-based editor for working directly with HTML code. This editor provides full control over your code, but requires some HTML/CSS experience. This editor is available only if you selected the “Blank email with HTML editor” template when creating the email, or chose a pre-designed template (or existing email) that is also based on this editor. See Design message content using the text-based code editor for details about working with this editor.

Use the Preview top-level tab Preview tab to get an idea of how contacts will see your email when they open it on their device. The feature provides previews for several different screen sizes, so you can also preview the effect of your responsive design elements. See Preview your marketing email design for more information about how to use the Preview tab.

When you use the graphical email editor, you create your message using drag-and-drop layout elements and a rich text editor. But behind the scenes, you are actually generating HTML. If you would like to inspect or copy the generated HTML, then click on the View HTML Content top-level tab Graphical email editor View HTML Content tab. (This top-level tab is not available when you use the code editor.)

One way to use this feature is to get a quick head-start on your coding as follows:

  1. Start by using the graphical editor to set up your basic layout, including links, graphics, and all required plug-ins.

  2. Go to the View HTML Content top-level tab Graphical email editor View HTML Content tab and copy the code shown there.

  3. Paste the code into your favorite HTML editor and fine-tune it as needed. Be careful to preserve the links and plug-in codes generated by the Dynamics Marketing editor because these are specially formatted to generate tracking URLs and other features at send time. Also be sure to use email-friendly HTML coding techniques, which are more restrictive than modern web design.

  4. When your code is ready, go back to Dynamics Marketing and create a new email based on the Blank email with HTML editor template.

  5. Set up the message as usual and then paste your optimized code into the text editor on the Edit Content top-level tab Edit Content tab button. You can now send or activate the message as usual.

Email marketing messages are sent to email addresses that belong to lists or queries. The list management and segmentation features let you perform tasks related to contact lists and are a key element of marketing database functions.

Lists are static; you must add contacts manually to each list. Queries are dynamic; you establish a set of criteria that defines the members of the list and when the query is run, Dynamics Marketing generates a list of all the contacts that meet those criteria. Queries are often a convenient way to generate email lists based on criteria that relate to your market-segmentation strategies.

Dynamics Marketing treats lists and queries identically; you can use them interchangeably. However, the place where you specify the lists will depend on which Designation setting you have made for the email:

To specify lists for an email marketing message when you are not using the campaign canvas or A/B testing:

  1. Go to Marketing Execution > Email Marketing > Email Marketing Messages and either open or create a message (see also: create message).

  2. Click the Lists tab. Microsoft Dynamics Marketing displays all the send and suppression lists associated with the message.

  3. To add a list, choose the Add button Edit Options button. A pop-up window opens, showing all of the lists currently defined in the system. Do the following:

    • Select the lists you want the message to be sent to by choosing their Send check boxes.

    • Select the lists that contain contacts that you do not want to send to by selecting their Suppression check boxes. Suppression lists always overrule send lists.

  4. Click Submit.Microsoft Dynamics Marketing updates the Lists to include your new selections.

To remove a list shown on the Lists tab, select its check box and click the Delete button on the toolbar.

When you design your message, you can designate parts of the email to be targeted at contacts from specific static lists only, applying segmentation within a single message (see also: Design message content using the graphical editor). That’s why the top-to-bottom order of send lists canbe important when a contact appears on more than one list. In this case, that contact will only be considered part of the highest priority list and will receive a single email to which that highest-priority segmentation has been applied. You can’t attach segmented content to queries, only to static lists. The order of suppression lists is not important.

To change the order of your lists, go the List tab on the Summary for your message, select the check box for a list and use the Move Up and Move Down toolbar buttons to reposition it. Note also the values in the Priority column, which indicate the priority of each email (1 is highest).

When you send your email, Microsoft Dynamics Marketing evaluates your collection of send and suppression lists together with other opt-out criteria to generate a final list of addresses to which the system will attempt to send your email (some may still bounce). The following rules apply:

  • Any unique contact that is included on a suppression list will be removed, regardless of how many send lists they may be on.

  • Any unique contact that appears on more than one send list will receive the email just once, possibly with segmentation rules applied to the content (see “Prioritizing yours lists” earlier in this topic).

  • Contacts configured with “do not email” will be removed.

  • Cross-campaign rules can prevent contacts from receiving too many emails in a given period and may result in contacts being removed from an email. See also Create cross-campaign rules to prevent spamming of customers.

  • Duplicates are identified and removed according to contact ID, not by email address. Therefore, you may send your message to a given email address more than once when that address is shared by more than one contact. This makes it possible for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing to track and score contacts individually, even when they share a common email address.

You will probably want to include graphics in your email designs. Though you could link to graphics from anywhere, we recommend you use the digital-asset-management feature of Dynamics Marketing to upload and manage your email graphics. This will make them easily accessible as you design your email, and also results in significant performance increases when your email is delivered because of the way Dynamics Marketing coordinates and caches deliveries.


Upload all graphics intended for use with marketing emails to the Email Marketing folder of the Files window. This will ensure that your graphics are publicly available to all recipients will also activate the special caching and handling mechanism optimized for mass emails. Files saved in other folders may preview fine for you in Dynamics Marketing and during testing, but may not be available to your email recipients who are sure to lack security access to Dynamics Marketing; these files will also not benefit from the delivery enhancements.


Privacy warning: All graphics in the Email Marketing folder are readable to the general public. Anybody with the right URL will be able to see them, even if they are not an original recipient of your marketing email. Do not include confidential information in these files.

See also Find, organize, and upload files in the file browser for details about working with files and folders in Dynamics Marketing.