This page describes the requirements for how to choose an email distribution tool, develop a template, and promote an email distribution list You can also learn more about GovDelivery, the official Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) email distribution tool.
Choosing an Email Tool
There are many tools available to send emails to a large list of individuals. You can use:
- EERE's GovDelivery account
- A DOE or national laboratory email tool
- A commercial mailing list provider that follows the criteria listed below.
GovDelivery is EERE's email distribution tool. It is centrally funded and supported; offices can use it at no charge.
To learn more about GovDelivery's capabilities, create email lists, or receive access to GovDelivery, contact Carolyn Hinkley. It takes approximately three business days to create a new list.
Using Another Email Distribution Tool
If you choose a different email management tool:
- They must follow the DOE cyber security guidelines on DOE's Policy and Regulations page.
- Make sure your host provides you with a fixed IP address. A static IP address tells ISPs and the world at large that you are not a spammer.
- Ask if they screen prospective customers in any way before signing them. A screening process is a good sign that a provider is making an attempt to steer clear of spammers.
- Make sure unsubscribes are processed automatically. Processing bad email addresses uses up valuable ISP resources. Because of this, ISPs quickly lose patience with senders who repeatedly send mail to "dead" or non-existent email addresses. The ISPs may start blocking your messages as a result.
- Make sure they provide sufficient security to assure that people cannot "hijack" your list for their own mailings or cannot obtain your list from the mailing list provider. Ask how the list database is protected from hackers. At a minimum, list administrator functions should be password protected. Be sure to use a secure password.
Using Microsoft Outlook
Sending email messages through Outlook is NOT recommended for the following reasons:
- Anyone on the list will be able to send email to your entire list by selecting "reply to all."
- It ties up valuable email server resources.
- Large numbers of out-of-office emails and replies will be sent to your Outlook inbox.
- HTML formatting in Outlook can look very different in other email clients.
Choosing a Template
The majority of EERE's newsletters use the standard EERE template. Some offices create their own, unique templates.
The Standard EERE Template
Most newsletters use the default EERE template. This template is designed to resize based on the screen size.
These elements cannot be changed:
- The header. This is the block that includes the Energy.gov and EERE logos, the name of the email list, and the color bar.
- The color used for the color bars, text box, and third-level headers. This is determined by which of the EERE pillars your office is located in. See the email template color and font document to find the colors and styles for your pillar. Note that these colors are for GovDelivery ONLY and cannot be used elsewhere online, for presentations, or for outreach materials.
- The font styles and font colors.
- The background colors.
- The footer section.
These elements are optional. They are included as examples; offices can remove them, move them, or change them:
- The date
- The image
- The callout box.
The body section can be altered in any way. You can add images, tables, and additional design elements to the center column—no review is necessary as long as you don't change the elements listed above.
Creating a New Template
If you want to alter the fundamental elements of the EERE template—or want to design your own—please contact the Web Governance Team.
All EERE templates must include EERE branding, either by including the EERE identifier or by using an approved logo. Additionally, all templates should include a link in the footer that allows users to unsubscribe.
Promoting Email Lists
Once you've decided on a tool and a template, you will want to build your subscriber base.
Do Not Add Subscribers to Mailing Lists Without Their Approval
Your email list should only include subscribers who have opted in for this specific newsletter. Do not add subscribers from one email list to another, unrelated list. Do not harvest email addresses from other sources and add them to your lists.
You can invite individuals to join a new list. Here are the steps:
- Send one or two emails to an existing list (or a one-time use, temporary GovDelivery list—these include "TEMPORARY" in their list names.)
- Ask them to join the new newsletter. Include the link to subscribe.
- The individuals who manually sign up for the new list have agreed to receive your emails.
- The individuals who did not sign up have not agreed to receive your new content. Do not continue sending them emails for the new list.
Create a Subscription Page
Create a page that explains what your list is about and how often you usually send emails. This will help users understand what your content is about and decide whether they want to sign up.
Add Subscription Links to Your Website
Set GovDelivery Lists to "Listed"
Email lists in GovDelivery can be listed or unlisted. "Listed" (or "public") lists will be recommended to individuals signing up for other GovDelivery lists.
Listed lists tend to get large numbers of subscribers. You may see large numbers of invalid emails or bots, which GovDelivery will remove when you attempt to email them. Additionally, many valid subscribers may join your list, but they may not know what your office does. Generally, listed lists have more subscribers, but they also see high numbers of unsubscribes.
"Unlisted" lists are not promoted in GovDelivery. However, users can still sign up through subscription boxes or subscription links. Unlisted lists are good if you want a smaller, more focused subscriber base. They are also used for lists with curated subscriber lists.
Feature Your List in GovDelivery
GovDelivery cross-promotes lists between federal agencies. Every agency using GovDelivery can choose a small number of lists to promote in this way.
Featured lists get more subscribers than listed lists. However, only a small number of lists can be featured at a time. Your list must be listed before it can be featured.