University of Minnesota
University Relations
Our Brand: How to Convey It

Our Brand: How to Convey It.


Mass Email Requirements and Guidelines

Note: Mass email tools and processes are changing during 2015. Communication requirements and guidelines for use of these tools will be updated throughout the year.

About mass email

Well-managed use of mass email is critical to maintaining recipients' perceptions of the validity and effectiveness of electronic communications.

University Relations works to define mass email requirements, guidelines, tool recommendations, and list sources in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology and units across campus. The information on this site is updated as new information becomes available.

If you'd like to send a mass email, contact your unit's communications staff. If you have questions about whether your message is mass email, contact

See the Mass Email Download page for the responsive email template download as well as usage and coding tips.


Mass email sent by University units must be accessible to all message recipients. When creating an HTML mass email message, follow University guidelines, refer to the Accessibility of Information Technology policy, and contact Disability Services at if you have questions.

Use the following guidelines to ensure your messages meet accessibility requirements.

  • Use heading tags, rather than simply changing the font style, size, weight, and other attributes.
  • Add alternative text for images that convey meaning or represent branding logos and other marks.
  • Hide decorative images using an empty alt attribute – alt=””.
  • Links should be clear and able to stand alone. Avoid links such as “click here,” “read full article,” more information” and so on.
  • Do not rely on color alone to convey information.
  • Be sure that the contrast between text and the background is significantly high.
  • Use relative (% and em), rather than absolute (px and pt), font sizing; allowing recipients to adjust text size to meet their needs/preferences.

Mass email system features

Below is a list of some of the features of each U of M mass email system.

Salesforce Marketing Cloud (was ExactTarget)

  • Subscription, opt-out
  • HTML
  • Tracking
  • Cost per message
  • Account and training required
  • Scheduling
  • Includes ALL lists for internal messaging

Google Groups

  • Subscription, opt-out
  • Ability to format depends on the email client used to send the message
  • No tracking
  • No cost to send messages
  • IT help available for loading large lists
  • Archive of sent messages
  • Configurable - only certain people can send, moderation, etc.
  • Member management, permissions

Paid advertising in mass email

The sale of advertising space in University electronic communications to non-University entities implies an endorsement of a service or product. To preserve its academic independence and integrity, the University of Minnesota expressly chooses not to allow advertising on University websites, in email, on digital signage, and in other electronic publications. Advertising in any form in University of Minnesota electronic communications is prohibited.

More information

If you have questions about the mass email guidelines or requirements, or if you need advice on how to structure your messages, please contact If you need help working with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, see the self-help guide.