Reusable Content Blocks – First Look

Dynamics 365 for Marketing delivers comprehensive capabilities for creating and running multi-channel campaigns to generate leads for your sales team using simple drag-and-drop design tools.

In the upcoming October ’18 release, one of the new capabilities is Reusable Content Blocks.

With Reusable Content Blocks in Dynamics 365 for Marketing you can define and store reusable blocks of content that are easy to add to marketing emails, forms and page designs.

For example, if you’ve created a nice looking banner header – or if you created an (advanced) string of text with dynamic fields to personalize your messaging – you can make it a standard design element to use in eg. emails by saving it as a reusable block.

You can also protect some or all of a block’s content or design to restrict other users’ ability to edit them. Reusable content blocks provide a protected way to distribute standard marketing materials and design elements among your team for use in campaigns, pages, and emails.

Because you can selectively protect some aspects of the content, you can improve compliance with your brand identity and organizational design standards.

Use the new content-blocks creator to define the content, design, and rules for each reusable content block.

Once a block is saved and the rules are set, users will be able to see it in read-only mode within the content designer for marketing mails, forms and pages. Users can then drag and drop these tiles into their designs and use the block.

In this blog post I’ll show you how to create and leverage content blocks (note: you will need access to the October ’18 Preview to test this out yourself)

We will create three content blocks:

  1. content block (image) with a banner
  2. content block (text) with dynamics fields to personalize the mail
  3. content block (text) with fields required to be compliant (physical address and subscription center link)

For each block we will set the availability (if not set, the block won’t be available to include in eg an email)

Finally we’ll create a new email using the reusable content blocks.

To start creating Content Blocks navigate to Marketing Content -> Content Blocks

Click New

In the Toolbox pane you’ll see two available content block (design) elements – Text and Image

Drag an Image element on to the canvas

When you are designing a content block in the graphical designer, the image element requires that you specify the image using a URL – paste it into the Source field (1) – rather than select one from the File browser.

You can still use images stored in your Active Files library, but you must look up the URL first by going to Marketing -> Marketing content -> Files

After pasting the image URL in the Source field you must define the availability of the content block.

Click the Details tab (1)

Expand the Availability drop-down (1) and check the checkboxes to make the content block available in the relevant components (email and/or form and/or page)

Save, check for errors and go live to publish the content block

The new content block is now listed in the grid Active Content Blocks

Create a another content block (text) with a couple of dynamics fields in it.

To compose the HTML needed you can create a blank email, insert the dynamics fields using the Dynamics Assist toolbar button, and subsequently grab the relevant HTML from mails HTML tab (see this blog post for hints)

Navigate to the HTML tab (1) of the content block, and paste the HTML section into the bottom (2)

Create a third content block (text) with dynamics fields for the required address and subscription center (same approach as above)

To test the newly created content blocks out create a new email off of the “Blank” template

Notice the new entry in the designer toolbox – Content block (1)

Drag the Content block on to the canvas

In the Source drop-down of the Properties pane, select the name of the first content block (image) you created above

The graphics of the content block displays

Drag another content block on to the canvas below the first content block

In the Source drop down select the name of the second content block (text) you created above

The text of the content block displays (1)

Drag a Text block on to the canvas and compose a body text and salutation as you see fit

Drag yet another content block on to the canvas below the Text block

In the Source drop down select the name of the third content block (text) you created above

The text of the content block displays (1)

To test the mail do a Test Send. We’ll use the contact Christa Geller from Sweden to verify the dynamics fields resolves correctly

In the inbox of the test send recipient verify everything looks as expected. We see the First Name field resolves to Christa, and the Country field resolves to Sweden. We also see the Physical Address field resolves according to the content settings as well as a link to the subscription center is present.

Everything works as expected, and we can now build mails from scratch real quickly using the brand new Reusable Content Blocks capability in Dynamics Marketing

I hope you will enjoy this new capability enabling you to save time, enforce consistency and much more.

See also

  • Overview of Dynamics 365 for Marketing October ’18 release – link

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