Product Updates Documentation

The Product Updates extension is no longer available. We recommend MailChimpConvert Kit, or Zapier as an alternative.

Keeping your customers up-to-date with your plugin can be vital, whether it's due to a security fix or a new feature set.  Product Updates allows you to send personalized email messages to your customers with new download links for updated products within Easy Digital Downloads.

I. Getting Started

Install the Extension

1. Download plugin as .zip

2. Go to Plugins → Add New in WordPress Dashboard

3. Select "Upload"

4. Upload the downloaded .zip file

5. Activate plugin (Must have Easy Digital Downloads already installed and activated)

Choose your settings

6. Go to WordPress Menu → Downloads → Settings → Emails and scroll to the bottom

7. Choose your product update email settings

More info: see the "Settings" section below (Section II)

Create a product update email

8. Go to WordPress Menu → Downloads → Product Updates

More info: see the "Main Product Updates Page" section below (Section III)

9. Click the "Send New Email" button located at the top of the page (next to "Product Updates" header)

10. Once on the "Add Product Update Email" page, fill in the info about your email including from name, from email, which products to update, and the message to send to customers.

More info: see the "Add/Edit Product Update Email Page" section below (Section IV)

11. Click the "Save Changes" button in the top right of the page or the "Save Email" button at the bottom of the page

12. If you wish, you can continue to edit your email (just be sure to save it!)

Test your product update email

13. Once you are satisfied with your email, you can preview it by clicking the "Preview Email" button in the top right

14. If the preview looks good, you can also send a real test email by putting to up to five emails (separated by commas) in the text field under "Send Test Email To:" and clicking the "Send Test Email" button. Please note: links do not work in test emails because the links are created using purchase information, which isn't available in the test emails. The links will work on real emails sent to your customers.

Send your product update email

15. If your tests have gone well and you're ready to send your email, click the "Send Update Email" button in the top right of the page.

16. A box will appear with a final preview asking you to confirm everything is correct. Please look over this final preview carefully. If you think more changes need to be made, click outside of the preview or click the "Close Without Sending" button to continue editing your email. Otherwise, if you are sure you wish to send the email, click the "Confirm and Send Emails"

17. A popup window will appear with a button that says "Start Sending" - whenever you are ready to begin sending the email, click it!

More info: see the "Sending Popup Page" section below (Section V)

18. Do not close the popup window until the email has finished processing and all messages have been sent. If you need to, you can choose to pause the email send and come back to it later.

19. Once the email has finished sending, you can view it either by clicking the "View Sent Email" button that appears in the popup window or by accessing the email on the "Main Product Updates Page"

More info: see section "View Product Update Email" section below (Section VI)

20. Congratulations - you sent your first product update email!

II. Settings

There are several important settings for the EDD Product Updates extension found in the "Product Updates Settings" section within the "Emails" tab of the main settings page of Easy Digital Downloads (WordPress Menu → Downloads → Settings → Emails):

Settings for EDD Product Updates

Disable automatic queue removal. When an email message does not finish sending, it is stored in an email queue. By default, EDD Product Updates automatically removes any emails that have been in the queue for 48 hours. By checking this box and disabling the automatic queue removal, emails will remain in the queue indefinitely until you finish sending them or manually clear them from the queue.

Easy Digital Downloads Software Licensing Integration. When enabled, only customers with "Active" software licenses will receive updates for products which have EDD Software Licensing enabled.

As an example - when turned on - if Product A has Software Licensing enabled and Product B does not, a customer who has purchased both products and has an "Active" license on Product A will receive updates for both. If a customer has purchased both products, but has an inactive or invalid license on Product A, they will only receive updates for Product B.

Email Template. Choose which template to apply specifically to emails sent using the EDD Product Updates extension. This setting only affects product update emails.

III. Main Product Updates Page

The main list view (found in WordPress Menu → Downloads → Product Updates) of all sent, queued, cancelled, and draft product update emails.

Click to enlarge

To create a Product Update email to send from this page, simply click "Send New Email" at the top of the screen next to the "Product Updates" header. To edit a previously created email, click on any of the Email Names or hover over them to reveal an "Edit" link underneath the Email Name.

By default, the main view will show all of your product updates regardless of status. You can sort by the various statuses by clicking on them underneath the "Product Updates" header.

On the main Product Updates page there are five columns of information:

1. Email Name - The internal name of your product update email that you chose when you edited the email.

2. Statuses - The current state of the email. There are five possible statuses:

  • Draft: The email is still in the editing stage.
  • Processing: The email is actively being sent to customers.
  • In Queue: The email is partially processed or sent and is not actively being sent to customers.
  • Sent: The email has been successfully processed *
  • Cancelled: The email was abandoned either manually by the user (by clearing the queue) or automatically by the extension after 48 hours of inactivity in the email queue.

Note: A status of "Sent" does not guarantee that all email messages were received. It means that the extension processed the messages successfully. It is still possible that a message may not reach a customer because of technical issues that aren't caused by the extension such as your website's email sending configuration or a customer's email account.

3. Subject - The subject line of the email (without the email template tags interpreted). If no subject is given, it shows "(no subject)"

4. Recipients - The number of recipients an email was sent to or is going to be sent to. For processing/in queue emails, this is the planned number of recipients, not the number of recipients so far.

5. Last Modified/Date Sent - For emails with a status of "Sent," this is the date the email was sent. For all other statuses, it is the date it was last modified including the last time it was attempted to be sent from the queue.

IV. Add/Edit Product Update Email Page

The page shown when creating a new product update email or editing a previously saved product update email.

Click to enlarge

A. Email Setup

1. Email Name

An internal name for your email. Customers who receive your email  will not see this. This field isn't required, but can be useful for internal labeling of different email messages sent. Some example names might include:

  • 2nd Edition eBook Update
  • Foobar Plugin Update (3/22/2015)
  • Foobar Plugin Security Patch 1.0.8
  • Holiday Update 2014
  • Bonus Video Content Update #5

Remember, customers will not see this name, so feel free to use it however helps you best organize your product update emails.

2. Choose products being updated

Select which products have been updated. Customers of those products will receive the email message.

Please note: bundle customers are not automatically included in product updates. You must select a bundle product for those customers to receive an emailed update. Similarly, the products within a bundle must also be selected to appear as download links for bundle customers. Improvements in how the extension handles bundle customers are already planned for a future update.

3. Recipients

The number of customers who will receive the email. This number is not necessarily the quantity of customers who have purchased a product as it excludes customers who have unsubscribed from product update emails or who do not have an "Active" software license (if EDD Software Licensing integration is enabled in the settings).

B. Product Update Email Message

4. From Name

The name customers will see a product update email coming from in their email client.

5. From Email

The email address customers will receive a product update email from.

6. Subject

The subject for the product update email. EDD template tags such as {name} or {payment_id} can be used, but please be responsible and use common sense when doing so (for instance, don't include the {billing_address} tag in the subject line!)

7. Message Editor

The message your customers will receive. To customize the message further, you can use the Easy Digital Download template tags listed in the sidebar on the right (section D). More on this below.

You can also use HTML in the email (with an HTML email template selected in settings), but your HTML may be limited even if the editor and previews will show it. This is because many email clients (such as Outlook or Apple Mail) have issues reading certain HTML markup. Here are a few general guidelines for HTML in email:

  • Rich text formatting is OK. Bolded text, italics, and underlines will display in all email clients as will links.
  • Properly embedded/hosted images is OK. Just make sure the file sizes are manageable for your customers to download them!
  • Use inline CSS. If you aren't sure what that means, here is a great overview.
  • Do not use JavaScript. Most email clients will block it.
  • HTML tables will display better in more email clients than complex CSS layouts.

Remember these are general guidelines. We strongly suggest you use the test email feature of the EDD Product Updates extension to send actual test email messages to different email clients to see how your message will be displayed.

8. Save Email & Save Changes Buttons

Click these to save your email message. Once saved, you can continue editing, send the email, or come back to it later.

C. Email Actions

9. Preview Email

Clicking this button will save your email and then launch a popup preview of your email inside the browser window:

Preview Email

The preview will apply certain defaults for any template tags you may have in your message.

10. Send Test Email To

Enter up to five (5) email addresses separated by commas and click the "Send Test Email" button to save your email and then send an actual email message for testing purposes.

11. Delete Email

Click this and then confirm on the popup that you would like to delete an email.

Important: EDD Product Updates does not have a "trash," so any emails deleted are removed permanently.

12. Send Update Email

Clicking this button will save your email and launch a final preview confirmation of your product update email:

Confirm and Send Email

From there, you can either choose to "Confirm and Send Emails" or "Close Without Sending."

D. Template Tags

A list of all the email template tags available to be used including the three EDD Product Updates email tags:

  • {updated_products} - Displays a plain unordered list of updated products
  • {updated_products_links} - Displays an unordered list of updated products with download links
  • {unsubscribe_link} - Outputs an "Unsubscribe" link so customers can opt-out of future product updates.

An email sent without the {updated_products_links} tag is not a product update.  Do not use {download_list} - it will send all of a customer's products and it won't refresh the download links if they are expired.

We also strongly urge you to use the {unsubscribe_link} tag as it will provide a better experience for your customers and keep your future update emails out of the spam folders!

V. Sending Popup

The page/window shown when you are sending a product update email. This window appears when you click the "Confirm and Send Email" button from the confirmation popup on the Add/Edit Product Update Email page or when you choose to restart the processing of an email that is in the email queue.

When the sending popup window appears, it will have a title of "Sending {your email subject line}, a warning not to close or refresh the page (more on this later), a close window link, and a simple "Start Sending" button. It looks this:

Sending Popup Start

To begin sending your email, click the "Start Sending" button. Immediately the extension will begin building a queue of emails to be sent out and let you know how its progress is coming along as well as give you the amount of time that has elapsed since you started the send. Once the queue is built, it will automatically begin sending the email messages in batches of 10.

Some screenshots of the various points of progress are seen below:

Sending Popup Progress

IMPORTANT: There is a warning at the top of the window telling you not to close or refresh the window. This is because closing or refreshing the sending popup window will cause your emails to stop sending. If you close or refresh the window, you will have to restart the sending process. If you wish to have the emails sent in the background, we suggest you minimize or hide the window and continue working. As long as the window is open, it will send emails.

At any point during the sending, you can press the "Pause" button to stop sending emails. When you are ready to restart sending emails, simply click "Resume".

Note: The "Pause" button may have a brief delay when you press it since the extension processes the emails in batches of 10 messages. When you tell it to pause, it finishes sending whatever emails it is currently working on and then pauses.

When the email has finished processing, you will receive a message letting you know it has successfully processed. It will tell you how many emails were sent and how long it took as well as offer you options to view the sent email or send another one. Here is what a successful email send looks like:

Sending Popup Success

At this point, you can safely close the sending email popup by either closing the window through the browser or clicking the "Close Window" link in the top right of the window.

VI. View Product Update Email Page

The View Product Update Email page is shown for any email that is processing, in the queue, or has already been sent or cancelled - basically any email that is not a draft or cannot be edited.

Click to enlarge

As seen in the screenshot above, the View Product Update Email page has two main sections:

1. Product Update Email Message - This section shows the email message that was sent to customers including the From Name, From Email, Subject line, and the message. Note that the message applies some defaults to any email template tags you may have used to give you an idea of what the email would look like to receiving customers.

2. Product Update Email Info - Located on the sidebar, this section provides detailed information about the email send including:

  • Status: Can be Sent, In Queue, Processing, or Cancelled.
  • Date Sent: The last time the email was modified or when it was last sent.
  • Sent By: The WordPress user who send the email (if the email was paused or restarted, it will be the name of the user who last sent the email).
  • Total Recipients: The number of customers who were processed to receive the email message.
  • Updated Products: A list of the products updated in the email and links to their page in the WordPress admin.

For emails in the queue or still processing, additional information on how many customers have been processed to received the email so far and how many are in the queue will be shown.

Also, an alert will appear on the page for emails that are in the queue or processing. For emails in the queue, the alert will ask you to either send the remaining emails in the queue or to manually clear the queue. Here is what both of those alerts look like:

The view email page for an email that's "Processing":

EDD Product Updates View Product Update Email Page with Processing Status

The view email page for an email that's "In Queue":

EDD Product Updates View Product Update Email Page with In Queue Status

Emails that are past the draft stage are not editable and the View Product Update Email page will not allow you to modify anything on the email.

VII. Payment History

When viewing a customer's Payment History page, you can choose to unsubscribe or resubscribe them to product update emails by clicking the checkbox underneath "Update Payment" on the right sidebar that says "Send Product Updates." This setting can also be changed by customers themselves when you include the {unsubscribe_link} tag within a product update email message.

By default, all customers are subscribed to product updates.

EDD Product Updates will also add Payment Notes related to a customer's product updates activity within their records. This includes a payment note anytime the customer is sent a product update email (so you can keep track of customers who have received them) as well as a payment note anytime a customer unsubscribes or resubscribes for product updates.

In the screenshot below, we've highlighted the areas where you can modify a customer's subscription settings and see the Payment Notes added when they are sent a product update email:

Payment History Page Screenshot

VIII. Support

For further questions and help,  please visit the forums at the Easy Digital Downloads website.

Thank you for downloading Easy Digital Downloads and the EDD Product Updates extension!