Gmail Started Supporting Responsive Email Designs – Boon or Bane in Email Marketing?

One of the major email marketing predictions of 2016 was Gmail would start offering support for responsive design in emails. Email marketers had long back anticipated this new Gmail update wherein it will start providing style support for its webmail clients and support for responsive design including CSS media query support. Gmail has recently released this update which will enable email service providers, email campaign designers and email marketers to improve better email marketing experience to their Gmail-based subscribers who are opening emails on both desktop and mobile devices. Prior to this, email marketers felt challenges with Gmail not providing any support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in sites, making many mails open in webmail with issues. Broken email was the most common issue they faced, nearly 20% of Gmail users would reject their emails or unsubscribe from the list when they failed to open emails properly. Lack of support for stylesheet on Gmail, Gmail on iOS platform and Android platform, Inbox mail client, and Inbox app on iOS and Android has created issues with CSS media queries. That’s why email designers had to rely on inline CSS methods – however, with this recent Gmail update release, the inline CSS can soon be history.

What does this Gmail update actually mean?

With this recent update, responsive email for Gmail and Inbox users will load on devices with the right formatting options as intended. Whether users are opening and viewing mails on computer or mobile devices, whether in portrait or landscape mode, the content will appear as formatted, fitted well to the resolution, size and rotation mode of the device. This opens the for for email marketers, giving them more opportunities to optimize and personalize email campaigns for targeted users. So, will this new Gmail update be all boon and no bane? Keep reading to learn more..

1. Should marketers continue relying upon hybrid email design?

Many marketers may still continue using traditional responsive design on CSS media queries. With this latest Gmail update, 75% of email subscribers will be able to open emails on email providers which are created in responsive design methods. However, if a major segmentation of subscribers is opening emails on other email providers such as, Outlook desktop apps, Yahoo! Mail mobile app, Microsoft Windows Phone, and Microsoft Surface devices which have not yet offered support for responsive design, then email marketers need to depend on both responsive design for Gmail and HTML inline CSS versions for these platforms and devices.

Email marketers using hybrid email design will need to make changes. Part of the hybrid code for Gmail can now be substituted with responsive code which can be added on top of the hybrid code for email clients which do not yet have support for CSS media queries.

2. Will email marketers still use inline CSS in emails?

Most marketers will not need inline CSS any longer because Gmail will remove <style> tag from the <head> tag area. With most subscribers opening emails on Gmail, marketers need to heavily rely upon inline styles. However, many marketers will need to continue with inline CSS style if a large chunk of their subscribers and prospects open emails in providers such as, Yandex, Mail.ru, Libero and other regional-specific email clients who do not offer support for CSS style. That’s why marketers and designers will need to integrate all their styles under the <head> tag section in order to avoid useless code in the body of the email, instead of replicating styles to all table rows and cells separately. Thus, the current Gmail update will make things more marketer and designer-friendly and faster to apply codes to emails. With lighter codes, email loading times and open rates of email marketing campaigns will improve.

In addition to ease of coding, Gmail will be able to address security concerns over emails with responsive designs as well as they can improve the interactive aspects of emails. Currently, Applecaptures 51% of the email provider market that offers the best options for adding interactivity to emails with support for many interactive elements.

Are you thinking of a good responsive design template for your Gmail subscribers? Contact us to get email template design solutions by calling us at (408) 502 6765 or by reaching us via our social channels – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Why and How to Make Your Existing Website Mobile Ready?

Mobile is gathering momentum in the online marketing industry. Marketers who have not yet raised their digital communications to the mobile bar yet are missing a large chunk of their targeted audience who are searching for content on their mobile devices. In addition to the users’ growing dependence on mobile devices for browsing, marketers must focus on mobile optimization as mobile-ready websites are surpassing desktop versions on Google’s search engine result pages. Moreover, survey and research findings have repeatedly backed up the significance of creating a mobile-friendly website or making an existing site mobile ready –

  • Conversion rate of websites after site visits on mobile devices has been marked 60% higher compared to 23% for sites without a mobile version.
  • 52% of Americans use smartphones compared to only 165 million users with compact personal computers they can carry around for web browsing.
  • Around 57% site visitors accessing sites using mobile devices abandon sites when the loading time is more than three seconds.
  • 48% of visitors who abandon websites when they are not mobile-friendly visit their competitors’ sites and 98% of those visitors do not return.

Is your site mobile ready – how to know?

One of the easiest ways to determine mobile readiness and usability of your website is by using Google’s mobile compatibility testing site , found here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

The tool allows site owners check how their site looks, feels and functions on mobile-based browsers and search engines. The following features and functionalities of a website are what make a site mobile ready –

  1. Site design and layout including navigation must fit to the smaller real-estate of the mobile screens.
  2. The buttons must be placed with adequate space in between to enable users to click at the desired buttons without the risks of clicking other unintended tabs or buttons.
  3. Users must be able to reach or make transactions with a minimum number of clicks.
  4. Buttons that are intended for lead generation or sales conversion such as, ‘Call now’, ‘Sign up’, ‘Register now’, ‘Join us’, ‘Buy’, ‘Download’ etc., must be prominent and big enough to easily find.
  5. Images must be compressed without losing quality in order to lessen the loading time of the site.
  6. The web pages must be touchscreen-friendly to function and respond well to users’ interactions such as, swiping, pinching, double-tap, scrolling etc.

How do you get a website mobile ready?

There are three ways site owners can transform a site to mobile ready –

Mobile-friendly design

Mobile-friendly design requires implementing a layout design which lets the site load perfectly on mobile devices with smaller screens as well as on larger screens such as  desktops, notebooks and netbook devices. A mobile-friendly website functions well on all types of devices used for browsing irrespective of the screen-size. To create a site or turn an existing site into a mobile-friendly one –

  1. The key company contact information such as, phone numbers, fax numbers, email addresses or geographical addresses must be textural and hyperlinked – not embedded within an image, which cannot be copied on the mobile screen for instant access to contact.
  2. Mobile-based browsers are not Flash supported – hence, image slides or streams must not be created with Flash – when visitors cannot view those images or information embedded in images, they are more likely to abandon the site!
  3. Test image sizing which determines the loading time of the website – make sure the image loads even over slow mobile data connectivity or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Mobile optimized design

The idea of creating a mobile optimized site is a bit more sophisticated than a mobile-friendly website design. Mobile optimization techniques make the site more fluid and responsive when accessed on any handheld device, whether it is a smartphone or tablet. The design usually dictates planting visibly bigger navigation buttons than those on desktop versions, image properties are optimized to mobile screen space, and content to be reformatted for the ease of reading on mobile screens (such as, single column content rather than multiple ones on desktop-ready sites).

Most of the prospects and buyers enter the site or landing page through email, newsletter, social media ads or other sources on their mobile devices. Thus, with a mobile optimized website, you can increase the odds of getting higher rates of unique visits, engagement, lead generation or conversion.

The following features are the must-have elements of a good mobile optimized design:

    Navigation button and hyperlinks are simplified for thumbs and fingers to click on the desired options or contact details.

  • Reformatting textual and visual content of the site to the mobile screen length and width to making it easier for users to take the desired actions such as, sign up, join, download or arrive at the buying decisions faster.
  • Reducing the size of visuals and graphic elements to prevent them from overlapping on important information, such as, lists of products.
  • Keep a desktop version of the website ready to enable visitors to easily access as well.
  • Make users type less and click more – typing on the site will require the keypad to popup on the screen hiding the important texts on the site.

Responsive web design (RWD)

The responsive web design has been introduced to refine the mobile website experience. This method of design is to create a fully fluid and flexible website that fits in all screens, irrespective of the size and the type of device. The layout of responsive design does not get molded into any particular type of browser or device in use; rather it changes the orientation of the site by combining re-optimization and re-formatting techniques.  The following are the features and elements of a good responsive web design that makes a site extremely mobile ready:

  • Webmasters or site owners can update or add content to the website without worrying about the different versions browsers and screen real estate.
  • The mobile segment option in the RWD layout enables site owners to track the traffic received on the website coming from the mobile users, giving them more opportunities to optimize the site making it more engaging for mobile users.
  • The one URL optimization of responsive website layouts makes the site more search engine friendly along with making it more mobile ready. This feature makes a single URL structure for sites irrespective mobile or desktop versions, thus, increasing the performance and popularity of sites on various search engine result pages.
  • The responsive design perfectly readies sites for mobile versions and increases the opportunity for sales by optimizing the site to users’ preferences and enhancing the users’ engagement on the site.
  • A responsive design resizes all types of content including the text, images, and videos per the sizing of the device before loading.

So, how do you want to mobilize your website to drive engagement, leads and conversion? Drop your ideas below or get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Best Practices to Set up Marketo Lead Lifecycle & Revenue Model

There are several situations when marketers want to build lead and revenue lifecycles in Marketo platforms. These include when they want to report on the sales funnel process, or if they want to demonstrate the stats and figures of leads generated in each state to the senior management team with 100% precision.

As a marketer, we select marketing technologies to automate most of the routine marketing activities including segmentation, landing pages and emails, choosing messages and content, deduping, routing and updating leads etc. The major focus and goal we set in the nurturing process is how the process impacts revenue – therefore, to gain insight in how the lead nurturing efforts are impacting revenue, marketers need the capability to document the entire revenue cycle.

For this, the Marketo platform offers great sales funnel reporting tools to accurately report the sales process. However, most marketers struggle  with setting up a lead and revenue lifecycle in Marketo platforms, which will give them clear vision on how their marketing process is impacting revenue. This easy guide will emphasize how to set up the lead and revenue lifecycle with best practices to create amazing funnel reporting.

How to set up a revenue lifecycle model in Marketo

Designing a new revenue lifecycle model in Marketo and then setting transitions to the model can be a bit time consuming depending on the type of varying business models. It also greatly depends on how the sales team works with the leads and tools being used for setting up the model in the platform. Marketo requires setting the right triggers for every phase.

In order to reduce processing time, marketers need to define triggers for each transition in the Manual Stage Change. With this, marketers can manually control and change the revenue stage by setting up a Marketo Smart Campaign. We recommend our ShowMeLeads clients create a Smart Campaign to get clearer insights on all types of marketing activities within all Marketo campaigns. Additionally, smart campaigns are easier to manage than when it comes to managing which triggers to use than Revenue Cycle Modeler in Marketo which requires double-clicking on the side arrows of the triggers to put in.

Setting up a Marketo Lead Lifecycle program

After you have created a smart campaign for the setting up a revenue lifecycle model and it is approved with Manual Stage Change – marketers need to focus on the next stage. When you are ready with the revenue lifecycle set up, marketers need to configure the brains of the lead nurturing programs.

Lead lifecycle can be set up in the “Marketing Activities” section of the Marketo using a ‘Default Program’. This program will be dedicatedly used only for flow steps and Lead Lifecycle and cannot be used for anything else in the Marketo instance. You need to create and define Smart Campaigns for different stages of lead lifecycle to clearly view the progress. In addition, we also recommend creating a folder structure which should comprise separate folders for:

  • ‘Fast Tracks’ which will help transmitting leads faster to the funnel and will be sent based on particular triggers created to ascertain readiness for conversion.
  • Folder for ‘Success Path’ will define the ‘horizontal green line’ in a revenue lifecycle model in Marketo.

Finally, create a folder for ‘Detours’ which will cater to repurposing lost deals or disqualified deals

How to set up custom channel for Marketo Lead Lifecycle

Most of Marketo program including data management, lead management, lead scoring, cannot be added to the reporting channel. Instead, marketers need to define these custom programs from default Operational channel.

Marketers need to configure a ‘Custom Channel’ from the ‘Admin’ section of the ‘Lead Lifecycle’ in Marketo. They need to ensure they update program statuses based on the specific ‘Revenue Model’. For this, they need to mark easily identifiable step number for different stages of the lead lifecycle stage. Thus, marketers can set the leads to progress with the changing of program status and can define how programs are impacting revenue in the event of –

  • When any lead is marked as ‘Marketing Qualified Lead’ or MQL which is ready to be transmitted to the sales funnel
  • When the lead is won and sale has been converted – then it should be marked as ‘Success for Sales & Marketing’’

There is one way marketers can shorten the manual and long-drawn flow steps by using ‘Smart Campaign’ with a setting trigger to the campaign for every Revenue Stage. As program status will change, the trigger will be updated with several choices in different stages. Thus, marketers can get a quick look at all the leads under the ‘Program’ of the Lead Lifecycle area. Do you want to ask questions on how to set up lead lifecycle and revenue lifecycle in Marketo? How to set triggers for Marketo Smart Campaigns? Or in case, you need help or clarifications on programs, campaigns or any other areas of Marketo, then just call our Marketo specialists at (408) 502 6765 or drop a mail at services@ShowMeLeads.com or simply connect with us via Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

5 Cool Tricks to Keep Marketo Data Clean & Spotless

“How do I clean duplicate records out of my Marketo database?”

“Is there any way to maintain Marketo database immaculate and perfect condition for campaigns?”

Do these types of Marketo questions cloud your mind and hinder your marketing efforts? Some of our clients come seeking solutions and best practices on how to keep their Marketo database cleared of duplicate records and other issues. There are super cool ways to prevent duplicate data and other data management errors to impede the performance of your marketing automation campaign. You should know how badly this duplicate data problem can affect your Marketo campaigns.

How badly does duplicate data hurt your Marketo campaign?

In most instances, duplicate records pop up in from diverse sources such as, through manual data entry attempts, list imports or any other manual activities of data entry or issues such as –

Erroneous lead scoring activities: one of the worst cases of duplicate data is from an incorrect lead scoring outcome. Inaccurate lead scoring resulting from duplicate records may lead to a miscalculation of MQL and often leave behind hot leads in Marketo. Apart from causing duplicate errors, these also cause lost opportunities for conversion by leaving leads which could generate revenues.

Higher cost of Marketo: Marketo charges its users based on the size of the database in it. And the volume may often take in presence of duplicate data and chances are, Marketo users are unfortunately being charged for unwanted duplicate records in their database.

Incorrect data analysis: Duplicate records of leads in the Marketo database will also cause miscalculation of data analysis and reports that result in reduced opportunities of ROI.

But, marketers can sidestep the loss and issues that duplicate data triggers, by adopting periodic data cleansing practices to keep pesky duplicate records at bay. The following five steps are best recommended to minimize the risks of duplicate data and other data errors to maintain good health of your Marketo database.

1. Spot duplicate records

As soon as marketers start with data building activities, duplicate records start surfacing inevitably. That’s why it is important to take proactive action and to develop routines to spot and scrape off the bad duplicate data from time to time. It is possible to maintain the good health of your database, free of duplicate leads.

In this process of eliminating duplicate records, marketers must take adequate caution in deleting records even though they are found as duplicate. We recommend a deep dive that carefully examines both records to ascertain which lead data is more useful for campaign whether email addresses or mobile number. They can also merge both the data accordingly.

2. Set rules for automatic de-duping

Another way to spot and get rid of duplicate records from the large volume of thousands of data is to set rules for the automatic elimination or de-duplication of lead data. Such practices of automatic de-duplication helps marketers with saving hours of valuable time and efforts in scanning through their both marketing automation and CRM database manually. This process is more feasible when Marketo users are adding lead lists when they can append bigger sets of lead data and avoid duplicate records as and when new contacts are getting added to the system.

3. Eliminate Junk Contacts

Many anonymous lead records may contain inaccurate, bad data such as “xyzw@gmail.com” or “meh@hotmail.com” with no accurate details of lead contact. Such records are generated when contacts are unwilling to share their actual email addresses. These kind of contact details are unnecessary that marketers do not need and have to pay for the space these take in within the Marketo database. Marketers can set up and run smart campaigns to spot and scrub off these garbage data automatically from their database. They can set campaigns in ways that will identify such bogus email addresses, remove and suspend or even blacklist those spam contact details.

4. Set Up Alerts

Marketo users can also play this card of setting up alerts which bring them to the top of the game of their database. Spotting and deleting duplicates leads based on their email address is easy, but what if first name and last names are duplicate but both records contain different email addresses? In such cases, marketers need to set up alerts to be automatically notified of existence of such duplicate records. As soon as they get notification, they can determine if the record is simply a duplicate entry or those are of two different persons.

5. Scan data for uniformity

We recommend that companies and marketers work to ensure uniformity in order to maintain clean and good health of their Marketo database. However, there is a difficulty – if contacts choose to type in the country instead of selecting from the drop-down list menu, chances are the database will contain same country with different country values such as, for United States there can be multiple types of data input as “U.S.”, “US”, “USA,” “United States of America” or “U.S.A.” Make sure the form users can get to only choose from the drop down menu of list and cannot type on their own.

Marketers can also apply filters to get rid of lead records that become inactive for a considerable amount of time. In such cases, they can set filters to determine if those leads are engaging with their marketing campaigns or if they have left the company. As soon as they can verify those are inactive and useless leads, marketers can simply decide if they want to keep those records to run re-activation campaign or cleanse those records.

Do you need professional assistance in setting up campaigns and managing your Marketo database? Do you need help to keep your database spotless and free of bad data? Why delay? Contact our Marketo specialists at (408) 502 6765 or connect with us via  Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

How to Resolve Issues Occurring with Marketo Fields When the Marketo Salesforce Sync Stops?

The configuration changes made to the Marketo SFDC frame will affect a number of fields during the syncing process. Previously Marketo had two packages in its Salesforce AppExchange: Marketo Lead Management (MLM) package and Marketo Sales Insight (MSI) package. This current configuration update will remove the MLM package, and the MSI package will not require MLM for installation. With the expiration of MLM package, Marketo has stopped  support for syncing those 16 fields which were under that package. Hence, users might experience a few issues occurring while updating and syncing those fields such as, incorrect data in Salesforce reports. Here is what you need to know about changes made, how to address probable issues caused by changes made, and how to add Marketo fields.

Impacts of Marketo configuration sync changes

As new fields will be formed in Salesforce, fields in Marketo will be re-synced to newly added fields. This will trigger the backfill process which will stop the syncing with previously created fields. Thus, the data update process will be suspended immediately. Thus, every data which has the reference to the older dataset and fields will stop syncing and updating. Another issue caused is the backfilled data added to new fields will replace older values in Marketo and will be the only data set available in SFDC.

Fields that will be affected in the Marketo configuration change will be the following 16 fields. Data from these Marketo fields will stop syncing to the related SFDC 16 fields on the ‘Lead Object’ and 16 on ‘Contact object’.

  1. Lead Score
  2. Acquisition Program
  3. Acquisition Program Id
  4. Acquisition Date
  5. Original Search Phrase
  6. Original Source Info
  7. Original Source Type
  8. Original Referrer
  9. Original Search Engine
  10. Inferred Company
  11. Inferred Metropolitan Area
  12. Inferred Phone Area Code
  13. Inferred State Region
  14. Inferred City
  15. Inferred Postal Code
  16. Inferred Country

Other issues and areas to be affected by Marketo and Salesforce sync changes include –

Workflows

The Workflows in Salesforce enables users to automate processes in SFDC and execute actions based on any criteria set. As the Marketo-Salesforce changes stop syncing of specific fields of data, the workflow rules which are associated with older fields will refer data those were stopped getting updated. Thus, the backfill processes will affect the workflow and make it react in another way than expected. Therefore, new data se will influence your workflow and will be seen in place of precious data value.

Apex Triggers

Apex Triggers is that which allow users to execute actions, before or after changes made to the records as well as to execute various other tasks, similar to workflows. Once the Marketo will stop syncing old value, Apex Triggers will fail to trigger any action afterwards.

Also, when the new values will be added to the fields over the existing values by backfill processes, will cause apex triggers to trigger actions based on new values and will not perform as expected.

AppExchange Apps

AppExchange app will also function erroneously once the new valued will be synced by the backfill processes and will not be able to perform, as desired based on the older values or will not perform as they had performed earlier.

Formula Fields

Similar to Marketo’s formula fields, Salesforce formula fields also use multiple fields and mix those fields to create new value for the value of formula fields. As the creation of the value of formula field depends on other fields, values of fields affected by Marketo and Salesforce sync changes might fail to return inaccurate field value.

Also, if the mapping of those affected fields gets changed and when the formula field will refer to those fields, the formula field will perform calculation based on the outdated data and will return an outdated formula field value. However, if the formula field will refer to new fields, then the field will retrieve data from those fields that are not backfilled. However, as soon as backfill processes will complete and all the data will be updated successfully, the formula fields will start performing accurately.

Reports

Salesforce reporting tool sources data from various locations. Similar to the formula fields, when reports source data from those fields affected by the Marketo changes, the reporting tool will fail to produce accurate data as well. Once the syncing process will get stopped, Salesforce reports will not be able to demonstrate updated data. As the reports will retrieve data from new fields, the reports will display two different set of data. The first set of data will appear when the backfill process is continuing and the field values are not updated. Thus, reports will not be able to show updated data. Later, as the backfill process has successfully completed updating process, the fields from which reports source data will be updated and reports will display accurate results based on the updated field values. Thus, you can avoid the issue of wrong reports and field values as all the fields will be updated with the new value by backfill process. Users will receive a confirmation notification from Marketo once the backfill process is finished stating the updating process is complete users can perform actions on updated set of data.

Do you find these tips and solutions helpful or do you need professional Marketo assistance in your Marketo and Salesforce integration projects? Just talk to our Marketo certified experts at (408) 502 6765 or connect us via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to get informed of all latest trends, updates, and tips on Marketo platforms.