7 Failsafe Strategies for Seamless Marketing Automation Migration

First thing first – have you taken the calculated decision to take the plunge from your existing marketing automation suite? Then, here are some more pointers you need to add to that checklist and consider to strategize seamless marketing automation migration.

Migrating your marketing campaigns including the entire marketing database, intelligence and assets may seem daunting; however, the switch to a new platform becomes inevitable for many reasons. Cost effectiveness, better integration, modification or addition of marketing goals, plans or channels are major deciding factors in determining the switch and selection of the platform. Here we have compiled 10 points that will guide you to foolproof strategies to keep your migration process aligned to your business goals and in smooth transition.

1. Ask questions to evaluate vendors

You have already performed thorough research, calculations and considerations before deciding upon marketing automation platform. So, here is the next step – start talking and asking questions to marketing automation platform vendors to tally the features offered that align with your goals, campaign necessities, and other requirements. Here we have rounded up 12 questions to ask software vendors to help you in your decision making. Make sure to ask them all the same questions to get a detailed comparative view of shortlisted automation platforms.

 
1)   How is the CRM integration – does it support data flow both ways?
2)   Does it support additional tech integration?
3)   How does data transfer take place to and from the marketing automation system
4)   How does the reporting module work? Does it support custom reports export?
5)   How does the software measure campaign performance and success?
6)   What will be the benefits from migrating to this new system from our old platform?
7)   What will be the costs of migration and total use of the automation platform?
8)   How is the technical and customer support of this marketing automation platform?
9)   How do you add new users and assign roles and permission – how is the ease of use of it?
10)   How time consuming is it to set up and migrate to the new automation platform?
11)  Is the platform capable of managing complete buying journey – or does it only records lifecycles of leads and prospects?
12) Can your automation system offer support for mobile marketing efforts?

2.  Keep your business processes updated

 

The span of time spent in marketing automation migration is a good window of opportunity to assess your current marketing initiatives and practices and ponder upon the scope of improvement of your marketing efforts and processes. We recommend that our clients perform a thorough audit of their marketing processes to evaluate what is working and what needs fine tuning and improvements    before the migration process commences. Also, focus on the sales processes, leads lifecycle, pitches, messages, frequency, channels, and other methodologies to standardize best practices. 

3.  Start with migrating the data and insights  

Organizations that are using CRMs like Salesforce are recommended to begin migrating with the CRM data first and foremost to prevent any unforeseen risks of losses in opportunity or revenue generation. Another reason why transition of data to the CRM is favored as it also aid in preserving the valuable insights gathered on contacts, leads, client accounts, marketing campaigns, opportunities created and other intelligence. One of the best methods is to record and import these data points straight to the new marketing automation system and Salesforce CRM. And one approach that companies should avoid while migrating data is to import contact records first into the CRM or the marketing automation system as campaign and revenue data related to those people will not be added. For example, if a company has six renewal opportunities and three won deals which total the value of  $400,000, then, the company could lose that intelligence by performing a straight import and ruin the opportunities for sales professionals who are who is handling tho9se opportunities. Here is a list of items businesses should import one by one while marketing automation migration:

  • Accounts
  • Contacts
  • Leads
  • Products
  • Campaigns
  • Pricebooks
  • Contracts
  • Cases
  • Opportunities
  • Solutions

 

4.  Get ready for extra efforts during merging

Communicating and engaging with people and customers through multiple marketing automation platforms can be dreadful, but such extra efforts are necessary to maintain the engagement rates during migration process. Instead of hurrying the migration and merging process to limit communication process from a single platform, companies move and import data and all components carefully and continue communicating with the prospects and customers throughout the process, from multiple platforms and keep them engaged. Companies should adopt a short-term engagement plan which will take in multiple marketing automation platforms and the CRM in the interim of the migration and adhere to it to prevent risking loss of communication, engagement and potential opportunities in the meanwhile. For example, companies emailing to contacts after the acquisition using two, existing and new automation platforms have to incur additional and often hefty, amount of works, time and costs to consistently shift unsubscribe data from existing to new software. But, this consistency will also ensure marketers that unsubscribed contacts are suppressed from receiving messages again from new systems. At the same times, companies can maintain engagement and relationship with potential prospects and avoid losing opportunities.

5.  Perform comprehensive data audits

One of the biggest parts of marketing automation migration is managing diverse data points. Data produces intelligence that are crucial in every marketing activity and strategy from email communications, customer and prospect engagement, report generation, dashboard, creation and managing opportunities, and other aspects of the business. That’s why it is important to get your data straight and in order before you start with migration process and during the migration.

Here we recommend evaluating data health of your organization by asking these following questions -

  • What steps or actions have you taken to keep your data clean before migration?  You do not want to bring bad data to the new platform. The format of first name should accept values such as “GYKLSWA”, “abc@hgtres.com.” and country values should be consistent such as “USA” or “US”
  • Do you need to move any field – have you mapped those fields during migration? Do you want to map similar fields during merging systems such as, “LeadSource” or “Lead Source”?
  • Do your data points require normalization?  Are your industry field values consistent within two marketing automation systems?
  • Have you considered screening and cleaning duplicate values? Can you ensure that the new data set will merge with correct data points on the new platform?
  • Are the data and records on the Salesforce assigned to the right sales reps?
  • Does your database contain correct unsubscribe and subscription data?
  • Are records in your database syncing seamlessly between the CRM and the marketing automation platform before or during migration?
  • Are all the assets including landing pages, email, forms are able to gather data consistently?

 

6. Consider performance related implications

When your company is dealing with large data points during migration, the marketing performance is likely to get affected a bit. Marketers should ponder and reconsider the impact on both the automation system and marketing efforts during the migration. Organizations deciding marketing strategies on real-time sales data, email messages, need to plan these processes being slowed down. Companies need to adopt plans and set milestones during migration process to alleviate potential performance disruption, manage massive amount of data processing, monitor and track progresses of these milestones during the weekend.

7. Deal with existing marketing intelligence

After your organization has planned to migrate all the data points to a new marketing automation platform, marketers should pay close attention to the marketing intelligence. All your historic marketing intelligence contains valuable insights including website visits, bounce rates, campaign interactions, unsubscribe, link clicks, replies, and other marketing engagement – every company phasing through migration processes needs to keep track of these historic intelligence that are contained in the CRM system. For example, your company has multiple different Google PPC campaigns running in existing system. You can bundle those in a single Google PPC campaign and treat older assets for historic tracking or you may also consider keeping multiple campaigns by backfilling membership to the members’ original engagement. Both the methods have their merits and demerits which you need to consider before you partake during the marketing automation migration.

In addition to these, marketers and companies should get prepared for a multitude of issues: delays in workflow and unwarranted workflow and performance challenges. With that in mind, prep your team well in advance with the guide, solutions, knowledge base and training that will help you curtail probable and unforeseen hiccups, data loss or performance hindrances to perform seamless marketing automation migration.

How to Create Compelling Apology Emails That Saves from ‘Oops” Email Marketing Mistakes?

The “err is to human” applies to email marketers as much as to anyone else. However, every error lends itself to learning valuable lessons and the possibility of making amends, too and sometimes strengthening the relationship beyond what it would have been if the error had not been made).

One of these “instant fixes” is to offer apology emails to your recipients before the proverbial milk has been spilled over your email assets. However, not all types of email mistakes are severe enough to be braced with a heartfelt apology. Then, when and which kinds of email mistakes need apology emails? How do you craft the most effective apology email that will remedy your accidental errors and save your sender’s reputation? Here is how – keep calm and scroll down!

Apology mails must be a calculated step… not impulsive

If your subscribers are annoyed with the first email error, sending another email back to back could worsen the situation. Instead of sending an instant apology email impulsively, ask yourself these questions to evaluate when you should send an apology mail –

  • Do you think readers will be upset without an apology email?

  • Was the mistake or the misrepresentation of data bad enough to impact bounce rates of your email campaign?

  • Is there a risk of getting your email reported as spam?

If your response to these questions is a “yes”, then you need to consider what kind of email mistake it was and to write an apology mail to remedy the exact pain point.

Accidental typos

Typos are inevitable, and especially difficult when it stands out prominently in your email. Even worse, such shoddy email mistakes could be highlighted by your readers as they would feel tempted to catch it. So, an apology email admitting the typo before they point it out can help you retain your dignity. Moreover, this act of transparency and sincere explanation to acknowledge the mistake on your part will reinforce your customers’ credibility in your brand.

Wrong or invalid offers

Did you just make an offer to your subscribers that they cannot opt for? If you have just sent an offer to a wrong segment of audience or sent out an offer which has already expired can trigger feeling of exasperation – the more lucrative the offer it is, the more irritated your readers can be. In such situations, a heartfelt apology with must be set in motion immediately to deal with the disappointment to prevent further piling up of distrust.

Humor gone awry

If your hilarious email has just hit the wrong note, you can still save your email marketing campaign with an email that makes an admission of guilt. Hence, when you are too tempted to place a humorous email or play prank on your readers during April Fool’s Day or Halloween, take caution while writing your emails so that your campaigns do not stir up panic.

Jokes may take an unpleasant turn to become offensive, to be seen in bad taste, or something to cause anxiety – these email mistakes should inevitably be followed with an earnest email to quiet the confusion. Make sure the apology email will answer all the questions and anxieties which may probably cloud your readers’ minds. Better still, invest a lot of caution and evaluate your email copy beforehand to avoid the commotion caused by your humor.

Misrepresentation of data or incomplete data

Catching every small data error could be too much of a task to keep up with – possibly causing errors that could be daunting and prone to slip ups. In case you have inadvertently skipped any detail which can end up sending the wrong information for your subscribers, you need to be ready with an apology email. Marketers need to take immediate actions to fill the void and share required data by creating an apology email.

If possible, write this email with more personal touches that will make your readers empathize with you and as clear as possible to not to leave any stones unturned. Personal emails will not make your subscribers feel that they got blasted with another email after an erroneous one and you may also go an extra length to add some frills to the offers to compensate the inconvenience caused – chances are your customers would remember the special offer or the privilege while the mistake would fade from their memory.

How about some killer design tips to make the most of your apology email?

  1. The first rule of writing a creating an apology is to be clear, specific and concise about the email goof up and the correction. Be up front and take ownership of the email mistake you made to ensure all your subscribers’ confusions are addressed and clarified and why they received another email. In order to avoid the confusion,

  1. Use the word “CORRECTION” in the subject line so that your recipients will know what the email is about and want to click to open to know the details.

  2. Make sure you begin the email copy with an “APOLOGY” stated at the top of the email is opened to make your earnest apology known and set the message clear.

 

  1. You can make good use of humility and humor to lighten the severity of the situation or the uproar caused by the email mistake. At the same time, you can include emotion in your voice to make the apology sound more human, expressive and personal.

  2. In addition to the expression, you should focus on the solution you can offer to compensate the inconvenience and dissolve your email recipients’ anxiety. Write a simple, short and sweet apology and correction. It will enable you to elaborate the offer you make in exchange, enable your subscribers to better understand the solution and retain their confidence in your brand, despite the email blunder. For this, you can create an email copy stating “PROBLEM SOLVED”, place it in a large frame and position the frame on the top or in the centre.

If you need to use the defense of an apology email, then say it as quickly as possible before your irate subscribers catch the situation, fire you with an email demanding explanation, share the email mishap on social media or even worse, report you as spam.

Do you need help with the template, design or automation of apology emails for your email or nurturing program? Call our email marketing or email automation experts at (408) 502 6765, or chat with us via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Why Upgrade to Marketing Automation?

Where do exactly email service providers fall short? Where do marketers need to upgrade to a more robust marketing platform? We have outlined some of the factors that may require you to upgrade to marketing automation.

What makes an email marketing campaign most engaging?

 

There are five factors that determine engagement level of email marketing campaigns and successful – these include:

1. Email must be made a credible communication:

Your email communications must be able to meet your subscribers’ expectations and relate their with your products/services – and consistency is the key in meeting subscribers’ needs and preferences.

2. Relevant communications

Only relevant email marketing campaigns will keep your audience hooked to your mails and increase their interest to open mails every time you trigger. So you need to inevitably deliver the right message or content, at the right time, to right audience, tailored to their interests.

3. More conversational, less promotional

Conversational email messages entice and engage customers more than batch and blast email marketing campaigns. Conversational messages strike a chord with the targeted prospects and buyers who find these emails more personalized and less promotional. That’s why marketers need to build their campaigns around the kind of conversational, personalized engagement programs than the typical kinds of batch and blast campaigns that email service providers (ESPs) and vendors offer. These lack the functionalities to enable marketers to initiate one-to-one communication. Though ESPs allow customization, two-way communications with consumers are not easy (and frequently not enabled) with these email marketing services.

4. Multi-channel communication

Make sure your emails are not standalone assets but, well-synced to other channels of communications, such as landing pages, web ads, social channels, banner ads and other channels and other mode of your interactions with your prospects and buyers. With prospects and buyers exploring diverse channels to seek information before they make a purchase, marketers also need to integrate cross-channel interactions with their email communications – traditional email service providers enable only a small level of integration with social channels, but all fail to integrate comprehensive cross-channel marketing communications.

5. In-depth insights

Make sure you have the right metrics in place to monitor and measure performance and effectiveness of email marketing campaigns. Many email service providers tie their comprehensive analytics and measurable metrics to expensive packages that most marketers cannot make use of these must-haves of email campaign musts.

On the other hand …

There are other reasons why vendors fail to create engaging email campaigns include their failure to deliver relevant solutions. Though ESPs may take into account the demographics of your targeted audience, they often overlook buyers’ behaviors and actions when they engage with information, any site or any offline sources. In that way, email service providers fail to connect, engage and establish relations with either new or existing customers.

This lack of automation functionalities is another limitation of email service providers which lead marketers to upgrade to email marketing automation platform. For example, for an event follow-up campaign with email service providers, you need to create two different campaigns, subscribers who attended and who have not attended by manually gathering information, since ESPs do not accumulate such data and send two different mails for both types of subscribers.

With so much valuable time wasted, why not repurpose it and use it to create fresh new strategies and content to engage those who have not attended your events?

So, what do you get with marketing automation?

Marketing automation platforms enable different types of email marketing campaigns, whether batch and blast, personalized campaigns, or real-time campaigns. The wide range of email marketing functionalities of marketing automation that ESPs do not offer include online forms, behavior tracking, social marketing, customer retention, landing pages, event management, campaign management, analytics, CRM integration, cross-selling and upselling, lead generation, lead scoring, lead management, relationship marketing and many more.

Additionally, marketing automation saves time and resources with automated and timely delivery by cutting down manual processes. The improved customer engagement combined with relevant content and messaging really helps accelerate revenue growth.

Need more reasons why upgrade to marketing automation from email service providers?

Here are four reasons:

1. Behavioral Targeting:

Behavioral Targeting is a must, to conduct more relevant email marketing campaigns. Marketing automation enables marketers to segment audience by building behavioral lists. These lists can incorporate data on demographics, browsing activities, history of social sharing, online purchase and transactional among others.

2. Customer relation boosting conversation:

Marketing automation lets marketers track where each prospect and buyer stands in the relationship with the business and lets them send relevant messages to their customers based on that analysis. In this way, marketers can optimize their conversations, which can last through stages of buying cycle and after purchase.

3. Comprehensive analytics:

Strategic and comprehensive analytics with marketing automation provides in-depth analysis of effectiveness of the campaign and scope of revenue growth from campaigns. This email marketing platform brings much more than open rates, bounce rates and click through rates to present essential tools that help understand marketers’ needs to measure engagement, scope of purchase, retention and various revenue metrics to measure the goal of the campaign.

4. Cross-channel Campaigns:

The cross-channel campaign functionalities of marketing automation platforms enable marketers to trace their prospects and buyers across various channels of digital marketing as they hop from one to another, in search of information. This email marketing allows companies to monitor their customers’ behaviors and activities on different channels and optimize campaigns according to the demographics, behavior, transaction history, social media usage, mobile usage, responses to ads and many others.

Additionally, a marketing automation platform puts its users many steps ahead of those who rely on simple email service providers by presenting a comprehensive lead management tools to score, nurture, manage and convert their leads into buyers. So, if you are stuck with your email service providers, you can lose your business to competitors who have already upgraded to abmarketing automation platform.

Are you thinking of upgrading to marketing automation? We can help you to assess your needs, and to assess what type of marketing automation program might work best for you. Call us at (408) 502 6765 or contact us via our social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Ultimate Guide to Guard Your Campaigns from the Dreadful “Oops” Email Mistakes

By now, we know that email marketing is here to stay, and it will continue to contribute to the nurturing of your prospects, your customers, and profits for your business. However, email marketing campaigns could be extremely susceptible to flaws and failures. That’s why we put our clients’ email marketing programs on high alert to steer clear of common email mistakes. Sadly, some email mistakes are extremely deadly: they can cost the sender’s reputation while wasting resources and a portion of the marketing budget. However, no matter how common and dreaded are these, all email marketing mistakes are avoidable with proper planning and strategic execution.

Here are some of the most common email mistakes and how these can impact your business –

1. No ‘Unsubscribe’ button

Do you worry that a bold and visible “Unsubscribe” button may encourage your subscribers to back off from your email marketing campaign? The truth is the absence of one can harm your email program more, as recipients who are not willing to receive communications may simply report your email as spam! However, with a button strategically placed with the right call-to-action (CTA), your subscribers will feel no compulsion to continue receive your content and offers, knowing that they can leave and return whenever they wish to. Moreover, you can use an “Unsubscribe” page linked to the button, which you can use to get feedback on the reason a recipient might wish to exit from  your list. This information will enable you to personalize emails more efficiently based on the data.

2. Not testing emails sufficiently

A/B testing is never an option but a necessity. We remind email marketers repeatedly to do this, no matter how pushed they are by the schedule. Many marketers may also mistake not testing their emails enough simply because they reveal the skeleton in the closet! Wouldn’t that be more fearful when emails will fail to perform as intended and show negative results? There are many areas that play the most essential parts of email marketing programs to be periodically tested. Open rates, hyperlinks and link texts, bounce rates, CTA, subject lines should be the top priorities amongst those.

3. No apology emails

Seeking apology will not put your sender’s position in jeopardy, whereas not sending one may tarnish your reputation. With an apology email, you can reduce the risk of repelling your prospects and customers on the event of mistakenly sending an incorrect, unpleasant or duplicate offer or information. These mails come exceptionally handy to clear the air in case you have sent an invalid or repeat the same offer to same customers, or present inaccurate information or insights, rub their sentiment wrongly – sending an apology email even before they spot the mistake will work a great deal in mending the mistake. So, do not skip these quick fixes of accidental email mistakes.

There are many more severe mistakes email marketers commit and make their campaign doomed to failure, and you may be making them too! Learn how every minor (you thought!) email mistake negatively impacts your campaign and reputation, and to what extent – and the best practices experts recommend to guard your campaign against them. Join in and hear our email experts sharing their best practice. Put your doubts to bed by joining us for

Our next webinar: Preventing the Dreaded “Oops Email” — All You Need to Know!

Date: Thursday, September 07, 2017

Time: 10:30 am – 11:30 am PST / 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm EST

Register now and save your spot:

http://pages.showmeleads.com/Preventing-the-Dreaded-Oops-Email.html            

 

4 Tricks to Improve Personalization Leveraging Direct Mail on Marketo

Many marketers consider direct mail to be an opportunity to enhance the performance and personalization of campaigns and to build trust. The Marketo automation platform gives marketers the ideal playground for that. With Marketo, they can automate the direct mail process with educational, informative, product updates, promotional, and many other different types of content. They can also add call-to-action phrases to their intended content to encourage recipients to register for a product demo, a meeting or a product query. The Marketo platform has plenty of features that facilitate sending automated direct mail campaigns to improve customers reach and influence purchase decision. But if you wonder how you can achieve all these objectives with email campaigns, then why allocate marketing budget for direct mail?

Why direct mail in an age of email?

Direct mail impacts engagement programs in a variety of ways –

  1. Recipients tend to keep good looking cards and direct mail pieces, such as catalogs, gifts, or other items. They often may choose to display items or even share with their friends and family. Thus, direct mail presents better opportunities for engagement with the brand.

  2. Physical coupons and gift cards with call-to-action in direct mail impact more in fetching customers to the store, thus, speeding up the purchases.

  3. Direct mail delivers newsletters, cards and offers straight to the recipients and get noticed, engaged, interacted or take desired actions with your mails. Prospects find direct mails less intrusive and easier to engage with than electronic mails.

  4. Direct mails can be synced with any online campaigns – these can be automated, aligned with email, social and other online campaigns and optimized based on insights collected from previous purchases.

  5. Direct mails make customers feel more valued and connect emotionally thus, making subscribers more charged up and responsive to communications.

Furthermore, many people not only want to open and engage with direct mail pieces, but many also want to receive direct mail more than email. About 70 percent direct mail recipients have expressed their interests in discerning content in their direct mail, while 74 percent recipients have shared that they noticed ads in direct mail more than any other online campaigns.

Now the question is – how to create direct mail campaigns that will improve engagement and responses with campaigns?

We recommend these four effective tips to boost the direct mail marketing efforts using Marketo:

1. Create the Program for the direct mail

First things first: create a Marketo program by adding multiple assets to support direct mail programs. We suggest creating following assets for direct mail programs:

  1. First, you need to create ‘Members’ for subscribers who request direct mail by filling out forms. This asset will also include those who are expecting and interested in company’s direct mail programs.

  2. Next, create a campaign to queue direct mails and ensure that they are automated with the right list of people.

  3. Create another campaign to track all these direct mails sent. As well, you need to set the campaign so that status is updated as soon as the physical mail items are sent.

  4. Create this campaign to track all direct mails that are successful. Here you can monitor the mail pieces received by subscribers.

  5. After you have set up campaigns for automating and tracking received mails, you need another campaign to monitor recipients who are responding to your direct mails. Track recipients who are taking the actions guided by the call-to-action phrases in mail pieces.

  6. Create a trigger campaign to trace those recipients who have proceeded to the funnel after receiving and responding to direct mails.

2. Identify people who can be mailed (who are not)

After creating campaigns, next thing to focus on is to define the list of people to trigger the direct mails. Because most companies and marketers will focus on email marketing campaigns, direct mail processes are not something they are familiar with. In this direct mail process, marketers need to make suppression lists for subscribers listed with invalid/incomplete/inaccurate email addresses. In order to ward off people with bad physical addresses, marketers can create a segment which will filter those people who should not be sent emails. Marketers who find segmentation difficult to handle, can opt for creating Smart List with Marketo to eliminate people with bad or wrong physical addresses.

3. Time to evaluate the nurture process in place

After you have zeroed in on the people to target, created the Smart Lists, segmentation, and assets, assess the nurture engagement program to decide where this direct mail program fits.

Now go into your nurture engagement stream and figure out when the direct mail should become part of your prospect’s nurture journey. This example leverages programs within nurture engagement programs, as many organizations do. In this example, PFL chose to make the direct mail the fifth piece of content.

Don’t worry, you can also send direct mail as part of standard Marketo flow steps if you aren’t using engagement streams.

4. Develop the Direct Mail Program

The most important element for creating direct mail programs in Marketo involves automating and queueing the program. You can line up multiple direct mails for lead nurturing program instead of just one current mail. The Queued email campaign allows sending an email and automating the direct mail in the proper intervals between email and other online campaigns. You can set email campaigns that will collect information on delivery of the package which may ask recipients such as, “Have you received the package? Tell us if you liked the surprise in the package” or contain similar other messages to generate interests of subscribers and also prompt them to receive and open direct mail packages.

In that way, you can create a combination of direct mail, email and other online campaigns as part of an evergreen nurture stream.

Do you need expert help creating direct mail campaigns using Marketo? Get best practices and make the most of your direct mail efforts. Contact our Marketo Certified Professionals at (408) 502 6765 or via social channels Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We’d love to hear from you – kindly drop your query or tips on your Marketo nurturing program below in the comment box.