Your audience list is carefully curated, your email flow steps are ready to fire and you’re just one click away from sending your next impactful email campaign… but wait, is there something preventing your hardwork from ever seeing the light of the inbox?
After putting the time and effort into building out your email campaigns, the most important factor is that your email actually makes it to your subscriber’s inbox. Without ensuring that, your catchy subject line and beautifully designed HTML simply won’t matter.
Below we lay out key steps to optimizing your email deliverability and maximizing your reach by covering three key areas you should know about email deliverability:
What deliverability is and why it matters
Major factors that affect deliverability and how marketing automation platforms can help with some of the heavy lifting
7 best practices you can implement to improve your deliverability
What is email deliverability?
You can’t improve email deliverability without first understanding what it means. Often when we think about email deliverability we consider the email delivery rate (ie 98% emails delivered).
Deliverability is the rate at which emails arrive at the inbox, not just those emails that are delivered. The difference here is important. Your emails can have a great delivery rate, and still not be making it to the inbox.
Maybe only 2% of your emails are bouncing, but actually an additional 10% are making it to the Email Service Provider (ESP) server and then being pushed into a SPAM folder. Sometimes deliverability rates can block out entire ESPs. For example, if gmail flags you, all your emails that are currently sent to a gmail inbox could be going to SPAM, which may equate to a significant portion of emails that will never be read by your subscribers.
ESPs and IT teams are always on the lookout for SPAM to keep emails out of subscribers’ inboxes that they deem irrelevant or potentially a security risk. If your email is flagged as SPAM continuously, this potentially significantly lowers your deliverability rating and can further damage your sending reputation.
Why deliverability matters
You’re most likely not coding, designing and meticulously writing and proofreading emails just for fun, right?
You (or your marketing team) are most likely creating emails with a purpose: upsell a new product, announce an upcoming webinar to get more attendees, overall provide value to your subscribers.
If your emails look like they’re being “delivered” (not bouncing) but they’re never actually making it to the inbox, your subscribers never get the chance to engage, and you just wasted a lot of effort for an email that will auto delete in a SPAM folder in 30 days. That’s not going to get you closer to that upsell goal, or that webinar attendance goal. No one wants that!
Major factors that affect email deliverability
So it’s clear you want your emails delivered to the inbox so you get the chance to meet your marketing goals.
There are a few hoops your emails need to jump through first in order to get there. You can distill the inbox deliverability of your emails down to three areas: authentication protocol, reputation and email content.
The first step of deliverability is confirming that you are who you say you are. ESPs use Sender Policy Framework (SPF), Domain Keys (DKIM), Reverse DNS and Domain-Based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance (DMARC) to verify your sender identity. These protocols prevent spammers from forging your email address and passing off messages on your behalf.
Your reputation is the next factor in deliverability. This is calculated based on how trustworthy your emails are to subscribers. A number of factors play in here, including whether your IP has been blacklisted or reported as spam, the percentage of bounces in your email list, and engagement levels of your subscribers.
You can use tools like https://www.senderscore.org/ to closely monitor your reputation metrics. Sender score will look at your IP address’s “sender reputation including spam complaints, how many unknown users you email, if you’re on any industry blacklists, and more.” By keeping an eye on all these factors, you can more closely hone in on where you may need to improve your deliverability strategy for reputation management.
The last factor affecting your email deliverability is the actual email content. Whereas authentication protocol and reputation are partly out of your control and up to ESPs and subscribers to determine, optimizing your emails for deliverability is 100% within your control.
Optimizing your email content for deliverability involved avoiding spammy subject lines (a lot of punctuation and capitalization is out; clear, simple language is in). Everything down to the images, content, links and code making up your email are analyzed for a deliverability rating.
How Marketing Automation Platforms Help With Deliverability
As a Marketo Engage platform partner, we’re going to focus on the best-in-class features Marketo has, but we can confidently say that many marketing automation and email marketing platforms have some type of email deliverability support.
Talk to your marketing automation platform provider about their deliverability features. Many platforms have built in tools to test your emails for clean code and images or subject lines that could get flagged as spam, and even help you preview your emails across different ESPs to make sure it’s rendering correctly. For Marketo customers, check out this article on the email deliverability features they support.
Best practices to improve your deliverability
Institute a deliverability initiative
Improving your deliverability starts by taking up a clear initiative to monitor, manage and improve on existing deliverability. Make deliverability a central tenant of your email marketing strategy, not a side project that you look at for a month and never look at again. It’s an ongoing process. Create a standard email deliverability checklist that you can go back to for every campaign. Set recurring checkpoints to go back and monitor success.
Clean your data
Much of your deliverability rating will come back to the quality of your subscriber lists. If a significant portion of your lists are unengaged, this will lower your deliverability rating. Consider archiving subscribers who haven’t engaged in 60 or 120 days, or simply segment them out for a “last chance” nurture and allow them to choose whether they re-opt in or not. Keeping stagnant subscribers in your lists who never open your emails sets you up for possible spam flags and lowers your success rate.
Sidenote: cleaning your lists also means taking a look at where you are getting your subscribers from. Stop buying lists. We’ll say it again, stop buying lists! Purchased lists (with no verified opt in) can seriously harm your deliverability with spam traps at worst, and will likely be completely unengaged from your emails anyway, also harming deliverability ratings.
Segment your audiences
Related to cleaning up your audience data, also consider more detailed audience segmentation. How can you ensure that the emails you’re sending are going to subscribers who will be interested and engaged?
As an overarching example, if you have an event that is only available in a certain area – are you segmenting your audience invite list to the targeted geography?
More granularly, when you opt in new subscribers, are you asking them what subcategories they’re interested in? Segmenting your audiences and campaigns allows you to keep your content relevant, increase your engagement, which improves your deliverability.
Create engaging & personalized content
This one seems like a no brainer, but it needs to be said. Subscribers opted in at some point to receive emails from you, so please, make sure that you’re sending the emails that they asked for!
Keep your messages clear and provide actual value related to your business. Don’t take advantage of their trust, you’ll only receive unsubscribes, disengagement, or worse, SPAM complaints as a result.
By taking the time to be thoughtful with your email strategy, you can ensure your subscribers will be glad to see your email hit their inbox.
And don’t forget to test your emails before you send them. Use tools like Litmus or others included in your marketing automation platform to evaluate your deliverability rating and make sure your emails will render right across ESPs. Don’t lose subscribers from simple fixes you could’ve caught if you had just spent a few minutes testing before sending.
Launch a Preference Center
You may not want to think about the audience members you want to unsubscribe when you’re building out your email programs, but your subscribers really need a clear way to unsubscribe. You’d much rather have an unengaged reader unsubscribe than just become unengaged or hit the SPAM button–both of which will much more negatively affect deliverability.
Beyond a clear path to unsubscribe, consider launching a preference center to help your subscribers customize their email experience with you. Let them choose subcategories they’re interested in or email frequency. It just might be what you need to get them re-engaged and subscribed to your emails!
Send consistently and not too often
Don’t overwhelm your subscribers with too many messages, you don’t want to lose their trust or interest by bombarding them with messages! Plus, if your subscriber has 4 emails in their inbox from you to wade through, chances are they will ignore some, affecting the engagement rates of those emails.
Email deliverability can also be affected by the timing of your sends. Sudden large increases or drops in email sends can negatively impact deliverability. This became an issue during the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, when suddenly brands were sending massive amounts of emails to all their subscribers. Create an email sending schedule (it can be the first thing you implement with your deliverability initiative!) and stick to it.
Monitor… and then monitor again!
As you implement more best practices, your deliverability should improve, but it’s a constant ebb and flow that you need to monitor. Keep an eye on your sender scores, check blacklists and prioritize areas where you can continue to make headway on your deliverability.
There are many factors that go into your email deliverability, some highly technical, where you’ll need the help of a network administrator to setup. Others are as simple as deleting all those exclamation points from your subject lines. No matter your technical prowess, you need to start somewhere.
Because if you’re going to put the time, budget and hours into email marketing (which you should, since the ROI of an email is $38 for every $1 spent), then it’s a no brainer that you want that email to actually get read! Follow these initial best practices and you’ll be well on your way to inbox placement.
Category Archives: Tips
We’re well into months of remote work from the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite all the uncertainty of what will happen next, it’s clear the old way of doing business, and really business globally, will likely never be the same.
As we all shift to our “new normal” ways of work, one constant that our team has been relying on, along with the marketing teams we support, is email. As a platinum-level Adobe partner and a Specialized Marketo Certified Partner, we found ourselves leveraging email more than ever to communicate, offer support, and simply connect with our existing customers in new, personal ways.
After looking at some of the data that has come through on email marketing in the times of COVID-19, it’s clear we aren’t alone in our reliance on email. After digging in, here’s a few trends we found.
Email sends increased during the early stages of the pandemic.
The good news is that mapping to that increase in sends, we saw an increase in email engagement. According to Grit News, some email marketers have seen anywhere from a 5% open rate increase to a 30+% engagement increase. One of our clients successfully sent 4X the number of emails monthly which has led to 300X the previous engagement level among their audience.
Messaging has become an even more delicate balance.
With or without a pandemic, the golden rule of email still applies. Send relevant content to the right people at the right time. During times of crisis, there’s a lot more pressure on what relevant content (and good timing) will mean to your audience. In recent research from MarketingCharts, they found that 79% of marketers were somewhat concerned (52%) or very concerned (27%) about “making missteps that may harm their brand image.”
No one wants to be the brand sending tone-deaf messages to an audience already going through impossible circumstances because you forgot to turn off a smart campaign or didn’t adjust next month’s newsletter content to fit our current realities.
Thankfully, we’ve seen some great examples of thoughtful, engaging communication in the last few months. They’re empathetic and clearly composed, and they offer real value to the audience.
Deliverability challenges were rampant.
Understandably with uncertainty, some businesses overshot and sent too many messages to audiences they may have not communicated with in a long time. Marketo and other providers did send out helpful guidance on managing your reputation and inbox placement during unprecedented times of email volume. Much of this was spurred by quick changes in team members and emails hard bouncing.
Depending on whether you are on your own or shared IP, there are risks in sudden spikes or dips in email volume. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with your email deliverability situation and make sure you have a strategy and are staying consistent. And as always, you should have an email strategy to weed out people who have not engaged with your email content for some time. Leadous does offer a special program focused on this process specifically.
As we enter the next phase of the pandemic in the U.S., we’re likely to see new trends in email and marketing as a whole. However, it’s reassuring in a time where not much is certain, that email is here to stay and the guiding principles remain the same:
Be empathetic in your messaging
Understand who your audience is, what they’re looking for from you, and how that aligns with your brand goals
Don’t overstay your welcome in the inbox
Keep those in mind through every campaign to make sure you’re providing shared value to your audience. And as always, if you’re looking for more insights into developing your email strategy now and in the future, contact Leadous.
Category Archives: Tips
In 2019, an average of 51% of companies were using marketing automation, according to Emailmonday. Add that to the fact that more than half of B2B companies plan to adopt it in the near future and it’s clear that we’re entering a new stage of marketing automation dominance in the martech space.
However, with increased dominance comes increased complexity. The landscape of marketing automation tools is becoming increasingly crowded, and increasingly difficult to select which platform works best for your business needs. And it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.
Marketing automation platforms are an investment, both financially, in implementation time, and in upkeep resources. Thankfully, there’s a clear ROI that will be gained from using marketing automation. According to Salesforce, 77% of companies using marketing automation report an increase in revenue and marketing performance.
So how do you grow your revenue and marketing performance with a new marketing automation platform, whether it’s being implemented for the first time or a rip and replace? You have to start with the basic question, which platform is right for your business?
The process of evaluating a new marketing automation platform involves looking at your business, your goals, your market size, and much more to determine a good fit in the plethora of automation options.
Here are four considerations to start with (from a long list of questions in our automation evaluation guide) when evaluating marketing automation platforms for your short and long-term marketing initiatives.
What are your goals?
It may seem obvious, but if you’re undertaking the process of implementing a new or replacing an old marketing automation system, you need to start with your overall marketing goals. What are you trying to support with your marketing automation system, demand generation, customer lifecycle marketing, lead nurturing, all of the above? What are the metrics you will hold your platform (and your team managing that platform) to, and what does success look like? In order to choose the right platform, and build a successful implementation and ongoing support plan, you need to have a clear picture of where you need your marketing automation platform to take you.
How large is your database and are you using a CRM?
The next question you need to consider is how large your database is. If you’re only talking to a small subset of your audience digitally, the feature set you need in a marketing automation system will match to that. Similarly, think about how you want your CRM and marketing automation platform to work together. Certain marketing automation platforms have better integrations with CRMs (or will need a custom integration built) knowing this information out of the gate will help you make an informed decision.
What campaigns do you plan to execute?
Now that you know what success looks like, who you’re talking to, think through where you want to communicate with that audience. Will you want your marketing automation platform to be able to track web interactions, social media form fills, or even integrate with your digital ad platforms? Outline your digital marketing campaign strategy and where you see automation playing into that, or work with a partner who can help you map it out based on your goals.
What’s your plan for implementation?
You don’t need to start out with a fully built implementation before you select a platform of course. But knowing how much help you’ll need setting up your instance will help you evaluate the partner and service that best fits your implementation style. Of course, we highly recommend working with a partner during implementation who has the experience of implementing the marketing automation software multiple times successfully and knows the best practices to implement, and pitfalls to avoid. They should also be able to help guide you through these questions (and more) to map out a full strategy tailored to your business goals!
These are just the basics to consider before thoroughly evaluating what each marketing automation platform has to offer, its features and capabilities, and mapping those to your unique marketing automation plans.
According to Forrester, marketing automation spend will reach $25B by 2023. With more than half of all businesses already using marketing automation, and the other half planning to, It’s clear that marketing automation is a mainstay for the modern marketer. Particularly growth-focused marketers.
In order to scale operations, at some point growth marketers’ need to automate some of their work. As your business grows, often so does the workload on your marketing and sales team.
Whether it’s working to automate lead qualification, nurturing prospects, or cross-selling and up-selling into an existing customer base, marketing automation makes those processes more efficient and effective.
But marketing automation is more than just the tools that power it, it’s about the people and strategies that govern those tools. In order to truly accelerate growth – you need all three components in your business to reach success.
The Right Marketing Automation Toolkit
A carpenter is only as good as his (or her!) tools. And in the carpentry of marketing automation, this couldn’t be more true. Without the tools that make sense for your business case, it’s going to be difficult to get your marketing strategy off the ground, no matter how brilliant your strategy or your team really is.
Marketing automation tools can be extremely powerful, or extremely cumbersome, depending on what your goals are, and how you want to get there. One of the reasons we work exclusively with Adobe + Marketo, is for its power and ability to scale from small and medium businesses up to huge enterprises. Marketo marketing automation allows you to efficiently streamline and automate personalized one-to-one experiences for your business use case, from email to social media to digital ads to website content experiences to SMS text messaging, the list goes on!
Getting the right capabilities setup in your marketing automation system can be difficult at first, with tools like Marketo, you have a lot of customizations to choose from depending on your business needs. Choosing a partner to help you onboard, implement and integrate successfully is key. From there, ensuring you have the support and reporting to tune up your instance will only further ensure your success.
A solid, cohesive marketing + sales strategy
Once you have the right tools in place, or even before if you’re in the process of selecting the right platform for your business, you need a clear strategy in place for your marketing automation that aligns across marketing and sales.
Without knowing your current state, and the direction you’re headed, you can’t prescribe the right marketing automation mix to get you where you need to go. Making sure that destination jives across both marketing and sales makes both sides of the house happy.
Ultimately, both marketing and sales want the same things: more leads, more revenue. Agreeing on the plan and the way to get to that goal makes both of your jobs a little easier. This is another area where a trusted partner can step into help. As a third party advisor, they can look with fresh eyes at both sales and marketing operations, what’s working, what’s not, and help to nail down how the two can better work together to reach their ultimate goal of revenue growth.
The right people to rule it all
Once you’ve got your tools and strategies in place, you need the right people to make it all work. This is where a lot of companies struggle. The marketing automation field is a hot one, and it can be difficult to find the right talent with the right skillset in your company.
But without people to build, monitor, report on and adjust your marketing automation toolkit, your growth will be stunted. Technology without people can only get you so far.
A partner with a proven track record in your marketing automation platform (or the ability to help you choose the right platform for your needs) is key. By working with a partner, you can scale up or scale down the support you need, whether it’s a full marketing automation team that builds and improves on your programs, just ongoing support, or a bucket of hours to focus where you need them. You can scale up or scale down the support you need when you need it, to ensure your programs stay fresh and are helping you grow.
Overall, the key to any successful marketing growth strategy goes beyond the technology you need to make it all work. Of course you need the right technology that will give you the tools you need to achieve your plans. You also need an aligned strategy between sales and marketing. And you need the right people to manage and improve on it all.
Leadous, an Adobe campaign and Marketo consulting partner, can help you optimize all three of these components in order to accelerate your growth. Check out our full suite of services designed to build the custom Marketo journey for your business, and let us know if you’re interested in learning more!
Category Archives: Tips
It’s no secret that today’s marketers are constantly being asked to do more with less. As consumers get more and more savvy, the demands on businesses to provide increasingly personalized, tailored experiences continues to grow.
But the hard truth is there’s only so many hours in a day. Marketers can’t be expected to create personalized experiences that will speak to the situation of every potential consumer. We need a way to work smarter, not just harder.
That’s where Artificial Intelligence (AI) steps in. According to Marketo, Marketing AI “advances and accelerates marketers’ ability to transform from one-size-fits-most marketing, to delivering value through deeply personalized communication at an individual level instead of volumes of interruptions that leave consumers exasperated.”
Here are three ways AI can empower marketers to better personalize your outreach, without taking up all of your waking hours.
Bucket consumers into the correct programs
By inputting your criteria and goals, AI can bucket your broader consumer base into segments that fit their stage.
Personalize your content
AI can help to tailor the content themes and messaging to each individual, so the right message is being received at the right time on the buyer journey.
Maximize your data
By gathering, and learning from, your audience data, AI will continue to improve on personalized experiences. This means you’re continuing to optimize your marketing processes without all the manual work.
As customer expectations continue to grow, marketers need a way to work smarter. AI takes the manual work out of campaign optimization to make sure you’re exceeding customer expectations by providing the right message in the right channel at the right time.
So you can focus on providing insights and tracking campaign success, instead of the manual program tweaking that takes up much of the marketing automation strategist’s time.
If you’re looking for more guidance on implementing Marketo AI in your marketing automation strategy, drop us a line! We can help make your Marketo campaigns work smarter for you.
Category Archives: Tips
As the beginning of a new year looms closer, marketers are counting down the days until something bigger, and possibly scarier, than a new decade comes along – the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
With General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) only recently in the rear view mirror, January 1st, 2020 will usher in the latest data compliance and privacy regulation: CCPA. And like the new data regulations that came with GDPR in 2018, CCPA gives consumers more control of their data protection, including how it is shared, sold, processed and collected. Who does CCPA effect?
CCPA specifically applies to any of the 40 million residents of California. If you are a for-profit company doing business in California, which is likely many of you since California is also the fifth largest economy in the world, and meet any of the criteria below, you’ll need to comply with the regulations.
annually buy, sell, receive, or share for commercial purposes the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or
derive 50 percent or more of its annual revenues from selling consumers’ personal information
According to this Marketo University blog, “the consumer must be aware—at the point of data collection—that information is being collected, informed as to how the data will be used and then given the option to opt-out from sharing or selling that personal data.”
In the case of CCPA compliance, personal data applies to personal identifiers like name, email and address, down to IP address, purchase and browsing history. Basically, anything that could be used to identify or be attributed to an individual, is protected under CCPA. Here are three areas to pay attention to in your Marketo instance to make sure you’re covered!
Do You Have A Privacy & Subscription Management Center?
If not, it’s time to start one. Lean on your legal team to ensure you’re in good standing and make sure you’re accurately depicting how you collect, store, and use your visitors’ data. Subscription management centers need to allow an opt out from selling or sharing data. And an explicit opt in to your communications is a given.
Have You Put Data Processing Best Practices in Place?
Have you recently audited your data for old, incomplete or junk information that should be deleted? Have you documented what you do with your data, and any requests for opt outs and deletion that you receive? Make sure your marketing automation staff is trained on best data practices, or bring in a partner to help you audit, clean up, and train or maintain your database moving forward!
Are You Following Best Cookie Practices?
This one is a little easier for Marketo users. In the last year, Marketo has removed pre-fill form functionality from its forms, using data stored in Munchkin cookies. Now, the only time a form will pre-fill in Marketo is when someone clicks a link in a Marketo email. Make sure you’re applying similar cookie practices across your digital marketing.
The Impact of Non-Compliance with CCPA
The full impact is yet to be seen, but violating the CCPA and not complying within 30 days of notification from the state incurs a civil penalty of up to $7,500 per violation. On top of that, non-compliance of CCPA can mean facing civil damages of up to $750 per violation, per user. According to PrivacyPolicies.com, this means that “sizable data breaches for companies with thousands of customers in California could quickly total up to around $1 million in CCPA fines.”
Data Regulation Beyond California
Not affected by the passing of CCPA? Don’t ignore this one just yet. States including New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Washington are already considering (or have passed) similar legislation. It’s also important to remember that California passed the original form of the CAN-SPAM act, before it was later enacted federally. So it’s possible some form of CCPA will turn into federal law in the future.
To net it all out, compliance and data privacy are here to stay, no matter what regulations you comply with currently, you need to get your data processing plans in order!
Leadous is here to guide you through any questions.
Category Archives: Tips
SEO is consistently one of the top lead generating sources for B2B marketers. And it’s a no brainer why. Without showing up in the top three results on Google, it’s likely your website (and products or services) will never be found by your prospects.
But it’s not enough to know that SEO is important, write a few more blog posts, and call it a day. Integrating good SEO into your wider lead generation strategy is hard work. It takes time to improve your rankings, and it’s equal parts art and science to do so.
In this post, we’ll review a few of the best practices for optimizing lead gen with SEO, to help you start (or continue on) the journey to better demand generation with your SEO marketing.
1) Know your baselines
As with any marketing strategy, you need to begin with an audit of where you’re starting, to know where you’re going. Use Google Analytics for a full picture of what’s working, and what’s not, on your website. Then, go deeper into whether you’re following the SEO basics. Do your pages have meta titles, descriptions, and keywords? Use an audit tool like SEOmater for a quick and easy way to get a picture of your SEO successes (and challenges).
2) Use Pillar Content
You spend a lot of time or resources on content marketing – make sure you’re getting every benefit out of that content! Creating long form content like e-books, blog post series and videos are great for your SEO content. So make sure you’re breaking those up into bite sized chunks like infographics and worksheets that can help you support your lead generating efforts!
3) Repurpose Existing Successful Content
Have a piece of content that did really well at driving leads but is dated? Update it! Re-release it with a “mid-year update” or any other spin on it to refresh for your audience. There’s a reason it performed well the first time and you want to make sure to take advantage of that to again streamline your work as much as possible.
4) Let Your Competition Be Your Guide
One of the biggest barriers to optimizing SEO is the time it can take to build your foundational strategy. Bypass some of the research and go straight to seeing what’s working well for your competition, using tools like SEMrush. Take the best of their strategy and build your own campaigns from those keywords.
5) Align Across Marketing
It’s clear that SEO isn’t just about your website content. It’s also about social, your advertising landing pages, your email marketing strategy driving traffic, the list goes on. Foster collaboration across the entire marketing team (including linking together your agencies) by providing clear, overarching project objectives, using collaboration and project management tools to stay in sync, and reporting on common held metrics so the entire team is driving to the same goal. By combining forces, your lead generation tactics will only be stronger.
SEO marketing is a top marketing strategy for any business looking to amp up lead generation. Looking for guidance on integrating your SEO more strategically into your lead generation efforts? Contact Leadous and let us lead you!
Category Archives: Tips
You’ve got your audience list built, your email flow steps are setup for success and you’re itching to press send and see the opens and clicks come flooding in from what’s sure to be another amazing email program.
But the success of your email campaign all hinges on one thing — your email actually making it to your subscriber’s inbox. Below are some tips on how you can optimize your email deliverability.
Deliverability is the single most important aspect of your email program. Without ensuring that your email makes it to your subscriber’s inbox – your catchy subject line and your beautifully designed email won’t stand a chance.
So what can you do to make sure your Marketo email won’t get blocked on its way to your subscribers? Take a look at these 5 best practices to improve your Marketo email deliverability and optimize your business results.
Respect your audience list
This one is pretty obvious, if you want to improve email deliverability, only send to recipients who have opted in to receive your email communications. Respect your subscribers’ inboxes and they won’t mark you as spam, affecting your future deliverability.
Keep your HTML clean
Email deliverability will give preference to text versions. So you want to make sure if you’re sending an HTML version that your code is very clean. Keep HTML tags properly closed, make sure your code includes a <title> tag, and always add a text version to ensure readability.
Consider the subject line
Reread that subject line a few times and remove any ALL CAPS words, excessive punctuation and spammy words (think FREE, limited time, act now, etc) so your emails don’t get blocked on their way to the inbox.
Pay attention to email body content
It’s not just your subject line content you need to pay attention to. Make sure you’re also following general best practices for your content in the body of your email. Keep font size between 8 pt and 14 pt. Don’t use the same key words in a row. Do a thorough spell check for misspelled words.
Keep your images proportionate to text
The highest deliverability rating is always going to be a text email. But, we obviously want to show off our design skills! Try to keep to a 70 / 30 percent ratio of text to images. Be mindful about how many images you include, keep flash media and embedded images to a minimum, and don’t attach files to your emails.
Overall, successful email deliverability relies on a careful adherence to best practices. It also depends heavily on the reputation and email authentication of your email sending platform. Marketo in particular is optimized for email deliverability and reputation management. Marketo also offers advanced email deliverability packages for customers who need even more reputation management capabilities.
Leadous’ proven email deliverability package addresses everything from templates, to delivery monitoring and reporting. If you’re looking for guidance on how to make sure your emails are making it to your subscribers’ inboxes or have questions about Marketo’s email deliverability, contact Leadous and let us lead you!
Category Archives: Tips
Are you considering outsourcing a portion of your marketing automation operations? You’re not alone.
And it’s no surprise why. In today’s market, it’s difficult to find and retain top marketing talent. It takes serious skill to manage marketing automation operations, and not every organization has the time and budget to recruit and train for those skills.
That’s where Lead Generation as a Service (LG-AAS) comes in.
LG-AAS changes the way marketers look at the world. At Leadous, we partner with Marketo to bring best in class automation into organization’s hands, so you can see results from your lead generation strategy without the headache.
Our LG-AAS process takes a crawl, walk, run mentality. We give organizations the ability to fill all of the gaps, test, refine and plan for an expanded use of Marketo and its powerful features to drive digital demand generation.
What type of organizations see value from LG-AAS?
We work with organizations from B2B to B2C to maximize their marketing automation systems and drive results without the hassle of managing operations day in and day out.
Are you finding it difficult to recruit the right team in your budget to manage marketing automation operations?
Would you like to focus more of your time and efforts on results instead of processes?
Do you need to get tools setup quickly so you can start seeing results?
Are your revenue goals closely tied to your marketing demand generation?
Are you having difficulty scaling up your marketing operations to meet sales goals?
Do you often work with agencies or other vendors and have experience managing them?
Do you want to implement marketing automation, but need to take a methodical approach?
If you’re nodding to one of these scenarios, LG-AAS is for you! The key to success in marketing automation is driving results. So if your organization isn’t in a spot to drive those on your own quite yet, LG-AAS could be a fit.
Let us lead you to better lead generation. Contact Leadous today to learn more about our LG-AAS offering.
Category Archives: Tips
Today’s consumer is marketing savvy with high expectations for the brands they choose to engage with. Your business has a limited amount of time to make a good impression, and much of that impression relies solely on marketing.
Marketing automation is really the one, efficient way to transform that digital journey and keep customers engaged with your brand. In this post, we’ll talk to Marketo’s consumer marketing solution, and how Leadous can help your business find, engage and retain consumers by implementing a smart, holistic marketing automation strategy.
Find your people
Any good marketing campaign starts with a targeted list. You need to know who you’re marketing to, where they’re finding your brand, and how they want to interact with you. Once you can figure out where they are (and where they’re coming from) you can incorporate targeted messaging in Marketo to deliver meaningful experiences.
Omnichannel engagement with personalization
Marketo allows you to follow your customer from your website, to social media, through emails, on to content, the list goes on! If it’s a marketing channel, Marketo can track it. By connecting the dots between your various marketing campaigns, you’re able to make sure you’re providing a consistent, cohesive digital experience that your consumers will enjoy and not be annoyed by.
Create brand advocates to increase the lifetime value of the customer
Once your opportunities convert, the journey doesn’t have to stop! Continue the conversation with customer nurture programs to make sure your consumers are becoming loyal brand advocates (and hopefully being inspired to buy more products or services from you as a result!).
Track revenue driving metrics
Data is what keeps the marketing automation machine humming along. With a unified view of the customer, and the marketing activities driving consumer engagement, you’re able to also report on what’s actually working to drive acquisitions, and what the lifetime customer value really is, so you’re able to improve on results as you go.
Looking for more tips on improving consumer engagement and providing a holistic digital experience for your buyers? We’d love to help lead you to better, smarter, consumer engagement campaigns. Contact us today!
Category Archives: Tips
Close your eyes (metaphorically). Imagine your perfect, home run of a customer. The one in that industry that looooves the value you bring to the table. With the size, location, business model, pain points, etc that sit smack dab in the middle of your sweet spot.
Now imagine you had the chance to talk to that prospect, with a message that speaks directly to who they are and their pain points. Seems like a no brainer situation, right? That’s every sales and marketing person’s dream! Making that fantasy a reality is what Account Based Marketing (ABM) is all about, and why it’s become the new hero of marketing strategies.
ABM is a strategy that finitely targets your marketing tactics to your highest value, best fitting, prospects. And it works. In fact, more than 87% of B2B marketers say that ABM sees a higher ROI compared to other demand gen tactics.
So, how can you use tools like Marketo to reap the benefits of an ABM strategy? In this post, we’ll look at four key steps to get you on your way to implementing ABM using Marketo.
1. Select target accounts
ABM centers on knowing and targeting those “perfect fit” customers. Look at your ideal customers and their geographical and behavioral data that you can target. Get finite into industries, technologies, or any other distinct niches. This will help you focus your ABM campaigns with more personalized messages that are likely to convert those leads.
2. Establish effective goals
It’s ok to start small with your ABM strategy, as long as you know where you’re going. Make sure you’re working closely with Sales on what success looks like for your ABM campaigns, what data you’re going to collect to tell you if you’re reaching that success, and setting time constraints around that data.
3. Plan out your campaigns
ABM doesn’t replace all of your marketing channels, it enhances them. So make sure you’re thinking through both the personalized content for your accounts, but also what channels you’ll be using to make sure you have a unified, cohesive message that your prospects can’t ignore!
4. Evaluate success and optimize for the future
Check in with your sales team periodically and see if any of your account lists need to be retooled. Use marketing automation tools like Marketo to build, track, optimize and report on results so you can continue to tweak your strategy as you go!
Unfortunately, there’s no easy button to press that will instantly bring your organization more leads. However, there is a lead generation strategy with the kind of “just-add-water” simplicity that will make your marketing more effective… Just add social!
Social media is an easy win for any business today, especially those using Marketo. Whether you’re a B2C, B2B or even B2E shop, social is a foolproof way to improve lead generation effectiveness.
So as Marketo users, how do you segment and tap into the billions of social users to drive actual revenue? Here’s a few tips and tricks from our social team!
1) Add your social channels to your Marketo instance & take advantage of Marketo reporting
The golden rule of marketing automation is measure EVERYTHING. Social is no exception. If you don’t have the data to look at to tell you where you are and what’s working, how can you determine what to do next? Luckily, Marketo easily integrates social metrics into your marketing reports. Make sure you’ve got yours linked up and are taking a look at the data so you’re locked in on just the activities that drive ROI.
2) (Re)target your social (both paid and organic)
In order to be successful in any marketing campaign, you need to know who your target audience is. Make sure you’re mapping out your target personas (and the social media platforms they use the most) so you can tailor messaging directly to their needs. And don’t forget about Audience Hub – which connects customer behavioral data to social ad platforms for more personalized messaging.
You can also retarget your social engagers with email to extend and reinforce your marketing messages across platforms for an omnichannel approach. Make sure you’re promoting your web and email content through social to get those audience members into your Marketo nurture campaigns and converting into leads.
3) Make it shareable
With social, you’re not only trying to reach and influence your followers, you’re trying to reach the coveted followers of followers. Make sure your content is shareable – try to balance out how much you are promoting your own brand with educational, fun, or other interesting content that’s irresistibly shareable. And don’t forget to add the built-in Marketo social media sharing buttons to all your content and campaigns, it’s another “just add water” easy win!
4) The “Just Add Water” mentality (AKA don’t be afraid to recycle content)
Social is a continuation of the conversations you’re having with your audience on other platforms. Don’t be afraid to recycle and repurpose bite sized graphics, quotes and other nuggets of content from your current library to extend the life of the content, and not add undue stress on your marketing teams. Keep it simple (and keep measuring) then retool from there.
Social media is an easy win for Marketo users to improve effectiveness of their marketing efforts. Are you using social with Marketo? We’d love to help you check off this easy win. Contact us today with your questions!
Category Archives: Tips
It feels like just yesterday we were at Adobe Summit, traveling back in time to the 90’s ad agency and getting the scoop on the latest and greatest updates coming to Marketo and Adobe. In case you missed it, we’ve compiled a quick rundown of our three most important takeaways from the Marketing Nation Summit!
B2B & B2C are gone, but not forgotten… B2E is where it’s at!
Steven Lucas, Senior VP of Digital Experience at Adobe had a very interesting message for marketers. Traditionally we have looked to B2B & B2C when delivering a marketing experience. Lucas cracked that concept wide open to reframe how marketers create the ultimate digital experience. B2E (Business-to-Everyone) is where it’s at!
We all have work to do that sometimes distracts us from what our real business purpose is, like what our customers REALLY need. It’s crucial to always have our ears and eyes open to purposefully listen to what the market is telling us. Leadous can help you deliver the energy and expertise needed to maximize every one of your customer’s marketing automation experiences with your brand.
Personalization is the ultimate digital experience.
We know that all our marketing efforts center on the customer, but now we have the right tools and much more knowledge to personalize each customer experience with your brand. Marketo has made it even easier to build automated marketing campaigns across all channels, tacking the full customer journey and utilizing Marketo’s innovative AI solution to create a personalized experience.
Looking for more Marketing Nation takeaways? We sent a team of Marketo experts there, drop us a line for more info!
Category Archives: Tips
Marketing is constantly evolving as customer trends evolve. With constant change, comes an obsessive need to evaluate and test your marketing tactics to make sure that what you’re putting your time and resources into is worth it!
That’s where A/B and multivariate testing comes in.
One of the great things about marketing automation is the enormous amount of data at your disposal to test and analyze.
Whether it’s the email you’re sending or the landing page you’re driving to, there’s a near endless list of things you can test to determine the best way forward. From subject lines to call-to-action buttons to the time of day you send the email – the sky’s the limit!
Here’s a chart from MarketSherpa of just some of the various elements you can test.
All of these elements, and more, can be utilized in an A/B testing or multivariate testing campaign.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between each testing method and best practices for starting to implement testing in your Marketo campaigns.
Sometimes referred to as Split testing, A/B Testing is pretty much exactly how it sounds. You take one element of an email or landing page and change it between two versions. For example, you send the exact same email with two different subject lines, and compare open rates between subject line A and B.
Multivariate testing is a more complex version of A/B testing. With multivariate testing, each group will see a different mix of components (images, buttons, colors, etc) to compare a wider range of options. While more complicated, and requiring a larger sample size to send to, with Marketo, you can easily duplicate and swap elements in your emails and landing pages to test.
Best Practices for Testing Your Marketo Email Campaigns and Landing Pages
So now that you know the difference between A/B testing and Multivariate testing, how do you get started implementing these techniques in your marketing strategy so you can start marketing more effectively? Here’s a few best practices to get you started:
Document, document, document
Especially as your testing methods get more complicated, make sure you have a master spreadsheet tracking what you tested and the results between tests (and ideally linking to the emails) so you can always take a step back and evaluate from a high level. This will help you as you get further along your tests and are ready to analyze the data so you can apply new standards across all your Marketo assets!
Start small at first
If you’re new to testing, start with A/B testing before growing to larger multivariate tests. It doesn’t take much extra resources to write a couple extra subject lines or use a few different emails. Just make sure you’re keeping your emails the exact same (down to the from name/email and time of day you send) except for the one element you’re testing, otherwise you’ll get into more complicated territory!
Make sure your audience corresponds to your tests
Sending out emails to a small group of partners? Or an internal user group? Maybe not the best time to test out different elements. You want to make sure you have a large enough sample size to truly get insight into the data.
Don’t forget about the other important tests: like email rendering
It’s difficult to get the full picture of what’s working and not working in your email and landing pages if your audience is having issues viewing or loading them! Use Litmus or another email rendering tool to test all of your assets before you send so you can make sure it is viewable across email platforms, browsers, and so on.
Make decisions based on your data It may go without saying, but make sure you’re taking the time to look at the data and make decisions based on it! It’s no use testing if you’re not going to use those insights to change up your strategy for the better in the future.
You’ve (hopefully) seen the emails. Tomorrow, August 15, 2018, Marketo’s updated data retention policy goes into effect.
But what does this mean for you and your Marketo data?
The new data retention policy has two parts, high volume activities will now only be retained for 90 days and then deleted. Other lead activities will be retained for 25 months and then deleted. The only exception to this is new lead activity – you will always be able to see in your activity log when and how a lead was created.
Here is the data that will be deleted in Marketo after 90 days (same as today):
Add to List
Change Data Value*
Click Link on Webpage
Sync Lead to SFDC
Sync Lead to Microsoft
Sync Lead Updates to SFDC
Here is the data that will be deleted via Marketo after 25 months:
If you need to retain more of this data beyond the specific time constraints you have a couple of options. You can bulk extract the data periodically and store in another system (see here for more information on the bulk extract API). The main limitation to the bulk extract API is a daily export allocation of 500 MB. If you plan to export extremely large files, an upgrade in export size will be necessary. The date range filter also maxes out at 31 days, depending on how far back you want the data to cover.
Your other option is to upgrade to Marketo’s premium Extended Data Retention subscription, which will extend your 25 months worth of data to 37 months.
Overall, the effect of the data retention is two fold. Beyond ensuring that your data is compliant with GDPR, you could see speedier load time in Marketo with less data to sift through. Depending on usage, you may see faster email sends, faster smart list processing, and faster campaign execution overall.
The other area where you’re going to see changes are smart list filters and flow steps where you can filter by an activity within a certain time period – those actions will only apply within the data retention period. Similarly, for engagement programs and smart campaigns, you will only be able to see membership within the data retention period.
To workaround these limitations, think through specific activities you want to record and try creating static lists or trigger campaigns (with custom fields) to update when specific activities occur. That way you can still segment based on this activity after the data retention period is over.
Have questions about how to retain your data? Need help exporting high value data so your reports stay clean? Contact Leadous, we can help!
Category Archives: Tips
With GDPR fully enforceable, there’s one topic on the top of every email marketer’s minds: the opt in.
A good, and legally compliant, email marketing strategy revolves around the opt in. No one likes, with good reason, to get bombarded with emails from someone they don’t know.
The email opt in is more than a legal and courteous practice, it’s also a serious opportunity for you to set expectations for your audience and start tailoring emails to what’s most relevant for your new subscribers.
So what’s the fastest way to find out what content is relevant to your audience?
That’s where the email preference center comes in. The email preference center allows your subscribers to select the type or frequency of content they receive from you. Do you have different product or service groups, industries, or geographic areas with different content streams? Do you send separate newsletters for events, webinars, company updates, or tips and tricks? Do you send at different frequencies that you could split into seperate email lists (daily, weekly or monthly sends)?
Map out the various types of messages you send, and the different ways you personalize that information to specific personas or locations, and then simply give your audience the option to self select the content they’re looking for through an email preference center. It’ll make your job easier, and ultimately be a better experience for everyone involved.
The email preference center shouldn’t only come to play in your opt in process. Just as important as allowing subscribers to tailor emails when they opt in, is allowing them to personalize the comms they receive when they ask to opt out.
Legally, of course you need an unsubscribe link in every email you send. Using the email preference center in the unsubscribe step is your last chance to talk directly to your audience and say, sorry we missed the mark here – are you interested in any of these other topics? Or would you like us to lower the frequency of emails and stay on our email list?
The email subscription center in the opt out process helps to combat the flash unsubscribe, when the reader gets one irrelevant email and fully unsubscribes from ALL emails from your organization. With an email subscription center, your audience can simply unsubscribe from the topic or frequency that’s not working for them anymore, and keep subscriptions to the topics that are, so you don’t lose out on that subscriber!
Need help mapping out your opt in or opt out process? Have questions about how to build a better email preference center in Marketo? We can help, just reach out!
Category Archives: Tips
The beginning of a new year can be a magical thing. It’s a time of new beginnings, a reset on personal and professional goals, and hopefully new marketing budgets! If you’re anything like us, you’ve been prepping for the new year for a while—reviewing your year-end results, building out your marketing plan, and outlining SMART goals for your teams that support overall company and sales goals.
But, if you’re feeling a bit behind in your new year planning already, that’s OK too. We’ve put together a quick guide to getting your marketing team setup for success in January and beyond.
Understand where you’ve been successful.
It’s hard to know where you’re going without knowing where you’ve been. Take some time to measure what campaigns were most successful across email, social, your website, webinars, and events. Look at your standard engagement metrics and connect your opportunities and closed business back to the campaigns your customers interacted with to paint a picture of your customer journey and the supporting marketing campaigns.
Take stock of the marketing metrics at your fingertips, and those you’re missing.
If you’re missing pieces of the puzzle when looking back at what success was like for you in the previous year, start asking what metrics you could track to fill in the blanks. Are there fields you can require in your CRM system that will fill in data points you don’t currently have? Do you need to make sure UTM parameters are added to your links on social so you can connect content created by marketing to where they’re most accessed and shared? Think through what data will help you prove the success of your marketing initiatives, and start tracking now!
Establish a baseline.
Once you know what’s worked and how you’re going to measure to prove it, you can establish a baseline. If your average incoming marketing qualified leads number per month was 50 when you ran 5 campaigns that month, you know you probably won’t be able to double to 100 MQLs and do 5 similar campaigns. Use the data you have to tell a story, to give you benchmarks to measure against, and set realistic monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals.
Always keep your end goal in mind.
At the end of the day, marketing’s goal is often to support sales and overarching company goals. So you need to understand what those goals are and where marketing is responsible for driving them. If you’re only responsible for sourcing 20% of new opportunities, and sales is responsible for sourcing 80%, your measure of success will look a lot different than if the equation was flipped. With sales sourcing the majority of leads, marketing efforts will likely focus more on middle of the funnel and bottom of the funnel supporting activities to help your sales teams close more business. Understanding sales and the leadership team’s expectations of you will help you prioritize and focus your marketing plan for the year.
Schedule in regular reviews, and be flexible to change.
Just like your new year gym schedule will probably change a bit come March, your marketing plan will, and should, too! Establish a regular schedule to review the metrics you have (this will help ensure you are consistently tracking data so it will be easier to set benchmarks for next year too). Discuss what’s working and what isn’t, based on what the numbers are showing, and don’t be afraid to make micro changes to your plans accordingly. The best marketing campaigns start out experimenting with a hypothesis, and it’s better to have built agile processes that you can switch up when something isn’t working, than go the whole year with a faulty campaign and have to suffer the consequences come December.
Looking for more guidance on making sure your marketing and sales processes are setup for success in the new year?
Reach out to our consulting team, we’d be happy to share our best practices metrics dashboard, provide suggestions, and even help with campaign execution to make sure you hit your goals this year.
Category Archives: Tips
Emoji use by brands in campaigns has risen a huge 609% year-over-year (from 2016 to 2017) in digital communications – Email Marketing Daily
Emojis are, for better or worse, a huge trend for consumers. So it’s no surprise that more and more brands are choosing to incorporate emojis into their email subject lines. But do they work?
A couple studies have come out recently saying they do, if used appropriately.
Emojis have some pretty clear benefits for email marketing. By using emojis in place of some text, you’re able to convey more in less characters. The average mobile inbox only shows 30-40 characters in the subject line. By incorporating one or two emojis, you can take full advantage of that space.
Plus with a couple of emojis in a sea of text subject lines you’ve got a better chance of grabbing your reader’s attention without affecting deliverability.
According to the Emoji Use in Email Subject Lines report, which looked at emojis in emails compared to text-only subject lines throughout one year, subject linesusing emojis has a higher read rate than comparable text-only subject lines.
However, there is a risk of emoji email oversaturation as emojis become more and more popular for brands. In a recent Mailjet study using a/x testing (testing up to 10 variations of the same email) they found that overall open rates with emails using emojis went slightly down from 31.5% in 2016 to 28.1% in 2017. The ❤️ emoji being the top emoji for open rates.
So how do you make sure your emoji-laden email is one that gets opened?
Stay consistent with your brand and tone — as a marketer you know your organization and audience better than anyone, if an emoji isn’t in line with your brand, stick to your gut and take it out!
Test, test and test again before sending. Verify whether the emojis you want to use will render correctly across email clients and browsers.
Implement A/B testing for your email campaign with a subject line using emojis and plain text to collect performance data.
Don’t overdo it! Use emojis in moderation so you’re not oversaturating your audience.
Make sure your emojis have a purpose. Whether they’re conveying an emotion, visualizing your brand, or just telling a story, don’t just add them because you feel like it.
Do you ❤️ the idea of emojis in subject lines? Check out the Emojipedia for a full encyclopedia of every emoji that you can copy and paste into your email subject lines. You can also see how certain emojis should render on different devices or browsers.
If you’d like more tips on using emojis for your audience or have some examples of brands doing emojis well, leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!
Category Archives: Tips
Data-driven marketing is no longer an option in today’s world, it’s a requirement. Modern marketers know that in order to successfully engage their customers, they need to understand them inside and out, and communicate with them according to their needs and expectations along the customer lifecycle.
This approach generally means collecting a lot of data – from IP addresses cookied on your website, to form fills and social media interactions – marketing is often the owner of the customer profile data used for ongoing marketing campaigns to prospects, customers and partners.
Now, for organizations with any kind of activity or customers in the EU, the regulations around how that data is collected, stored, and accessed are becoming more stringent with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Does the GDPR affect your business? If it does, how will you have to change your marketing activities in the future? What is the deadline for compliance? We’ve got these answers and more below where we compiled the highlights you need to get ready for the GDPR.
If you’re looking for a deeper dive,check out our on-demand webinarfor more specific tips on how GDPR will affect your business, and what you can do to prepare.
What is the GDPR
The GDPR is a digital privacy regulation from the European Parliament, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission. It was created in April, 2016 and will become enforceable on May 25th, 2018. Failure to comply after that could entail up to €20 million in fines or 4% of your global turnover.
The intent of the GDPR is to give EU citizens more control over their data privacy and standardize regulations for any business working with an EU citizen’s data (whether the company is located in the EU or not). The last time the data privacy laws in the EU were updated was in 1995. A lot has changed since then with the rise of social media, smartphones, and marketing so it follows that the personal data privacy laws needed a refresher.
Who does the GDPR apply to
Once you start digging more into the language of the GDPR, you’ll see reference to three main entities that the GDPR involves:
The data subject – This is the person whose data is being collected. If your data subject resides in the EU, then the GDPR applies to your company regardless of whether you are located in the EU or not.
The data controller – This is the organization that is collecting or housing the data subject’s data (ie your company!).
The data processor – This is the organization (or software) that processes data on behalf of the data controller. For the majority of our marketing clients, the data processor is Marketo (or any marketing automation platform) and Salesforce (or any CRM).
What data does the GDPR apply to
The GDPR applies to a pretty broad sense of personal data. According to the European Commission, “personal data is any information relating to an individual, whether it relates to his or her private, professional or public life. It can be anything from a name, a home address, a photo, an email address, bank details, posts on social networking websites, medical information, or a computer’s IP address.”
What the GDPR means for marketing
By now it should be clear that digital marketers are involved with a lot of the data the GDPR applies to. So it follows that there are a couple specific areas where the GDPR is going to change marketing processes.
1.Explicit Opt In
Under the GDPR, your contacts must now explicitly give consent for you to collect any of their personal data. Consent is clearly defined by the GDPR as “any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes” using “a clear affirmative action.”
What does this mean in layman’s terms? Basically, assuming that anyone who fills out a contact us form can now be marketed to is no longer going to cut it. You need to collect explicit opt ins for any further communications.
Here’s a great example of a GDPR compliant opt in form versus a non-compliant form. Note the explicit check box (not just a message at the bottom of the form) that allows contacts to opt in to receive future marketing communications.
Your contacts under the GDPR will have more control over how you collect and use their data. This includes their right to request a report of where their data is being used, and taking that a step further, requesting that you completely erase their data from your records.
GDPR requires you to legally justify the processing of the personal data you collect. This means you’re only collecting data from your contacts that will directly relate back to the value you are providing them as a company. Just like in the above two requirements, you will need to be prepared to come with receipts. During an audit, you must be able to prove not only what data you have (#2) but why you have that specific data and what value it brings to that contact. At the end of the day you need to prove the data you are collecting is always in the best interest of the contact.
“Marketo will be in compliance with the GDPR by May 25th, 2018 and Marketo’s services already include the functionality necessary for our customers to comply with the GDPR’s consent requirement. We have carefully examined the relevant provisions of the GDPR and we are closely tracking applicable GDPR guidance issued by regulatory authorities. These steps are helping us to develop tools for our customers relevant to GDPR-compliant use of Marketo’s services.”
The main responsibility as a data processor under the GDPR is data protection. One way data processors comply with full data protection is by implementing pseudonymisation to their data. The GDPR refers to pseudonymisation as “the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information.”
One example of of pseudonymisation is encryption, which essentially makes it so that the original data cannot be read without a decryption key. Under the GDPR this decryption key must be kept separate from the pseudonym data.
Getting started with compliance
So you’ve established that the GDPR applies to your company. While many of the compliance activities we’ve covered in this post involve marketing, ultimately it will be a company-wide data governance effort to make sure you are fully compliant with the GDPR. So where do you start?
Start building your data governance team – Work with company leadership to prioritize a committee for GDPR compliance to ensure that the effort extends across your entire organization.
Assess your current compliance state – Evaluate your existing data processes. What systems are currently processing any type of personal data? What’s the process for updating and removing data from these systems? Document where you are or aren’t compliant with the GDPR within these systems and use that as a baseline for where to focus your efforts.
Create your data opt in and request processes – This is where you’ll get into the meat of designing your full GDPR compliance. Walk through everywhere you collect personal data, and make sure you’re posting privacy notices and are fully compliant with explicit opt ins for data consent. Evaluate any issues with security and document how you will detect and respond to any breaches. Determine the process for when your contacts request to access or delete their data. Start outlining how you will train the rest of the company on all of these processes.
Compile documentation – Under the GDPR you’re required to supply copies of all of the above processes. Start collecting your documentation for your opt in forms, privacy notices, employe trainings, and any other processes you have in place to handle the processing of personal data and requests from contacts.
Have a question about the GDPR or just looking for some help in making sure your company is fully compliant?
Bringing marketing automation into any organization requires buy in from a variety of executives. For marketers to make a case for an automation platform at an executive level, it is important to outline a plan that considers the benefits and ROI that apply to the entire organization.
Recently, Leadous hosted an event featuring marketing leaders from across the Minneapolis-St. Paul area to talk about just that – how your marketing team can convince your C-Suite to see the true value of marketing automation for your company.
Below are some of the key takeaways from the panelists:
Angie Franks, CEO/Chairman of the Board, Central Logic
LeAnn Case, EVP of Marketing, CU Companies
Sam Archbold, Director of Digital Marketing: B2B, US Bank
Getting your C-suite to pay attention
The key question to ask (and answer!) when getting your C-suite on board with a new technology purchase is, “What problem will this help our company solve?”
“Technology does not solve problems, it enables your team to solve problems,” said Angie. Make sure you bring that specific problem (and the way the technology will enable your team to solve it) when you are suggesting marketing automation as a solution; don’t just present it as a piece of technology you’d like to have. At the end of the day, “trust from your senior leadership is important,” added LeAnn. “They should trust your judgement in this investment, and know what to expect from your decisions.”
Stay focused on the data
At the end of the day, marketing automation is providing you with a tool to interpret and act on data. “That data can support decisions across the business, even if everyone doesn’t like it,” said Sam. How your team may talk internally about products and services differs from how customers interpret it. Use the tools within marketing automation like A/B testing to know what customers are actually responding to versus what we think they’ll respond to.
Marketing automation broadens the effect of marketing on the business
Beyond just lead generation, marketing automation allows for a multi-tiered marketing approach for all stages of the customer funnel. “From onboarding new customers to upselling additional products and services, marketing automation is a tool that can help support the entire lifecycle of your customers,” said Sam. “Provide cross-sell and upsell opportunities, go through onboarding, specific content tracks, and other activities that go way beyond lead generation as supporting documentation for the value of marketing automation. It can become a communications distribution tool for all stages of the funnel.”
By presenting marketing automation as a versatile tool across the lifecycle of the customer, it also becomes more of a problem solver (see “Getting your C-suite to pay attention” above) to support the broader organizational goals. The more departments you can get on board with your overall marketing strategy, the more agile and invaluable the work you’re doing with marketing automation will become, and you’ll have fewer silos across the organization, along with a more cohesive brand identity. That’s a win for everyone.
A new relationship between sales and marketing
Marketing automation has the potential to truly change the game between sales and marketing. It arms sales with new data “to understand who they’re calling and why,” says Angie. By understanding the value and lifetime per client, you can determine how to best replicate the buying behavior through marketing paths and bring your sales team more qualified leads, more efficiently. What sales team wouldn’t be on board with that?
The number one takeaway
“Go beyond simple lead generation to focus on your overall company’s growth strategy and how marketing automation can support that,” Angie said. Look at where there are specific problems and inefficiencies and how marketing automation specifically solves those problems. By translating marketing automation into a company problem-solver (not just a marketing department problem-solver), the C-Suite will see the true value that marketing automation can deliver.
Once you’ve convinced your C-suite to get on board, your next step is a successful implementation to make sure you’re set up for success.
For top insights and assistance with the marketing implementation and optimization process, click here.
Category Archives: Tips
The age old question – to outsource or not to outsource – is a constant struggle, especially in marketing. The marketing world is changing as quickly as the technology is. True experts in marketing automation are in high demand and experience high turnover, which means it can be expensive and time consuming to hire. But the same can be said for finding the right fit for an agency to work with. So which do you go with?
We say both…just hear us out!
Marketing automation is a relatively new concept, the percentage of companies that don’t use marketing automation is greater than those who use it. And for those that do, we’ve often found they’re only scratching the surface of what they can truly accomplish with marketing automation. A consultation partner can fill the gap when getting your team trained and supported and make sure there’s a consistent and effective implementation of your marketing automation system.
The best partners will also show you how to leverage the components that are right for your business (not just try to sell you everything you don’t need) and keep you up to date on new and changing features. They take marketing teams from novice to experts and can help support more complex automation strategies that could take a beginner months to get started with. By building and supporting the framework for your marketing automation system, they help make sure your team is set up for success no matter their experience level.
Essentially, getting marketing automation to work for your business involves a team of people working together inside and outside of the company:
Executive support who has visibility into the analytics coming from the system, and what those trends mean for the business as a whole.
Campaign level team members who understand the ins-and-outs of the company and have quick access to internal resources like IT, product and sales to get questions answered quickly.
A partner that helps guide, drive and recommend changes to help drive quick return and problem solve with your marketing team.
The value a partner provides goes beyond just knowing how marketing automation works, they should be offering true consultative services that analyze your business and how they can best support you, whether you have 1 or 20 people on your marketing team.
If you’d like more information on how Leadous serves as a marketing automation consultation partner to companies looking to up their marketing game contact us.
Category Archives: Tips
Marketing automation platforms understandably receive a lot of hype among marketers today as the “silver bullet” that can magically grow your revenue and increase the impact of marketing.
While marketing automation platforms can yield awesome results, the reality is, there is no one silver bullet for marketing. There’s no easy button to push on a marketing automation platform that will instantly flood your inbox with leads and grow your business exponentially, unfortunately.
The expectation of instantaneous results from marketing automation is a dangerous one. It’s not good for your marketing team, especially since you’re justifying the dollars you spend and are on the line for the results you bring into the company.
Here are a couple misconceptions about marketing automation to avoid when you’re considering (or in the midst of) implementing your marketing automation system.
1. Once you’re implemented, you’re done.
This takes us back to the easy button. In order to implement a successful marketing automation platform, it takes careful planning, analysis and iteration on what seems like a daily basis based on the data your platform is collecting. The process of optimizing your platform is never really done if you’re doing it well!
2. All you need is Marketo. Or Pardot. Or Hubspot. Or Eloqua. Etc.
Marketo is an enormously robust platform. But if you don’t have have a database of targets or a content portfolio that you can leverage, you are seriously limiting the impact you can make. Marketo shines in its ability to handle large swaths of data and personalized content paths that engage your audience based on their behaviors. So if you don’t yet have much of an audience or content to engage with, you might want to think through some of the supporting marketing activities that will make your marketing automation platform truly sing.
3. Marketing is the only team that needs to be involved in the purchase of marketing automation.
I don’t know what your marketing-sales dynamic is. You could be besties. Or constant frenemies. Either way, you know that both of your successes are tied to one another, which means with a platform as important as marketing automation, you need to have sales involved in the decision, setup and calibration of the platform. It’s important to understand what goals you are trying to hit for sales and get real time feedback on incoming leads so you know how to best deliver quality leads that they can convert. At the end of the day, you’ll both be better off for it.
Marketing automation is an amazing strategic tool that can change how you market. It won’t however replace a great product, tight process or grit. If you want help getting started or optimizing your Marketo platform, contact Leadous!
Category Archives: Tips
On our blog we’ve covered all things lead scoring with Marketo from what lead scoring is, to where to begin scoring leads at your company, to common mistakes made when scoring. Now it’s time to get into some of the more advanced techniques you can employ when lead scoring with Marketo. Moving beyond just behavioral and demographic lead scoring for a minute, there are three additional strategies you can use to better predict which leads are most likely to buy, giving you more insight than ever into your prospective buyers.
1) Product Scoring
Product scoring can be a complex strategy to implement depending on the size and scope of the product offerings at your organization. The concept, however, is simple. Product scoring measures a lead’s interest and fit for a distinct product or service (assuming your company offers more than one).
By scoring based on product interest, you can also prioritize your most popular (and profitable) products to steer your prospects into a lead nurturing campaign with a cohesive message that shows your company and products in the best light possible.
2) Account Scoring
Most of the time a purchasing decision is not made by one person, but a team of people. Depending on the cost and industry, there could be a whole buying committee reviewing your product. That’s where account scoring can come in handy.
If multiple contacts from one account are engaging with your marketing, you (and your sales team) want to know about that quickly and easily without having to wade through the data to figure it out. Using account scoring, you can group together contacts from one account to track their activities and determine sales-readiness. More on account scoring from Marketo can be found here.
3) Score Reduction
In marketing, you could argue that one of the most important things to focus on is a clean database. And your scoring model is no exception to that rule. With lead scoring, it’s easy to focus on the positive/action-driven scoring models. But you also need to think about leads who may be giving you all the signs that they’re engaging with you, but aren’t actually sales prospects. These could be job seekers for your company downloading brochures and visiting your careers page. Or they could be prospects who became clients. Or prospects who won’t be ready to purchase for a long time.
Either way, you’ll want to set boundaries on your lead scores to ensure a clean marketing pipeline. Putting a scoring reduction model in place that caps or removes scoring points after a lead is inactive for a certain number of days, visits the careers page of your site, becomes a client, and so on is an essential strategy to keep your pipeline accurate.
These three advanced strategies will help give your marketing and sales teams a crystal clear view of your lead pipeline and the prospects who are ready to buy.
Want some help employing some of the more advanced lead scoring strategies using Marketo at your company? Give us a shout!
Category Archives: Tips
In our last few blog posts, we’ve talked about what lead scoring is and how to get started with a lead scoring program. Lead scoring programs take quite a bit of initial effort to get up and running, and you want to translate that work into results! To support that effort, here are the top 5 most common lead scoring mistakes we see in our clients, and how you can avoid them.
1) Asking the prospect too many (or too detailed) qualification questions in forms
It’s tempting to ask your prospects every question possible in your forms to qualify them as sales ready leads. Remember to consider that prospects may not be filling in fully accurate information, especially if you’re asking for details they might not even know (such as trying to determine their sales ready status by asking BANT information — Budget, Authority, Needs, and Timeline). Try to use progressive profiling, and only ask information appropriate to where they are in the sales cycle.
2) Assuming bigger is always better
A Director (not a VP) may be your decision maker. A coordinator may be your main researcher. A mid-size company could be a better fit for your sales cycle and timeline. Don’t just assume in your lead scoring program that you only want CEOs and Fortune 500 companies receiving the coveted high scores. Make sure you’re taking into account the personas of your influencers and decision makers beyond senior leadership that reflects your prospects’ buying behavior.
3) Scoring email opens
Open rates tend to mean that the reader’s email server downloaded an image from the email. This could be in a preview, or even while they’re clicking the delete key. So while open rates can be a good macro trend to look at, don’t place too much weight on the value of the open. Go for engagement-centric metrics like click throughs and form fills, where you know without a doubt the prospect is engaging with your marketing.
4) Scoring either demographic OR behavioral values
You can’t have a good sales ready lead if they’re not a good fit for your organization. Just like you can’t have a sales ready lead if they’re not ready to buy your product or service. Don’t just score on one value (demographic) or the other (behavior). In order for your program to work properly you need to examine both customer fit and sales readiness based on behavior. More tips on that here!
5) Not allowing sales to adjust scores
Creating a lead scoring program in a vacuum, or carving it in stone means it won’t last long. Sales should be allowed to adjust the scores of their leads, whether higher or lower, to reflect where the leads actually are in the sales readiness cycle. At the end of the month or quarter, you can review the adjusted leads to determine larger scale updates you may need to make to your lead scoring program.
Want to make sure you get your lead scoring program setup right the first time and avoid these common mistakes? Contact us and we’ll help you get a lead scoring program up and launched successfully.
Because lead scoring requires the collaboration of sales and marketing to rank leads by sales-readiness and product fit, the most important place to start is setting a meeting for your sales and marketing teams to come together to create your company’s ideal buyer persona.
To prepare for that collaboration, make sure you review and bring to the table all the data you have that show the process leading up to when prospects are ready to buy your company’s products or services: pull data from your CRM and website to get a full picture of how deals are moving through the pipeline, what campaigns are influencing deals to close, and what common features closed deals share.
Marketo has provided a useful checklist of more than 50 explicit scores and 200+ implicit scores to help you start to map out the important data points to consider for your lead scoring program. In particular you’ll want to review with your teams the following behaviors and attributes to determine what scores are critical to indicating a sales ready lead:
Explicit Scores (positive)
Individual-specific demographic scoring rules (job title, years of experience)
Relationship scoring rules (account type, lead source, current products)
Implicit Scores (positive)
Livestreamed event attendance
Web page activity
Implicit Scores (negative)
No website activity in multiple months
Negative social media interaction
Once everyone is on the same page, assign actual scores to these behaviors and attributes in order of importance. See Marketo’s examples in their Definite Guide to Lead Scoring for more information.
After you’ve laid out your explicit and implicit scoring model, add them together for a total lead score. Make sure that demographics are less than half of the total score (although leads may fit your target demographics perfectly, if they aren’t yet engaging with you, they’re not sales ready!).
The final step of building your initial lead scoring program is deciding (in conjunction with sales) the threshold for handing off a lead from marketing to sales. Is it leads over a score of 45? 75? You want to make sure you’re making the process efficient for sales (don’t pass over too many leads that may not be sales-ready), while still providing them with a healthy pipeline (don’t have a number that’s too high to hit consistently). It will likely take some time to test and determine the right number for your business and scoring model. To finalize your number, try testing a random sample of contacts in your CRM. Compare closed and lost deals to their scores and see if the corresponding numbers match up to your threshold.
As with any marketing program, once you push it live, you always want to revisit and readjust. Setup a quarterly meeting to look at your sales wins and losses and make sure you review lead scores to ensure your numbers are aligning with the deals.
Propensity to buy and product fit–when it comes time for marketing to hand off a lead to sales, these are two important measures that your sales team will want to know to prioritize their time and set them up for success.
Propensity to Buy: Where are the prospects in the buying cycle? (Are they ready to purchase your product tomorrow or two years from now?)
Product Fit: Are the prospects a good fit for your business? (Should sales be putting in the same level of effort to engage them if they won’t be able to use your products or services to the fullest extent?)
Fortunately, many of those questions can be automatically answered for your sales team using Marketo lead scoring.
Lead scoring is the collaboration of sales and marketing to rank leads by sales-readiness and product fit. By setting automated rules in Marketo to rank leads by A, B, C, or D (or hot, warm, cold), your sales team can gain more insight into which leads are ready to engage, and which ones need more nurturing from marketing.
Getting the Basics Down
There are two components of lead scoring you need to understand to build out a successful lead scoring program: explicit scoring and implicit scoring.
With explicit scoring, prospects tell you information about themselves. This can be through a form fill where a prospect tells you her job title, company size, geographic location, and so on. Explicit scoring is usually determined by your company’s sales targets. Which job titles or company size are the best fit for your company? Are you only accepting leads in certain areas of the world? Scoring a lead based on these factors tells your sales team how qualified this lead is by set factors in your target demographics.
With implicit scoring, you infer information based on the prospect’s behavior. This can be through webinar views, white paper downloads, web page visits, and so on. You can assign specific scores so that when a prospect fills out a contact us form she gets more points than say, downloading a white paper. Or on the flip side, if a prospect unsubscribes from an email list, points are removed. These are all key behaviors that signal how ready a prospect is for your business.
In case you’re not yet convinced that lead scoring can help improve your sales and marketing processes, here are 4 benefits of lead scoring that many of our clients see:
Better align sales and marketing, so only qualified leads are going to sales and leads that need more time are being actively nurtured.
Define a lead hand-off process that makes both sales and marketing more efficient and productive.
Better estimate the deals in your pipeline so you can plan according to what deals are more likely to close, and when.
Save your sales team time and effort by making sure they’re focusing on the contacts and accounts with the best fit for your business.
“A solid lead scoring approach not only helps to rank prospects against one another, but can smooth the lead flow and serve as the baseline for building a range of business rules that include ownership, role and activities.” -SiriusDecisions, What’s the Score
Lead scoring is a great foundation to build better alignment between your sales and marketing teams, and strengthen the impact of your marketing efforts. By ensuring you’re only engaging with prospects at a time when it will resonate the most, you’re saving time, money and effort!
Stay tuned to the blog for more about creating the basics of a lead scoring program at your organization. In the meantime, if you have any questions about getting started with lead scoring or maybe taking your lead scoring to the next level, contact us.
Category Archives: Tips
If your marketing campaigns are bringing in leads, but you don’t know which campaign or channel the leads came from, is your campaign a success?
The most successful marketing and sales campaigns are the ones you can track. The more you track, the more you can repeat (or retool when you want to improve campaigns results!). When you know where the quality leads are coming from, you can be smarter about where your marketing department allocates time and money to continue to bring in revenue.
Tracking your lead sources in Marketo is a simple 2-step process, but it starts with understanding URL parameters.
A URL parameter is a tag you place in your landing page link for tracking purposes. You can spot URL parameters easily, because they come after the ? in any URL. For example:
The first part is the actual URL used to navigate to the website. The second part (in orange) is a query string that contains the URL parameter. It won’t change the destination of the URL at all, but it will pass data along so you can track if someone is visiting your landing page from a specific source or campaign that you define. When someone clicks the link above, we know that they visited our homepage from one of our blog posts.
To track various campaign data associated to your landing pages, you can add as many parameters as you need. With the example above, we could add another parameter after the Source, like “SourceDetail=Blog8” to track exactly which blog post the link click originated from.
Many of our clients will use URL parameters to track the effect of different sources for a particular campaign. For example, if you share a new white paper to Twitter, LinkedIn and in an email campaign, you can create different links with specific URL parameters (?Source=Twitter, ?Source=LinkedIn, and ?Source=Email) so that when someone downloads that white paper, the source is automatically collected and you can report on which sources are furthering your marketing efforts.
Now that you know what URL Parameters are, here’s how to set up your parameter tracking in Marketo.
Step 1 – Add the URL Parameter as a hidden field to your form.
When you create a form for your marketing campaign, you want to make sure to add a hidden field for the URL Parameter.
If your URL parameter is Product Interest, like in the Marketo example below, you would add a “Product Interest” field and set the field type to hidden. Then, in order to make sure the data will pass through the link, you have to set the autofill behavior option to “URL Parameter”. Make sure to name the parameter for the field you are tracking (ie Product Interest; Source; Campaign).
Step 2 – Create Landing Page links with URL Parameters
After your form is created with a hidden field for the URL parameter category you’d like to track, you need to actually create the different links with various parameters.
Once you’ve created your landing page, go into URL Builder (under the URL Tools menu option). Enter one of the parameters you’d like to track and click “update URL”. Marketo will automatically update the landing page link for that parameter, which you can then copy and paste. For example, if you enter “Twitter” in the field to track leads coming in from Twitter, the URL will update with ?Source=Twitter at the end. You can use that link for all your Twitter posts for that specific marketing campaign and later track how many leads were sourced from that channel.
Tracking your campaign lead sources takes a little setup at the beginning, but once you get into a rhythm of creating your lead and campaign sources for every marketing campaign, you’ll soon be collecting all the data you need to make smart, marketing decisions that help you reach your sales targets.
If you’re a marketing automation company that is essentially marketing to marketers, you probably have a pretty solid marketing strategy.
It should come as no surprise that Marketo, one of the top marketing automation platforms available, has mastered how to market itself. And we’re not just saying that because we’re Marketo partners. Marketo has a firm understanding of content marketing – sharing content that engages their audiences, and using marketing automation to move that audience through the sales funnel.
Jon Miller, VP Marketing and Co-Founder of Marketo, gave a presentation in 2013 that summarized 5 of the marketing best practices Marketo follows to make their efforts more efficient and drive more revenue (summarized by KickStart Alliance originally here). And although it’s dated from 2013 we find that these best practices still ring true today.
Tailor content to your buying cycle
It’s important to tailor your content and campaigns to where your prospects are. And that doesn’t just mean what social media channel they’re using. It means no matter where the prospect is in the buying cycle, you have an experience tailored toward them.
If it’s a completely new prospect to your company, you want to make it easier for them to find you and get hooked into your content (shorter, “viral”-ready content with no forms to download). When you are in the middle of engaging a prospect and they’re interested in learning more, or researching your solutions, that’s when you want to offer the meatier content that will give them the justification to choose your product (and start to collect more information about them through forms).
Incorporate social sharing into every campaign
Adding a social component to your campaigns can easily increase the success of your marketing efforts. Marketo sees up to an 11% increase in reach and engagement of their content just from social media. Measuring the social impact of your campaigns is just as important as having a social media presence. Gathering the analytics from your social campaigns also means you know where to continue to focus your marketing efforts if it’s successful or not.
Automate lead nurturing
According to KickStart Alliance, Marketo’s sales process is complex: “buying committees have anywhere from 5 to 21 people, it takes 120 days to move a name to an opportunity and an average of 7 touches to convert a cold lead to a sale.” Marketo uses lead nurturing, and scoring, to automate this process and make sure good leads move through the sales cycle more quickly.
In particular, Marketo uses a 4.1.1 approach to qualify and score leads: “4 pieces of content that are educational, yet entertaining. Then 1 webinar invitation (soft sell) and 1 demo invitation (hard sell).” Throughout this process, Marketo scores leads based on “fit, interest, and buying stage” to better indicate to sales which leads should be higher on their target list.
A sophisticated campaign approach like Marketo’s make take awhile for your team to build (although with drip campaigns you can build as you go!) but once you have the process of scoring and automated lead nurturing in place, you will be well on your way to delivering higher quality leads to your sales team, with less work on their part.
Hire sales development reps
Sales Development Reps (SDRs) “call all prospects with a lead score of “Target” to determine if the prospect meets the criteria for a Sales Qualified Leads (SQL)”. This qualifying step can make a world of difference by strengthening the hand off between marketing and sales – solidifying the relationship with the prospect and saving the sales team time by making sure they are only working with qualified leads.
It also ensures that every lead is followed up on. Because if you’re trying to increase your revenue – making sure you’re not letting any leads fall through the cracks is a no brainer!
Make your marketing smarter (and bring in more $$$) with analytics
The great part about using Marketo for your marketing campaigns is everything is tracked. For Marketo, they consistently analyze “reach (size of long term revenue), flow (from one stage to another), conversion and velocity of the pipeline” to better report on the impact marketing is having on revenue – and analyze where those efforts can be improved to save money and grow revenue. By taking the time to be smart about setting up and reporting on your marketing efforts, you arm yourself with the knowledge to continue to improve and grow the impact of your programs.
If you want to put these tips to work, but need a little help to start marketing your company like Marketo does, we can help! Contact us for more information on our Marketo execution and marketing automation strategy services today.
Category Archives: Tips
Sales and marketing departments lose approximately 550 hours and as much as $32,000 per sales rep from using bad data EVERY YEAR (DiscoverOrg).
It’s pretty clear a clean database is important to the success of your marketing and sales efforts. No sales or marketing rep wants to waste a campaign on contacts that don’t exist.
So what do you do about it? Do you delete every lead at first sign of decay? Routinely skim your lists for dupes and inactive leads? Per usual, the answer is a bit more complicated than that.
If you’re deleting inactive leads, you could be losing the data and insights into why you’re losing those leads, and the data to later point you toward which marketing and sales activities are successful. You’re also losing the potential to eventually reinvigorate leads later with win back campaigns.
But if you’re keeping incorrect data in your database, you may be wasting time contacting leads that don’t exist or qualify for your products and services in the first place.
Here’s one trick that works for us when cleaning our database, with our finger on the delete key.
Stop for a minute and imagine this situation: if this person contacted you again (at a new job or with a correct email address), what data from this interaction would you want to keep? Would it help your sales team to know any of this historical information?
Imagining future re-interactions with your company gives you a good gut check on whether to delete or not delete. If it’s a duplicate account that offers no future value, and is just messing up your reporting values, by all means delete! But if there’s information that can be salvaged, consider taking the time to fill in data instead. If a contact is inactive because they changed jobs, can you find their new email? Connect their social media account for a more complete picture of their activity? Does your customer service department or accounting department have better data you can pull from?
Here are a few more tips to transform delete-worthy data to lead-worthy data:
Setup duplication alerts. If a lead comes in your platform with a similar company and last name, have your marketing automation system alert you. Then you can go in and decide if you want to remove the lead, combine it with another, or create a new contact.
Use smart campaigns to your advantage to automatically identify records with false email addresses or missing information, then set your data team on appending and fixing this information, or suspending the contact until they fill in more information.
Re-evaluate your lead and contact statuses. Do you have contact statuses identified for no interest, no response, send back to marketing for your leads and contacts? Determine the different situations (like the exercise above) where you may want to keep a lead’s historical information or data for later use, and determine which status (mailing list is a great one) you’d like to place them in until a later date.
Good, successful marketing takes thoughtful processes. And sometimes, in the case of keeping a clean CRM, it takes a lot of time and work. Consider enlisting help to better structure your data collection and review process. And don’t forget, we can lead you.
Category Archives: Tips
If you are new to the CRM + marketing automation game, you and others in your sales and marketing department may find yourselves asking, “We already use a CRM- why do we need to use another tool?” While marketing automation works closely with your existing CRM, it is important to note they are not one in the same. CRMs are a wonderful tool to track new and existing customer touches and interactions, but it is not a one-stop shop for hitting your sales goals. Adding marketing automation into the mix can give your teams the boost needed to land your organization in revenue paradise.
Used by the sales team.
Primarily a DATABASE used to store every bit of information on your customers.
Assists the sales rep in managing personal interactions with customers. CRMs can remind the sales rep when calls are scheduled or even when the customers birthday is approaching.
Used by the marketing team.
Master execution tool. Not only can your marketing automation tool streamline and schedule communications for your leads, but it can also personalize emails based on the current situation or status of the individual lead.
Lead behavior based scoring and outreach. Did your lead click a link in an email or visit a key webpage? Great. Now you can award points and/or send a message with more information.
Tracks ROI for campaigns. Post campaign analytics in your tool can make proving the value of marketing initiatives as easy as a click.
Your CRM has great information and so does your marketing automation platform. The two tools not speaking to one another would be a major disservice to your organization. Be sure to think integration. Does the CRM you have link well with the marketing automation software you have in mind? If this is a mystery to you- no worries – Leadous can help your organization can get the two working together like peanut butter and jelly.
Category Archives: Tips
Chances are if you have (or are considering having) a marketing automation platform, the idea of “automation” is a pretty important one for you. One of the crucial differentiators between a marketing automation platform and any other email sender is the ability to automate sophisticated, targeted campaigns across the lifecycle of your customer’s journey, easing the effort on your marketing and sales teams by engaging more people, more frequently, automatically.
So you know automation is important to your marketing strategy, but where do you start? Here are just a few ideas.
Building your digital audience is an important part of your strategy. So what does your organizations do with the email addresses and contacts collected on your website, at event booths, through online ads? As you add new contacts to your database, consider automating a welcome campaign, where you deliver specific content introducing contacts to your company, setting them up for your customer journey. For inspiration, check out these “21 Welcome Emails to Inspire Your Lifecycle Marketing”.
After you send out a piece of content, do you go back and see who didn’t engage with it? Do you retarget campaigns to those unengaged subscribers? If you’re sending out a lot of content or simply have a lot of other responsibilities, you might not have the time to go back after every email send and schedule a resend of content. Automated resend campaigns can be setup in Marketo to resend emails to people who didn’t open, click or otherwise aren’t engaging with your offers without the hassle of setting up new campaigns each time.
If a prospect takes the time to meet with you, visit your tradeshow, or begin the process of purchasing something on your site, they’re already engaging with your company, and could be just a few crucial follow ups away from a conversion. Automate follow up campaigns to send after you attend events, hold meetings, or even for customers who “abandon cart” on your website, so that you never miss the opportunity for a sale again.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to setting up automated, sophisticated marketing campaigns for your organization. Keep in mind, as you turn on more automation, it’s a good idea to revisit, analyze and retool based on the data you’re collecting on the behavior of your audience, you may not always get the frequency or message right the first time (but that’s what we’re here to help you do!). If you’d like a full assessment of how your organization can better market to build a better relationship with your audience and increase sales, contact us.
Category Archives: Tips
You know something needs to change in your organization and the way you drive leads. You have a complex process that needs a simpler solution. Your marketing team is maxed out. Your sales team is hungry for leads. You’ve been researching, looking at marketing automation platforms to help take off some of the burden and improve your team’s processes. Any of this sound familiar?
So what’s next? How do you know when it’s truly time to take the leap into marketing automation? Or if that’s even the right step for your specific needs?
Marketo has a great worksheet in their definitive guide to marketing automation (here). Basically it walks you through your marketing needs and based on your score, you can evaluate whether it’s time for marketing automation! If your situation is more complex, you may need some help to walk through the needs and solutions for your business (if that’s the case, contact us, we can help).
Can you relate to these situations? Does your company have…
A complicated revenue process, with multiple touches from Marketing and/or Sales
Many different types of buyers performing a lot of research on your company
A thirst for insight into the value of your marketing efforts
Little to no personal relationships with all buyers
Too many leads to personally reach out to
New leads that aren’t ready to engage
Little marketing impact on sales results
Data-driven marketing practices
A library of personalized content waiting to be used by marketing
So is your company ready for marketing automation? Complete the full Marketo worksheet, and let us know your score. We’d love to help walk you through the process to make it as quick and productive as possible.
Category Archives: Tips
If you’re just starting to look at marketing automation platforms, the natural question is, how is this different from what we’re already doing?
Marketing automation platforms have a lot of myths floating around what they can and can’t do. If you’re looking for some clarification about what is and isn’t true, read on! Here are six things that marketing automation most definitely is not.
Marketing automation is not just about email. Marketing automation platforms aren’t just an email sending machine. Marketing automation is a multichannel tool that can power your social media, landing pages, all the way to direct mail.
It doesn’t take a degree in rocket science to run. Marketing automation tools are created to be user friendly. Expertise in your platform will certainly help you more quickly master the steps you need to reach your business goals. But once you get the basics down, you should be able to run and monitor campaigns with ease. If you need help getting setup with your marketing automation platform, let us know!
It also isn’t something you turn on and just walk away from. While automation can save time and make your processes more efficient, you’re going to want to continue to check in, test and tune up campaigns as you go. As a supplement to your sales and marketing strategy, you need to put the time in to make sure your content and campaigns are progressing and aligning with your strategic goals.
It’s not spamming lists. Marketing automation is not just a way to send as many emails as you can to the same audience members. Spam is essentially sending irrelevant content to your audience. Marketing automation allows you to do the opposite — personalize your content to your segmented audiences so you’re getting the message to them at the time and channel they want around the topic they’re most interested in.
It’s not something only marketers use or get benefits from. While marketing automation is definitely a tool used in marketing, it’s also a tool used to support your sales organization by providing and nurturing more leads. If you can improve how you define and nurture leads, you can provide more qualified opportunities for your sales pipeline.
It’s not the same for every company. While the principles of marketing automation remain the same across businesses, it’s not a one size fits all process. You need to set goals within a clear strategy and implement the tool to fit within those goals. Having trouble applying your sales and marketing strategy within an automation framework? We can help!
In this case, defining marketing automation is as simple as listing the things it isn’t. Marketing automation ISN’T a complicated, email-only, one and done, spammy, marketing-exclusive, one-size-fits-all tool. It is a platform that helps you streamline, automate and analyze marketing to ultimately measure and improve sales results.
Have more questions about the capabilities of marketing automation and whether it’s right for your team? Contact us.
Category Archives: Tips
It’s finally starting to warm up. The dusty shades and stuffed closets are calling your name, begging for a little time and attention. But what about your company’s database? It sounds silly, but your marketing and sales database needs a little spring cleaning every so often too. No database is ever 100% clean, but duplicates, incompletes or just plain bad data means you are leaving holes in your database where you could be driving results! Because the better your data, the more accurate the analytics are, and the easier it is to make sound decisions to improve your pipeline. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind as you embark on your data cleaning journey.
Think beyond the admin
How are you or your team using this data in the future? If you don’t know what your internal stakeholders (including marketing, sales, c-suite leadership and of course, database admins) are looking for in the data, it makes it harder to keep a neat, tidy database that works for everyone. Consider each of your internal stakeholder’s needs for the CRM (what are they trying to accomplish with the data or analyze within the data) and list out the information you’ll need in order to achieve those goals. Setting up the data with your end goals for the CRM in mind ensures you’re using the right fields, collecting the right data, and getting the most out of your system.
Standardization is your friend
Once you’ve got a firm understanding of who is using the data and why, start applying some common standardization across it all. Use the same field labels and define terms for team members that may not know them. Stay consistent, and encourage anyone using the database to do the same – in fact document your standards and share them.
Make sure it’s all in one place
If you already have your CRM and marketing automation platform working and talking together, kudos! (If not, let’s talk, we can help!) But are there duplicate data points? Is there a process dictating how contacts go from being nurtured in your marketing automation platform over to the CRM? Document and decide a central place for sales or marketing to analyze and move the data so you’ll have less of a mess to clean up next time.
Roll up your sleeves
Your business goals and the extent of the clean up (do you need a database overhaul? or just to update a few contact record fields?) will dictate how extensive your database clean up needs to go. It helps to go back to the goals of your database and start there. Are you trying to find loyal clients to run upsell campaigns? Re-engage dead leads? Start organizing data according to the goal you’re looking for, all the while cleaning out duplicates and inactive contacts (or putting them into a re-engagement campaign).
This process can be tedious at times, but there are many experts out there who can take on that burden to quickly and efficiently clean up your data. Check out ourdatabase cleanup services and contact us if you’d like more information on that!
Mark your calendar
The purpose of a good database cleanup is getting processes in place that mean you won’t have to do it all the time. Once you have these processes in place, try to still schedule regular data check-ins to make sure all is running smoothly and nothing needs to be adjusted.
Good luck! And as always, we’re here to help. Our database analysis and updating service can do the dirty work for you, so you can get back to the rest of the things that need spring cleaning, like that coffee mug that’s been on your desk for the last two months…
Category Archives: Tips
We couldn’t stop with just seven ways to optimize your existing marketing automation platform (MAP). It takes more than just seven tips to get a MAP churning out qualified leads as quickly as you need. So here are six more ways to optimize your platform to fit your company’s goals.
1. Add more lead nurturing campaigns. If you’re only sending out drip campaigns through your marketing automation platform, or timed out email messages to prospects over a set period of time, consider testing out more robust nurture paths for your prospects. Finding the right rhythm for your lead nurturing can take time. Building out more complex paths and segments can help you send the most targeted, relevant communications possible.
2. Update content strategy. It’s difficult to execute a good marketing automation strategy without content to back it up. If marketing automation is the vehicle that gets you from point a to b (anonymous website visitor to qualified lead) then content is the gasoline. It’s what powers the whole plan. Take a look at the content you have and where you’re developing new content to make sure it’s in line with where you’re going with marketing automation.
3. Expand to mobile. This isn’t the first time you’ve heard that mobile is increasingly necessary for marketers to understand and master. Make sure mobile is a part of your strategy, whether it’s optimizing email design for mobile or starting text message marketing. If it’s where your audience is, it’s where you should be.
4. Don’t forget multi-channel. Marketing automation isn’t just about email marketing, it’s about mobile, social, websites, search, and more. Make sure you’re thinking about the different places prospects interact with your company and how you can connect with them through your MAP in those places.
5. Take another look at your website. While you’re thinking of multi-channel, don’t forget to take another look at optimizing your website too. Do you have a form or a live chat in the places where prospects may be searching for more information? Are there nurture campaigns set up for people who submit forms on your website?
6. Measure everything. As you continue to test and optimize your marketing automation platform, continue to measure the metrics that matter to you. Take your analysis past website visits or opens and clicks, and make sure you’re measuring conversions from leads to qualified leads, and tracks marketing sourced leads through the funnel to see where your strategy is working, and where it can be improved.
And again, if you have any questions on how you can get more out of your marketing automation strategy, we’re here to help!
Category Archives: Tips
A marketing automation platform (MAP) can be the fast track to converting names to qualified leads for many companies. But it takes more than turning the system on to get the results you want as quickly as you need. You need to be able to optimize the platform to fit your company’s goals.
Here are 7 tips to help you on your path to better marketing automation.
1. Get a handle on your data. Bring together data from multiple systems, devices, and platforms so you can get a single view of where you’re at and where you’re going.
2. Pair with CRM. Make sure your MAP and CRM system are talking to each other constantly and consistently. You want to be able to view all of your marketing activity from within your CRM so you can automatically assign leads coming from your marketing efforts right to sales reps, and more.
3. Know your audience. Do you know who your audience is? What information they like to consume and when? What devices they use to consume information and how they interact with content? Start researching and tracking your audience to better inform your campaigns.
4. Develop personas. As you’re tracking and researching your audience, put that information into a set process like personas so you can keep track of the top 3-5 audience segments you’re targeting and their preferences, helping you organize and target your efforts.
5. Try progressive profiling. There’s always a balance between asking for the right amount of information so that prospects will still fill out forms, but you still have quality data in your CRM. If getting enough quality data on your prospect audience is a struggle, try progressive profiling. With progressive profiling you can gradually ask for new information from prospects to improve the quality of your database.
6. Personalize to your audience. Try personalizing more of your content directly to the personas you’ve developed or even to individuals based on certain actions they’ve taken on your site, whether it’s downloading a white paper or using an online tool.
7. Try lead scoring. Determine where leads are in the buying cycle and how closely they align with your definition of an “ideal” buyer by assigning “points” for how often a lead visits a web page, downloads a document and completes a lead gen form. Website visitors will start to accrue more points as they interact with your company, helping you determine who is most likely to to convert into a qualified lead.
Looking for additional tips to get more out of your existing marketing automation platform? We’re here to help! If you have a specific question on how you can get more out of your marketing automation strategy, contact us.
Category Archives: Tips
At the end of the day, your marketing team is trying to achieve one thing: generate leads to drive revenue. That’s why measuring the ROI of your initiatives is vital to your team’s success. If you can’t prove that your marketing programs are bringing in leads that convert to revenue for the company, you run the risk of losing support from senior leadership.
In fact, according to Forrester Research, 76% of B2B marketers said that their ability to track marketing ROI gives marketing more respect.
Make that work in your favor with the right mix of technology and expertise so that your team can better track, analyze and report on the success, and the dollars brought in, from your hard work.
Fortunately for Marketo customers, this success is already at your fingertips. (Another reason why we love Marketo marketing automation software…) One of Marketo’s best in class features, the Revenue Cycle Modeler, allows companies to view performance trends across the entire revenue cycle. This means you can closely analyze and forecast on the impact of your marketing programs to:
Define your company’s lead funnel
Watch how leads move between stages to better predict sales cycles and revenue targets
Setup alerts for leads “stuck” in the pipeline and target them with pipeline mover campaigns
Map your leads to industry benchmarks to track their progress
With better analysis and understanding of how your leads are turning into customers, you can optimize your marketing programs, backed by the knowledge of what activities will be most effective, and which leads are most likely to close.
If you’d like more information on how your company can take advantage of Revenue Modeler processes and get rid of the hours of spreadsheets, number crunching, and programming it takes to do revenue modeling without the proper software implementation, we’re here to help!
Category Archives: Tips
Something we often hear from clients struggling with a newly minted automation tool is this: “I made the switch and it seems like I just have a more expensive email marketing tool.”
We get it. The excitement of implementing a new software tool is gone, the training is over, and now it’s just you and the platform, and a very lonely looking cursor on your screen.
When resources are tight you may be the only person handling the strategy to the implementation to the tactical execution of your marketing campaigns. It can get overwhelming and it’s easy to slip back into what you may already know how to do – send out batch and blast email campaigns.
When you get to that point, here are a couple tips to get you back on the road toward that ideal, automated campaigns strategy we know you can pull off!
Take a step back. Go back to your goals, both short term and long term. Are you trying to move leads more quickly through the pipeline? Get more qualified leads to your sales team? Get a clear idea of what your goals for the platform are, so you know where to prioritize your time and start building campaigns.
Map out a plan. Connect your audience, content, and communications back to those short and long term goals. Start with one campaign, maybe a new site visitor nurture campaign. Map out what a successful journey looks like, from when that person enters their email on your site to when you pass them onto sales and after. Think about what content and messaging you can send. Consider how automation can help fuel that journey. Once you’ve got a plan, it’s easier to start building out campaigns one leg at a time.
Talk to your team. Even if you’re the only person doing marketing for your organization, don’t forget to talk to your sales team, customer support team, basically any of the key players interfacing with prospects and customers. Get on the same page about your goals, and what success looks like. If your definition for a lead is different than your sales team’s, your marketing automation platform is already setup to fail, because you won’t be delivering to their expectations.
Commit to ongoing education. Take a Marketo University class, or talk to a services provider for insider tips on using the platform. The more committed you are to mastering the platform, the easier it will be to reap the full benefits from it.
Ask for help. One of the benefits of implementing a Marketo platform is the unparalleled enablement and support. Talk to your enablement consultant, contact customer support, or listen in to conversations in the Marketo community. Go back to your goals, it will be easier for a consultant to help you get across the finish line if you can say exactly what you’re trying to accomplish and the content and communications you’ve got on deck to back that up!
Talk to the experts. While you’re launching your first few campaigns, consider enlisting the help of a consulting firm to get up and running. Most expert consultants have run multiple campaigns addressing goals similar to yours and can help you navigate the challenges of fully optimizing your MAP.
These are just a few of the ways to avoid falling back into an email list service when you have a new marketing automation platform at your fingertips. For more tips or a full assessment of your marketing automation strategy, contact Leadous!
Category Archives: Tips
Are you thinking of moving your organization from an email service provider to a marketing automation platform (MAP)? While the process doesn’t have to be a heavy lift for your marketing team, the upgrade from email marketing to marketing automation can have a huge effect on your company’s revenue goals.
It’s important to understand the distinction between email marketing and a more robust marketing automation platform when thinking about making the move. According to Marketo, “an Email Service Provider will only provide you the functionality to send mass blasts and track open rates, but this is not scalable. With marketing automation, you have access to powerful features like multi-step campaigns, lead scoring, and analytics, which will make your email tactics much more strategic.”
Take a look at Marketo’s feature comparison between email service providers and marketing automation to get the full picture of what’s missing from the email-only equation:
If you’re a growing business looking to impact sales, increase efficiency, and ultimately drive more revenue, then marketing automation may be for you. But what exactly does that entail for your marketing department? How do you actually make the move from email to full marketing automation?
Although it’s not always a one size fits all approach, graduating from email to marketing automation can be a painless process provided you have your strategy sorted out before you decide to make the transition (read our post below “5 Steps to Getting Started With Marketing Automation” for more on that).
Here are the four steps to move from email to marketing automation that Marketo suggests:
1. Merge your company’s email marketing system and CRM contact lists into the CRM.
2a. (If you have a CRM) Sync your CRM with your marketing automation system (shouldn’t be more than the click of a button to begin this process!).
2b. (If you don’t have a CRM). Export your email list from your email service provide to upload into your MAP.
3. Adjust your email deliverability settings (your vendor should help you with this).
4. Connect your website with your MAP; upload any tracking codes and get working on landing page domains and forms on your site.
Once your company decides to make the climb up from email to marketing automation, it doesn’t need to be a never ending journey. Read below for more tips on getting started with marketing automation, or contact Leadous if you have questions on how you can get started with a Marketo marketing automation platform today!
Category Archives: Tips
Companies using marketing automation generate two times the number of leads than those who don’t (Autopilotus). It’s clear that a digital strategy centered on marketing automation can be extremely powerful for revenue-driven companies.
If you don’t already have a marketing automation platform, where do you begin? Here we’ve compiled the steps to take your department through before you decide which platform to buy.
1. Set Your Goals
What are you trying to achieve with marketing automation? Are you trying to increase leads? Re-engage cold leads? Move leads through the funnel more quickly? Think through your goals as SMART— goals that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time bound.You can’t establish a successful marketing automation strategy if you don’t know why you’re marketing in the first place or if your goals are too vague to ever achieve.
2. Perform a Content Audit
The emails you send should be prompting an action from your audience, like downloading a relevant piece of content that will move them along the sales funnel. What white papers, guides or infographics do you have that match your audience’s sales stage? Does the content fall into specific themes or talk about certain products? Do you have a variety of content types tailored to your audience? Audit your content and categorize to the sales stages and themes that best fit your audience’s needs. Then check for gaps so you can get started on additional content creation.
3. Launch a Cross-Functional Internal Committee
Marketing automation platforms are powerful tools, but they still need people to manage them. You need to get the buy in of sales and marketing to turn your MAP into a well-oiled machine. Align your strategy between the two departments, starting by defining your terms (like lead, prospect, marketing qualified lead, sales accepted pursuit, etc). Then go through the journey from prospect to client and agree on how your company will be communicating with prospects through that journey. When does marketing hand off the lead to sales? Are you setting up nurture campaigns or calling campaigns along the way?
You know your goals and objectives, the content you have and need to get you started, and internal agreement around the road you’ll take to achieve your objectives. Now it’s time to start thinking about the features you need to fuel that process. Will you need to score leads? Use progressive profiling? Trigger communications when your audience takes a specific action? Match the features back to the strategy your internal stakeholders agreed to and start looking for a MAP that has the tools to power all your digital needs.
5. Ask for Help if you Need it
Implementing a marketing automation platform for your company is making a commitment to improved, intelligent communications. So you need to give it the time and thought necessary to make it successful. Make sure you’re able to pull in other team members, or outside consulting resources, to help plan the rollout, content writing and design, email writing and scheduling, analytics and campaign setup, and so on to get you on the road to success.
Gone are the days where sales is short on quality leads, where marketing has to manually set up a batch and blast email campaign to every email address it can find and hope someone takes the bait, or where executives have to wonder how they’ll make their quarterly revenue goals.
Good riddance to that! And welcome to the age of marketing intelligence.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace, providing businesses with unprecedented intelligence that would have been unheard of just ten years ago. One of these rapidly growing solutions is the marketing automation platform (MAP). And it’s changed the way marketing generates leads.
Marketing automation platforms, like Marketo, help to streamline, automate and analyze marketing. In feature/functionality speak, that means the platform manages your email marketing, landing pages and forms, campaign management, lead nurturing/scoring, lead lifecycle management, CRM integration, social marketing capabilities and marketing analytics.
In short, marketing automation platforms are much more than an email sending tool. They provide the intelligence to encompass multi channel campaigns – social, email, web, phone, and even direct mail. They bring all your marketing channels under one roof, and then connect with your CRM and web platform to create one very smart, whirring piece of software that drives real value if implemented and used correctly (that’s where Leadous comes in, more on that later).
Companies that use marketing automation well increase the efficiency of their sales and marketing, to help accelerate the conversion of names to qualified leads and ultimately increase revenue. And what revenue-driven company doesn’t want that?
Got a question about why and how your company should adopt a marketing automation platform (or which one to choose)? Contact us here.
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