In this chapter, we are going to look at the specifics of campaign creation and its quality assurance. You would be able to relate to this chapter if you are mostly into marketing operations.
This chapters covers following topics
3. Content personalization:
5. Campaign preview:
6. Automation triggers:
7. IP warming and email filtering:
8. Day parting according to the geography:
9. Message throttling:
What is it?
It is imperative that your marketing automation software provides you the channels through which you engage or market to your audience. For instance, if you are B2B product, it is strictly email, if you are totally mobile based then push and in-app are must, if you are a media business then web-push is mandatory.
Besides, the need to engage the user in the omni-channel fashion means that you have the flexibility in terms of channels.
For instance, the WebEngage product provides 6 channels:
- Do you allow same degree of personalization across all the channels?
- Can we combine campaigns across multiple channels to create a multiple channel experience
We have covered this in detail in this Omni-channel.
What is it?
When you are creating campaigns in decent volume, you would need ready-to-use templates of, say push notification, email, in-app to instantly create your campaigns. It would be useful if your current solution is providing that.
It would be even more awesome if there are a significant number of templates bucketed by industry.
Being that in place, let’s look at the caveats that you should be wary of:
- Can you create, edit and save templates for future needs
Again, a strong requirement if you are dealing with millions of MAUs. You need to ship things fast and the ability to manage templates on the dashboard is a strong plus.
- How efficiently can we add rich media to the content
A right marketing automation solution should give you simple way to add rich media like video, image, gif to the message without relying on the dev team.
- How compatible are the email templates with the different email clients.
This is least likely become a problem because from the product standpoint it makes sense to open template before testing them on all the clients. Yet, get this verified.
3. Content personalization
What is it?
Won’t add another ‘critical assessment of the importance of personalization’ on the internet and cut straight to the chase.
A good marketing automation software should enable you to effectively leverage any piece of information about the user, that you are tracking, in the message that is to be delivered to him.
Ideally, this should be taken as a different chapter and in the future perhaps I work on it.
But for now, in the following section, I have tried to highlight, via use-cases, the depth to which you should think in terms of personalization.
- Create dynamic variation of the message according the user’s attribute
- Pop a notification with a discount voucher if the user abandons the checkout page. The notification contains title of the abandoned page.
- Send an email that leverages the search query of the user
What is it?
How easier it is to manage, reuse, save, copy, delete the campaigns is truly imperative from the operations standpoint. Sad part is that one can appreciate this capability provided by your marketing automation software only when you are working with it on the regular basis.
We would highlight some of the capabilities in the following section:
- Do you allow campaign duplication?
You would be using it a lot so it should be most frictionless. Ideally there should be a drop-down and you should be simply able to clone the campaign from there.
If you have multiple accounts running on the same platform, then you should also be able to duplicate the campaign across your accounts
- How smooth is the search and filtering options of the campaigns?
Again a no-brainer feature. The utility would increase with time as the number of campaigns increase.
Check if you could filter your campaigns by common buckets like active, inactive, recurring, running, stopped etc.
- Can we store rich media in the system right from the dashboard?
Certain creatives would be required to be repeatedly used. A good solution would enable you to store them right on the system itself for you to reuse them later.
5. Campaign preview
What is it?
The ability to preview the campaign across OSes and browsers before hitting the send button.
Different OSes would render a message differently and that also varies according to the device.
A good marketing automation platform would keep the need for manual testing to the minimum. So, it is also important to have the flexibility to preview the campaign across multiple devices and OSes before hitting send.
This is also important when you are running campaigns in short time periods. An unreliable quality testing capability would only compromise your output by a large degree.
- Does your platform gives the requisite indication when the message size exceeds the permissible limit?
This is highly relevant to push messages. Take a look at how the same web push on the same Chrome browser looks across Windows and MacOS.
6. Automation triggers
What is it?
Automation means having the capability to activate a campaign as soon as the user satisfies a certain condition. The most popular automation use-case is probably ‘welcome email’, i.e. getting an email as soon as you subscribe to a newsletter.
Automation trigger is the certain action that can activate the campaign if it takes place. In the previous example, the rule would be ‘subscribed to newsletter’.
Examples of automation triggers
- Last event
- Have/have not done an event (launched the app, added to cart, played song etc)
- Geofencing (trigger the message when user enters or exits a particular location)
Suggesting a use-case for every automation trigger listed above.
- Last event
If the last event was purchase 6 months ago, run the reactivation campaign.
- Have/have not done a custom event
This basically facilitates behavioral targeting. At its core, the dynamic is simple- “if the user does this, do that”.
For instance, if the user makes a purchase, prompt him to signup for web push notification:
Now, it is possible that the user has already signed up web push. In that case, you wouldn’t want to show him any prompt.
In the second case, we are basically setting the desired action as the check. We are telling the system to not run the campaign if the desired outcome is already achieved and the ability to do this is incredibly powerful.
Send a push notification when the user enters the proximity of your physical store.
Send a message on birthday, new year, passing of warranty period of the purchased product etc.
- Do you allow to define time gap between messages?
When everything is automated, it is likely that some campaigns get activated at the same time. They would, therefore, land on the user’s device one after another making it look spammy.
- Do you allow setting frequency limit on recurring campaigns
Suppose you are running a reminder campaign for users who do not renew their subscription. Now, you would certainly need to stop the campaign after a certain number of times regardless of whether customer renews or not.
There is a concept called ‘Frequency Capping’ which also has a relevance in automation control. We have covered it in Message throttling below.
7. IP warming and email filtering
What is it and why it’s important
This is only relevant to email as a channel.
In email marketing, the reputation of your IP is everything. Lower the reputation, higher the probability of your email ending up straight in the spam folder. So prominent ESPs introduced the concept of IP warming.
According to this, you refrain from doing the blast campaign at the first stance. Instead, you start your email campaign with a list of <100 and then gradually scale it up over days to your actual list size.
Suggested read- Warming Up an IP Address
IP warming ensures that you don’t get a bad reputation among ISPs right when you start your email marketing.
That was about IP reputation. Below we are going to look at the other means a good product should provide to help you keep your list clean.
- Does your product qarantine a contact depending on the hard bounces it has suffered?
- Can it automate opting out the qarantined list on its own?
8. Day parting according to the geography
What is it and why it’s important?
In any campaign management tool, it is easier to see schedule option wherein you can set the time at which the campaign is to be processed. You can set the exact time on the exact date when you wish the campaign to be delivered.
But what if you wabifurcate it by geography. As in, you wish to send the same campaign to various geographies at the corresponding time set by you.
Why to have this feature is a no-brainer if your MAU is spread across countries and continents.
Even within a country there are multiple time zone like US has 6 and Russia has 11. Having this feature would save you from the brunt of creating individual geography specific campaigns
9. Message throttling
What is it?
You don’t want to over message your users to the point of annoying him. So marketing automation solutions should provide you a reliable throttling capability.
DND lets you define the time within which the message shouldn’t be sent.
Frequency capping defines the permissible number of messages per channel within the specific time frame.
Delivery speed defines the number of messages that could be sent in a minute/hour or your specified time frame. This is done to ensure that your server doesn’t get overwhelmed with millions of messages being sent at once.
After checking the availability of the above features look for the following caveats;
- Do you provide the provision to bypass DND at the campaign level?
Most solutions provide DND at the global level which is useful indeed. But there could be some critical campaigns or announcement which need to bypass DND if there is one set at the global level.
Normally, the provision to do that is available right at the campaign creation.
- Can you apply Frequency capping across all the channels
- Do you allow adding the time gap between messages
Apart from adding a cap on the number of messages, check if you could add the minimum time gap between two messages.
How to Choose Best-in-Class B2C Marketing Automation Software
Event Tracking & Monitoring
Analytics (Funnel, Cohort, Event trends)
Campaign Creation and QA
Testing and Conversion Tracking
POC and Support