Email Pre-Flight Checklist: What To Do Before You Send – Automational Blog


email-marketing-automation-blogIt’s unfortunate when you send an email to a marketing list only to realize that you’ve misspelled a critical word or left off an important part of your message. It’s worse when your opens and click-throughs don’t live up to your expectations, and you don’t know why until someone informs you the email you sent them arrived with broken formatting, or wasn’t readable on their smartphone.

To help remedy this, we’ve created a short list of things to double-check before you send the email to your list.


It’s easy to skimp on proofing since Microsoft Word and iOS Pages have so many tools to help out. One example of why electronic checks aren’t enough: “two bee or not too bee” is a sentence that is comprised entirely of words that are spelled correctly, but clearly convey the wrong message. Until spellcheckers have a better grasp of context, be sure to check your email for spelling and grammar errors before you send. These errors can damage your organization’s professional reputation and distract your recipients from your message.


Generic senders such as “” or “Sales” often get ignored. Make sure that the values you use for your “From” name and email clearly indicate who you are in order to avoid confusing your recipients. If they don’t recognize who the email is from, they aren’t going to open or read your message. The “From” identity should be someone that the reader knows (their account manager), recognizes (the CEO or other notable person), or would be expecting an email from (Customer Support or Automational Newsletter).


Include a default value if you incorporate dynamic text into your emails. If a recipient’s first name is blank, for example, and you’re using a first name personalization, you want to ensure that this field is filled with something like “Loyal Customer” rather than nothing at all, which would cause them to receive an email that started with, “Dear .”

When you add dynamic text to your template, it will look something like this: ${[0]!””}. Including a default value with your dynamic text (just in case that data isn’t filled out for a recipient on your list) looks something like this: ${[0]!”Customer”}.


Make sure all of your links work prior to sending your email. Broken links will prevent your recipients from accessing your content and may make them less likely to try again in future emails.


You already know that a huge percentage of emails are read on mobile devices, but do you know how your template will respond to the variety of devices and browsers with which it could be opened? Most marketing automation tools will allow you to preview your message on different sized screens and make sure everything appears as intended.


The text version provides additional support for your template so anyone who doesn’t receive HTML emails (whether by choice or because their email client doesn’t support it) can still read your email. Including a text version will also decrease your spam score.


Your subject line is the first part of your email that your recipient will see, so it is vital that it grabs their attention and gives them a good idea of the purpose of your email. Sending out emails with an irrelevant subject line or with a subject line containing typos or grammatical errors can decrease your email open rate and harm your credibility. Include keywords that will resonate with or appeal to your audience, while avoiding key spam trigger words or phrases such as “free,” “earn money,” or “meet singles.”


Regardless of the purpose of your email, remember that your email is just one of dozens (maybe even hundreds!) of emails that landed in your recipient’s inbox today. Consider this a “back to the basics” best practice: keep it as short as you can without losing the core message.

Break the content into sections for better readability. Ideally, your recipient would read every word of your email, but in truth, many readers will probably skim the message. As you’re writing, make it your goal that the reader should be able to determine the key elements of your message and the action you’d like them to take with only a 10-second scan through your email.


What are you hoping to achieve with this email? Generate registrations to an upcoming event? Drive downloads of your latest eBook? Include a very clear call-to-action that instructs the reader to do just that (“Register Here” or “Get the eBook”). Limit the number of links and options within the email to encourage the customer to act on your primary offer.


The customer should be able to recognize your company identity immediately when they open and read the email. Always include your company name and logo to reinforce your brand. The tone of the content should match your company as well. An email from a pet sitter could be fun and playful, but imagine getting an email from a funeral home with the same tone.

Whether conversational or more conservative, make sure your tone is consistent across communication channels, speak to your audience in a simple, straightforward manner, and keep pushy sales lingo to a minimum.


Before your email is marked as spam, double-check your content for potentially problematic words and phrases. Words like “discount,” “pharmacy,” and even “spam,” as well as large numbers, dollar signs, or excessive exclamation points, can make your message seem less credible.

Providing relevant content, writing an appropriate subject line, and using professional language and punctuation will help boost the legitimacy of your communications.

| CRM & Marketing Automation Tips

Download a one pager of this list via: Email Pre-flight Checklist


Marketo’s CMO on the new future of digital marketing

marketo_cmo_illoMarketo CMO Sanjay Dholakia puts the current — and future — state of marketing into perspective.

The scene: A smoke-filled room clamors with anger, frustration and optimism as men in earth-tone suits and skinny wool ties debate — from art to copy to product placement — the best ways to sell dishwasher fluid. At long last, they agree, clink their glasses of brandy and set a plan in motion for six months down the road.

That’s marketing in a nutshell, right? A closed-door, one-size-fits-all operation that moves at the speed of molasses.

Well, let’s just say that picture is a little outdated. And not just because of the outfits.

Today, technology plays a massive role in marketing strategy and execution: Automation has turned guesswork into a precise science and months of planning into nanoseconds. Companies like Marketo are leading the way in marketing automation technology, pushing boundaries and helping CMOs everywhere embrace the future.

Of course, this is pretty complex stuff. So we had a chat with Marketo CMO, Sanjay Dholakia, to put the current state of marketing — and the future — into perspective.

Source: Marketo’s CMO on the new future of digital marketing

The Ecosystem CMOs Need To Build Now – CMO Nation

The marketing world has undergone a dramatic shift: digital now touches nearly every customer interaction. Marketing has become a technology-powered discipline, with the two areas so interwoven that chief marketing officers are projected to spend more on technology than chief information officers by 2017.

The rise of digital has led to the emergence and explosion of marketing technology (MarTech) applications and platforms. Marketers can now collect and analyze large and disparate volumes of data—and make their insights actionable with a degree of precision just years ago was only a dream. This gives more power to the CMO, who constantly aims to address the basic question of marketing: how to engage and acquire customers for the long term by making engagement and acquisition more attainable and measurable.

Source: The Ecosystem CMOs Need To Build Now – CMO Nation

2016 Marketing Requires High Quality Data

Do Your 2016 Marketing Resolutions Include Achieving High Quality Data?

58% of marketers cite personalizing the customer experience as the most important objective of a data-driven marketing strategy, yet 57% say that improving data quality is the most challenging obstacle to data-driven marketing success. Data quality issues have challenged organizations for years, but it has now become a huge issue and responsibility that is impacting every area of marketing.

Source: 2016 Marketing Requires High Quality Data

How to Personalize Content on the Web – Marketo

Learn how web personalization tools help you put relevant content in front of each website visitor to maximize your time and money spent on content.

Source: How to Personalize Content on the Web – Marketo

When to Buy Data

Have your investments in data generated ROI? Do you have a data strategy? Are you performing quarterly data assessments? Have you ever completed a gap analysis?

When to Buy Data

The quality of a company’s data will have a direct impact on the performance of its people, process and technology. Maintaining the quality, timeliness, and completeness of a company’s data will often require working with external data suppliers.

The decision to buy data should only happen after a data assessment, gap analysis and cost benefit analysis have been completed…

The Data Assessment – is an iterative process that aligns to company’s data strategy and go to market plan, and involves:

  • Identifying all data sources
  • Reviewing the data collection procedures
  • Interviewing those responsible for data and analysis
  • Analyzing sample data for quality
  • Setting segmentation based on personas
  • Documenting business process


Data assessments provide qualitative and quantitative insights into data’s…

  • Reliability – Data provides stable and consistent collection processes and analysis
  • Validity – Data should clearly and adequately represent the intended result.
  • Timeliness – Data should be available at a useful frequency, should be current, and should be
    timely enough to influence management decision making.
  • Precision – Data have a sufficient level of detail to permit management decision making.


Gap Analysis – A gap analysis will identify missing, incomplete or inaccurate data through the data assessment process. Below are examples where data may need to be acquired:GapAnalysis

  • Information missing pertains to specific individuals (i.e. email addresses, phone numbers,etc.)
  • Behavioral information like purchasing patterns, memberships and affiliations, technologies used, etc.
  • Credit score and risk rating
  • Online search history unavailable (cookies, device information, etc.)


cost_benefit_analysisCost Benefit Analysis – Justifies the decision to buy data using the findings from the gap analysis and data assessment. It is a comparison of the costs of all options against their total anticipated benefits.

DataQualityWhen to buy data | Cleanse, Enrich, Acquire?

Quality data continues to be a challenge for companies today, and buying data does not guarantee its quality. When using purchasing data from a new supplier start small, inspect the data, and test performance.

Work with major data vendors that are known suppliers of quality consumer and business information. Major suppliers like D&B, InfoGroup, Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, Acxiom, and TeraData are able to provide consumer or business level intelligence that includes their interests, spending patterns, financial information, demographics, firmographic information, and so on.


User Adoption | User Experience | The Emergence of the UX Designer

User Adoption | User Experience | The Emergence of the UX Designer

I have written several articles on user adoption and its correlation to the harmonization of business process and communication. In a recent post on LinkedIn, I called out three factors for success in a company’s marketing automation program – User Adoption, Innovation, Continuous TransformationThese three areas at their highest level involve collaboration among design, implementation and end user teams. The focus of this post is around user experience (UX) design.

customer experienceIt’s all about the customer experience (CX).

UX design has emerged as an important area of focus for organizations involved in technology and business process management projects. The emergence of UX design is also converging across disciplines spanning technology, marketing, sales, operations, finance, and so on. What is consistent across all areas of UX design is the need for simplicity in driving a successful user experience.

There is a misconception today that business process management (BPM) applications are complex, when in fact they are not. Furthermore, companies like Pegasystems have been investing and building business process management applications for years that have simplified UX design.


As an example, Pega Marketing enables customized, rapid design and implementation of fully integrated CRM environments that make the elusive magic of BPM happen. Predictive analytics is built in through their Customer Decision Hub.

Why should you care about UX design principles and BPM?

Because UX principles that are simplified and executed properly provides clear project insight that’s timely, saves money on resource requirements, and accelerates delivery timelines across technology engagements.

Google as a use case:

googlelogo_color_116x41dpGoogle’s homepage has perhaps the lowest barriers to entry of any digital environment. Google is simply a search field and a button. Their simple user interface (UI) shields users from the complexity that we all know is Google.

Now think about all the products and services that they have been brought to market since they have come to existence:  Google +, Youtube, Gmail, etc. and the complex things that those products do, and you will realize that they have managed to keep their UI simple. What’s more impressive is that Google has managed to simplify our experience products while building, acquiring, adding, changing and bringing new products to market. The Google story is rare in the UI world, however, their story is a use case for all of us to follow.

Today, predictive analytics has become a necessity for businesses working with big data. The need for BPM tools and UX designers with specific areas of domain expertise is growing at a rapid rate. People are the ultimate enabler of technology transformation, especially in today’s customer centric world.

People, process, data and technology (new and legacy systems) will command much of the C-level focus in years to come.

Simple UX design is a necessity if you want your application(s) to be simple and easy to use by your customers. For any technology or business process to become effective, companies must ensure that their UX design teams possess both domain and technology expertise.

Success equals adoption by both the customer and the people running the technologies around them.

Be customer-centric. The rest will follow…

NOTE:  I highly recommend signing up on Pegasystems portal. Once you have signed up, you will be able to follow their new innovations and gain insight into the world of BPM, UX design, and best practices by domain and industry.


Predictive Analytics | Applying it to #Sales and #Marketing

Several weeks ago, I was in a meeting with a group of senior executives at one of the oldest business information companies in the United States, and the conversation shifted to lead generation:

“Results are horrendous, incredibly weak. Much of these leads are unusable. High percentages from Gmail, AOL, Hotmail… So many unknowns and, well, at least some decision makers, along with the rest of usual useless information.”

Anyone who works in today’s digital marketing space knows this is a common conversation that is hard to fix.

So, is bad #data the real issue for us or is it that we are chasing down the wrong path?

Think about it. We spend millions of dollars chasing individuals who download content, attend webinars or throw business cards into fishbowls at conferences and shows. We spend very little trying to figure out what is really going on inside a company of interest.

Things that sales and marketing agree on:

  • Purchasing is a team exercise
  • Figuring out what the consensus inside of buying teams is a tough job to figure out
  • There is a value to downloaded content as a proxy for team interest
  • An individual act tells us nothing about its organizations intent.

Is it time to devalue the downloaded white paper as our lead generation currency? (Sales people will love this one, Marketing, maybe not) 

More to the point, isn’t it time to evolve and begin the process of understanding the corporate body language through a variety of data points that are already available to us? Would it not be better to understand that the almighty download can and should be part of a larger canvas where a broader, more accurate picture emerges?

Even at it’s broadest level, #predictive #analytics can come in some simple forms.

6 examples of simple forms that apply basic predictive analytics:

  1. You can use any number of competitive search tools to understand what keywords and key phrases are collectively perceived as important when prospects begin their journey to find you
  2. And if you look historically backwards, you will be able to see what changed and potentially why
  3. You can also develop an understanding for funnel position (where companies are in the sales funnel by segmenting out keywords based on a natural progression of educating oneself.
  4. You can then use that analysis to make sure your own website is in tune editorially – are you mapping to what is important at that moment in time to companies that are consuming the content aligned with your objectives?
  5. You can find sites where these keywords exist ON PAGE in ways that align with your objectives. Page Indexing has grown up and become very sophisticated.
  6. Just this simple knitting together of these two components begin to give you an indication of trends and volume of content that is out there and that your prospects are consuming

Then do this:

  • Use IP identification and targeting to match who you see on your site and who is consuming the relevant content across the Web. This type of targeting will enable you to report back on which companies are most active in consuming specific keywords across contextually aligned sites.
  • This gives you a marriage of your data and external data that help you develop prioritization for sales, messaging across marketing, content development and most of all – IT GETS YOU OUT OF DEPENDING ON WHITE PAPER DOWNLOADS as your proxy for interest.
  • Once you add your crm and marketing automation data, revealing what companies you currently talk to are most engaged – you have a clear path to a strategy.

To review:

  • Analyze the competitive set to understand how everyone is deploying search and keywords
  • Utilize page indexing to understand where the content is
  • Use IP identification and targeting to tell you who and what and how many from where
  • Knit your own data in to complete the virtuous circle

The age of #Predictive #Automation is upon us. Take the initial steps needed to understand organizational #intent and funnel position, and your sales organization will stop complaining about those lousy leads you send them.

3 Levels of Data Analysis to Revitalize Your Automated Email Programs 

Optimizing for incremental percentage gains on your email statistics could make a monumental difference in revenue and brand perception in the following weeks and months.

Source: 3 Levels of Data Analysis to Revitalize Your Automated Email Programs