Salesforce Marketing Cloud is a world-class suite of digital marketing automation tools that allow you to create, manage and deploy highly personalized email campaigns. The intuitive all-in-one platform can be a vital tool in jumpstarting your email program and seamlessly move campaigns from concept to completion, but what happens after you press send?
“Deliverability” is the measure of how many emails actually make it into recipients’ inboxes. There are a myriad of factors involved in email deliverability and many of them are impacted before a message is sent. With so many elements contributing to a successful inbox delivery it can be difficult to get every part right, every time. Fortunately, for those working in Salesforce Marketing Cloud, the platform provides services and automated tools to ensure marketing messages reach your subscribers.
IP and Domain Tools
The first thing to consider is whether the structure of sending IP address and domains are in line with best practices for successful email sends. Dedicated IP addresses are reserved solely for the use of one organization, while shared IP pools are communal and carry the weight of the reputation of other senders within the pool. Dedicated IP addresses are ideal for high volume senders who average over 100,000 sends per month and wish to have control over the reputation of their sending IP. Inversely, shared IP pools are great for senders with less than 100,000 emails per month and can help mitigate damages to reputation that would weigh more heavily if the sender were to carry the burden by themselves. It is also important that the name of the sending domain is relevant to the content sent and appropriately represents the organization. Salesforce Marketing Cloud offers both types of sending IP addresses, as well as fully prepared Private Domains set up with proper authentication.
Sender Authentication Package (SAP)
The technical aspects of the deliverability of email campaigns are often overlooked, and, can at times seem tedious or difficult to fully understand. Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) are two forms of authentication designed to detect and prevent email spoofing. Having properly configured authentication in place not only increases security but will also improves company reputation in the eyes of the service providers.
Whether you’re seeking to create a new sending domain or use an existing domain, the Sender Authentication Package included with every Pro, Corporate and Enterprise License will help ensure that your emails contain proper authentication to assist in reaching recipients’ inboxes. Through the Sender Authentication Package, users have the option to select a new domain to represent their brand which will be purchased and set up. The Sender Authentication Package also includes link and image wrapping, providing the ability to custom-tailor links and images to match the authenticated domains’ branding.
Another, largely overlooked, component of the technical side of email is an unsubscribe link. Having an unsubscribe link within an email not only provides a method for recipients to opt-out of further communications and reduce complaints, but is also viewed as a favorable feature by ISPs. Many countries require a working unsubscribe link, which is included as a standard feature in Salesforce Marketing Cloud. The Sender Authentication Package also includes products such as Private Domain, Dedicated IP, Reply Mail Management and automatic enrollment into available feedback loops such as Microsoft SNDS and Google Postmaster.
Prior to deploying an email campaign, it is crucial to have an ongoing strategy in place for list hygiene and maintenance. Bounced messages negatively impact a sender’s reputation. Common reasons for a bounce include sending to an invalid address or domain, technical issues with the receiving server or sending to inactive accounts whose mailbox is no longer accepting mail.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s List Detective will automatically remove common typos and known bad domains such as “Gmall” or “Hotnail” after importing subscriber lists and results in a reduction of bounced emails. It is critical to be able to identify a bounce as a soft bounce, which is a temporary bounce, or a hard bounce which indicates a permanent delivery issue. The Bounce Mail Management tool automatically monitors bounce rates and will proactively remove recipients who have an ongoing history of bouncing emails.
The next step to ensuring good deliverability is building and maintaining a good sending reputation. The best way to maintain a positive sending reputation is to send to valid email addresses which are highly engaged with the content they are receiving. Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides a family of reporting tools to give in-depth insights into what happens after a campaign is sent. Engagement and disengagement reports offer an understanding of the direction in which opens, clicks, unsubscribes and spam complaints are trending. There are more granular tools available such as Email Performance by Domain and Spam Complaints Over Time to help isolate problematic areas which could impact sender reputation. Discovering what content is engaging is easy with reports that drill down to the subscriber level.
Utilizing the strategies and Salesforce Marketing Cloud tools discussed will future-proof email sends to ensure senders remain in the good graces of the ISPs who will review and decide on the placement of your campaigns. Just like the world of email deliverability is ever-changing, the interests of recipients may change over time as well. Throughout the course of sending campaigns, brands may decide to reduce the amount of emails sent to less engaged recipients or stop sending to them altogether.
Dynamic List Tool
The Dynamic List tool allows senders to set criteria so that mailing lists adjust to the needs of recipients. If there is a group of recipients who have not opened an email for a set amount of time it may be time to consider using the Dynamic List tool to automatically reduce or halt future sends to these recipients. Further down the road brands may want to reach back out to older subscribers who have been removed from sending lists due to lack of engagement. The Permission Pass tool provides a one-time email to be sent to prospects on an out-of-date list. Permission Pass recipients who click an opt-in link contained within the email will be automatically added back to the send list which greatly simplifies the re-engagement process.
The mobile-friendly, trusted platform built with intelligence will enables engagement with every customer through the use of highly personalized email campaigns and monitoring tools ensuring messages are always up to speed with subscribers’ interests. There are a variety of tools on the market to assist with the creation, sending and monitoring of email campaigns, few provide the ease of access and accuracy that you will come to expect from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.
Author: Molly Wallace, Inbox Pros. This article was originally posted by Inbox Pros. To view the original, Click Here.
If you can use a computer and have access to Oracle Eloqua, you can build a responsive landing page.
Effective digital marketing requires beautiful landing pages that look great no matter the device used to view them. You may want to create your own responsive webpage to streamline your marketing workflow but dismiss the idea, thinking you have to be a coding whiz. Not anymore! Oracle Eloqua now allows you to build rich, responsive landing pages all by yourself. So, gather your campaign content and see what you can create!
First off, you may not know what “responsive” means with regard to landing pages. Basically, responsive means to adjust to the environment. Have you ever opened a webpage on your desktop where everything looked great, then opened it on your mobile phone to find images overlap the text, or you have to scroll to read everything? That landing page is not responsive. Responsive pages scale to fit the device where they are displayed, whether it be desktop, tablet or mobile.
To access the Oracle Eloqua Landing Page Design Editor, make sure you have security access to create landing pages. Check with your Eloqua administrator if you are not sure. Once that is out of the way, you can begin creating responsive landing pages without touching a bit of code!
When creating your landing page, the following browsers have been identified as the most commonly used clients and have been tested for responsive or mobile-friendly elements. Your page may display differently if viewed using a different browser:
So, let’s build a Responsive Landing Page!
Log in to your Eloqua instance.
Click on Assets Landing Pages.
Click on “Create a Landing Page.”
Select “Blank Responsive Landing Page” to build a fully responsive landing page from scratch, or choose one of the other layout options.
You can also select a predefined Company Template if available.
If you selected the Blank Responsive Landing Page, your screen should look like this:
You will see several icons to the left of the canvas:
Landing Page Style
Landing Page Settings
In this area of the Editor, you will choose the layout and content of your landing page. The Content blocks are items that can be added to a selected layout.
Choose an initial layout for your email. A one-block layout is the default.
Click on the layout, and drag and drop it to the canvas.
Select a layout section, then click and drag content to that area.
Add layout and content blocks as needed.
Content Type Details:
Text: Click to add text – you will see all your formatting tools appear including field merge and hyperlink buttons. You also have the option to write from right to left using the button.Tip: When inserting hyperlinks, you have an option to select Lightbox as your link type.
Image: Click to add image – select image from the image library, or upload an image.
Button: Click to add button. Click on the button to format, change button text and add hyperlink.
Shared Content: Click on Browse to add Shared Content. *
Form: Click to add Eloqua forms to your landing page. Select the form on your landing page to show the general formatting properties on the left side of your screen. You can also edit or replace your form in this area.
Dynamic Content: Click on Browse to add Dynamic Content. *
Cloud Content: Click on Browse to add Cloud Content. *
Custom Code: Add custom code to your email. This content type requires coding knowledge.
Carousel: Add an image carousel to cycle through several images automatically. You may specify a speed, or have it function manually.
Note: Oracle Eloqua validates that dynamic and shared content is responsive. If issues are found, a notification appears. Click the notification icon to review the issues. You can make your edits in the Design editor or from the component library. The icon will change to when no responsive concerns remain.
You will see several helpful icons on the left and right side of each component.
Move content block or layout
Copy content block or layout
Delete content block or layout
Landing Page Style:
In this area, you will select the style of your Landing Page:
Background Color and Styling
Click the color box to select a color, or type in the hex code.
Select Color Fill Style and Canvas Color.
Select your Canvas Width.
A video can be set to play in the background by providing a URL.
Select the default font and color.
Select the color of the text that contains a hyperlink.
Add additional CSS styling if needed (you will need some coding experience for this section).
Landing Page Settings:
Microsite – A microsite Is required to launch your landing page.
Vanity URL – If used, the vanity URL must be unique.
Externally Visible – if toggled off, visitors will not be able to view the page.
You may want to use this setting if an event is complete and you want to prevent visitors from signing up, or if you are drafting a new landing page and want to block access until it’s ready for production.
Redirect Settings – After a set period of time, performs a specified action in the visitor’s Web browser.
Redirect to a different page
Automatically close the window
Code and Tracking:
Preview and test
You can use the preview and test features to check page performance and get feedback.
Use the toggle in the menu bar and make any adjustments such as padding and forced text breaks.
Preview your landing page on different screen sizes and by using different contacts.
You will need to save your landing page first.
Select Actions > Preview
Select a Contact.
View in desktop, tablet or mobile views.
Send the landing page URL to others on your team.
Select the Landing Page Settings Icon
You will find the Landing Page URL in the General Settings.
Click the link to launch the page, then copy the link to send to others.
Employee advocacy is when employees share positive opinions about your company through word of mouth, both online and in person. It boosts your brand as an employer because the voices of genuinely delighted employees are way more impactful than your company tooting its own horn.
So why is employee advocacy such a big deal, and why should it be a priority for your organization? There are 5 main benefits of having a solid employee engagement strategy. I’ll explain each of them, then share our 14 best tried-and-true tactics for engaging employees in the section below.
1. Employee engagement improves company communication and education
Better education on company news fosters a sense of unified purpose. An employee advocacy program helps solidify company learning and culture. News travels faster—people talk about the company’s successes and product launches. Plus, employees are more likely to understand and communicate the company’s value. In the best-case scenario, employees share more news from their own departments, answer each others’ questions, and boost morale by recognizing each other in front of your whole company.
2. Your employees can refer new customers
A chorus of employee voices is always louder and resonates more than a company’s marketing alone. When you empower and educate employees to talk about your solution, they’re more likely to spread the word when opportunities present themselves. For example, through personal connections, at events, or on social media. This helps marketing teams earn more public mindshare and attract more leads.
3. Sourcing new talent through referrals saves money on recruiting
When employees refer their friends and colleagues for open roles, these tend to be highly qualified and successful candidates. Applicants who start as referrals are more likely to be hired and have longer tenures.
Drawing on the talented network of your employee base means your company doesn’t have to spend as much working with recruiters to source all stars. Our team has to spend less time screening candidates, and they have better offer acceptance rates. Plus, employees who began as referrals tend to give higher satisfaction scores once they join.
4. Happy employees help attract and sign applicants
Thrilled employees generate authentic social proof that money can’t buy. A company can tell others that it’s a great organization to work for and with, but only its employees’ actions can genuinely show it. When employees are truly delighted, their reviews on recruitment sites like Glassdoor are more effusive, their interviews with applicants are more fun, and they generate a public cachet that helps with sales and recruiting.
When employees are so delighted with their experience that they say positive and exciting things in public, all employees feel more engaged and loyal. And loyalty matters big time. Last year, employers paid $600 billion replacing dissatisfied employees who quit. (Read more about how to train your employees to be brand ambassadors here.)
Sounds great so far, right? It is. So where do you begin in order to set up a successful employee advocacy initiative?
Tips for encouraging employees to be advocates
1. Establish goals for your advocate program
Before you ask anything of your employees, consider what you want to accomplish. Many organizations begin by identifying a challenge they’re facing, such as a lack of qualified applicants or a lack of engagement on social media, and then set metrics to reach that goal. For instance, these metrics could be the percentage of employees who refer friends or total employee-generated social shares.
Goals you might consider:
Increase employee satisfaction rating
Increase ratings on employer review sites such as Glassdoor
Increase the reach of marketing programs
Create more interdepartmental alignment
Make town hall meetings more informative and exciting
How we do it at Influitive
Our main goal is to keep employees engaged, which we define as visiting our advocate community 3 times per week and completing at least 1 act of advocacy per week. For each engagement campaign we run, we set target completion rates, such as 75% for surveys.
2. Get your executives bought in
A great way to kickstart interest in an employee advocacy program is to enlist executive support and have someone like your CEO emphasize its importance. This is because employee engagement programs benefit from a network effect. The more people participate, the more others want to be involved.
How do you get buy-in, exactly? Present the goals of your program and the metrics by which you’ll measure them in terms of a challenge the company is already trying to solve. For example, helping the head of HR with that retention problem they mentioned at the last all-hands meeting. Framing the project in terms of solving costly problems is most likely to garner the buy-in and budget needed to make it successful.
How we do it at Influitive
As an advocacy software company, our CEO and founder Mark Organ is so on board with the idea of harnessing advocates, he wrote a whole book about it. (Perhaps your executives need a copy!) We also involve all members of our senior leadership team in setting OKRs for the program.
3. Let employees tell their stories and encourage an open, honest discussion
Few companies give employees a digital water cooler to talk openly about whatever they want, even though many crave this opportunity. Often, the reason has to do with communication platforms.
Most companies rely on email, intranets, and chat platforms to communicate information. While these formats are easy for senders, they rarely facilitate community and two-way collaboration. Emails get lost in the inbox, people dread accidentally hitting “reply all,” and intranets are famously a place where good ideas go to hide.
When choosing a channel for your employee advocacy program, pick one that allows people to actively talk with one another. Then, encourage open sharing with prompts. For example, what are employees working on? What do they want others to know? What questions do they have that other employees can answer? These discussions reveal employees’ interests and needs, and help inform the program.
How we do it at Influitive
Our people and culture team is very clear that the program exists to serve employees. We all vote on the program’s purpose and direction, and use it as a place to ask each other for on-the-job help. We initiate a wide variety of discussions through our product—from trading healthy recipes and fitness tips to a monthly AMA (ask me anything) with our CEO.
4. Kick off your employee advocacy program with a group exercise
Everyone should be involved in creating the program’s culture and making policy decisions, starting with voting on the program’s name and what they want from it.
The naming imparts a sense of ownership. Behavioral economists have long observed that we value things more highly when we own them, and we’re reluctant to part with them. Once your employees feel like founders, they’re more likely to participate in your program.
How we do it at Influitive
We put our own advocate program name up to a vote. Employees decided on “HQ,” reflective of the fact that while we have employees across North America, we’re all a part of company headquarters. This isn’t the only reason for HQ’s 90% participation rate, but it’s certainly a factor.
5. Choose an employee advocacy platform that allows you to reward your employees for their participation
Giving employees a forum to share, tracking their participation, and rewarding them for doing so can take a lot of time and effort. Consider a purpose-built software to make it all easier.
An advocacy software gives communities one single, central place to do everything. It’s a home base where employees can go for training, but also where product teams can announce updates, marketing teams can ask employees to share new blogs, and HR teams can ask for feedback and referrals.
Whatever option you choose, simplicity in design is key. As any company with an intranet that’s fallen into disuse knows, people only engage when it’s easy, fun, and benefits them in some way.
How we do it at Influitive
We use our own software, AdvocateHub, to its maximum potential. It’s home to lively, daily discussions where employees complete challenges to earn points that they can redeem for sweet rewards. For example, when an employee successfully refers a candidate that we hire, they receive a cash bonus, a luxurious dinner on us, plus 15,000 HQ points. Our program also has built-in discussion boards, and robust analytics to track and optimize advocates’ impact.
6. Use gamification techniques to create challenges, rewards, and incentives for advocate initiatives
Reward employees for completing challenges such as sharing a company article on their personal Twitter, completing a certification, or voting on discussion topics for the next company meeting.
For rewards to work, they have to be thoughtful. People can spot lazy prizes. Think beyond the catchall gift card and reward employees with training that aids their careers (also good for the company), warms their hearts, or fills their stomachs.
How we do it at Influitive
We allow employees to make donations to charities of their choice, reimburse meals, cover travel costs, and help break down departmental silos by granting them a dinner with people like Mark, our CEO.
7. Allow employees to recognize one another
To literally multiply the effectiveness of your prizes, make the gift giving peer-to-peer. Give them tools to recognize one another for work well done, and nominate colleagues for awards.
One leading marketing automation company allows employees to periodically award each other with $25 gift cards as a way to say thanks. When they share a gift card, it triggers a public post about it on LinkedIn.
How we do it at Influitive
We use our employee advocacy program to encourage and remind employees to recognize one another for going above and beyond. We create challenges where employees can submit a blurb about an exceptional coworker, which they’ll read out in front of our whole company at our daily standups.
We also vote through HQ each quarter to crown a “Hero” each quarter to recognize an exceptional Influvian.
8. Tailor your incentives to inspire immediate action
Nothing motivates people like FOMO, or the fear of missing out. Consider making some prizes time-based, such as a blog contribution program that ends after six months. People are more likely to participate in an opportunity if it expires.
How we do it at Influitive
Our own HQ program incentivizes new employees to join the program quickly, offering prizes of descending value for those who join immediately, within three days, or within one week. The faster they act, the spicier the swag.
9. Wherever you give your advocate program a home, make it known
“If you build it, they will come” may be decent advice for playing baseball with ghosts, but it’s a recipe for catastrophe when it comes to advocacy programs. You have to train employees to go there frequently from day one.
How we do it at Influitive
The People & Culture team places all its safety, health, and benefits trainings in our employee community. That way, the employee advocacy community is one of employees’ first destinations after signing their offer letter. By starting their onboarding there, employees form the habit early.
We also place other programs such as our catered lunch order in the portal. If employees want vegetarian maki instead of California rolls, they must order within HQ. When it’s time for them to participate in a challenge, they know exactly where to go.
10. Use the advocate community to facilitate trainings and gather feedback
The more reasons employees have to visit the community, the better. Many companies aspire to get employees to visit daily using lunchtime challenges or syndicating daily news. The most successful companies also make their employee community the one-stop-shop for training and feedback.
How we do it at Influitive
We gamified an otherwise boring health and safety training (sorry Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety). Employees can complete it in pieces in their free time, and the HQ hub records when they completed it, helping the HR team track who’s up-to-date and who isn’t.
We also use HQ to gather feedback. For every training, company meeting, and really any topic they want to breach, employees can let the company know what they’re thinking.
11. Make advocacy initiatives as user-friendly as possible
Think of your advocate initiatives as a marketing buyer journey. The shorter the journey and the fewer the steps, the more people will tend to complete the challenge. If you ask employees to share an article on Facebook, for example, give them sample text for what they might say. Or even better, give them a button so it only takes one click.
You also want to make your asks predictable. If employees know they’re asked to share on particular days of the week, they’ll expect it, and won’t see it as an interruption.
How we do it at Influitive
To give our job listings a wider reach, we ask employees to share open positions with their social networks. AdvocateHub allows employees to share listings across their LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook accounts in a single click. To make things as simple as possible for them, we pre-write copy that they can use to share. Although, we do offer more points if they write their own copy to make it as genuine and original as possible.
12. Use social sharing to support marketing initiatives
Once a regular social sharing cadence is established, encouraging employees to post on places like Reddit, Quora, and sites specific to your vertical will also help your long-term SEO backlink strategy. Many links and increased traffic from high domain-authority sites tell search engines like Google that your company’s content is important, and may help it rise in rankings.
It’s a long-term payoff, but when marketing is more successful, the company is more profitable. It can afford to keep paying everyone, keep growing, and keep rewarding them for their efforts.
How we do it at Influitive
Influitive employees are among the biggest promoters of the company’s annual conference, Advocamp. They share posts on social media, refer their peers, and help generate a surge of online enthusiasm. We also regularly ask employees to share new blogs and eBooks.
13. Give more than you get
Create a mission statement for your advocacy program to remind present and future administrators that its purpose is to serve employees first and the company second. If it achieves the first goal, and people are happy, they’re more likely to achieve the second goal. But if employees ever feel used, they may grow disenchanted and stop participating.
How we do it at Influitive
We use a three-step process for encouraging employee advocates: Step 1 is to “Discover,” or get to know them and what they love. Step 2 is to “Nurture,” or give value (like rewards and opportunities for example) before ever asking for anything in return. Step 3 is to “Mobilize,” or ask for employees’ help only after you’ve offered them value. (Read more about our DNM framework in the blog.)
14. Create a workplace that employees are thrilled to talk about
We saved the best advice for last: There’s no faking a remarkable culture. If you want employees to be effusive in their praise and proud to share their work with friends, you need a workplace that’s genuinely delight-inducing.
Begin your advocacy initiatives by asking employees what an amazing workplace looks and feels like to them and deliver the welcoming environment, work-life balance, career opportunities, and recognition that makes them want to shout from the rooftops—advocacy program or no advocacy program.
How we do it at Influitive
Aside from perks like catered lunches, a gym onsite, and flexible working hours, Influitive builds a world-class culture through a strong focus on employee growth and development. All full-time employees are given a learning and development budget that they’re encouraged to use to travel to conferences, buy books, and take courses to accelerate their career growth.
Author: Katie Smith, Influitive. This article was originally posted by Influitive. To view the original, Click Here.
Is your team able to keep up with the demands of the always on digital world? Do you feel your organizational structure and approaches are holding you back? Maybe it’s time to find a better way to support the business, deliver on goals, and serve growing customer expectations. Before you re-draw the org chart, there are are a few key factors to consider to better enable your teams, drive revenue, and delight customers.
To best serve customers, organizations need to break down the functional silos that have kept marketing separated from other areas. No longer can data or technology be isolated, marketing organizations need a unified view of the customer and be able to pivot between channels. Isolating marketing teams by product, or line of business, isn’t an effective or efficient practice in today’s digital world.
Successful marketing organizations have a clear purpose, are unified by a common set of goals, and make data driven decisions. Shared KPIs and a set cadence for measurement support alignment and collaboration within the team, and across the organization. Proper alignment doesn’t just happen, it starts at the executive level with defined plans and clear lines of ownership to support the orchestration of those plans.
Strong internal and external collaboration is vital for marketing organizations. When a team has the ability to be fluid and dynamically leverage its capabilities, it is better able to meet the needs of the business. Collaboration across the organization is also a necessity and should extend beyond marketing and sales alignment. Marketing and IT need to collaborate to optimize systems and data. Marketing and customer support should share insights and work to drive loyalty and advocacy.
The ability to adapt and respond to changing customer and business needs requires a marketing organization to be agile. Just following agile practices is not enough, a cultural shift also needs to occur. Acceptance of risk and delegation of decisions is required in an agile approach. Organizations with the ability to react quickly and drive continuous improvements can gain a competitive advantage over competitors who move too slow to engage their customers.
Rethink the team
It’s no secret the changing technology landscape, and number of channels customers use to engage companies is forcing marketing organizations to market differently. These changes require specific resources and expertise, and along with new way of working together. To help determine the ideal structure, organizations should start by taking a look at the roles and responsibilities necessary to support key functions and core areas of marketing in the digital age. Once these are identified, the next step is to think about who the right people are to fill those roles. Do you have the talent in house today or do you need to hire, train or outsource? Once you understand the roles and responsibilities, you can determine the right model for the business, and properly source and staff the team.
Wanting to change is just the first step in the process to modernizing the marketing organization. Planning and executing the change will take considerable effort as well, requiring a thoughtful, systematic approach to the process. Doing your homework, communicating the need and getting buy in from senior leadership will help start you on the way. If you have any questions or comments be sure to write below or contact us.
It’s every email marketer’s worst nightmare: despite all your hard work, your emails are landing in the spam folder. This problem is particularly painful when you’re trying to send simple confirmation emails to your users.
Although spam folders serve an important purpose, they can wreak havoc for honest email marketers. If you’re landing in the spam folder, don’t worry. The reality is that everyone faces deliverability problems at some point.
Your spam folder woes could be due to three potential culprits. Thankfully, this incredibly common problem has many easy remedies.
Problem #1: Authentication
DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) is an authentication method that proves the identity of the DKIM domain. It also proves whether or not an email was intercepted and tampered with in transmission.
Spammers have been known to intercept important transactional emails. During the interception, they replace the content with their spam message. Spammers then resend the email in the hopes that it will be delivered as if it’s from the original sender.
DKIM prevents this abusive tactic from working. That’s why major email providers examine transactional or confirmation emails without DKIM with suspicion. However, this suspicion potentially aggravates a small issue into a major one.
In fact, Inbox Pros encountered a surprising number of triggered and confirmation emails that do not use DKIM. Email marketers often don’t use DKIM because the email program was set up in a rush or simply because their service provider did not offer it. The result is spammer vulnerability and decreased deliverability.
In order to protect their users and provide a good experience, ISPs and filters look closely at identities.
It’s important to understand that the “From” domain is not directly proven, so filters check to see if either the DKIM or SPF domain is the same. This is called alignment.
Even though you’ve fully authenticated your promotional emails, you might use a different IP, domain, or service provider for triggered confirmation emails.
If you typically send trusted emails from your own domain for DKIM or SPF, an inconsistent IP, domain, or service provider looks suspicious. Email clients can see the email is from you, but with different DKIM and SPF identities, they send you to the spam folder out of caution.
It isn’t a deal-breaker to be out of alignment. However, if everything else you send does have alignment, a one-off batch of non-aligned emails looks sketchy.
The problem amplifies if you’re protecting your domain with DMARC. DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance, authenticates your emails. DMARC has standardized protocols that link your domain name to SPF and DKIM. Many senders implement DMARC to protect their domains from email fraud.
The problem is that senders can accidentally forget about a tool that quietly sent emails without SPF or DKIM alignment.
Problem #2: Content
HTML and Plain Text
Another common spammer tactic is to disguise spam messages as correspondence emails. This has caused email providers to scrutinize plain-text emails from bulk email services.
To get around this problem, use a clean and simple HTML email template. Create a complementary and matching plain text version. This renders your email correctly even if your user is behind a strict no-HTML filter. If you’re a B2B sender, this will fix many of your spam folder woes.
Don’t forget to manually check the plain text version for CAN-SPAM compliance and readability. Many “automatic” plain text versions generated from the HTML by the sender’s provider come out very poorly—and sometimes they’re even non-compliant!
Keywords and Design
Spammers aside, filters and ISPs are on the lookout for emails that provide a poor user experience.
When in doubt about your design, keep it simple. Avoid large images or huge templates for your confirmation emails.
Keyword filtering is no longer a major part of deliverability for ISPs, so most marketers simply need to follow simple best practices. Target your users with relevant content to avoid keyword filtering.
However, keywords are still used by filters and mailbox providers to tell the difference between promotional and transactional messages.
All providers want to deliver transactional messages to their users, even if they might frown upon your marketing strategies.
Therefore it’s very important that your confirmation emails look like confirmation emails: no promotional content, no affiliate links, and no conversion CTAs.
Remember that confirmation emails should never do more than these three things:
Confirm the opt-in
Offer an opt-out
Set expectations about email frequency
Reason #3: Reputation
Domains and IPs
Reputation is an important part of email deliverability. Reputation refers to the aggregated history of user behavior, as well as other attributes that a receiver can track in your emails.
Your reputation includes:
DKIM and SPF domains
Domains in the content itself
HTML templates and patterns
All of these histories come into play when the system decides where to place emails. This means that, if the only relation to your brand in the confirmation email is the From domain, you’re at the mercy of other senders who use the same sending tool.
Take advantage of your good reputation. Use DKIM or SPF domains, as well as link redirects and content, instead of just using the brand name in your From address.
Marketers have to set user expectations from the very first opt-in. First of all, the user should be expecting your confirmation email.
Although the filter can’t read the user’s mind, if the user is expecting a confirmation and doesn’t receive one, they are much more likely to look for it in their spam folder.
A user clicking “This is not spam” is the fastest way to get out of the spam folder for any major mailbox provider. But that’s not likely to happen if the user doesn’t expect your email.
This means you need to review your opt-in process to set expectations at every step. Expectation management also helps users know when to expect emails from you.
Author: Inbox Pros. This article was originally posted by Inbox Pros. To view the original, Click Here.
To ensure his team was aware of the marketing tools available to them, John Pavlick, VP Eloqua Platform Manager for BlackRock, took an interesting approach. He streamlined the marketing operations team and better integrated them into the organization and built a strong foundation for marketing processes. Find out more about his journey in this episode!
Tune in and Get Inspired to:
Add new hires without skipping a beat
Leverage new capabilities
Do “Demos not Decks”
Identify themes across your organization
[1:10] Who is John and what does he do for BlackRock?
[2:50] John shares how he seamlessly onboards new marketers into the team.
[5:55] How is the division of labor structured with such a large marketing team?
[9:10] How did John begin to build a good ops team as BlackRock scaled from 3 people to 20?
[11:05] John shares the types of results he has seen so far due to his very hands-on leadership approach.
[12:25] What was the hardest part about scaling the team?
[15:35] John shares the types of technologies he has leveraged to making this project possible.
[17:40] What’s next for John?
[21:15] What inspires John?
The Inspired Marketing podcast is produced by Relationship One. Our goal is to share real experiences and inspirational stories of marketing leaders that are transforming their organization using the Oracle Marketing Cloud.
Marketers are giving a lot of attention of late to the topic of customer engagement. Indeed, optimizing interactions with top clients and maximizing ROI from customer programs seem to be a universal desire for companies. The more challenging aspect of achieving these outcomes seems to be how marketers are supposed to do so. In my experience as VP of Marketing at Ignite Advisory Group, customer advisory boards (CABs) are the most effective and impactful way to engage with key customer executives.
Customer advisory boards (also known as a customer advisory councils) are customer forums designed to review industry trends, address mutual challenges or opportunities, and offer unvarnished insights and guidance. For vendors, these councils are ideal for validating corporate strategies, gathering input on product development, and deepening relationships with key customers. In turn, there is just as much to be gained by the participating customers. CABs usually consist of a couple live events per year, but the most successful ones also leverage a digital community (like Influitive’s AdvocateHub) to enhance the experience, and keep the conversation going year-round.
In this blog, I’ll share the top 5 benefits your company can get from a well-run customer advisory board program.
1. Unparalleled insight into your business strategy
Your customers are the best (and surprisingly most often overlooked) resource to provide input on your company’s overall direction and business strategies. Customers should be able to advise you on the products and services they desire, what they would pay for them, and how they want them delivered.
After all, everything you do is designed to appeal to their needs. There really is no one more qualified to counsel you on how to best target, approach, and serve your client base.
Your council can provide invaluable direction regarding matters such as:
Which markets to pursue
How to best capitalize on market trends
What customer pain points to address
Which companies to partner with or acquire
How to best exploit competitors’ weak points
How to position your company for optimal advantage
2. Feedback on your product roadmap
A customer advisory board is ideal for providing feedback and desired direction for the host company’s offerings. Your advisory council can offer an insider’s view of what your target buyer looks for in your products and/or services. A council also serves as a great platform for securing beta testers of your new offerings, helping you introduce your solutions, and providing immediate validation before you go to market.
3. Increased sales revenue and customer retention
The often unspoken (yet highly desired) benefit from a customer advisory board is the positive impact you will see on incremental sales revenue. Your council members’ organizations will likely increase their overall spend with your business over time. This is largely due to the fact that they are privy to your growth strategy, are early testers of your solutions, and feel more dedicated to you and your offerings.
4. Guaranteed customer approval and brand champions
Another benefit to running an advisory council is that you are building a close-knit group of company advisors and brand champions. By bringing customers into your company’s “inner circle”, you are transforming them into even bigger fans of your company. In our experience, this almost always happens with council members.
As they take on the responsibility of helping guide your business, they become professionally and emotionally invested in your success. Their enthusiasm and passion tend to permeate to their immediate team and sometimes beyond. The result is a group of highly loyal customers with a vested interest in your success—and not defecting to your competition. Your members will also likely refer other prospects to you as they talk about you with peers at conferences, events, and throughout their day-to-day operations.
5. Validation for marketing campaigns and messaging
Another often less-recognized value of customer advisory boards is the opportunity to get feedback on how your company markets itself. You will gain the rich insight necessary to understand how to position (or re-position) your company against the competition. Your council will advise you as to what makes your business unique and what differentiators you should highlight. The council can also guide you on which media are the most viable in terms of reaching your desired audience.
Members can also serve as wonderful client references for testimonials and case studies. Likewise, they may also be willing to develop and publish joint articles or white papers with you. This lends industry validation and credibility to your advisory board program and your organization. Promoting member-generated content also serves as a means of bolstering his/her own company and career.
Better insights through CABs
In our experience, customer engagement and brand loyalty are all the rage with marketers these days. Customer advisory boards are the best method to deliver these—and much more. A well-run customer advisory board will undoubtedly put your company on a better, more targeted, and profitable course for years to come. Pair your CAB with the right customer community technology, and you’ll be miles ahead of your competitors.
Author: Rob Jensen, Influitive. This article was originally posted by Influitive. To view the original, Click Here.
Having a strong foundation in your organization is key to marketing success. That’s why creating a Center of Excellence is so important to keep things running smoothly. From getting executive approval to training and on-boarding, there is a lot to cover – and we are here to help!
In this eBook, let our experts walk you through the basics of a COE, help you build your case for implementation, and manage the change seamlessly. Oh yeah, all this is jam-packed in one easy, breezy eBook! What are you waiting for? Jump in!
The acronym BIMI stands for Brand Indicators for Message Identification. BIMI is the latest development in email authentication to prevent fraudulent email and serves as a huge, new opportunity for companies to put their brands in front of consumers for free. BIMI also serves as a revolutionary way to reassure your recipients that you have the proper security measures in place by simply displaying your logo next to your email.
“A new opportunity for companies to put their brands in front of consumers for free.”
By implementing BIMI, companies (email senders) receive free added value by increasing brand visibility in the inbox. Not only is this something that CMOs are raving over, but more importantly, it ensures the level of authenticity from the sender building trust with your consumers.
“This is a win-win situation: the brand has better exposure, better control of their logo, higher engagement on the consumer side, it’s more secure and Yahoo can authenticate emails in our system,” said Marcel Becker, Director of Product Management for Oath, the Verizon company that owns Yahoo and AOL.
How Can I Get BIMI for Our Brand?
I’ve met marketers who have experienced BIMI in action, and they often ask, “How do we get our logo displayed when we send our emails?” It’s important to know that BIMI is more than just a way to get your brand in front of users, which is an added bonus, but the value is in what it’s really doing for your brand and email marketing program behind the scenes. What it requires is a look at your email infrastructure and your email authentication set up. By now you should know the terms SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These are important because BIMI plays off of the email authentication factors that you already have in place. In an article published by Only Influencers on Why Deliverability Matters, Chris Arrendale, founder of Inbox Pros and Chief Privacy Officer for Trendline Interactive, notes, “For a BIMI logo to be displayed, the sender needs to have DMARC, SPF and DKIM in place so that the source can be marked as trusted. The brand also needs to publish its logo in the DNS (Domain Name System) record.”
In a draft by the Authindicators Working Group, who is behind the development of BIMI, related the approach of BIMI being very similar to the approach that DKIM takes. It is compatible with your existing email infrastructure and requires minimal new infrastructure. The two are very similar in other ways such as deployment, encryption, and implementation.
Why is BIMI Important for Deliverability?
The first few companies to implement BIMI during the pilot period were Groupon, Aetna, SparkPost, and Agari. Groupon quickly recognized the value of this additional step in ensuring that their users were receiving authentic email. Groupon’s Senior Manager Messaging Delivery, Torsten Reinert stated, “Groupon relies on social media, messaging applications and email to help local businesses attract and retain customers. By increasing consumer confidence in the authenticity of our messages, we believe BIMI will increase response rates, magnifying the power and reach of our marketing efforts.”
“By increasing consumer confidence in the authenticity of our messages, we believe BIMI will increase response rates, magnifying the power and reach of our marketing efforts.”
-Torsten Reinert, Groupon
If you’re familiar with SPF, DKIM, and DMARC, you know that these three elements are key in preventing fraudulent emails. Unfortunately, no one would ever know if you had the proper authentication set up unless they were to go into the header of your email to check if SPF, DKIM, and DMARC were passing. I would much rather see a company’s logo than the question mark that makes me feel like this might not be secure to open or even click on internal links. It’s not to say that those whose logos are not displayed are fraudulent, but it’s a good indicator that they may not have the right policies in place, thus making them ineligible to implement BIMI.
The purpose here is to encourage all senders to use all forms of email authentication to stop phishing attacks. Due to the amount of spam on the internet today, by being able to clearly identify authenticated mail, it benefits the user and the sender. With fraudulent mail, data breaches, and email hackers on the rise, no one can afford another incident where the validity of the sender is compromised.
“BIMI is a revolutionary way to reassure your recipients that you have the proper security measures in place by simply displaying your logo next to your email.”
Prior to BIMI coming out, DMARC was the latest form of email sender authentication sweeping the email world. In October 2017, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security ordered federal agencies with .gov email domains to fully implement strict DMARC policies by October 2018. This new development in email serves as an incentive to have businesses authenticate their mail. Agari, which is among many of the working group members, helped pioneer the development of the DMARC authentication standard from 2010 to 2013.
(Above: An example of how a phishing email could look)
The Impact of Phishing Emails
Brand protection. Simply stated, this is what BIMI, DMARC, and other forms of email sender authentication are protecting. It seems as of late, every time I turn on the news or catch up on the latest articles in the email space, there is another data breach. Phishing attacks are usually the first step of a data breach. Allowing them access to information gives them access to distribute malware causing a long and painful domino effect affecting a company’s customers.
Long term- this creates a distrust between the consumer and the company. Companies spend months relentlessly trying to compensate their consumers for the mishap and shifting their marketing strategy attempting to reposition themselves as a company they can trust.
“Phishing is an attack that looks friendly and familiar sent via email that contains a malicious link or attachment.”
According to Verizon’s 2018 Data Breach Investigation Report (DBIR), phishing (alongside pretexting) makes up for 93% of all social breaches, with email being the most common attacker. Phishing is an attack that looks friendly and familiar sent via email that contains a malicious link or attachment. With the use of ‘click bait’, they provide a sense of urgency for the recipient to change passwords, re-enter account information, or direct them to sites where confidential information is stored, such as banking. Also stated in Verizon’s report was that in 2017, 59% of phishing attacks are financially motivated and that 4% of people will click on the bait in a simulated phishing campaign and will be more likely to click on them in future.
MailChimp-attackers used compromised MailChimp accounts to send out fake invoice notifications.
IRS related-messages asked recipients to disclose their email usernames and passwords so they could obtain access to the tax professionals’ accounts, steal their clients’ data, and either sell this information or use it to file fraudulent tax returns.
Google and Facebook collectively were scammed out of $100 million dollars through a phishing campaign claiming to be a computer-parts vendor.
FIFA World Cup-scammers used phishing emails targeting recipient’s personal information by informing them they won a trip to attend the event in Moscow.
Author: Jenna Moye, Inbox Pros. This article was originally posted by Inbox Pros. To view the original, Click Here.
You may know it by many names—Preference Center, Email Preferences, Subscription Management to name a few—but all refer to the same concept: a process for your customers, leads, prospects and anyone else to have control over the emails they receive from your company.
“Why would we want to do that?” you may ask. As marketers, we are hyper-focused on database growth and increasing the number of marketable contacts to target in campaigns. Giving up control over whom you can email—and when—limits your abilities as a marketer! Don’t stop reading quite yet.
First, for many companies, it’s the law. Over the past several years, different governing bodies have issued regulations that apply to organizations that communicate with people under their jurisdiction. In the European Union, there is GDPR; in Canada, it is CASL; in the United States, there is CAN-SPAM; and now, coming in California is CCPA.
This alphabet-soup of legal acronyms could fill a number of blog posts, but long story short, if your organization isn’t complying with the laws for the areas in which it operates, you could be hit with substantial fines.
Before you run off to your legal team, know that implementing a Subscription Management process can yield great benefits for marketers. By putting the power into your customers’ hands, it means your emails are more likely to be received by people who actually want to get them, and will therefore also have a higher response rate and lower unsubscribe rate.
Additionally, by allowing your customers to provide more granular preferences on types and frequency of communication, this provides additional information for targeting, segmentation, decisioning and analytics.
Lastly, without an automated and integrated process for Subscription Management, marketers will still be responsible for manually managing opt-out requests – and no one has time for that.
Now that everyone agrees that Subscription Management processes are a great idea you may ask, “How do I do this?” Before getting into the technical details, first consider the strategy for your Subscription Management process.
Should it only allow for global opt-in or opt-out by providing an email address, or do you want to provide more options, as well as get more information from your subscribers?
In addition to the minimum, you can use this as an opportunity to allow subscribers to specify the type of content they wish to receive, which may prevent them from unsubscribing. Depending on your communication strategy, you may also want to allow subscribers to control the frequency of emails.
Whatever your decision, it is important to honor the preferences provided by your subscribers. By giving your subscribers control of the process, you can use this opportunity to gather profile-level data about the subscriber.
When implementing a Subscription Management process, you will want to map out the user experience as well as the data that is captured to ensure the necessary technical capabilities and integrations are in place to provide a good experience for your subscriber and yourself, the marketer.
In emails, links in the footer should provide one-click ability to unsubscribe or go to a landing page to specify their preferences, but also make it easy to access the preference center by having clear navigation from your company home page. After submitting preference updates, a subscriber should be presented a confirmation – on the website, in an email or both.
For the marketer, consider what data you will need for preference details, but also where you need the data. Is it just in the platform hosting the Subscription Management process, or is it also needed in your CRM, external data warehouse, or other databases? These decisions will all affect the specific technical approaches used to deliver the right solution.
If you haven’t already implemented a process, do so as soon as possible! Not only will you minimize potential legal risk, but the process will improve your effectiveness as a marketer. If you need more help, contact us!