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Why You Should Delete Marketing Contacts Regularly

Like the title says — if you’re a Salesforce user, then you should be deleting your marketing contacts on a regular basis.

Okay, hear me out.

Of course I don’t mean all your contacts. And I don’t even necessarily mean delete delete (in some cases). Let me explain.

As marketers, we hoard and protect our contacts like dragons guarding our treasure. Our instinct is to grow — and keep — our contacts database as large as possible. After all, more contacts mean more people for the ever-demanding funnel.

But I’m here to tell you: stop it.

Why? Because as with many things in life, quality over quantity is what should matter here, even within the gaping maw that is the top of the funnel. 

And for more reasons than you think. Here are the three main ones.

Reason #1: Salesforce Puts a Cap on Contacts

Let’s start with the purely technical and perhaps thoroughly obvious: Salesforce gives you a finite number of contacts to keep. The number you can have varies depending on the plan you’re on and the optional number contact block add-ons you purchase.

No matter how adequate that number may seem at the time, it will start being not enough very shortly if you don’t have any safeguards in place.

Furthermore, the criteria for what counts towards this limit differs between Marketing Cloud Engagement (or MCE, formerly Marketing Cloud) and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (MCAE, formerly Pardot… I know one day we’ll get used to the rebrand).

In Marketing Cloud Engagement:

MCE Edition Pro Corporate Enterprise
Base Contact Count 15k 45k 500k

Any Contact record (aka, any record on a sendable data extension with a unique ContactKey) on the All Contacts list counts towards MCE’s Contact Count limit. This includes:

  • Mobile contacts
  • Email subscribers
  • Any contacts from synchronized data sources (e.g., Salesforce objects). 

This is also why it is best practice to use a single ContactKey across Mobile, Email, and Synced Data Sources to prevent duplicates from unnecessarily eating up your Contact Count. 

You can monitor your Contact Count using the All Contacts list in Contact Builder.

Fun gotcha moment: If you’re syncing Salesforce Leads and Contacts and a Lead converts into a Contact, MCE will still count that synced Lead record and the new synced Contact record as two Contacts because they will still have two separate ContactKeys.
Fun gotcha moment #2: Even if you reduce the number of records on your synced sendable data extension, your All Contacts list count may not change. 

You will need to do some additional manual work here to enable contacts deletion from MCE if you haven’t done so already. Go to Contact Builder > Contacts Configuration and then choose the contacts you want to delete. 

If you want to mass delete a large number of contacts, you will either need to:
a) import a list of contacts back into MCE (counter-intuitive, I know) and then configure MCE to delete your contacts based off of that list 
– or –
b) create a REST API call to mass delete your contacts.

In Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (Pardot):

MCAE Edition Growth Plus Advanced Premium
Contact Blocks 10k (additional 10k blocks are $100/month 10k (additional 10k blocks are $150/month) 10k (additional 10k blocks are $300/month) 75k (additional 10k blocks are $400/month)

Fortunately, this is more straightforward. Any prospect record with a mailable status counts towards your mailable database limit. 

That’s it. You can keep an eye on your mailable database limit from the Pardot Settings tab.

Reason #2: Privacy Features Aren’t Going Away

In September 2021 as part of the iOS 15 updates, Apple rolled out Mail Privacy functionality that allowed its users to easily create throwaway email addresses for form fills (a common practice that many were already doing, Apple just automated it). 

Eight years prior to that, Google had broken up its Gmail inbox into tabbed categories in a better effort to keep “less important” emails — like marketing emails — from clogging up your immediate inbox. This year, Google will officially sunset its use of third-party cookies for tracking.

Suffice to say: more privacy features are coming into play and more consumers are concerned with how their data is being collected, stored, and used.

This is all great for consumer privacy, but less so for our marketing efforts.

Without intervention, we could face the possibility of having a database where a sizable portion of our contacts are, at best, completely unengaged, or, at worst, aren’t actually legitimate contacts in the first place.

Reason #3: You’re Skewing Your Metrics

Now take the nightmare scenario in Reason #2 and think about what this does to our precious email metrics. If we consistently send to a database of unengaged or non-legitimate contacts, leading to artificially low open rates and potentially high bounce rates, we’re skewing our own engagement rates from the start.

And if we’re relying on our engagement rates to determine campaign KPIs and attribution, we’ll have already introduced flawed data into our analysis.

How to Keep Your Marketing Contact Database as Clean as Possible

Okay, you’ve made some good points, I hopefully assume you’re thinking. So what can I do?

Well I’m glad you asked, because I have some tips for both Marketing Cloud Engagement and Marketing Cloud Account Engagement users.

Implement a Cold Leads Strategy

This is where I’m asking you to look deep inside yourself and fight against the marketer’s urge to hold onto all your contacts (or leads or prospects or whatever terminology you want to use here) for as long as possible under the hope that they’ll re-engage if you happen to send the right message at the right time.

Sure, you can always purchase additional space for more contacts, but why keep throwing more money after bad? Showing a little less mercy now will improve your marketing efforts later. As an additional consideration for MCE users, you also have to contend with a cap on how many communications you can send per subscription term. So why waste them?

Use Automations to Keep Your Database Clean

To start with, you can automate this process through features like: Automation Rules and Engagement Studio Programs (for MCAE) or Automation Studio and Journey Builder journeys (for MCE)

But the rough idea is to do the following:

Step 1: Put a quantifiable limit on how long you’ll consider someone who hasn’t engaged with any of your communications as “active.” This can be an actual time limit or after a certain number of consecutively unopened emails.

Step 2: Move these cold contacts somewhere else. Take them out of your regular communications, whether it’s through tags, a separate list segment, or a separate data extension. It’s time to put these contacts on a separate slower, low-frequency campaign.

Step 3: Send them an email again in a few weeks, maybe even months. Maybe send them another one later if you’re still full of hope. Give them a few more last chances to show engagement. The goal here is to check for a pulse, not necessarily to market anything at this point. This may also be the place where you can A/B test a few subject lines with pretty low stakes.

Step 4: If they re-engage: great! You can return them to the fold (or better still, use this opportunity to find out what their content preferences are by pointing them to an email preference center and letting them self-select their interests). If they don’t engage, get rid of them. 

  • Put them in the recycle bin if you’re a Marketing Cloud Account Engagement user (bonus: if you keep these prospects in the recycle bin, MCAE will automatically restore the prospect if they show signs of activity later on). 
  • Or, delete their record and unsync them in Marketing Cloud Engagement (we’ll talk about how to do this in a moment). 
  • You may even want to consider deleting the corresponding Salesforce record, because Salesforce has a data storage limit too.

If the idea of permanent deletion is too daunting, you can always export them to a spreadsheet and archive them elsewhere. You’ll still have the contact information, but it won’t be taking up space within your database.

Clean Out Your Hard Bounces

Make it routine to regularly clean out (or update) your contacts who have a hard bounce status. 

  • In addition to viewing your engagement metrics for each email send, MCAE also offers a helpful overall Email Bounce report on your prospects (you can find this under Pardot Reports > Marketing Assets > Emails > Email Bounces). 
  • With MCE, you can automate a query of the Bounce Data view and Subscriber statuses in Automation Studio.

Yes, both MCE and MCAE will (eventually) stop emailing any address with a hard bounce status. Yes, MCAE will automatically render a prospect with a hard bounce status as unmailable, meaning that the prospect won’t count towards your contact limit.

But in MCE, even if you can’t send emails to a Contact with a Bounced status, the contact will still count towards your Contact Count. And whether you’re using MCE or MCAE, if the contact has a corresponding Salesforce record, that record will also contribute to Salesforce’s overall data storage limit.

Furthermore, discrepancies between your segmentation lists or data extension numbers and what your email deliverability numbers actually are could cause some initial confusion among any users who aren’t aware of the automated mechanisms MCAE and MCE use to keep you from sending to unmailable addresses.

Be Selective about Salesforce Syncing

Being selective about who in your Salesforce database gets synced to MCE or MCAE will not only ensure that you aren’t sending marketing emails to contacts who shouldn’t be getting them (e.g. contacts who have not explicitly opted in, partners, vendors, and other operational contacts), but will also help you manage your contacts cap. 

In both cases, you will need to have automations in place that will determine the criteria for your sync trigger.

Now with MCE, let’s talk about the vexing problem of Leads and Contacts and the potential for duplicates. As mentioned earlier, even if your synced Salesforce Lead converts into a now synced Contact, your now defunct Lead record will still count towards your Contact Count. 

How to manage this? Build criteria into the automation that updates your MCE boolean syncing field to unsync the Lead when it converts. 

The Leads object has a number of different Lead Conversion-related fields you can use for your criteria — I like using the IsConverted boolean field, for example.

Use a Double Opt-in Signup Process

Using a double opt-in signup process for when a new contact is created is good practice to comply with various global data privacy laws and confirm a contact’s genuine interest in receiving your marketing emails. It also has the helpful benefit of verifying whether or not the email address on record is real. 

While this isn’t a 100% foolproof guarantee that a contact still isn’t using a throwaway email address, it will cut down on the number of outright junk emails entering your database.

Pay Attention to Auto-Replies

The deluge of autoresponders and out-of-office replies that result when you send an email to a large list can be a painful constant in a marketer’s life depending on a) whether you’re using MCE or MCAE (MCE has pretty robust Reply Mail Management functionality) and b) what processes you or your organization have set up to manage auto-replies. 

But there’s a silver lining to all this: what is being said in these auto-replies can be telling, especially in cases where the auto-reply lets you know that the contact is no longer going to be using the email address you have on record for them (usually in cases where the contact used an educational or organizational email address).

Creating a filter for key phrases often found in auto-replies where a contact is moving on from their organization (“moving on,” “leaving,” “no longer affiliated,” etc.) can give you a heads-up on removing that contact from your own database instead of waiting for the pending hard bounce when that email account is deactivated (which can range from very soon to months to never, depending on the organization’s offboarding process, or lack thereof). 

Save yourself from another auto-reply in your inbox, the contact taking up space in your database, and sending who-knows-how-many emails to an abandoned address.

Keeping Your Database Clean is an Ongoing Thing

Contact caps in your marketing database can feel like imaginary numbers to contacts-hungry marketers until their Salesforce Account Executive sends that dreaded over-limits notification. While it’s tempting to simply pay more to keep expanding your database cap, the cost does add up and it doesn’t address the root issues that could be impacting your database.

Without a little routine maintenance and ruthlessness to weed out your unengaged contacts and outright bad email addresses, your database can very easily become a hot mess, and any cleanup efforts thereafter will only become more challenging the longer it is allowed to go on. 

But a smart strategy (with help from a little automation) to filter and clean up your marketing database will not only be more cost-effective, but will maintain the integrity of your data.

Have any hot tips to share for keeping your contact list clean? Tell us in the comments.

Original article: Why You Should Delete Marketing Contacts Regularly

©2023 The Spot. All Rights Reserved.

The post Why You Should Delete Marketing Contacts Regularly appeared first on The Spot.

By |2023-02-08T15:54:25+00:00February 8th, 2023|Categories: Getting Started, Real Talk, revive, Setup & Admin, Strategy|

Marketing Cloud Personalization: 3 Use Cases and Implementation Tips

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Engagement has so many complex ways to create personalized experiences for the audiences the platform touches.

And if you haven’t gathered from the title, Salesforce Marketing Cloud Personalization (formerly Interaction Studio… RIP Interaction Studio) is a great way to level up your personalization game. This is for the pros who have long since mastered things like personalization strings, dynamic content, and even AMPscript in the platform.

However, as with many Marketing Cloud features, Marketing Cloud Personalization offers so much flexibility and configurability that it can be challenging to know just where and how to begin.  

Three Marketing Cloud Personalization Use Case Examples

Perhaps the best way to get started is to understand some industry-specific use cases for when Marketing Cloud Personalization web and mobile personalized campaigns can be strategically leveraged to create a customized, unified, and value-driven experience for your customers at every stage of the life cycle. 

Use Case #1: Serve targeted educational content for prospective customers in the finance industry

A financial advisory company knows that potential new customers frequently conduct more research in the earliest stages of the buying lifecycle. Fortunately, the company maintains a finance blog on their site that features thought leadership from their advisors for just this very purpose.

When a new customer first comes to the company’s site, they may see an assortment of featured blog posts on the home page. Some posts on mutual fund investments capture their interest, so they click into them. They may then use the navigation menu or site search to investigate further.

Tracking content engagement

Meanwhile, Marketing Cloud Personalization tracks their site activity, such as which blog posts and product pages they spend more time on. They use this information to build a  profile of customer preferences and affinities. Then, surface content in which the customer has indicated an interest using this customer profile information.

Showing profile-specific content

The next time the customer navigates to the home page or the blog landing page, they see featured posts on best tips to diversify their funds and an explainer of what investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses they should be aware of when selecting a mutual fund. The customer clicks into the posts and successfully becomes further engaged with the company’s website.

Use Case #2: Enrich a student’s higher education on-campus experience.

With tuition more expensive than ever and the pool of college students ever shrinking, a regional college knows that one of the strongest differentiators they can offer their students is a rewarding college experience that isn’t just confined to the classroom.

Showing targeted reminders in the college online portal

When a student subscribes to a college campus group’s mailing list, Marketing Cloud Personalization tracks that activity. The tool displays reminders of upcoming meetings hosted by that group on the home page of the student’s online portal account. 

And, Marketing Cloud Personalization highlights a promotion for an upcoming lecture hosted by a notable product designer when the student browses the college’s events calendar. That’s because the system knows the student once took an elective on product design.

After class, the student stops by a local art gallery that features art from fellow college students. Marketing Cloud Personalization notes the geolocation and time spent within the store. It uses that information to display a 15% discount code for the gallery in an infobar banner ad within the college’s mobile app. The student also sees an ad for the store when they get the monthly campus newsletter they subscribed to.

Enhancing the overall student experience

By being served content that is tailored to the student’s own personal and educational interests, the student is more connected with their campus and, as a result, their satisfaction with their college experience increases.

Use Case #3: Onboard new app users with well-timed contextual tips and cross-sell to existing customers in the same place, at the same time.

New users logging into a company’s app for the first time may need initial guidance on how to use the app to encourage adoption. But there also needs to be a balance between providing timely instruction and not being obstructive. 

Marketing Cloud Personalization first designates which users are logging into their accounts for the first time and those who have already been using the app extensively into two audiences.

Automate first-time user adoption

When a first-time user logs onto the app, they receive a pop-up window offering them a brief tutorial on how to use the app, with the option to entirely skip or end the tutorial at any time. The tutorial displays step-by-step contextual pop-ups at different places on the screen to demonstrate the app’s functionality and features. The tutorial finishes by pointing out to the user where they can access the support center for future assistance. If the user skipped the tutorial or exited out of it early, Marketing Cloud Personalization can note this.

Ensure continued use over time

Marketing Cloud Personalization can then monitor these new users for a defined period of time to evaluate whether they are using the app, and place them on a journey within Journey Builder to issue reminders and feature highlights. Once a user becomes comfortable in using the app, they can be moved from the first-time user audience and into other segments for further targeted marketing.

Create deeper connections over time

For the audience of existing users, Marketing Cloud Personalization can display inline banner promotions for other products they may be interested in or useful tips on how to use the product that they bought based on their actions, how long they’ve been a customer, and their personal attributes, all within the app, on the company website, and in marketing emails and text messages.

While targeting two different audience segments, Marketing Cloud Personalization can display content not only based on customer activity, but also at strategic moments and through different statuses, such as whether they’re a first-time user or not. Customers, in turn, not only receive personalized content, but content that is served to them at the time they would benefit from it the most.

Three Things to Prepare Before SFMC Personalization Implementation

The above examples are hardly an exhaustive list of all the ways in which companies can engage potential, new, and existing customers with Marketing Cloud Personalization. But no matter the industry or use case, there are also three things you should do to set your company up for success long before you implement.

Step 1. Align Internal Teams

You need to align your internal teams. The lift for setting up Marketing Cloud Personalization is quite a bit heavier than many of Marketing Cloud’s other tools. Depending on your business needs, the tool will require more resources of varying specializations. 

  • You’ll need web development resources for deploying the necessary code to your website and apps (and the more frequently your site changes, the greater the demand on your web development team). 
  • Your marketing and graphic design teams will need to create all the variations of content and assets that could be displayed to your audiences. 
  • It is also highly recommended that you invest in UX Design resources as well, because…

Step 2. Know Your Audience

You need to know your customers. Not only should you identify all potential customer personas, but you should also map the journeys each persona could have across your website or app, whether it’s a first-time visitor browsing your site or a long-standing customer who wants to change the billing information associated with their account. 

Identify customer interaction points

This process involves identifying every point of customer interaction, including areas where your customer is likely to experience frustration and reward (there’s a reason, after all, that Marketing Cloud Personalization is called a Real-Time Interaction Management platform). 

A good UX designer will conduct research and testing to accurately paint a full picture of how customers use your website or app. From there, you will be able to create a strategy for how Marketing Cloud Personalization will display the right messages in the right ways at the right time to deliver the highest value for your customers.

Step 3. Create Content Beforehand

You must frontload your content. Of course, with all that pre-planning and journey mapping means you’ll actually have to create the content you’ll be using for every personalized path your strategy involves. 

Determine content categories and tags

You will also need to make sure your content is properly categorized and tagged for the audiences and customer interaction points with which they’ll be associated, and this is even more crucial. 

For example, you want to feature other recommended products (let’s say, a moisture-resistant jacket, water bottle, and thermal socks) that are related to the product that a customer is viewing on your website (hiking boots). 

You’ll need to decide on the content tags that determine what other related products to display (hiking, moisture resistance, outdoors) and for what type of audience segment attributes (new and returning customers, hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, beginner to intermediate experience, ages 20-45).

Completing Marketing Cloud Personalization implementation pre-work is totally worth it

While the amount of pre-work required to leverage Marketing Cloud Personalization can seem daunting all on its own, it’s important to remember that a hyper-personalization system requires a hyper-detailed amount of content to feed into it. 

And all that work is likely to pay significant dividends in the end. According to a McKinsey & Company report, over three-quarters of consumers report that personalized communications are a key factor in brand considerations and increase the likelihood of repurchase. 

When implemented (and maintained) correctly with the right personalization strategy in place, Marketing Cloud Personalization can give your company a powerful tool to sharpen your communications and truly engage with the full breadth and depth of your customers.

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Original article: Marketing Cloud Personalization: 3 Use Cases and Implementation Tips

©2022 The Spot. All Rights Reserved.

The post Marketing Cloud Personalization: 3 Use Cases and Implementation Tips appeared first on The Spot.

By |2022-11-23T19:27:00+00:00November 23rd, 2022|Categories: Getting Started, revive, Setup & Admin|