Like the real-estate motto of “location, location, location,” I feel the marketing automation motto should be “list, list, list.” You can spend all the time in the world searching for the right marketing automation tool, building the right team, and planning, but if you do not have dynamic lists, you are missing out on making your marketing automation beach front property.
The following are a few simple steps that you can take to make your lists effective and current:
One size does not fit all
It’s important to remember that not everyone buys a product/service for the same reasons. The same is true when writing an email. Most people write one compelling email, create the list, and blast. But they are not paying attention to “who” they are really writing the email for. For instance, a compelling email written for a Chief Technology Officer, talking about how a product will help streamline technologies, provide disaster recovery and better security probably will not resonate with an end-user of the product who would be more interested in learning how the product would make their day more productive and easier. Be sure to break down your list into proper segments (i.e. Job Titles) and take the extra time to tailor your email to each segment. You may end up with 3 or 4 different emails, but your return will be worth it.
Don’t delete, delete, delete
The objective of any list is to have zero bounces, but unfortunately it does happen. You and your team can be proactive though, and help grow your list by looking at the bounces in a list. Instead of just deleting or simply ignoring those names that bounce in your list, see if you can update them yourself. More than likely, that person has changed positions or left the company. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that an average yearly turnover in all industries is close to 32 percent.
Take the first or last 15 minutes of each day to update records. If you can update 5 records a day you can update over 800 records a year yourself. With a simple search you may be able to find who currently holds that position and their contact info. You may also find that you do have the right person, but the email address is incorrect. There are several ways you can locate the correct contact, including searches on LinkedIn or Google. Also, there are paid services like InsideView that provide this information and more.
It may seem easier to just delete a name that bounces in your list, but in the end what advantage does that really bring?
Once you have a determined list count, take a quick look at the list. If your list is sorted a certain way, try resorting using 1 or 2 different parameters. With just a quick look you may easily spot something that looks a little “off.” You may notice a first name missing or spelled incorrectly, a competitor email or identify a “dummy” email address that someone provided while registering for a webinar, which can hamper statistics. You may also notice that an email address was simply entered incorrectly (joe.smith@mgail instead of firstname.lastname@example.org).
You don’t have to spend a ton of time on it – but a quick glance filtered a couple different ways may go a long way to maximizing your list and your overall campaign effectiveness.
Buy today or tomorrow or next year
Do not forget about “inactive” contacts in your database. Just because a contact has not shown any previous interest (has not opened emails or clicked links) does not mean they will always be inactive. Contacts like these are tough and may reflect negatively on campaign effectiveness, but just think long-term. Just because they do not have the need today does not mean they may not have the need tomorrow or next month or next year. I am sure every person in sales or marketing has heard the objection “not ready now – contact me next year.” Take them up on this offer! Do not delete these contacts from your database or lists. If they say “please take me off your list but feel free to contact me in the new year” make a note to remove them off your current list, but add them back in the new year.
Catching someone at the right time is half the battle.
When thinking about lists, keep the following things in mind:
• Write several versions of the same email that talk specifically to contact demographics (i.e. job titles)
• Regularly update bounced or outdated contacts
• Perform a quick list review before blasts
• Keep inactive contacts on your lists
If you do take the time and make these simple steps part of your routine, you will be able to build solid lists and boost your overall campaign effectiveness.
Todd Roll is a DemandGen Production Specialist. He works with DemandGen clients to produce, QA and launch email and landing page campaigns. As an experienced Marketo user, Todd has done everything from administration to deploying campaigns and reporting.