In 1978, Digital Equipment Corp, a now-defunct American firm – probably best-known for its (also defunct) “AltaVista” search engine – sent out the first email marketing “blast” to an audience of 400. Although this email is also widely considered the first-ever “spam” message, it did result in a cool $13 million in sales for the company. This would be equivalent to about $78.8 million today.
Email marketing worked in 1978. And it definitely works in 2021.
However, the days of hit-and-miss type of email marketing campaigns – sent out to a large, homogenous audience with little or no planning or strategic focus – are long gone. In order to achieve the 4400% ROI that email marketing can yield, modern email marketing teams need to pay attention to crucial aspects like segmentation, personalization, design optimization, and testing. And for this, a user-friendly Email Service Provider (ESP) like Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is essential. With its intuitive content creation tools, built-in templates, and an intelligent predictive AI (Einstein), SFMC provides everything you might need for memorable brand-to-audience communication, meaningful engagement, and long-term relationship-building – that too in a scalable yet low-cost manner. Another advantage of SFMC is that it is fairly easy to use, even for newbies.
However, it helps to know a few clever tips and tricks that can make your email marketing that much easier and save you precious time.
Ready to know what these tips are? Dive in!
1. Use tabs effectively
When you create a new email campaign, you will need to use both Email Studio and Content Builder in SFMC. With Email Studio, you can build personalized campaigns – everything from basic marketing messages to sophisticated 1-to-1 messages – leveraging functions like drag-and-drop, personalized scripting language, interactive content, and more. Content Builder is SFMC’s cross-channel content management tool to quickly create and customize content with customizable templates and blocks.
Do not try to open the Content Builder tool inside Email Studio since you cannot have two areas open from the same builder. Instead, go to the homepage and open two tabs, with the main Content Builder in one and Email Studio in another.
Which brings us to…
2. Use Pre-built Layouts and Templates for Fast and Easy Content Creation and Personalization
The main advantage of creating an email with content blocks using Content Builder is that you don’t have to worry about personalization or responsive design. The blocks will automatically adjust to every device and email service. Plus, with its intuitive drag-and-drop capabilities, you can easily make changes to each block so you can focus on creating engaging content rather than on development. These pre-built layouts are useful even if you need to create highly-customizable emails using your HTML and CSS.
To speed up your personalization efforts, use “personalization strings” (also known as “merge fields” or “substitution strings” in Email Studio. This feature allows you to insert subscriber data or system data, e.g. recipient’s name, location, address, etc. to the subject, pre-header, and email body. Here’s how to do it:
a. Open the content you want to add any personalization string(s) to
b. Place your cursor where you want the personalization string to appear
c. Either type these strings into the HTML of your email body (for HTML paste emails) or into the text editor while creating or modifying the text content.
3. Leverage the power of Einstein AI
SFMC’s built-in Einstein AI engine is a time-saving way to create tailored emails based on individual user profiles or behaviors. Essentially, it can help you create a “segment of one” so you can send out highly personalized messages that are sure to resonate with each member of your audience.
Here are some Einstein capabilities that can simplify your life and save you a ton of time.
i) Einstein Content Selection
If you already have an asset pool, Einstein can automatically choose the right asset that’s most likely to engage customers and lead to the desired action (e.g. complete a purchase on your store). All you have to do is simply provide Einstein with assets and customer information to ensure data-driven decision-making that’s most likely to deliver great results.
ii) Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO)
With Einstein STO in Journey Builder, you can predict when each contact is most likely to engage with an email within the next 24 hours. By evaluating about 20 different factors including sends, clicks, opens, unsubscribes, spam complaints, etc., Einstein STO recommends the optimal email send times that are most likely to lead to opens. It thus helps you increase email and push notification engagement without wasting time on sub-optimal experimentation or incorrect assumptions.
With the Einstein STO dashboard, you can visualize optimal predicted send times by the day or hour for all contacts, which can help you choose the best time for batch sends for your email campaigns.
iii) Einstein Copy Insights
Einstein Copy Insights analyzes the text from your email subject lines to uncover language insights related to originality, character count, emotional tone, etc. These insights can help you quickly craft subject lines that your audience responds to the most, thus driving stronger email engagement.
To find Einstein Copy Insights, log into SFMC and hover over Analytics Builder. From the landing page, you can assess how each subject line performs based on the average open rate over the last 90 days. With Language Factor Insights, you can understand how different factors impact open rates, such as question marks or CTA words. You can also see what, if any, emotions are being evoked from your subject lines, with the Emotional Tones feature.
4. Automate Routine Approvals Processes with Content Builder Approvals
Often, email campaigns get delayed because of delays in approval processes. For instance, a new template may require management approval before it can be finalized and sent. Such processes are often ad-hoc and manual, making them prone to disorganization, errors, and of course delays. Automate the approvals process with Content Builder Approvals. Set up approvals settings, create a workflow, and assign workflow roles and team members to streamline the process and get campaigns out fast.
5. Warm up your IP in advance
To ensure good email deliverability, you need to establish a good reputation with ISPs (Internet Service Providers) as a legitimate email sender. If you don’t, your emails may end up in your recipients’ spam folders, which will negatively impact your open and click-through rates, and ultimately affect the success of your email campaign. If you find that your open rates are lower than you expected, you will waste time trying to pinpoint the problem and making changes that would not be necessary if you had warmed up your IP in the first place.
- Does this IP keep connections open for long periods?
- Does it send messages with large file sizes (that are difficult or time-consuming to download)?
- And most importantly, is this IP address listed on blocklists?
If you answered “no” to all of the above, deliverability should not be an issue. However, if you answered “yes” to any of the above, you must first warm your IP address. This can be done by gradually increasing the volume of emails sent according to a predetermined schedule. This enables the receiving ISP to closely observe your sending habits (and thus the traffic from your IP), and record how your recipients engage with your messages.
Some More Time-Saving Tips for Email Marketing with Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Here are a few more ways to get more value out of SFMC and speed up your email deployment:
- Comment your AMPscript code. You may need to maintain it later and comments make it easier, faster, and less frustrating to do so.
- Use code snippets in Content Builder to create content faster without adding “padding”
- Use dynamic coding, dynamic tracking, and posting to send reporting logs to minimize errors and save time
- Document all complex automations, especially those that feed journeys. This will make it easier to modify the automation as and when required for future campaigns.
- If you need to create multiple data extensions, create them at the root level (Main Data Extension Folder) and then move them all at once to the desired target folder. This way, you won’t have to navigate the file path each time a new one is created and thus save a lot of time.
- Quickly create customer journeys with Journey Builder. Use Einstein Splits to create longer journeys based on if and when a subscriber took a particular action in the journey, eg. open, click, convert, unsubscribe, etc.
- Use SFMC automation to quickly import, segment, and filter data from any source
Speed Up from Tortoise to Lighting with Email Uplers
We hope that with these tips and tricks, you won’t need to waste your valuable time experimenting with SFMC. To further increase the speed, efficiency, and effectiveness of your email campaigns, we recommend leveraging the services of SFMC experts.