Salesforce Marketing Cloud (SFMC) is a comprehensive cloud-based platform that empowers brands to craft tailored email marketing automation strategies and efficiently manage their audience interactions across their entire journey, from awareness to advocacy.
By implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud for your brand, you can leverage all these enduring benefits and get a much-needed edge over your competitors. Nonetheless, many organizations – especially those who are new to SFMC or Salesforce for small business – make some common mistakes that limit these benefits. Read on to know more about 7 such common mistakes and some Salesforce deployment best practices so you can make the most of SFMC for your next email marketing campaign.
#1: Not identifying the right audience
Salesforce for small business, specifically Salesforce Marketing Cloud provides a plethora of tools like Journey Builder and Email Studio to help you know your customers. You can easily capture and activate first-, second-, and third-party data to gain a unified view of every customer. By identifying new audience segments, you can create two-way, real-time, personalized engagement with the right message at the right time, every time.
Try these proven Salesforce deployment best practices for audience segmentation and targeting:
- Start with the end goal: to create a 1-to-1 or tailored email marketing campaign for your audience
- Understand exactly who you need to target and where they are within their lifecycle with your brand
- Decide if you will use a broad audience (‘all new customers’) or a narrow audience (‘all new male customers who are likely to be interested in Product C’)
- Audit the current customer experience by asking questions like what do they need, what are their pain points and how your brand can help them meet their goals
- If a subscriber asks for one email a month, don’t bombard them with 10! Respect their preferences. Don’t over-message
#2: Forgetting the value of content
In 2020, the average number of emails in an inbox is 200 (Source: HBR)
This means that every email you send is competing with 199 other emails for your recipient’s attention. So if it doesn’t stand out, there’s no way it will get opened, much less read!
That’s why content is (still) king.
Keep these content-related Salesforce deployment best practices in mind:
- Your email should always say what your subscribers want to hear, not what you want to say
- Make sure it adds some value to their life by
– Providing information OR
– Solving a problem OR
– Showing them a new way of doing something
- Make sure your content does not include ‘spammy’ words. Content Detective in SFMC Email Studio is a great tool for this
- Wherever you use user’s data in the content, make sure you always use the same ‘code’ to automatically fill this in. If you don’t, you may end up with ‘Dear First Name’ as actual text in your emails – which no subscriber likes to see
Another content-related mistake that many email marketers make is to disregard strategic content. Make sure you:
- Create two types of content:
1. In-journey: content delivered in the message itself
2. Out-of-journey: content a subscriber would navigate to with a click
- Implement unambiguous and action-oriented Calls to Action buttons or links. Shop Now is always more effective than Click Here
#3: Underestimating the need for data migration, cleaning and integration
Often, while implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud for the first time, email marketing managers and even SFMC specialists, ignore – or worse forget – to take care of data migration and integration. If important data is being stored in multiple digital platforms but not migrated or integrated into SFMC, it can get left behind, causing major delays when an email marketing campaign is executed. Keep these best practices in mind:
- Take care of data migration before you create an email marketing campaign
- Transfer only useful and up-to-date data
- Remove duplicate data
- Use the data cleansing tools in Salesforce to clean up ‘dirty’ data, i.e. data that’s incomplete or inaccurate
– Blank fields
– Outdated information
– Invalid email addresses
– Typos and spelling errors
- Assign an SFMC specialist and a team to take care of data cleanup, and if possible for data maintenance
#4: Not creating responsive, mobile-optimized emails
In 2019, mobile was the most popular reading environment, accounting for 42% of all email opens. (Source: 99firms.com)
70% of mobile email users delete badly formatted messages in under three seconds. (Source: 99firms.com)
Broken emails, slow-loading images, cluttered text, difficulty in scrolling or navigating – these are all common issues with non-mobile optimized emails. With the help of content blocks, Salesforce email templates, drag-and-drop functions and other easy-to-use features, SFMC specialists can quickly create and deliver dynamic, mobile-ready messages that inspire your subscribers to take some action.
Try these best practices to create impressive, mobile-optimized email messages:
- Watch your subject line length: Limit it to 25-30 characters
- Use pre–header text: This is the first line of email copy and provides more context to entice readers to open the email
- Create concise copy: Create short, scannable and consumable chunks of content, e.g. bulleted lists, short paragraphs, etc.
- Use images strategically: Images should support the surrounding text, not vice versa
- Keep CTAs unambiguous and visible
- Make emails click-friendly: Leave enough white space around links and CTAs
- Create browser-agnostic emails
#5: Failing to test before sending
With email marketing, results don’t always match plans. Therefore, before sending out an email campaign, it’s important to test it. SFMC offers powerful QA and A/B testing capabilities to help you do just that.
Once your campaign is ready, QA test the following areas:
- Message’s appearance on different devices
- Grammar and spellings
- Placement of links and buttons
- From name and address
- Correct send classification within SFMC
- Correct audience
In A/B testing, two versions of an email with different variables are created and sent out to two test audiences from the subscriber list. Here’s what you can test with A/B testing in SFMC:
- Subject line
- Images and other visuals
- Call to Action text/links/buttons
- From name
- Send time
Continually testing for one or more of these variables allows for ongoing email optimization.
#6: Forgetting that sometimes ‘less’ can be ‘more’
On implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud, many email marketers realize that the platform comes with a number of features, both out-of-the-box and customizable. However, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of trying too many things at once. Remember that the purpose of your email marketing campaign should dictate the SFMC technology/features/functions you use, not the other way around.
Try these Salesforce deployment best practices related to SFMC customization:
- Start with a SMART goal to:
– Define exactly what you hope this campaign will achieve
– What you need to do to reach the goal
– Clearly define success post-launch
- Seek information about user motivations, needs and struggles to understand which features you will need to use
- Decide if you need dynamic, hyper-personalized content in every email. If not, minimize the amount of personalization and create more generic emails using a limited number of SFMC tools
#7: Not tracking performance
SFMC provides powerful tracking and analytics capabilities so email marketers and SFMC specialists can review the performance of their email marketing campaigns. Tracking can be done on:
- Aggregate level: for a comprehensive summary of email send statistics and is available on the Email Send record
- Individual level: provides email performance information at the Contact or Lead level and is viewed in the Individual Email Result record
After implementing Salesforce email marketing campaigns, use these powerful SFMC features to analyze and improve email marketing performance over time:
- Analytics Builder to gain insights into the behaviors and interests of subscribers, to set marketing goals and to refine customer journeys
- Standard Reports in Email Studio to track campaign effectiveness
- Einstein Engagement Scoring to target customers to maximize engagement and conversion
- Marketing Cloud Einstein Send Time Optimization (STO) to determine optimal send times so that the message is likely to be opened
- Einstein Copy Insights to analyze the text from your email subject lines, uncover language insights and use these copy insights to craft subject lines that drive stronger email engagement
- Einstein Content Selection to send personalized content for each customer when they open your messages
- Einstein Engagement Frequency to evaluate your email activities and identify the optimum number of email messages to send
- Einstein Email Recommendations to observe customer behavior and build preference profiles
Implementing Salesforce Marketing Cloud is just the first step towards creating powerful email marketing campaigns that resonate with your audience. The key to eventual success lies in avoiding common mistakes and following some proven Salesforce deployment best practices. We hope this guide helps you with both!