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Marketing Automation Takeaways from Dreamforce

I was fortunate enough to spend the better part of a week in San Francisco at the annual Dreamforce conference put on by Salesforce. In our latest newsletter, Mark outlines some of the reasons why we go (and why you should go) to this event each year. In light of that, I wanted to share some specific observations I made during the trip that are going to have a direct impact on how we (and you) should think about marketing on the web, especially as it relates to marketing automation.


1. You should care about the mobile inbox

It may not come as much of a surprise, but almost 50% of all email opens are now happening on mobile devices. Yet I am still seeing emails that are not optimized for viewing on a phone. Always test your email on a mobile device prior to sending. Most online mobile phone simulators are not 100% accurate, so be sure to test using the real thing.

You have to remember that email templates are still based on tables, so to make sure that your templates are optimized for mobile, avoid using multiple columns and allow the content area to scale down based on the width of the screen. You also need to be conscious of the size of your images. Even if the template is single column and will scale to fit the screen, if you have large images, it could cause for a poor mobile experience.

Because of the template limitations, Newfangled has decided to go with a more basic template for our email marketing. Our template does not use much CSS or HTML, and therefore does not run into issues across the various email clients.


2. Email deliverability is up to you

I mentioned this in a previous blog post, but it was a huge theme at Dreamforce – if you want your emails to be delivered to the inboxes of your recipients (rather than their spam folders), you need to be producing emails that are engaging.

Email clients don’t care about you (the marketer). They care about their customers: the people who use the email program to access their mail. Email clients are therefore focused on making the experience better for the end user, which often makes it more difficult for the marketer. Email clients are learning based on your email practices and quite literally how engaging they are. If recipients aren’t opening and clicking on your emails, then your emails may start automatically ending up in the spam folder.

It is squarely up to you to make sure the content you’re sending via email is wanted (sending to a purchased list should include special consideration for this). And once that content is delivered, it needs to be engaging. “Engaging” in this instance means that recipients are opening, clicking on, or replying to your messages. Include intriguing subject lines and strong calls to action that will increase the likelihood of recipients engaging, and always do A/B tests to find the version that results in the highest level of engagement.


3. Prove it’s working

With the ability to fully integrate websites, marketing automation platforms, and CRM systems, closed-loop reporting is now more achievable than ever. You can trace the new business you win all the way back to the lead source and the specific campaigns that influenced the new customer. These systems come at a cost, but the reporting you get will enable to to see the return on that investment.

With CRM and marketing automation systems, you can get reports on first-touch attribution and multi-touch attribution, allowing you to see which of your marketing assets are resulting in the most revenue.

You can also make strategic decisions based on this data. For example, if you spend a lot of your marketing budget on trade shows, but the data shows you that you are not generating very many qualified leads from those shows, then maybe you should allocate your budget to other marketing activities that are proving more effective.


4. Go to conferences like Dreamforce

While not all of the sessions and keynote presentations were applicable to the small agency world, everyone on our team was able to find information that will help them do their job better. And it doesn’t always come from the structured sessions. It can come from meeting vendors on the expo floor, or from networking at the hotel bar at the end of the day. But you’ll never find that useful information if you’re not willing to make the investment to attend.

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