Thursday, May 17, 2012
You are in the final stages of choosing ExactTarget as you new email service provider (ESP) and the realization that the task of either migrating your existing campaigns, or integrating a new ESP into your back-end system comes into focus. Whether you are using the services provided by ExactTarget or a consulting partner, here are the top 5 tips that we give clients to ease the burden on your team at the same time as speeding up the implementation.
Define your marketing objectives and goals
Prior to engaging with your assigned services team or partner agency, it is critical that you have discussed internally and defined your overall marketing strategies. Take the time to document your marketing strategy and how email marketing fits into your broader cross-channel strategy, including off-line, mobile and social.
Identify your team.
This is probably the most important aspect of a successful implementation and identifying and empowing them early in the process will pay key dividends later on in the project. Your team may consist of a cross-functional set of roles including, but not necessarly limited to:
- Project manager- responsible for owning the internal resources, budget and decision making for the project
- Marketing consultant - responsible for implementing campaigns, and managing relationships with other creative development teams
- Data analyst - data preparation, data analysis, campaign execution, report building, etc.
- Creative - concepting, designing and executing email and web pages with basic interactivity and HTML
- Technical architect - plan and design technical solutions and architecture for interactive marketing programs
- Prioritizing Project
Be ready for the implementation process. Don't simply rely on your ESP or implementation partner to do all of the work for you. You have just chosen a great solution that will take your interactive marketing program to a new level, take the time to be part of the process. Be sure that the project has the appropriate executive sponsorship to ensure access to key resources to ensure project stays on track.
Data migration is a key element to consider when adopting a new ESP. One would think that any two systems that maintain the same sort of data must have performed similar tasks. Therefore, information from one system should map to the other with ease. However, this is rarely the case. Your implementation team will be there to walk through this process, ensuring that a little work up front will pay off big dividends down the road.
To prepare your data for review by your implementation partner, follow these steps.
- Identify the current data location of your subscriber data and document they system(s) where this data is stored.
- What system will be the master record of data, your new ESP or a back-end system such as a CRM or data warehouse. If preferred choice is other than ESP, please document your desired data source.
- Request from IT if needed, samples of your dataset that you will be bringing across to your email solution. This will provide great detail in the type of data structure that will need to be configured.
- Identify what type of campaign will be your first email send
It is important to identity your first email send which will be built alongside with your implementation team. Some things to consider when identifying your first email send.
Will it be commercial in nature, or transactional?
- Commercial emails are email messages that encourage recipients to take an action such as purchasing a product, registering for an event or downloading content. Emails like newsletters, coupons or other promotional mail fall into this category.
- Transactional emails are sent to customers after they take a specific action like placing an order. This action tends to signify a relationship between you and the subscriber. Transactional email comes in form of welcome messages, invoices, and receipts, shipping notices, confirmations, and password delivery notifications.
How will your email be sent, will it be an automated or triggered send, or will it be manually sent? There are benefits for each type of send as they are defined below and each email campaign will be set-up with one of these send types.
- Manual: An email that is sent immediately, often by actually hitting the send process within the ESP user interface .
- Scheduled: An automated email that is scheduled to send at a specific time in the future. These are often used for nuture campaigns and reminders such as of time to re-order.
- API Triggered: A triggered email is an email communication sent to an individual (subscriber) in response to a subscriber action. (e.g. order confirmation, welcome email, etc.)