Tag Archives: Salesforce Marketing Cloud

Charity email marketing – making a choice about email tools and approach.

This blog follows on from our previous Email Marketing Matters blog: Do you think about your email marketing?

Email Marketing Matters – Part 2

In our last blog we thought about some of the strategic issues around email, here we’ll address some of the technical questions to consider.

What matters in email tools today?

 There was a good reason we all favoured Mailchimp as a ‘free’ tool – it was easy to use and all the monkey brand stuff was fun. It still is both and is still highly regarded.

But these days, our selection criteria should perhaps be a little more sophisticated than trying to generate monkey rewards.

These are the kinds of questions we should be asking about our email tools.

  • Integrations with third party tools – does your email and CRM connect? Website? Mobile? Social?
  • Data capture – what happens to data you capture via your email tool? Does it sit in a list on your email tool or get transferred automatically to a CRM, or manually moved around?
  • Automation – what can you set to happen automatically? How sophisticated can you get the automation to be?
  • Personalisation – how much content can you personalise easily – not just names, subject lines or copy but can you look at whole content blocks.
  • Quick and intuitive split testing – split testing (A/B splits) can cover a range of things. Typically, subject lines but we should also be looking at areas like content and delivery times.
  • Journey building – can you build multi-stage journeys via email or more than one channel using your email tool? How does this work with automation?

That’s just a few basic things to consider. It’s a different list than “which tool is easy to use” – the good news is that pretty much all the tools that are consistently recommended have good UI – user interface – and provide excellent UX – user experience.

Volume is a vital statistic in email delivery

Email delivery isn’t something we always think about. You just press send and off it goes, right?  Well, not quite.

Most ‘freemium’ email marketing tools rely on a shared server approach – you are not in control of when your emails are sent and where from (in terms of the server as well as location). It’s part of how these services can be offered.

But the volume of messages you send (see Part 1), is a key consideration in whether you should be using these tools or looking to move to your own IP address for sending. Volume means that sometimes your chances of being caught up in spam filters are stronger (it’s a model for spammers obviously – bulk send to get lucky) or of your messages being held up behind other people’s messages and priorities.

Or even the shared IP you are using being spam blocked – with the consequence that even though you are a legitimate sender, the address is blocked and you can’t get your messages through (look at your email report for bounces – how many are server blocks or bounces?).

Delivery is one key reason volume is vital. The only true way to control your message sends, where your data is being sent from and when is by having your own IP address – this is particularly important for high volume senders – and this usually means shifting to an email platform solution.

When do you need to consider shifting to a platform?

I’m not going to lie, a platform solution comes with some costs attached (set up of the platform being one), but it’s a strategic decision. The set-up costs are a one-off fee, thereafter you’ll usually be paying a license fee per user and or by volume – much as you do for freemium models. And in some cases, the running costs are about as much as you use for your freemium tools if you’re using different plan elements (using the Mailchimp example – you can run a professional platform email marketing solution for the same cost as Mailchimp Pro for large volume sends). Does that surprise you? It’s worth investigating and thinking about the tipping points for when to move to a platform.

But our technology decision should not be based only on price – it should be based on strategic fit.

You may also want to think about how that tool will work with your charity email marketing programme:

  • How to improve ROI on lists – which tools are going to give you the best support in terms of improving your return on investment. Which ones will help you learn, grow and develop your email skills and knowledge internally to improve everything from design through to delivery and engaging audiences?
  •  Future proof – making a decision about email is a strategic choice. The results of the decision will take staff time in set up and training. It’s a time investment that is vital, but in the interests of productivity should be limited. The decision about tools should be taken with a view to the future and minimising disruption with the potential need to switch tools again to move forward a few years down the line
  •  Integrate-ability – it’s not just your primary data source (CRM) that you should consider. It’s additional data about audiences that builds the complete picture – from finance through to social media. Your email tool is a valuable part of the full data mix. The tool should also, in an ideal scenario, support your data approach by integrating new channels that you choose to use. When you’re ready to start using SMS and mobile push notifications – how will that integrate with your other digital channels? Is your platform extendable?
  •  List growth and email volume – email will long be the cornerstone of most organisations communications toolkit. Alongside considering other tools that many integrate with the system for an ‘omni-channel’ marketing approach, email volume and list growth will be key driving factors. Costs vary from tool to tool for email volume and contacts, so an eye on where there may be additional costs on number of contacts is key. Email volume costs are likely to decrease the more you send, but any licensing or service access fees may change as you expand your reach.

What does this all mean?

What does all that mean? Well, we challenge the inertia that has set in around charity email marketing, your choice of tools and want you to think about what you’re doing now.

Mailchimp may be ok because other people use it, and it feels sort of free-ish, and is easy to use. But it may not be.

Think about these levels of your email marketing programme to find out if this is a problem for you.

  • Is it ok now? If it’s not what are you doing about it?
  • Is what you’re doing now going to be what you need to be doing in six months, in a year? Think about you programme and plans. If they’re not right when are you going to start thinking about making a switch?
  • What’s your vision for five years’ time and how are your comms tools going to help deliver that?

Next steps:

If you’ve any questions, give us a ring (0203 176 1249).  We can help you identify what the right mix will be for you to meet your future goals and make sure you have the data and information at hand to help you build your grand vision. We can explain what a platform based email solution is and show you how and why they may need to be part of your thinking.


Can we help? 

Whatever your question, we’re happy to help.   You can



Building Journeys

I spoke at CHASE 2016 (#CHASE2016London if you want to check the twitter action) today, and included a template for starting to build journeys.

For those at the session it’s linked here so you can open it as a PDF.

Journey Toolkit -Build a Journey

More explanation to follow shortly for those of you that weren’t in the audience and are wondering what on earth I’m talking about!

Omni-channel marketing and the travel sector

If you’re only just getting the hang of multi-channel, hang on there, you’re in for a ride. If you’re still using Outlook to email your booking quotes, the next year or so could be a bit of a rollercoaster.

Omni-channel is the integration of all online and offline channels to create one to one personal experiences. Yes, it is actually truly possible to manage that. It’s not just hyperbole.

In the beginning ….

Most of us started with email – single channel. We’re probably pretty good at it by now – monitoring open rates, looking at subject lines, A/B testing to identify the content and subject lines to which our audience is most responsive.

The next big thing was Mobile. “Quick” we all said “let’s get an app”. So we did. But what happens to the comms around that – how easy is it to send a push notification to those who have the app? Did you get email at point of download and registration to add the person to your list? And can you connect how that person is interacting in your app, with the rest of their interactions with you?

And of course alongside all that, there’s social. Very few of us integrate our social with our CRM, never mind the rest of our comms channels so interest and conversations happening on Twitter or Facebook probably aren’t being connected to accounts that need to know about queries, questions or heaven forfend, complaints.

Oh, and let’s not forget the thing that started all of this – the web. How many of us have actually gone beyond adding sign up links to newsletters and options to get quotes via a form (and where does that data go – into your CRM to create an alert for you to create a quote or into an email?). How many of us use the data we have about browser behaviour to modify content based on preference or previous visits? Or target previous site visitors with advertising content?

Enter the vision for the future

Enter the marketing clouds – born out of frustrations with lack of integration and connection, born out of the need to move forward and have a single, clear picture of our customers – or prospects or even potential prospects. Enter a vision for the future that is real, here and now.

Sugati-CRM is based on the Salesforce platform, so our natural choice of communication tools to add to the package is the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. It’s more than a natural choice though. It’s a Marketing Cloud with a mission, and a clear road map of future features and tools that will mean the future for marketing and connected communications is possibly so bright, we might actually have to wear shades in the office.

As for why we’ve integrated Salesforce CRM with Marketing Cloud. In short, it will make your life in marketing and operations and sales and procurement easier. It will help you to connect all your strings of activity and bring together a single, clear, customer driven communication approach throughout their whole experience with you. And beyond that, into a lifetime relationship with you as you are more clearly able to respond to their needs. It will also save you time. Once you have set out your logic and planned your communication assets, it’s fairly plug n play to deploy on a day to day basis. So it will save time where it counts – at the front end.

And a new way of marketing?

In the olden days (last year?) we talked of segmentation. We can still talk about it. It still works. But we’re still lumping together people based on what we think their behaviour and response may be, using patched up bits of data, maybe the results of a campaign or two and a bit of anecdote thrown in.

Our brave new world (this year or if you need time to plan, the year after) we are flipping our thinking to being 1:1 – no more lumping together (except if we want to – what happens in Vegas and all that). Now we are tailoring based on actual real-time behaviour and expressed preferences. And we can make that leap to truly personal by integrating all of our comms and using tools and channels together to drive journeys that individuals respond to, and which flex and adapt in real time too.

This is called omni-channel. All our channels. Offline and online. Built into journeys. No more multi-channel. Omni-channel is where it is at.

Lots of other sectors are using it. Retail in particular has many parallels with our own stories. Financial services. Even non-profits are starting to embrace this. It’s well past time for us in the travel sector to start to harvest the benefits and be prepared as innovations drive faster and faster. No more invest for 3 years then find a new tool. Now we need a platform that will flex and grow as we do.

If you want to know more about how Sugati-CRM and its integrated marketing cloud will help you transform the way you find and connect with your customers, get in touch or find out more via www.sugati-crm.com

We’re speaking at CHASE 2016 conference

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve been selected as part of the Speaker Programme at CHASE 2016 conference.

CHASE 2016 logo

The annual conference for charities, non profits, membership associations and all things non profit is now a firm fixture of February’s calendar. Attracting a range of visitors from senior to those at the start of their career, trustees and volunteers, the event offers a compelling mix of practical, strategic, tactical and engaging sessions. Coupled with the expo which showcases a range of suppliers.

Our session is Driving Engagement and Income through Customer Journeys – led by Head of Marketing & Digital in our team, Mags Rivett.

The story looks at email essentially and how a simple piece of data capture can lead to engagement and income – as the title suggests.  The object is to inspire new ideas, give options for places to start with building your own journeys and look at some of the methods on the market for creating journeys (from simple paper, pen and calendar through to whizz bang integrated systems).

CHASE 2016 - Speaker Invite

The Secret to Connected Communications (Salesforce Foundation webinars)

If there’s one thing all organisations have in common, its communication challenges.

But multiply that x 146 (the number of hubs UBS work in),  add language challenges, skill barriers, a mixed availability of technology and you have a potential minefield. The solution?  Salesforce!

Hamish Bruce (Digital Development Manager, UBS) explained why and how this solved UBS’s challenges in a webinar held as part of the Salesforce Foundation webinars series, along with  Triona Byrne (Product Programme Manager, Salesforce Foundation) and Keith Collins (Customer Solutions Director, Purple Vision).

Listen back to the recorded webinar

The UBS journey to Salesforce started a few years ago when some rationalisation and restructuring took place – staff reduced by about a third, regional offices closed and the support team moved towards being a virtual team.  But the requirement to deliver services remained firmly in place. So they needed the tools to help them work efficiently, virtually and collaboratively.

That everyone was using a slightly different way to store data, files and information will, I am sure, sound somewhat familiar to many of us, so this was a real opportunity to rationalise, simplify and become unified – online!

Hamish and the team at UBS identified a set of ‘high fives’ that they wanted to reach

  1. Single place for client info – the familiar refrain of data being stored on multiple spreadsheets and out-of-date CRM tools. UBS wanted to end this.
  2. Link up communications strategy – real metrics from communications campaigns to be able to measure the results of communications strategy and tactics in real terms
  3. Link existing legacy systems – integrate existing outward channels like the website, and inward facing channels like communities as well as all the other tools and channels in use.
  4. Flexible – grow with the needs of the organisation rather than what has happened in the past with implementing systems – the UBS experience here will probably also be familiar: the software vendors development plans don’t meet the timescales of the organisations and bespoke development costs a pretty penny so you end up unable to move forward at the pace that suits you.
  5. Easy to use and to train people to use – as Hamish so rightly points out, regardless of how good the system is, if people don’t use it or find it easy to use, it’s not really going to work.

With some help from Purple Vision as a third party around technology signposting UBS found Salesforce offered the best solution for them. And has helped hit all the ‘sweet spots’ of the high fives , too.

Webinar – find out how Salesforce has helped UBS to solve these issues 

  • One stop data shop – the team found it easy to important and set up data from multiple systems (though they sensibly did some pre-load work to rationalise the data first!). They’ve been able to custom create fields which is helpful for the multiple dimensions each contact can have, and find the contact side of the system clean and easy to use.
  • Communication deliverables – UBS is still very email centric. It’s been easy to integrate a mailing tool into Salesforce and unlike some systems, there was actually choice (they chose campaign monitor but vertical response, Mailchimp as well as others all have integrations with Salesforce). And all this means that there is a deep and well integrated way to not only sent to multiple audiences, groups, language setting and so on, but also to get good engagement statistics too – informing the strategy and allowing the team to develop even better email communications that resonate with their audiences.  With such an email centric strategy, ways to innovate and automate elements of this work are high on the agenda for the team. They’re considering the Marketing Cloud for some of the benefits it could offer and will decide in due course. Watch the Exact Target Marketing Cloud Video to find out more 
  • Leaving the legacy behind – with 146 different pages of contact data on the website, manual updates would make even the most committed web editor weep quietly into their coffee. So it’s helpful that a bit of technical wizardry has integrated elements of Salesforce with content management system, WordPress.
  • Grow with us – Hamish directed us to visit the App Exchange where multiple add-on integrations, allow the system to grow and develop as you want it too. And not just for fundraising and comms, either – HR, finance, project management feature too. Hamish showed us how Cirrus insights have helped integrate their google email system (the team use a lot of google features and apps) with Salesforce. It really is a case that ‘there’s an app for that’.
  • Path to adoption – one of the more effective ways UBS found to roll out the system was to train advocates from each team via webinars, calls and 1:1 sessions where possible. That meant that local help was always available for users as well as remote assistance from the implementation team for any questions that a user might have. Around 25% of the global team are regular users of the system. It’s fairly common that some will adopt the system quickly and some will need a bit more support once the initial excitement has died down.  An ongoing goal is increasing adoption by making the system the ‘go-to’ hub for key information and processes. One of the tools to help with this that UBS are considering is Chatter –  a community/chat feature which makes it easy to share casual and more formal comms (like documents links and videos) with everyone, or specific groups. As it is in Salesforce, it drives people to the site for information and the latest documentation. Watch the Chatter demo to find out more.

The webinar (an hour almost exactly) then carried on with our very own Keith talking about the factors which made Salesforce the right choice for UBS and the details of implementation – some helpful insights from Purple Vision’s extensive experience of matching technology and non profits which anyone considering a change in tech or getting deeper with digital will find helpful.

The session ended with some insightful questions from the audience – clearly the situation resonated with many. You can hear the questions as well as the full set of slides when you watch the webinar back again for yourself.

Find out more: 

  • Find out what you need to consider when looking at CRM, integrations and setting your strategy – watch the webinar now.  
  • Salesforce Foundation webinars cover topics of interest to a wide audience – from customer stories like today’s, partner stories (Purple Vision are a Salesforce Foundation partner) and talks on new ideas, services, products and opportunities – future events are listed on the website. 
  • Find out more about United Bible Societies (UBS), the Purple Vision client whose journey is shared in this webinar via www.unitedbiblesocieties.org – they’re the biggest translator and publisher of bibles in the world, as well as offering disaster relief, education and healthcare support in the extensive network of locations that they work in.
  • The Purple Vision team extend our thanks to Hamish and his team for sharing their journey .