This month I’m excited to interview Dan Caro from Whereoware for our “5 Questions” blog. Dan recently presented at our Washington, D.C.-area user group on the topic of marketing automation and the powerful effect automated, targeted emails can have on your program if done correctly. Welcome Dan!
1) Can you tell a little about yourself and your role? How do you spend your work day?
[caption id="attachment_3119" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Dan Caro, senior online marketing manager, Whereoware"]
I’m a senior online marketing manager at Whereoware, an avid Virginia Tech football and basketball fan, and a proud member of Hokie Nation. I work with a group of 12 colleagues who live and breathe Silverpop. We help our clients take full advantage of Silverpop’s powerful marketing automation tools. Whereoware’s philosophy is “right message, right person, right time.” We use that to help push our clients’ email programs to the next level. I spend a great deal of my work day managing my team of five and assisting customers with Engage. We focus on email design, data integration and program execution. We execute, then measure and adjust to maximize our clients’ results.
2) What is your definition of marketing automation?
Each person you ask will probably have a different answer for what marketing automation means to them. Technically, it’s defined as a software platform designed to automate repetitive tasks. While traditionally it’s a B2B concept where you nurture, score and qualify leads, it can be used for so much more. Any step in the customer acquisition, retention and upsell process can use marketing automation. That may mean an abandoned cart campaign for an e-commerce company or an upsell campaign for a software company.
3) Can you tell us about a few successful campaigns you’ve created? What made them work?
[caption id="attachment_3120" align="alignright" width="165" caption="Cart abandonment camapaigns can be highly effective with the right data and integrations in place."]
We’ve had a lot of success with abandoned cart campaigns. These typically consist of an email that’s sent to individuals who leave items in their online cart; it reminds them to come back and complete their order. It’s a simple email with a simple concept, but we’ve seen it work over and over. Other programs we’ve seen perform well are our lead-nurture campaigns, especially when integrated with Salesforce.com. These tend to be more complex because you need to fully understand the sales cycle of each business. You can, however, break them into smaller, more manageable segments and build them out over time.
The most important step in making any campaign successful is ensuring that the data is in place. The next most important step is to break down even the most complex campaigns into simple segments and then use the data and tools you have available to make it happen. (Read more about cart abandonment campaigns and lead nurturing tactics.)
4) If someone is just getting started with nurturing, where should they start? Is there a silver bullet in terms of the number of emails in a nurture program?
The key to nurturing is your data. Do you have all the fields and information you need to nurture your leads in a targeted, personalized manner? Are all your systems integrated to maximize your results? Also, keep in mind that taking a bunch of contacts that may or may not be interested and dumping them into your nurture campaign is not going to be your best option.
Your best option is to be realistic about who you’re putting into your nurture campaign. Did you have a real and meaningful contact with this individual? Are they genuinely interested in your products or services? That’s where I would start. Nurturing is all about maintaining an already-existing relationship—not trying to come up with one that wasn’t there to begin with.
As for the number of emails, there’s no silver bullet. You should look at your sales funnel and work backwards. What are your typical conversion rates? Work back to get the number of top funnel leads you need. The number will vary based on your business. In terms of timing, I think one email per week is appropriate.
5) Do you have any high-level advice in terms of email design that will captivate an audience?
Start with an objective. While designing, keep in mind what you want to happen after the email is read. Then, your design can be measured in terms of effectiveness. After considering that, my philosophy is KISS (keep it simple, stupid). By that, I mean be clear and concise. Keep your subject line simple. Make sure your email is not too wordy, and be sure that the call to action is crystal-clear. If you have more to say, save it for your website or landing page.
For more great tips from Whereoware, check out its Slideshare presentation, “5 Programs to Implement Today.”