Silverpop - Guest Blog: Whereoware on Quality Control in Marketing Automation
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Guest Blog: Whereoware on Quality Control in Marketing Automation

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by: Will Schnabel (@wschnabel)
11 December 2012

Quality control in marketing automation is something that’s always in the back of marketers’ minds. A well-thought-out marketing campaign is great, but how do you go that extra step to make sure mistakes don’t slip through? This month, Teya Flick, director of marketing for Silverpop partner Whereoware, shares insight into Whereoware’s quality-control process and how other marketers can utilize something similar.

[caption id="attachment_5459" align="alignright" width="125" caption="Teya Flick, Director of Marketing, Whereoware"][/caption]

Quality control is a tricky business, no matter what industry you’re in. Here at Whereoware, we’ve developed a thorough email-checking process, centered around a unique checklist that’s consulted twice before every single email is sent. Want to use our checklist? You can download it here.

The crucial players/tools in our checking process:

  • Creator: Builds the HTML, the program, and makes the first round of checks.
  • Test mailing: Sent out via Silverpop. If there is dynamic content or personalization, we ensure that the seed list includes all possible combinations of data.
  • Litmus: A tool that allows us to check for any spam issues and view how the email renders in different email platforms.
  • Checker: The second pair of “eyes” on the email and program.

The Checking Process
The process starts with the Creator of the email, who builds the email HTML and puts together the program. Once the campaign is assembled, a test mailing is sent to the Creator, the Checker and Litmus. After the Creator reviews the entire email, both against the checklist and on Litmus, they pass it to the Checker. The Checker looks for the exact same things as the Creator, but with fresh eyes.

Even though they’re tasked with reviewing an item that has already been reviewed, the role of the Checker isn’t just a passive one. They not only check for the mechanics of the email, misspellings, formatting and broken links, but they also check for best practice issues like the quality of the eye path, the clarity of the call to action, the use of the first 300 pixels, etc. If the Checker has any questions, it’s their responsibility to go back to the Creator and ask for clarification on what the email is trying to accomplish. After all, if our own in-house employee can’t follow the train of thought on an email, it may be hard for a customer to do so.

Oops! When Mistakes Happen
But what if a mistake does get past both reviewers and other safeguards? The crucial thing is to identify whether the error is serious or not.

If the mistake is serious enough that it affects the content of the email (e.g., a sale date or coupon code is listed incorrectly, an important image is improperly linked, or any number of other potential revenue-affecting errors), then it’s your responsibility to correct this error with a new email and a simple apology.

You could resend the old email with an apology, or even tack on something new; some companies take it one step further and offer discounts or sale extensions to make up for their mistakes.

Whatever you choose to do, make sure your apology is heartfelt and that you’re owning up to your mistakes and resolving to correct them. Your customers will appreciate your honesty, and in most cases errors like this won’t have a lasting impact on the campaign.

When it comes down to it, quality control in marketing automation really has two aspects: ensuring that no mistakes are made up front, and then being able to handle them gracefully if they actually do occur.

Your checkers are only human, but with two pairs of eyes, a strict checklist and a commitment to success on behalf of your marketers, you should be able to catch mistakes before they are sent. But why stop there? View your quality-control process not only as an effort to triage any errors being made, but as a chance to fine-tune your campaigns and really make them gleam before sending them out to your happy customers. It’s that extra step that will truly separate you from the competition.

Whereoware is a Washington, D.C.-based online strategy, design, development and marketing organization focused on giving customers smart online solutions. To learn more, visit www.whereoware.com.

Related Resources:
1) Slideshare: “Oops! 13 Tips for Dealing with the Inevitable Email Marketing Mistake
2) Blog: “5 Questions: Dan Caro of Whereoware
3) Blog: “Whereoware on How to Pull Off an Abandoned Cart Campaign

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