Marketing Automation: Listen First, Act Later

Ted Whalen, Customer Implementation Manager, Real Magnet

We’re often asked by our marketing automation customers, “Which campaigns should we create first?” Overall, there are two general types of automation campaigns: “message sending” campaigns and “listening” campaigns.

We recommend starting with listening campaigns. A listening campaign provides insight into which contacts in your database are engaging with your email content. Listening campaigns run 24/7, allowing you to gather valuable information to help you hone in on your audience’s preferences and deliver more targeted and personalized messages.

Gauging Recipient Engagement

The first goal of a listening campaign is to segment your database into “engaged” and “disengaged” contacts. You can define engagement either broadly (if a contact has opened a message) or more narrowly (if a contact has clicked on a link within the email).  

Why do you want to sort email contacts as engaged or disengaged? Here are three main reasons:

  • Improve message delivery – A chronically disengaged email address is very likely a sign that the address is no longer being used. This lets you put your resources to good use by deleting or updating information for specific contacts, and only sending to those addresses that are responsive.
  • Avoid the junk folder – Continuing to transmit bulk messages with a number of disengaged addresses can send a signal that no one wants your emails. Delivery platforms will start marking your emails as spam, with fewer emails making it into the inbox and passed into the junk folder instead.
  • Identify re-engagement opportunities – For any organization or business type, acquiring new customers or members is far more costly than retaining those you already have. Separating your engaged and disengaged recipients gives you the opportunity to target those disengaged addresses with specific content or offers designed to entice them to rejoin the fold.

Properly gauging the the engagement of your recipients starts with determining which metrics are most significant to your audience.

Scoring Recipient Engagement

Perhaps the most mission-critical listening campaign is Lead Scoring. This lets you assign points to contacts based on their interactions with your email content. When a recipient performs any action (opens a message, clicks a link, visits a web page, etc.), they are automatically assigned specific points for that action. By scoring interactions with your messaging, you can segment contacts automatically based on levels of engagement. This helps you decide where they belong in your sales funnel.

Lead Scoring gives you greater insight into your audience in several ways…

  • Converting prospects – Scores let you easily see which sales prospects are ready for conversion now, which need further nurturing, and which are unlikely to buy.
  • Getting an early warning sign – Low scores show contacts that are not interacting with your content, allowing you to determine whether to make an extra effort or drop the prospect.
  • Addressing areas of interest – Scoring can be a great way to gain insight into your contacts’ interests and follow up with targeted messaging.

Segmenting Recipients based on Behavior

Audience segmentation has become a critical element of effective, data-driven marketing. Segmentation helps to separate (or segment) your audience into buckets based on shared interests, behavior or demographics. As an automation campaign, this segmentation will happen automatically, behind-the-scenes, as recipients engage with emails or links that you have tagged with different category labels.

Once you have your segmentation buckets defined, you can create targeted and specialized content that specifically meets the needs and interests of your various segments.

Tracking Recipient Preferences

To make your listening campaigns even more effective, try using Real Magnet’s website tracking tool. While website tracking is not a campaign per se, it can be used to gain insight into your visitors’ areas of interest. Website tracking allows you to see who is visiting your site as well as which pages, and it works alongside other tracking tools such as Google Analytics. By giving you great insight into your recipients’ preferences, Real Magnet listening campaigns are the driving force behind personalized, 1-to-1 marketing, and a critical first step for email marketing campaigns.