Adriana Pineda Arango is an Email Marketing Consultant based in Colombia, specialising in web content generation, email marketing, digital marketing strategy and social media.

I was first introduced to the Salesforce Marketing Cloud while I was working on a project with the BBVA global team for email marketing, and quickly realized the power of the tool and possibilities to improve and enhance customer journey management. From my experiences with the platform here are ten best practice tips:

1. Never overlook your analytical tools

Salesforce offers a variety of reports to help keep track of your campaigns, it’s important to extract the data, review the analytics and share the results with stakeholders involved with the campaign.

2. Quality triumphs over quantity

It goes without saying that the difference between real friends and social media “friends”, is that the former is typically engaged and interested in what you have to say, while the latter may only be connected out of obligation. A similar concept can be applied to your mailing lists, don’t just rely on sending emails out to an untargeted wide audience. Make sure your contacts receive relevant and interesting information an untargeted and irrelevant email can be irritating and is more likely to be damaging than beneficial.

You need to set the rules to define an inactive user, have a suppression list, create re-engagement campaigns for lapsed contacts, and be wary about purchasing a mailing list of contacts.

3. Strike the right balance between imagery and text

Best practice when creating email content is typically 70% text and 30% imagery, it’s common for an ISP to block images of an incoming email, so there may be occasions when the recipient will be unable to view the entirety of the email unless they unblock it. Therefore it’s imperative to ensure that the main message/purpose of the email, as well as the call to action, is communicated within the body of text.

4. Set up your SPF, DKIM and Dmark protocols

If those terms sound unfamiliar to you, they are how your DNS communicates to the receiver’s DNS to verify that, you are the sender rather than a malicious third party or robot. Emails coming from a DNS without these protocols are far more likely to end up in spam folders.

5. Don’t send too many emails

At first it seems counterintuitive, but, sending too many emails is irritating, instead make sure you have a clear-cut saturation limit. It is more important to ensure your emails are concise, targeted, relevant and well organised with a clear call to action, thereby increasing your delivery and open rate, rather than to waste time churning out countless irrelevant campaigns.

6. Personalise your emails

Studies have shown that personalised emails are more likely to grab a recipients attention and increase engagement e.g Dear ‘first name’. Communication is still one of the most powerful sales tools, with Marketing Cloud helping you to leverage this ability with its easy to fill custom fields. But personalization must migrate from demographic data, good practice is to, at a minimum, mention the recipients’ name as part of the salutation/greeting. This is only step 1, the ideal is to combine this with tailored and dynamic content based on factors such as the users’ interaction with the email, the website and their buying cycle.

7. Don’t forget to experiment with different options

A / B split tests help to confirm hypotheses about the behavior of our users. Without being notified, two groups of users are presented simultaneously with an original version and an alternate version of an email but with some modification to be evaluated (subject line, call to action, imagery, etc). Then by comparing the results, it is possible to identify whether there is any truth around the hypothesis.

Performing A / B split tests has 2 main benefits:
– It gives you concrete data to be able to justify a change, for example, the content and/or structure of an email.
– It is a cost-effective way to improve the click-through-rate (CTR), open rate and traffic to your website.

8. Create in-depth user profiles

It’s important to segment your database, in order to tailor your marketing messages so that they are more relevant to your target audience, to understand engagement behaviours and to decrease unsubscribe/opt-out rates. The more information you have about your target audience the better in order to improve the customer relationship, use the filtering tools and drag and drop segmentation to create lists that are laser pointed in their targeting.

9. Automation tools are your best friend

Use the automation features to give you more time to focus on crafting the perfect tailored campaign, in order to improve engagement with your contacts. You need to work smart.

10. Email marketing is no longer a single-channel experience

Email marketing no longer has to take place within the confines of the inbox There’s no reason that you shouldn’t be looking into seeing how other channels can support your campaigns. For instance, through the Marketing Cloud, you can observe trending topics from a number of social media channels, to understand what your audience is following at the time of sending your email campaign. Or create custom SMS and push-up notification messages to diversify the ways you engage with your audiences.

I was so excited when I first started using the Salesforce Marketing Cloud that I’ve now signed up for dedicated courses starting in September.

Interested in learning more about the Salesforce Marketing Cloud? Why not get officially certified with K2 University? Find out more here.

Adriana Pineda Arango is an Email Marketing Consultant based in Colombia, specialising in web content generation, email marketing, digital marketing strategy and social media.

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