In this episode of the Cracking the Code of Marketing Automation podcast, Lon Safko talks about marketing automation workflows and why they’re not as scary as they might sound at first. You’ll also learn how Lon applies the 140-character Twitter limit across all his marketing platforms.
Check out this video or follow the transcript below. If you’ve missed the previous parts of the podcast, you’ll find them here:
Transcript: Cracking the Code of Marketing Automation pt. 3
Michal Leszczynski: Yeah, I’ve learned myself that seeing massive workflows, that were prepared in advance, is sometimes scary. It’s because people think “Oh my god, I need to come up with so many solutions, so many scenarios right from the start.” And as you as you just said, sometimes you can start by only adjusting the time of the send out, to send it automatically to match the place where someone is located, or his or her preferences, or after they opened a previous message, and when they just signed up. So it’s easy.
The same goes with personalization I believe. That’s probably one of the common misconceptions, people think they need to create so many different versions of the content, and you cannot adjust every single email, every single campaign for them [the subscribers] if you don’t you have that many designs beforehand. You don’t need to do all that, at least that deeply, right from the start.
Lon Safko: Yeah absolutely and I heard two things that are really important. You use the word workflow, which implies the “bad automation” and that is intimidating even for us seasoned marketers. And another way of putting that, in the U.S. we call that email drip marketing, because it continuously drips, but once you set it up, once you go through this process, once you work out the blueprint, then the cool thing is that all you have to do is change the content in each of those places.
And we can talk more about that later, because that’s the far end of the email automation. I love that. The other thing is personalization. The thing I love about Twitter is that it’s limited to 140 characters. Now that sounds like an oxymoron saying that I love a limitation, I don’t like limitations.
ML: No one does I think
LS: Mark Twain, the American humorist, Samuel Clemens, who wrote Adventures of Tom Sawyer, he said about a hundred and twenty years ago – I apologize to the length of my correspondence, given more time it would have been shorter.
ML: That’s absolutely true.
LS: And I love that because if he had more time, he would have made it more succinct, more to the point. And too often I get marketing messages in the form of Facebook post, LinkedIn updates, possibly Twitter or even email that just goes on and on. I’m thinking to myself – look I don’t have time for this, just get to the point. So every single thing I do, I do it with Twitter in mind. So if I’m going to do a Facebook or LinkedIn automated response, I’m going to do it in less than hundred and forty characters. A, it fits across all of my platforms including Twitter, but it forces me to get to the point.
So the same thing with email you don’t really have to personalize it now. There’s two definitions, of course: personalizing the content meaning that gets different kinds of content. If it’s really good “what’s in it for me” and it’s succinct and to the point, then it’s going to work for everybody. And then of course the second definition of personalizing where it says “Hello Lon, hello Michael.” OK that’s another type of personalization. By the way that, as you know, that significantly, believe it or not, even though we know that it’s automated, it does significantly increase not only the open rate the conversion rate.
ML: Sure, yeah everyone wants to feel like they’re being told to not talked at. And you know that they’re communicating with someone real, not like computer or a bot, or you know automated workflow. I like what you mentioned about Twitter, having 140 characters in mind whenever you’re creating a message. I think we are struggling with that as well. You’re trying to communicate so many things at the same time, and you’re not able to create the essence and to portray the value inside of the email.
Sometimes, it just gets so long that people just get bored with it. After the third or fourth paragraph, they can’t be bothered to read it. And in the end they don’t know what’s in it for them and they don’t know what’s it about. And it applies to every single platform.
LS: That’s absolutely correct. When you read some people’s emails when they’re trying to sell something. First of all, we’re in an environment of not selling. If you try to sell on Facebook or Twitter, you’re going to get flamed, it’s called flaming, because these are supposed to be social platforms not sales platforms. and even though we’ve abused email and made them sales platforms, it really isn’t good etiquette to continuously try to sell.
The other thing, that most marketers forget, is email is not intended to close the deal, it’s not designed to make the sale. It’s like a resumé. The resumé doesn’t get you the job, the resumé gets you the interview. And it’s up to you to sell yourself. The email is only supposed to be designed to entice the reader to convert to some other call to action, such as a web page and e-commerce page, an 800-number or whatever. So you don’t have to give them the entire life story about that product in an email. Keep it to succinct, keep it to the point.
ML: Yeah, that’s absolutely right. And that’s why the landing pages are so big these days. Because you’re not supposed to be selling in those emails and those messages, you’re supposed to build up an initial interest, spark their interest and get to make the initial devotion – click on the link and then if they want to learn a few things more, call them. So yeah, you’re absolutely right. That’s how you’re supposed to be creating messages, connect the dots for them and help them out.
LS: Not five paragraphs with eight different clicks. Click here if you want this, click here if you want that. After the second click nobody remembers what the first one was.
ML: Yeah, but I can imagine it’s tough if all the departments join in and they want to put their message into your email – Oh talk about this, talk about that, we’ve added this[…] Oh it’s so difficult to match the needs of all those different stakeholders in that one message.
LS: Absolutely, gotta stick to the point.
ML: But you’re not supposed to you know make everyone happy. You want to make your audience happy.
LS: Yeah that’s right. Actually want to convert. You want to have many customers, turn them into repeat customers, and prospects into customers.
ML: And build loyalty in the end.
LS: Yeah, and trust because trust leads to revenue.