5 Hacks to Make Your Marketing Automation Life Easier

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This is a podcast episode titled, 5 Hacks to Make Your Marketing Automation Life Easier. The summary for this episode is: <p>Marketing automation isn’t just about automated campaigns – there is so much more to it than that! In this episode, Vivian Swertinski and Beth Arritt share the 5 hacks you can use marketing automation for that will save you time and make your life easier.&nbsp;Tune in now!</p>
Hack #1 to make your marketing automation life easier: Automation Campaigns
02:49 MIN
Hack #2 to make your marketing automation life easier: Dashboards and Reports
04:01 MIN
Hack #3 to make your marketing automation life easier: Landing Pages
04:01 MIN
Hack #4 to make your marketing automation life easier: RSS
06:42 MIN

Beth Arritt: Welcome to The Member Engagement Show with Higher Logic, the podcast for association professionals looking to boost retention, gain new members, and deepen member involvement. Each episode, I'll bring on some experts. We'll talk shop about engagement. And you'll walk away with strategies proven to transform your organization. I'm Beth Arritt, an association evangelist with over 25 years of experience in marketing and member engagement. And I'm so happy you're here. So let's start the show. Welcome back to The Member Engagement Show. In this week's podcast, I'm excited to share a session from our The Association Marketer's Guide to 2022 Planning Webinar Series. This is a three- part series on the tools that you need to remove roadblocks, implement better strategies and create a solid marketing plan for 2022. In today's episode, my colleague Vivian Swertinski and I pulled from our collective experience of years of working in marketing and with customers all over the world to come up with some hacks to make your marketing automation life easier. As always, we'd love to hear from you. So, let us know what you think about this episode over on HUG or on the LinkedIn post for this episode. And let us know what you'd like to hear in future podcasts. So let's get hacking. As I mentioned, my name is Beth Arritt. But I also have my colleague, Vivian Swertinski here with me today. Viv, do you want to give a quick intro?

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah, absolutely. Welcome, everyone. Vivian Swertinski here. I've been with Higher Logic for about seven years. Really, I'm a marketing automation strategist. And I'm working in our Strategic Services team. So, Strategic Services provides our customers with an opportunity to work with a strategist and a consultant to make their marketing more effective.

Beth Arritt: And Viv is amazing at it, too. We actually met when she did services for AAAE way back seven years ago, right after we both started.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah.

Beth Arritt: So today, we are going to talk about five hacks to make your marketing automation life easier. And I have to admit, we said five hacks but it's really more five categories. Some of them have a few hacks in them. So, our apologies, you're going to get a few more hacks than you bargained for. So, with that in mind, let's get right to it. The main categories that we're going to talk about our automation campaigns, dashboards and reports, landing pages and post- submission options, RSS feeds and integration campaigns. My rule of thumb is automate everything you possibly can and notify the right people when someone lands on specific websites. You can do memberships about joint pages. You can do corporate engagement about sponsor and exhibit pages, things like that. And you could also automate tasks like birthday or member anniversary cards. So, what am I talking about? So, this is one of the staff notification things that I'm talking about. In this particular case, this one happens to be someone visited a... No, it was a request for member survey. But basically, someone answered a certain way. And it had it notify me and the membership VP to follow up with that person. It can be something like say somebody downloaded your sponsor prospectus or your exhibitor information for your annual conference then you can have it notify you and the sales team or your corporate engagement team. If somebody visits a website for a particular product or service that you offer, you can have it notify the people who handle that. You can also obviously with automate campaigns drop people into drip campaigns which we'll talk about in a minute. But just notifying people, especially on the bigger ticket things that you do helps them know that somebody is interested and looking and helps them, visit them or call them whatever at the time that they're actually looking. Viv, do you want to talk a little bit about automating things like birthday cards?

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah, absolutely. I love when marketers or communicators can take their automated tools and think about how does this help the rest of the organization, even teams that might not be on your radar in terms of using automation. You could have... And I think that you said at AAAE, you had birthday cards sent to staff which had been a manual process, but you were able to have that be automated which probably saved that person an enormous amount of time and stress, right?

Beth Arritt: Yup.

Vivian Swertinski: Never missing anyone's birthday.

Beth Arritt: What I love and we don't have it on here, I probably should've pulled this one in, too, the image that you have of celebrating somebody's one year anniversary as a member. Yeah. I mean, if you've got your member anniversaries... You may not have all of your member birthdays and you only need the day and the date but you may have that. But if you do, it's a quick win. It's nice to send them a birthday card and if you totally automate it. But you definitely have the date they joined. And you can also send them a happy anniversary card, " We're glad you're here. Thanks for continuing to be a member." You can even do it, if you're integrated, which we'll talk about a little bit, you can even do it so that you're always sending the people you know have renewed and maybe send a different message to people who haven't.

Vivian Swertinski: Right. And another item that a customer shared that they had automated was they were hearing how much their finance team was chasing down folks who had auto- renewal. And they had it going to a credit card and then the credit card expired. And so they have expiration scenarios where people needed to do outreach to a member to get the new card number or get the updated expiration date. And so, the marketer or communicator was hearing that and she's like, " What are you guys doing? How about if you just give... You know who that group is, give me the list, we can just set it up and they can just get an automated message. You don't have to go and use Outlook and call people and all of that." And so, that was an area the finance team would never have raised their hand to say, " Do we have a way to automate this necessarily?" They just accepted that as a manual part of their job. But the communicator was like, " No, we have tools that can do this." So, I thought that was a really neat idea as well to think about within your own organization who's doing manual processes and is there a way to alleviate that.

Beth Arritt: Yeah. And now that you mentioned that, I think AAAE was working on doing that with the... If they had the card information in the system already to be able to follow up a month or two in advance say, " Hey, your credit card that you have on file for renewal is going to expire." You should go update it so there won't be any breaking in your membership.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah, that's even better.

Beth Arritt: Yeah, which is cool if you've got that ability. Yeah, it's so cool. So, helpful to do. So, this is a great, I'm sure slightly overwhelming example to some people of how well this can work in our everyday work lives though. This is the main lead nurturing campaign for membership at AAAE. And at first glance, it looks a little daunting, sure. It did take me a little time to set up. I spent about 10 hours on my couch on the first iteration. And then we've just added an additional weight steps to avoid certain holidays, made some edits to the email, things like that. So, all told, we've probably spent maybe 24 hours or so worktime on this over the space of four years. And one of the things that I hear a lot and we all do, right, Viv? Is that people are like, " Well, I just don't have time to sit down and figure it out." I know I should be doing it but I'm so busy. I don't have the time. The last time I checked a couple of months ago on this campaign, the conversion rate was 19.2%, four years in. It takes people from web tracking who visited anything on the join pages, anything with join in the URL. It takes people who filled out certain content marketing landing pages that we've done and puts them in. And it also takes some people from webinars if they're nonmembers and sends them a special message. So, 24 hours, all of that handled for membership. Membership has definitely increased by at least 25-30%. I have to go back and do the math on that, at least 25- 30% I think in the last four years. And like I said, this had a 19. 2% conversion rate. So if I did the math factoring in just the people who went through here, factored in that 91% on average renewal rate that AAAE has, that results in over a million dollars in dues in revenue in three years' time. So that's well worth the 24 hours I've spent over in the last three or four years. The ROI on that is something over$41, 000 per hour. Yeah, I think that was worth it. Plus, once it was done, it freed up time to do so many other things which is that time is something I don't think it gets factored in enough to automation and campaigns and how every bit of time that it frees up, you could do something else. Great and also been fantastic.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah. I love that. You're roughly right. The higher value thing, you could go off and do some higher value tasks because you're not churning through the mundane, repetitive- type things. It's important, easily done so it's got nothing to... But it's just that if you could have those important things be done in a more automated fashion, what is it for you up for?

Beth Arritt: Yeah, absolutely. And one of the things... People are always asking, " Where should I start?" And my answer is always, " It depends because it depends on your goals and things like that." But the real reality is once you've got a couple of big things out of the way like onboarding and renewal, anything that's really time- sensitive, then start thinking about two things. One, ROI, like where's this automation going to get you the most bang for your buck? Obviously, here over time, it did. And then, two, think about that task every day, every week, every month, whatever it is, that every time you have to do it like, " It has to be done. I have to go do it again." I'm sorry. We can't automate your budgets for you. That's on you. That was always one of my biggest one. And if anybody is from AAAE, the one here right now, they're laughing their heads off. That was always my biggest, " I have to do this again." But things like, " Okay, so I'm just going to sit down and inaudible notices," those are super important. But you're like, "I had to do this again." Look and see how you can automate those. Whether you can automate them inside of your AMS. Whether you can automate them inside of your marketing automation system. However you can do it. Anything that you can automate that's going to save you time particularly frustrating time that you find really boring or tedious, go for it. So, something that might help you find some of those things are dashboards and reports. And what you're looking for on those is readily accessible, actionable information for you and your team, whether that's marketing, sales, membership, whoever. Anything that you can provide value, that's actionable information. And you notice, I actually capitalized all of that which I don't do in PowerPoints very often. You don't want to spend hours and hours in a rabbit hole looking at information that you find you can't do anything about. And when I say actionable, I don't necessarily mean that you can take action on it, like you can actually use that to automate or something like that. But something that either you can take action on it or it helps you figure out what action to take, basically something that propels you forward. Visual dashboards like this are really helpful. This one is actually giving you all of the information for every email that was sent in a campaign or one conference. So you get overall reporting on the whole thing because you've been... Like maybe you're doing your annual conference and you've been looking at each one as you go along, " Okay, there are increases and like that." But you maybe haven't looked at the whole thing when you're over and you want to say, " Okay, overall, how many emails to resend, what was the return rate value," things like that. You can pull up a report on all of the emails all at once and look at the aggregate information. And then, you can dig down further and find out which ones did well. But this is your first step to say, " Okay, overall, how did we do?" " Oh, we could have done better." " Okay. Well, let's go and dig in and see which things did do well so then we can act on that." This is also something a lot of times that the higher- ups want to see when you're in marketing, too. So, something like this makes it easy to give them the overall view. And then you can talk about the stuff downstream that pulls up into this report.

Vivian Swertinski: Also, on the dashboard report, if you have something that has a goal, a conversion, and you can point to something that say when they do this action, I'm going to consider them converted, that could be registered, it could be taking their next step, it could be a lot of different things. If you can identify what conversion looks like and that can be tied in to your automated systems in terms of your automated campaigns and you can get reporting on just that specific thing. So that's super helpful to not be able to be like, "I'm going to pull it in five different spots. I got to check all these different things to see what we really got." So if you can bring it all to the forefront and have it be part of your dashboard report, that's the best. One of the things that I look at in terms of... And it's going to be over in the opposite corner so where you see the little dial, the conversion. And the opposite corner is going to be campaign subscribers, and yes. And time since last add. I prefer campaign reporting that can tell you when was the last time somebody got added to this? Does that make sense to me? Does that make sense to me if I think people should be trickling in everyday then I want to see... I want to be able to go there at any point in time and see that someone has been added within the last 24 hours? If it would make sense to me that someone come in monthly, that's fine, too. But I have some expectation for how people should be entering a particular campaign and what that timeline is. So while you just set it and forget it, I like to look at something that just tells me current activity is happening. It's happening at the cadence that I would expect it to. So, that's something that I look at as a hack in terms of it saves you so much time just to look at that. Time since last add, that number, I'm good or that is not what I was expecting and now I need to go one step further and I needed to dig in? But just that one thing tells me I'm good.

Beth Arritt: Yeah. And it can be your first indicator that there's a problem.

Vivian Swertinski: Yes, absolutely.

Beth Arritt: Yeah. That made me think of something that we didn't put on here. And knowing Informz, when you do your campaign, it's like a visual. You saw this one up here. It's a visual. So, when you're actually looking at it, you can see. I always put stop steps at the end of each decision step as opposed to putting them all at the end. Because when this is live and you're looking at each stop set, you can see exactly how many people came out there. And so, it gives you a quick snapshot of how quickly people are moving through the campaign. If they're not moving through quickly enough, then you know you might want to go tweak some stuff. If they're moving really quickly, then you might want to see what's working really well and use it other places. So, it can be a really quick overview. Same as what you're talking about, that's really handy, really helpful.

Vivian Swertinski: Right. I mean, you always get dashboards reports, but I like to look at something and say, " This is going to give me a quick health check that things are running as I expected them to. And is it going to give me a quick performance check that the outcomes are what I was hoping them to be, in terms of conversions, clicks. I was doing this for a reason and am I seeing that materialize?"

Beth Arritt: Yeah. One of the things I love about this particular system, too, is that it just not to be an advertisement for any one system. But I like that this one allows you to decide what you want it to be, what you think should be the conversion rate. Some of them just say, " Oh, your number should be here." I'm like, " Well, no, it shouldn't. Actually, this should be down here." So now, you're telling me there's a problem when there isn't. This one lets you decide what you think it should be. So, it's a really good quick check. Where you can really get into those helpful hacks though from deeper reporting that get your intel for immediate action are things like lick clicks... link clicks. Sorry, I have a really hard problem saying that word. Which lets you see which CTAs performed the best in the whole event campaign like we were just talking about. How many of them have a lot of multiple clicks for the same person? So you see here like register today and this email is 201 clicks, has only 105 unique clicks. So, almost everyone clicked at least twice on average. Same thing with registered today on this one, 250 clicks, only 140 were unique. Down here, you've got the plan to attend. Well, that was 820 clicks. And I can tell you, this is just a snapshot from the report. In this report, there was only one that performed higher than that plan to attend. And it was something along the same lines. I think it was a good agenda or something like that. So, we could tell just by looking even at this little snapshot that a plan, view the agenda, things that help people think about going. Help them come up with the ability to go, to make the decision to go work really well. So, if you were doing emails that just said register and you didn't offer somebody a second option like look at the agenda, plan to attend, things like that, then you're only getting the people who are ready to act right then. And you're not getting a true view on the people who aren't ready to act but they are definitely interested. And I will say another little hack not in here is that plan to attend button. That particular one is something that I think our regular attendees at AAAE annual have come to expect. And that newer ones find really helpful and that is it is information on budgeting, it's going to cost you this much, you're getting this much in food so that saves you$ 200- and- some over the time of the conference. It's kind of justifying to them the expense. But then, we also provide a downloadable justification letter that they can literally just fill in some blanks and turn in to get approval to go. That's a hack you can actually give your members or your attendees. You can do it for membership. You can do it for a certification. If you provide them that little hack, I can almost guarantee you that your registrations, your revenue, whatever, is going to go up. So that's actually a hack you can give your members and your attendees. And that is something that is invaluable. We had people consistently not constantly but definitely consistently emailing us at AAAE, thanking us for the justification letters. And once you got one, you can just sort of duplicate it in. It doesn't take much time. It's kind of like the campaign. But it's such a great little hack to offer them to make it easier for them to come.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah, I love the plan to attend button.

Beth Arritt: It's so helpful. Talking about web tracking just in this particular report, you can use a web tracking report to see overall performance on a visual dashboard. I'm sure most of you look at your Google Analytics web tracking. This one is inside the email program so it's only known users. I like to look at it compared to Google Analytics and see how the two compare. Because this gives you a quick snapshot of what your known users are doing, the people who have actually clicked through on your emails and have their cookie, a cookie tracking their activity on your website versus what everyone else is doing. And if the patterns are pretty much the same, I get a little concerned because I feel like that the known users should be doing more in certain places at least. So, it gives you a way to put your Google Analytics into context. But it also then, of course, gives you reporting on what your members were looking at or what your known users are looking at. You can break this down into members and prospects and things like that and start to figure out what your prospects are looking for and just do your marketing that way and see what your members are doing and figure out what their member journey is so you can help others on that journey. So there's a lot of stuff that you can get from looking at a web tracking for known users.

Vivian Swertinski: Another great hack that you can have off of here is because inside of your marketing automation platform, your web tracking is specific to the folks that you have permission to email that you are emailing, be it your prospects or be it your members or your customers, whatever. So, if you are doing any email communications to prospective members, what you can do is look specifically to where they are going, where are they spending time, and you can use that to infer what should my nurture campaign be? What is the sequence in the order in which I should introduce them to my education or my advocacy or the member benefits? Like what is the series? You're going to prioritize something. What am I going to say to them first? What am I going to say to them second? You're going to have to pick. So, rather than just guess, you can actually say, " Where are they going naturally? How are they landing here? And then what, are they spending time on?" That's the perfect opportunity to take that data and say, " Here's the hierarchy that's important to them. Here's what's attracting them. And so let's nurture on the things that they're naturally going to."

Beth Arritt: And of course, you can use this to pull people into campaigns. That was the number one way that people were going into that giant membership campaign, that we showed you, if you want to get really detailed. You can pull them in that way. But then, you can nurture them the way Viv is talking about. So let's say somebody comes in and they visit four pages on your site, so you can look at and go, " Okay, well, this is the most popular one. So they came in from this one, I'm going to send them this message first." And then drop them into the rest of the campaign. And just do a different one depending on where they came in.

Vivian Swertinski: Right. Yeah, you can use the information ... It informs your decisions. The point is we're going to make decisions and you can either do it based on your best guess or you can do it based on data.

Beth Arritt: There's so much you can do. I'm about to go down the rabbit hole now.

Vivian Swertinski: I'll pull you back out, Beth, if you go down that rabbit hole. I'll pull you out.

Beth Arritt: Thanks.

Vivian Swertinski: That's what friends do, right?

Beth Arritt: Yeah. This is showing you kind of a target group created for web tracking. And this is how you would create groups of people to put in your automated campaigns whenever they visit a page on your website. Just in this case, this is directly inside Informz. I actually had the stuff writing back from Informz to iMIS. And so I would pull that stuff in iMIS. But however you pull it in, this hack is huge. I was able to automate so much of the low- level ongoing marketing like on- demand products, self- study certifications, things like that, promoted themselves year- round just based on people showing interest by visiting the website. So, that automation check for purchasers and then drop them out of the campaign. So, I really didn't have to do anything except check on them once in a while and maybe tweak the messaging based on what was working or add any new products that might come in. So, that alone for us was just... It was like getting a whole extra person in the marketing department just to focus on the things that we often said we didn't have time to do because we were called in on the bigger things. But we use those web tracking campaigns to support the bigger things, too, like membership conferences, products and services. But setting up the little things that you always want to promote but you never really get the time to do it, taking a day out to set that up or even a part of a day out to set that up and just have it start running, it's huge because you've got all of that stuff covered. The people who do those products and services really care about them. And I was attuned that I wanted them to get promotion. I wanted them to be able to bring in the kind of revenue that I knew was possible. But what I'm getting called out to do the bigger things that are higher revenue overall, it was hard for me to find the time. And so this allowed me to do that. And now, I had a staff person working 24/7/ 365 to promote it. Then, it's going to talk a little bit about landing page post- submission options.

Vivian Swertinski: So we all have landing pages whether they're mostly forms, but you can certainly have landing pages that are just content pages. But most forms are your landing page. You're going to have standalone landing page or you can just have the form fields embedded in your own website. So, those are just a couple of options. But the hack part is really to think about what is the post- submission experience? If somebody's signing up, they want to stay in touch, maybe they want updates for when the next conference details are going to come about, " Yeah, keep me informed. Keep me updated." But what actions do you want? What experience do you want them to have after they do that? I can tag them. Do I redirect them somewhere? Do I email them? So the point here is that when you're setting up a landing page, if you think about what the next experiences should be, what did they need, what do you need, you can take a single step or a series of steps and automate that which obviously saves you a lot of time. We talked about being able to tag them or put them into a group, put them into a list, a group, not just one, maybe a couple. You can tag them based on the fact that they're a student and they also then are part of my prospect list. So as many lists as they qualify for, you can put them in one or many at the onset based on that post- submission action.

Beth Arritt: It allows you to put them into as many interest groups as you like. You can put them directly into a campaign. Now, if your interest groups are flowing into a campaign, then the interest group would be enough to do that. You don't have to do both. You can send them to a web page or a document or something like that. You can just send them to another landing page to just say thank you. We actually had a basic thank you on the AAAE that we kept around and we use that for a lot of it because we wanted to send them the content via email. So, over here, you can send them an email saying, " Thanks, here's your content." And when they click through that link, that's when they become a known user. And that's when it puts the cookie on their browser because they're clicking on a link that knows who they are and that's transmitting that information to the cookie. So then, that cookie is connecting them. From that point on, it's tracking them. So, that's how we use the Content Marketing at AAAE to eventually end up putting people into web tracking, sneaky little trick but it works. Yeah. And then, of course, you can also... You want to notify staff when something like that happens, too, so that was another helpful piece that we use. And then say they visited the page but they didn't submit, you can go back a week later and advertise the same content, informs them again with automation. So, in this case, you can see that there's three different groups for that landing page, visited but did not submit, submitted and visited. And you can see, obviously, the first two add up to the second one. So, those four known people who visited but didn't submit, you can have an automation that goes back to this group right here a week later and then send something about that same content. If they've visited the forum, they're clearly interested in the content. But that automation allows us to take all of those people and remove the ones who submitted and promote again to the ones who didn't actually submit. You could even send the content to them at that point because it's a week- old now, you clearly know who they are already so you can send it to them and link directly to it without making a forum. Because that's still going to show up as a click and it's going to give them the information. And it's still going to send them through to your website and make sure that they're still a known user.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah. I was going to say in most email marketing automation platforms, certainly the ones that we have here, those are already groups that are formed for you. So don't have to go grabbing those folks. Who are those folks? How do I find those folks? They're already in a group labeled for you exactly like this. The other quick hack I will hit on is visited but did not submit. You can almost use this as a report to say, " If I saw a high number there, I would say, am I asking for too much? How many form fields do I have?" If people are landing there and they're like, " No. Not me, I'm not filling out these six fields right now. I don't need your content. If this was going to be fast, I might be in but it's not and I don't have time," so they bounce. So, that is informative. So if I saw a big number there, it would make me want to go back to my landing page and go, " All right, this is a little much." This is a little much for people. There's something about this that's a barrier and your whole point is it informs you of that so that you can maybe look at and identify and remove the barrier.

Beth Arritt: Well, in this case, 33% of the people didn't submit. I'd be a little curious about that and be like, " Hey, what's wrong here?" And then I would probably go back to those people. And the other thing to note about something that's like the submitted, so when you put people post- action, when you put them into an interest group, they may come out of that interest group at some point in time. So that's not necessarily going to give you a true view of everybody who's ever submitted. Once you've submitted, you don't come out of this group, this particular one landing page submitted. So, something like that is going to be a true listing of everyone who's ever submitted it which is helpful to you in knowing who submitted it, but also helpful to you if you ever need to remove them from something. Whereas, the other group might not have everybody because people may have come out of that interest group.

Vivian Swertinski: This is the truth.

Beth Arritt: Another cool little thing to know. There are a lot of hacks when we're talking about RSS which is one of my favorite topics.

Vivian Swertinski: I was just going to say this is not a favorite topic so you're in for a treat.

Beth Arritt: I love this topic. I have done entire webinars on this topic because I just... There's so much you can do with RSS even though people are probably right now going, " Oh, I'm going to go check my mail because RSS is so 2003," but it's not. Out of all the things that you can do with RSS, the biggest timesaver has got to be your newsletter. RSS makes it possible to do. Curated, targeted newsletters on individual topics or one big newsletter that has dynamic content or store level targeting, whatever you want to call it depending on the audience, but all with much less time than it would take to do them by hand every day. I mean, you could see over here on the left, varied, you can do industry news, upcoming events. You could pull in blogposts, podcasts, job boards, classified ads, business news, new discussions. That's just the tip of the iceberg. The cool thing is with RSS, this is a setup for our newsletter, that's all I have to do. And every day, it puts out something new that turns into something like this that is so much information that I had to break it down which is just... I mean, who wouldn't want this to just automatically populate and fill itself out every day? It's so helpful. Yeah, I can't even say enough. At AAAE, via RSS feed, they've got about three or four different RSS feeds in theirs. They've got the news which is done through... It's actually done through an IQA that has been turned into an RSS feed. But before that, we were doing it with a service called Paper. li which is one of the services like Instapaper, things like that, that will let you just click on things as you see them and put them into your news feed, and then it creates an RSS feed. There are other services like that out there that are really cool. It just populates. And you can do it in different formats, too. So, for the main news, you might not want to put a picture. For secondary stuff, maybe you want to get attention so you put a picture. That picture is probably a little big. But maybe for smaller ones like say... In this case, these are the blogposts and podcasts so all I did was put a title and then link to it because people want to click through to read more. So they're quick clicks that you can put side by side. So it ends up looking kind of like this over on the right. The only things in this long thing on the right that you can barely see, at the very top is a news article I put in there myself and something at the very bottom is a little teaser ad for something. And you can put advertising throughout here as well and fill it in. You can even story- level target it. So, say you have three different areas where your members are and you don't have time to do three emails. You don't have time to do three newsletters. But you have time to set up RSS feeds so that three newsletters can go out to different groups. Or the one feed so you've got, " Okay, only the people in this group are going to be interested in this." So let's say going back to my airport days, we've got security, operations and lighting. Those are three fairly disparate groups, a little overlap in security and operations so you might get people doing more than one. You create one newsletter. But you've got, " Okay, this is only of interest to people in security. This is only going to be interested is people operations. Only people at lighting are going to be interested in this." So, I might be an operations person who's also heavily into security. So, I'm going to get an email that has everything about security and operations on all this. This might be a lighting person, that's all she does. It's a very specialized thing in the airport. And so, she only gets to the runway lighting stories. She only gets the stuff in the runway lighting. But in our wonderful producer who is behind the scenes, she's only into security. That's all she does. She's not an ops person. So, she just gets the security stories. And then, they're all RSS feeds. So now, you've got three different groups of people with disparate interests all getting only the stuff that's targeted at them. It's all automated for you because you've got RSS feeds populating each one of these. You've got automated targeted stories, story- level targeting in your target groups. So, you just basically copy, change the date or whatever on it and send it out every day. Or if you're really, really competent and you've got everything set up right, you can literally just set it to go out every day at noon for their lunchtime reading. Kind of cool how you can suddenly do these newsletters and personalize them to people and sell advertising because you could do targeted advertising, just to operations people, just to security people. And only the right people are going to see it so you're not killing everyone with advertising. So, it does suddenly offer you a whole world of things that you can do. And that's just using RSS for newsletters. I mean, if you plan and set it up right, RSS can save you so much time that it's literally getting extra work days in the month, only without actually having to add more days. Just that alone is so helpful. But then there's so many other ways you can use RSS. There's RSS aggregator apps that you can use to see how you fit into other people's communications. Internal communications so that when people get... There are certain things happening like an RSS feed then creates an email to internal people. Monday. com, if you use that for your planning actually has a hack with I think it's with IFTTT or Zapier, two really great applications that you should look at if you're thinking about RSS. That you can do an IFTTT... Basically, there's an IFTTT that anytime you say something is done in a Monday board, it shoots out an email to whoever you say. Email to RSS is another thing that can help you do a weekly or biweekly digest of all of your marketing emails. And turn your marketing emails into an RSS feed you can put on your website and your community. So you can do RSS to almost anything. And there's a group that we work with who is using it to send their communications that they post in their community to their Discord channel. And they're looking at also maybe setting it up to that it also put this communications on their website and then their social media feeds. So, it's something that... There's five different places that those communications go that they're now able to put it in one place and they're going to be able to farm it out to syndicate it to everywhere else. So, there's so much you can do. It's like the greatest hack ever, like being given all the cheat codes to a video game.

Vivian Swertinski: Yeah. And I think about it not just from the time savings perspective which obviously is huge there. But I think of the timeliness. Even if it's internal communication, somebody just rang the bell, someone just did this, someone just did that, it's almost like real- time notification that FYI this just happened kind of thing.

Beth Arritt: It's amazing. Yeah. Because then, you're always having to make sure that other people know when certain things are done. And there's a million different ways to do it. But anything that will connect with an RSS feed or create an RSS feed, and believe me, there are things out there that can create an RSS feed out of just about anything. Once you've got that, I mean, you don't have to remember to do all that stuff. And those are those little things that take up time because you remember, " Oh, I needed to notify these five people that I did this, that I finished the stuff of the project, or that I finished this project. Let me stop what I'm doing, open Outlook, send an email. Oh, wait, I've got to pull the link to it." No, Monday, hit Done. Monday goes, " Oh, okay." Goes off to your email platform, shoots out an email to the people that you've said are on that list, done. Viv, take me back to the integration side.

Vivian Swertinski: Yes, integrations. We'd actually like to believe we have a poll. Is that up? That we wanted to see how many folks are actually leveraging integration with your marketing platforms today. And we have three choices. Yes, all my platforms are integrated. Is that you? Yes. Some but not all. Maybe that's where you're going to land yourself. And then, no, systems are not integrated. And then that's the sad face. All right. So, here, we can take a look to see what our poll results were.

Beth Arritt: The majority of you, yes. Some but not all, that's good. A few people, all of your platforms which is amazing, that's awesome. And then in between the two are the people who know not yet.

Vivian Swertinski: A lot of the automation that we talked about and the hacks that we talked about feed off of data. And so, obviously, the primary thing that the integration can give you when your technology is integrated and your email marketing is integrated with your data is not only can it be the trigger to take action and to inform you, but the best integrations are also the ones that feed data back. So, it's an entire ecosystem. Now, your data can be integrated across a lot of different areas primarily with your account management system or your AMS or your database, wherever your source of truth is for your accounts, your subscribers. That to be integrated with your marketing automation, that to be integrated with your website, that to be integrated with your online community if you have one. And certainly if all these things... This is a holistic view. It provides you with that more holistic view of who your audience is, how they're interacting with you, how you can best serve them, which is what all of this comes back to is how do I best serve my audience. And the more you know about them and the more you can see what they need and what they're doing, the better you can serve them.

Beth Arritt: Yeah, I know it AAAE right back, it's like this in particular, just being able to integrate everything and see everything at once really helped us track the customer journey. They provided us with ROI. We understood better what we're getting good return on investment, what not so much. So, it helped us to pick and choose what to do. And then track trends so we could see what was going on. Something as little as like... We would write back about stuff in the community. And I would do a keyword search and look through and see what the words were that were most searched for and put it to the table and basically use that to start as a starting point for figuring out what education to do for annual conference.

Vivian Swertinski: I love that.

Beth Arritt: Yeah, because it was so helpful because I knew all of the things that people had been posting about and the subject lines for everything that people posted about, everything they viewed and read and commented on and just took that into keyword searching on it and saw how many that were, which was a huge help. But then, of course, it also provides you the ability to do targeted emails and targeted web content. We took all those right backs. I might have gotten a little extreme. We actually had a lot of information that came back added to a lot of information we had in our database about our members and used it to come up with a subject score. Sort of like an engagement scoring but only for a subject specifically like how they engage with a subject. And we had 12 subjects. And based on your score, whichever one was the highest subject score for you, that would determine news, resources, events and advertising you saw when you came to the website. Yeah, I mean, it was a huge, huge help. Just to recap really quickly, we talked about automation. We talked about campaigns notifying yourself and others and how that saves time. So, filtering profile management with automation, and then web tracking and drip campaigns. We talked about dashboard reports, how it needs to be readily accessible actionable information for you and all your teams. We've talked about landing pages and post- submission options solution, but not here. Sorry. We talked about RSS. And we talked about integration. So, thank you for joining. Have a great rest of your day.

Vivian Swertinski: Thank you, everyone.


Marketing automation isn’t just about automated campaigns – there is so much more to it than that! In this episode, Vivian Swertinski and Beth Arritt share the 5 hacks you can use marketing automation for that will save you time and make your life easier. Tune in now!