Ooo this is going to be useful! We’re going to run through some super useful campaign building best practice for you today. Here in this blog post you’ll find the whys and wherefores.
When you’re building a brand new campaign, you need to think ahead and try to account for all the things which may come up once the campaign is rolling. You need to do this at the start of campaign building.
Yes, all campaigns should be strategised and flow-charted, but there can be things which crop up (such as wanting an extra email here and there, depending on the campaign success) which you need try your best to pre-empt.
If you have a campaign in mind which you want to tidy up, why not have it open at the same time as working through this list.
Right, let's get you started right. We’ll start by taking a look at titles.
We LOVE to hear about other people’s best practice. So if you think differently, do please add your thoughts in the comments.
OK so enough with those basics, let’s get a bit more in depth and look at campaign timers.
Holding people on timers
Should you hold people on a timer at the end of a sequence? Here’s a rule of thumb we like to stick to - If the campaign is likely to change (for example a brand new and nimble sales campaign which may need more emails inserted at a later date) then we like to hold the contacts at the end of a sequence, eg. hold them at ‘SQ4: Emails 1-3’ rather than flow them into the next sequence, which would be called something like ‘SQ5: empty and ready for more emails if needed’.
We used to hold people for 60 months at most end points in a campaign for at-a-glance reporting. That’s no longer needed - Infusionsoft’s in-campaign reporting got so much better in 2018. This method of holding contacts in a campaign once everything had completed was misleading anyway - it showed people as ‘active in campaign’... which they technically were not.
If you want deeper stats than the in-campaign reporting shows, we recommend that you keep people on a short-ish timer (a month seems to be what we would usually use, but it may be more time-bound if it’s a special discount offer) after the campaign is complete, and they haven’t converted. You would then assign a tag which stated that they ‘took no action from x campaign’ to those contacts.
Tagging that lack of action here can be useful, it’s showing the exit point, it’s tagging your buckets. BUT! You should only really do this if you have some strategy around what you plan to do with those people who take no action.
Timers should not be edited. Nope! If you have someone held on a timer and you want to move them on, flow them into a new sequence which has a brand new timer, then delete the original timer. This will mean that they are all pushed to the same place when you delete the timer.
If you just edit a timer, the risk is that people will get sucked back in again to the beginning of the timer. There was a weird ‘7 day rule’ thing which we've always been wary of. Keap have released a patch to deal with it, but still weird things can happen - we’ve seen people blocked from going into a sequence, or they go into a sequence twice. Eek!
You might not have the outcome you want if you just change a timer rather than create a new fresh one. Don’t fiddle about changing dates forwards/backwards, just delete that timer.
Delay / Date / Field timers…
Keep it clean. Keep it simple.
Most problems with timers are around bad planning. You need to account for all the possibilities when campaign building, not mid campaign. Save the last minute faff and preempt those last minute things.
We see it time and time again: last minute stuff = not thinking clearly = more problems.
So with timers covered, let's take a look at the next beasty, tags.
When making a decision to tag or not to tag, ask yourself ‘is this going to be used again, or not?’. With that being said, there are some tags we think every campaign needs:
Tags to use for reporting
We love to apply ‘active in campaign’ tags. Ideally this tag would have both the Campaign ID # and a (shorter if necessary) version of the campaign name. Using campaign ID in tag name makes is super easy to search for tags. And we like super easy.
We also like to apply ‘historical’ tags too. As the active tag will be removed once the campaign is complete/they convert/they opt out, the historical tag acts as a permanent record on the contact’s record. And especially useful if it’s an evergreen campaign and you want to exclude people who’ve been in a campaign from going in and receiving the promo a second time further down the line.
If you’re looking for precise formatting of campaign names, here’s our fave for these tags:
Does the campaign have tag goals pulling people out of the sequence preceding it? Label the tag goal with the behaviour - ie. ‘Registered - trigger tag applied’, so you don’t have to open the tag goal to see. We want at-a-glance campaign info people. It’s precious time saved, and especially so if the campaign has many different tag goals. You could go the extra mile and add a little note to say where that tag is being applied, if it’s being applied externally.
Same goes for labelling of any API/HTTP posts. If there’s any integration involved, label it clearly in the campaign.
Tags done, let’s take a look at some more generic ninja best practices:
We do like to label each separate email with the subject line of that email, but there is a bit of personal preference involved with that one, so we won’t push it as a ‘have to do’.
But here’s a Ninja trick for you... If you add a link click goal, (not compiled) then you can see a visual of all the emails inside a sequence at a glance, and with their subject lines. This saves a load of clicks if you were going into the emails themselves to find a particular one, and failed to label them.
No no no, there should be no backwards arrows! They are incredibly confusing!
When you’re creating a campaign, always make sure that the primary path is slap bang in the middle of the campaign as much as possible. You want people to start at the left, and end at the right. It should be clear. The end goals/stop campaign tag goals, they live at the end.
Only the things that happen at the beginning of the campaign should go at the beginning. Ie. does the campaign have an opt out form? It should be over to the right, at the campaign end.
Sounds simple but we see such messy campaigns sometimes, it can be really hard to see what the primary path is.
Sometimes it’s tempting to make everything fit nicely on the screen. But usually if you do that, the campaign does not flow from left to right, it’s either all squished in or there are backwards arrows taking people to places you’re not even sure of. Bad! There is a function in the campaign builder to take a screenshot of the whole campaign, so if you’re tempted to "squish it" to take a screenshot, you don’t need to!) Make the campaign flow from left to right. See it like a campaign highway, with a clear destination in sight.
If you use a lot of internal forms, put them all in one campaign, they will be so much easier to find. ie. ‘Webforms on site’. Any tag application as result of form being filled can happen in that 1 campaign full of forms. Good form!
Do you have any sequences ‘set to run’ - if so, are you sure they are supposed to be?
When testing, you should go into all the separate emails to make sure everything makes sense, and the right things are happening at the right time. If you add a test record of yourself in, you can go through the motion of being a contact inside the campaign. (Fast forward yourself through receiving the emails inside of the contact record)
Ok so let’s take a look at some Ninja favourites from the campaign builder!
We like to regularly hit ‘save version of campaign’ - it’s handy if you ever need to restore specific versions, or revert back to an original saved version. Saving it in this way saves your name next to version list within the campaign.
If you ever need to do this, press ‘restore version’ and you’ll see all saved versions. You can choose which one you want to restore. Clicking ‘revert changes’ just takes you back to the last stored version. There’s no choice there.
If a link has a potential to change, and you want to save time otherwise going into each and every email and updating that link, add the link as a ‘campaign link. Hit ‘actions’ (top right inside campaign builder) then click ‘links’ - add your link here. Add a name, the URL, and a description is a must too.
Then, when you go to an email and want to add the link, hover over the text as usual,click to create your hyperlink, and select ‘campaign link’ rather than pasting in a URL. The list will be totally unique to this campaign, and links are shown alphabetically. Nice!
This method could save you a lot of copy/paste time. It’s ace. If you ever need to edit what a link points to, do the above and it changes what is said in each and every email in campaign. AND magically, this changes sent emails sat in people’s inboxes. It’s some kind of clever, creepy magic.
Does your campaign have any points a person cannot progress past? eg. what if people are stuck on purchasing something (like a physical copy of a book), but after a certain time, you want people to progress past that and offer something else (eg. a free PDF of the first chapter). You must make this possible!
If there is a product to purchase, your campaign should have a cart abandonment sequence in place which is triggered when someone either adds the product to cart or clicks to find out more (your call).
You are REALLY missing a trick if you don’t have cart abandonment in place. “Over 3/4 of shoppers choose to leave the site without completing a purchase.” (This stat and more industry-specific stats from Barilliance)
Moosend put together some general shopping cart abandonment statistics. Here’s what they found:
“45% of cart abandonment emails are opened
50% of those are clicked on
50% of the users who clicked purchased:
Aka Half of the recipients who engaged with the content of the email completed their purchase.”
Woah nelly! There could be some massive revenue to be made here. And onto the next massive thing…
If your campaign is getting massive – (it’s not uncommon for us to see campaigns with 20+ decision diamonds) you might want to break it down into separate campaigns.
There are a lot of stress points in a huge campaign – they are more likely to break and it’ll be more difficult to troubleshoot what the problem is.
So there we go people, that’s our rundown of some Ninja best practice in the campaign builder. Use this list to critique those campaigns of yours, get everything spick and span, and as always - just let us know if you have any questions.
If you want some help with your campaigns, why not ask a Ninja? We offer a campaign critique service that will help you make your campaign a work of art.
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Kenda Macdonald is an Automation Ninja. With a background in Forensic Psychology and an affinity for statistics and behaviourally intelligent automation – she’s not your average expert. She’s been living and breathing Infusionsoft since 2011 and has spent over 14 500 hours learning new ways to automate what people think is impossible. She’s a true nerd, and spends her waking hours helping businesses understand behaviour for super effective marketing, and relishes in simplifying over complicated processes for truly intelligent automated marketing. She’s the founder of Automation Ninjas - Experts in behavioural automation. Expect enthusiasm and a wealth of knowledge – not normalcy.