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The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Calendars

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11 B2B Content Ideas to Fuel your Marketing (with Examples)

Marketing is a creative field that involves things like crafting clever social media content, writing compelling copy, designing eye-catching infographics, and more. 

However, marketing also requires organizational skills. That’s where having a robust marketing calendar comes in handy. 

Calendars help you keep track of everything your marketing team is producing and publishing. In order to be useful, a marketing calendar needs to contain several key pieces of information.

We’ll teach you everything you need to know about these calendars to help you make the most of them, including:

  1. What Is a Marketing Calendar?
  2. Why Do You Need a Marketing Calendar?
  3. What Should Be Included In a Marketing Calendar?
  4. What to Look For When Comparing Marketing Calendars
  5. Marketing Calendar Templates

What Is a Marketing Calendar?

A marketing calendar is a calendar that helps you plan and execute your brand’s marketing strategy. A practical calendar displays both campaign overviews and more detailed information about projects, such as who is responsible for them, what progress has been made, and when tasks will be completed.

Your team should use an overarching calendar to display all of its initiatives, as well as granular calendars for specific campaigns or media, like a social media marketing calendar, advertising calendar, or editorial calendar for your content marketing activities.

Shared digital calendars are more useful than paper or whiteboard calendars because they allow for greater visibility and collaboration. Although you can build a calendar in a spreadsheet, it’s best to find a solution that integrates with the rest of your marketing tools to streamline processes.

Why Do You Need a Marketing Calendar?

A marketing calendar can help your team increase accountability, alignment, and visibility, meet goals, prevent overlapping efforts, and stay on budget.

Increased Accountability

A calendar is an essential project management tool that helps you execute your marketing plan and meet deadlines. When you know when a LinkedIn post will go up or who needs to provide approvals for a newsletter, your team can go ahead and just do the work.

Meeting Goals

When you follow through with your plans, you can meet your marketing goals more easily. A calendar helps you stay on target so that no task gets left behind.

Increased Alignment

A calendar can keep your team aligned on projects that are planned and in progress. When everyone knows who is working on what, you can manage expectations and bandwidth more easily.

Avoid Overlapping Efforts

Calendars help your team avoid an overlap in efforts. A social media calendar, for example, can help prevent accidental double posts from team members who work on different campaigns but manage the same accounts.

Increased Visibility

Calendars can also give external stakeholders insight into the inner workings of your team. Your calendar should serve as a single source of truth to ensure clients, bosses, and investors are in the know about upcoming and in-progress projects.

Staying on Budget

When you’re aware of everything that’s going on within your team, you can better control your marketing budget. That includes managing your freelance budget, understanding your entire team’s bandwidth, and knowing when you need and have the resources to add people to your team. 

What Should Be Included In a Marketing Calendar?

Using Different Types of Marketing Calendars

Your team doesn’t need to work off of just one marketing calendar. In fact, it’s best to have a comprehensive calendar that lets you quickly see which blog posts are in the works and what ad creative is going live at any time, and several content-specific calendars to help the team members assigned to these projects stay focused.

So, in addition to a main timeline, you may also want to consider creating calendars for each of your marketing channels, including a(n):

  • Content marketing calendar for organizing blog posts, reports, whitepapers, web pages, and more.
  • Social media calendar that keeps your social media campaigns organized by showing what is being published to which channels and when.
  • Email marketing calendar for planning your newsletter publication schedule.
  • Advertising campaign calendar that shows when you’re running digital, print, radio, and out-of-home ads.
  • Events and partnerships calendar for organizing webinars, conferences, influencer campaigns, and more.

Let’s take a deeper dive into three major types of marketing calendars you may want to use: 

1. Marketing Plan Calendar

1644331036 400 The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Calendars

This is the mother of all planning calendars, from a marketing perspective. This will include everything in your marketing plan.

Your marketing plan calendar moves beyond just content creation. It also includes project timelines, major milestones, and expected dates of completion for the campaign in general. 

This is the resource your team members will look at when they need to remember any dates involved in your marketing plan, be those content or task-related. 

2. Editorial Calendar

flexible content workflows

An editorial calendar is a calendar you’ll use to organize all of your content thematically throughout the duration of your campaign. This is where you’ll include themes, topics, and dates for various content types as well as other important dates to remember during the campaign. 

Here’s an example: let’s say you’re a flower shop planning your editorial calendar for the year. You may want to highlight dates such as Christmas or Mother’s Day (high volume periods) as particularly important time frames in your content planning approach. 

3. Social Media Calendar

1644331036 190 The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Calendars

An editorial calendar encompasses all your content, whereas a social media calendar only captures your social media platforms. This content may be a part of your editorial calendar, but only social content will be included in your social media calendar. 

This is particularly helpful if you have a robust, multi-channel social media presence. If you’re active on several channels, having a calendar strictly for your social media marketing efforts will prove invaluable.

Essential Elements of Marketing Calendars

In order for these different types of marketing calendars to work together (and work for you), each calendar should include:

  • A high-level overview of projects. Color coding helps you visualize what is happening when.
  • Deadlines, including not just final due dates, but also intermediary milestones that help keep the project moving along.
  • Who is involved in the project. When you use a sophisticated calendar tool like Welcome’s, you can easily tag all parties involved so that they automatically know when it’s their turn to take action. 
  • Project details, like a brief, resources, and assets that should be used. All of these details can be difficult to fit into a calendar built through Microsoft Excel or a Google Calendar. But with a calendar tool built for marketers, all of this information can fit seamlessly into your timeline.

These features and organizational tactics help your team stay on track of marketing campaigns and facilitate your workflow.

What to Look For When Comparing Marketing Calendars

There are lots of marketing calendar solutions out there. While creating something in Google Sheets or Docs can help get the job done, a more sophisticated tool can help empower your team’s best work and increase efficiency. 

When comparing tools, look for one that:

  • Lets you do more than just see projects and deadlines. The best calendars facilitate projects by letting you add briefs, share resources, and upload assets.
  • Streamlines collaboration. You should be able to easily add both internal and external stakeholders, like freelancers and clients, to projects in the calendar. 
  • Promotes visibility. Stakeholders should easily be able to access the calendar to understand what’s going on at any given time. 
  • Helps you stay on target. Look for progress tracking features that make it clear what’s been done and what’s left to do on a project. Your calendar should be part timeline, part checklist.
  • Lets you customize as much as possible. You should be able to customize views, filters, calendars, colors, and more so that your calendar works for you, instead of the other way around. Bonus points if you can save these customizations for easier use next time.
  • Lets you toggle views. Since what works for one member of your team may not work as well for another team member, it’s important to look for a calendar that offers various layouts, such as traditional calendar, timeline, and Gantt views.
  • Makes it easy to sort through projects. Look for advanced filtering tools that help you find in-progress and planned campaigns in a breeze. 
  • Plays well with your other marketing tools. Just like your team works with other departments at your company, your calendar should integrate with the other tools in your tech stack.
  • Helps you grow. Your calendar should be more than just a calendar. It should help your marketing team do its best work by offering other capabilities, such as a place to brainstorm and draft different types of content, tools for leaving feedback on a podcast, or the ability to track KPIs and metrics.

Don’t settle for a calendar that doesn’t come with these capabilities.

Marketing Calendar Templates

What Makes A Good Content Calendar Template

There’s a thin difference between a good calendar template and a great marketing calendar.

That said, marketers who document their strategies are 313% more likely to succeed

 An editorial calendar is the logical foundation of your content strategy. That’s why you need an effective content calendar.

Some of its qualities include:

  • Customer-Centricity in an Editorial Calendar
  • A Calendar Template That Is Goal Defined
  • A Calendar That Qualifies and Categorizes Leads
  • Research and Metrics in a Content Calendar
  • Capacity Planning Goes A Long Way

Customer-Centricity in an Editorial Calendar

What was the reason behind that decision to have social media posts each Friday, or similarly the sending of emails each morning?

It could be because your team members are burnt out, your customers show more social media engagement on weekends, or that you just like posting on Fridays?

An effective editorial calendar should always have the customer at the center. If you’re posting on Fridays, it should be because the customer is more active on Fridays.

Instances in the calendar should use metrics to discover:

  • When the customers are more active for a particular medium
  • Seasons and holidays when the prospect favors a specific medium
  • Feedback on the pieces of content the audience likes

A Calendar Template That Is Goal Defined

Goal definition is one of the most crucial aspects of an effective marketing strategy.

What are your marketing efforts set to achieve? It could be:

For lead generation, a marketing campaign calendar will mostly lean on blogs and email marketing. For thought leadership, on the other hand, long-form content such as white papers should have more prominence.

An occasional podcast on the content marketing strategy will be great for building a knowledge base, brand loyalty, and customer retention.

A Calendar That Qualifies and Categorizes Leads

One thing we can all agree on is that all leads and prospects are not the same. That said, the journey of conversion should reflect on your content calendar since the development of leads is not linear but an arc.

Your content marketing strategy should map out the top-funnel lead, middle funnel, and bottom-funnel lead. Always see to it that:

  • Content creation is at all levels of lead qualification
  • The start of your marketing campaign should leverage top-funnel marketing strategies
  • The types of content should become more intensive as the marketing strategy progresses
  • Content should not leave out loyal and existing customers

Research and Metrics in a Content Calendar

Content ideas and planning should happen in the context of a lot of research and metrics. There should be a statistic or metric behind each instance in your content calendar. 

While creating your integrated marketing calendar, ensure to:

  • Leverage feedback on already existing blogs
  • Get guiding statistics from Google Analytics
  • Perform a content audit

Capacity Planning Goes A Long Way

Your content calendar should also consider the amount of workload your team members can handle at a time.

To streamline workflows, it should also equally distribute tasks across teams, departments, and stakeholders to ensure that no single person is overburdened by the work. 

The following welcome tools come in handy:

  • Progress tracking
  • Time management
  • Productivity management

That’s A Lot Of Trouble: Why Go Through It All In The First Place?

Well, why spend time on a marketing calendar template?

Marketers have better things to do on Fridays, beer included. Excel spreadsheets are also cheap, and your marketing is probably doing fine.

Benefits of content calendars include:

  • To Effect Your Marketing Strategy
  • Creating Your Marketing Crystal Ball
  • Empowering Your Marketing Teams

1. To Effect Your Marketing Strategy

Though many marketers may not admit it initially, content marketing is hard.  Subsequently, many large and small businesses run on almost ineffective marketing strategies.

Social media posts go unnoticed, public relations are in dire straits, and email campaigns are a disaster where prospects unsubscribe unceremoniously.

This is often due to the lack of a plan in marketing activities, something a content marketing template is here to fix.

2. Creating Your Marketing Crystal Ball

A well-documented marketing plan will enable you to strategize on tomorrow’s marketing today. No shocks and surprises again.

You don’t want a situation where it’s the 4th of July, when prospects always respond best to your marketing efforts, but you already spent your budget on other marketing activities.

3. Empowering Your Marketing Teams

Show me your marketing team, and I’ll tell you how successful your marketing strategy is. Is your team running around with ancient and outdated marketing tools?

Do they use sticky notes and spreadsheets with no plan whatsoever while missing due dates and deadlines?

If so, then, Houston, we have more than a problem.

A marketing calendar template empowers your marketing team. It takes their productivity and marketing efforts and puts it to the best use. 

Eventually, you end up with:

  • Happier
  • Motivated 
  • More productive team members.

What a Social Media Calendar Template Looks Like

As noted above, your social media calendar will look slightly different from an editorial calendar or even your marketing plan calendar. It only covers your social assets. 

A typical social media calendar will contain the following information: 

  • Length of the social media campaign
  • Frequency of posts
  • Platforms you plan to use

Here’s how a hypothetical week of social content may look: 

  • Monday: 2 tweets, 1 Facebook post, 1 blog on LinkedIn
  • Tuesday: 2 tweets, 1 Facebook post, 1 Instagram post and story
  • Wednesday: 2 tweets, 1 Facebook Post, 1 blog on LinkedIn
  • Thursday: 2 tweets, 1 Facebook post, 1 Instagram post and story
  • Friday: 2 tweets, 1 Facebook Post, 1 blog on LinkedIn 

Note: these aren’t necessarily best practices for the number of posts or which platforms to use. This is just an example to show you how your calendar may look after you’ve selected the social networks you’d like to use.

A Marketing Calendar Template that Supports Winning Marketing Campaigns

Welcome marketing calendar

So what will a successful marketing calendar template look like? Some of the basics include clearly listing the campaign the calendar belongs to as well as the responsible team members for each task/content format.

Your calendar should match the length of the campaign. In other words, don’t include months/weeks falling outside the campaign’s range – that’s useless data your team doesn’t need. 

When it comes to the actual calendar part of the template, here are some of the features you’ll want to include:

  • An overview of all major campaign-related tasks and associated deadlines
  • The schedule for all content marketing posts 
  • The schedule for all of your social media posts
  • The schedule for all your email marketing efforts 

Different members of your team may be responsible for each aspect of your marketing plan. Still, it’s good to have all this information in one place.

View your marketing plan as an ecosystem, with all parts interrelated. Your calendar enables your team members to understand how these pieces will function together and when they will occur. That way, there’s less confusion and clutter.

Creating the Ultimate Editorial Calendar Template

There is no perfect way to create an editorial calendar. However, the following steps are a constant in almost all effective calendar templates:

  • Choose A Content Marketing Calendar Tool
  • Perform Some Role Definition In Your Content Calendar
  • Single Out Your Social Media Target Audience
  • Content Ideation For Your Content Marketing
  • Choose Your KPIs and Metrics
  • Come Up With A Publishing Schedule For Your Marketing Plan
  • Calendarize Your Publishing Schedule

1. Choose A Content Marketing Calendar Tool

Before you begin, you have to choose a content marketing calendar tool. Some marketing management software like Welcome offer free marketing calendar templates that you can customize to your functionality.

However, for a simple and non-complex marketing plan, you can use free tools like:

  • Google Sheets
  • Microsoft Excel templates
  • Free download marketing templates

2. Perform Some Role Definition In Your Content Calendar

Role definition goes a long way to streamline the workflows in your marketing campaign. This is something that should spill even into your content calendar.

In so doing, each instance of your marketing template should answer the question “by who?” Ensure to:

  • Assign roles such as head of email marketing and head of social media
  • Assign a team leader to each team
  • Assign each task to a team member
  • Assign different pieces of content to content creators
  • Cluster social media platforms and put someone in charge

3. Single Out Your Social Media Target Audience

Now that all stakeholders have defined roles, what’s left is to define your audiences. Remember, you can attract different audiences for different marketing channels. 

Your elderly prospects are not likely to be on Instagram. Similarly, your teenage leads are probably now discovering LinkedIn.

Customers like relevant and personalized content. That’s why vague and non-personalized content has 88% lower response rates than personalized content. For successful content mapping, ensure you have:

  • A target audience for each social media platform
  • Buyer personas for an effective marketing strategy
  • A separate tab for email marketing target audiences

4. Content Ideation For Your Content Marketing

After defining your target audience, what your content calendar template needs is content ideas. At this stage, your stakeholders not only brainstorm the content creation and ideation but also:

  • The marketing channels for the content, i.e., social media and email marketing
  • The types of content, i.e., blogs, podcasts, email
  • The social media platforms for each type of content

With this vision in mind, a marketing team can then go ahead and plan current and future content for their marketing strategy. Ensure to:

  • Brainstorm on keywords for search engine optimization
  • Come up with topics that are relevant to the target audience
  • Ensure to have a healthy balance between recent news and evergreen content

5. Choose Your KPIs and Metrics

What good is a marketing plan if you can’t tell whether it’s working? This is where the key performance indicators (KPIs) come in.

These are metrics that help you measure your marketing campaign’s progress and discover whether your marketing efforts are paying off. Key marketing metrics include ROI, SEO, engagement, and time on site, among others. Ensure to:

  • Leverage progress tracking tools on platforms like Welcome
  • Utilize free analytics tools such as Google Analytics
  • Perform content audits every once in a while

6. Come Up With A Publishing Schedule For Your Marketing Plan

With all that as a foundation, what’s left and probably the most crucial is scheduling. This is determining when to disseminate the content to your target audience. 

Remember, content creation is nothing without timely content distribution. To achieve your marketing goals, you have to ensure:

  • You appreciate seasonality (engagement spikes) in your marketing schedule
  • Your publishing schedule is at the prospect’s convenience
  • Your social media marketing can be automated
  • Your publishing schedule respects special marketing days for your small business

7. Calendarize Your Publishing Schedule

With the wealth of insight and information, the second last step before content creation is filing your content marketing template. If it was a social media calendar, fill it with the social media content relevant to your marketing plan.

Using Welcome’s Marketing Calendar Template

Looking for a calendar template? Look no further than Welcome

Our marketing orchestration platform comes with a calendar that has all of the must-have features listed above. The best part is, you can access our calendar template with a free Welcome account. 

Here’s how to use Welcome’s marketing calendar feature:

  1. Head to the “Plan” tab on the left side of your dashboard. 
  2. To add a new project to the calendar, click on the purple plus sign on the top right corner. You can create a new campaign, event, task, work request, or pitch request.
  3. Depending on what type of project you want to create, you’ll need to provide different information. For example, to create a blog post, you’ll need to enter a tentative title, a brief, a start date, a deadline, links to media assets, and attachments (if needed), and then assign the blog post to a team member.
  4. Once you fill your calendar with projects, you can toggle between various views: list, calendar, timeline, and board. You can even create and save custom views for custom calendars, such as a social media calendar or editorial calendar.
  5. You can even sort the calendar using various filters, such as by assignees, campaigns, important dates, status, and more.
  6. While you can tag external stakeholders on your calendar in Welcome, you can also easily export your calendar as a PDF or CSV to use off the platform.

Welcome’s calendar has all the features you need to keep campaigns moving along seamlessly.

A Marketing Calendar Should Empower Your Team’s Best Work

At the end of the day, a calendar shouldn’t be the focus of your work. It should be a helpful resource and project management tool that sits in the background and empowers you to do your best work.

Welcome’s all-in-one marketing orchestration platform has all the tools you need to plan, execute, and measure the success of your marketing efforts.

Sign up for a free trial today.


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Here’s Optimizely’s Automatic Sample Ratio Mismatch Detection

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Here's Optimizely’s Automatic Sample Ratio Mismatch Detection

Optimizely Experiment’s automatic sample ratio mismatch (SRM) detection delivers peace of mind to experimenters. It reduces a user’s exposure time to bad experiences by rapidly detecting any experiment deterioration.

This deterioration is caused by unexpected imbalances of visitors to a variation in an experiment. Most importantly, this auto SRM detection empowers product managers, marketers, engineers, and experimentation teams to confidently launch more experiments. 

How Optimizely Experiment’s stats engine and automatic sample rate mismatch detection work together

The sample ratio mismatch actslike the bouncer at the door who has a mechanical counter, checking guests’ tickets (users) and telling them which room they get to party in.

Stats engine is like the party host who is always checking the vibes (behavior) of the guests as people come into the room.

If SRM does its job right, then stats engine can confidently tell which party room is better and direct more traffic to the winning variation (the better party) sooner.

Why would I want Optimizely Experiment’s SRM detection?

It’s equally important to ensure Optimizely Experiment users know their experiment results are trustworthy and have the tools to understand what an imbalance can mean for their results and how to prevent it.

Uniquely, Optimizely Experiment goes further by combining the power of automatic visitor imbalance detection with an insightful experiment health indicator. This experiment health indicator plays double duty by letting our customers know when all is well and there is no imbalance present.

Then, when just-in-time insight is needed to protect your business decisions, Optimizely also delivers just-in-time alerts that help our customers recognize the severity of, diagnose, and recover from errors.

Why should I care about sample ratio mismatch (SRM)?

Just like a fever is a symptom of many illnesses, a SRM is a symptom of a variety of data quality issues. Ignoring a SRM without knowing the root cause may result in a bad feature appearing to be good and being shipped out to users, or vice versa. Finding an experiment with an unknown source of traffic imbalance lets you turn it off quickly and reduce the blast radius.

Then what is the connection between a “mismatch” and “sample ratio”?

When we get ready to launch an experiment, we assign a traffic split of users for Optimizely Experiment to distribute to each variation. We expect the assigned traffic split to reasonably match up with the actual traffic split in a live experiment. An experiment is exposed to an SRM imbalance when there is a statistically significant difference between the expected and the actual assigned traffic splits of visitors to an experiment’s variations.

1. A mismatch doesn’t mean an imperfect match

Remember: A bonified imbalance requires a statistically significant result of the difference in visitors. Don’t expect a picture-perfect, identical, exact match of the launch-day traffic split to your in-production traffic split. There will always be some ever-so-slight deviation.

Not every traffic disparity automatically signifies that an experiment is useless. Because Optimizely deeply values our customers’ time and energy, we developed a new statistical test that continuously monitors experiment results and detects harmful SRMs as early as possible. All while still controlling for crying wolf over false positives (AKA when we conclude there is a surprising difference between a test variation and the baseline when there is no real difference). 

2. Going under the hood of Optimizely Experiment’s SRM detection algorithm

Optimizely Experiment’s automatic SRM detection feature employs a sequential Bayesian multinomial test (say that 5 times fast!), named sequential sample ratio mismatch. Optimizely statisticians Michael Lindon and Alen Malek pioneered this method, and it is a new contribution to the field of Sequential Statistics. Optimizely Experiment’s sample ratio mismatch detection harmonizes sequential and Bayesian methodologies by continuously checking traffic counts and testing for any significant imbalance in a variation’s visitor counts. The algorithm’s construction is Bayesian inspired to account for an experiment’s optional stopping and continuation while delivering sequential guarantees of Type-I error probabilities.

3. Beware of chi-eap alternatives!

The most popular freely available SRM calculators employ the chi-square test. We highly recommend a careful review of the mechanics of chi-square testing. The main issue with the chi-squared method is that problems are discovered only after collecting all the data. This is arguably far too late and goes against why most clients want SRM detention in the first place. In our blog post “A better way to test for sample ratio mismatches (or why I don’t use a chi-squared test)”, we go deeper into chi-square mechanics and how what we built accounts for the gaps left behind by the alternatives.

Common causes of an SRM  

1. Redirects & Delays

A SRM usually results from some visitors closing out and leaving the page before the redirect finishes executing. Because we only send the decision events once they arrive on the page and Optimizely Experiment loads, we can’t count these visitors in our results page unless they return at some point and send an event to Optimizely Experiment.

A SRM can emerge in the case of anything that would cause Optimizely Experiment’s event calls to delay or not fire, such as variation code changes. It also occurs when redirect experiments shuttle visitors to a different domain. This occurrence is exacerbated by slow connection times.

2. Force-bucketing

If a user first gets bucketed in the experiment and then that decision is used to force-bucket them in a subsequent experiment, then the results of that subsequent experiment will become imbalanced.

Here’s an example:

Variation A provides a wildly different user experience than Variation B.

Visitors bucketed into Variation A have a great experience, and many of them continue to log in and land into the subsequent experiment where they’re force-bucketed into Variation A.

But, visitors who were bucketed into Variation B aren’t having a good experience. Only a few users log in and land into a subsequent experiment where they will be force-bucketed into Variation B.

Well, now you have many more visitors in Variation A than in Variation B.

3. Site has its own redirects

Some sites have their own redirects (for example, 301s) that, combined with our redirects, can result in a visitor landing on a page without the snippet. This causes pending decision events to get locked in localStorage and Optimizely Experiment never receives or counts them.

4. Hold/send events API calls are housed outside of the snippet

Some users include hold/send events in project JS. However, others include it in other scripts on the page, such as in vendor bundles or analytics tracking scripts. This represents another script that must be properly loaded for the decisions to fire appropriately. Implementation or loading rates may differ across variations, particularly in the case of redirects.

Interested?  

If you’re already an Optimizely Experiment customer and you’d like to learn more about how automatic SRM detection benefits your A/B tests, check out our knowledge base documentation:

For further details you can always reach out to your customer success manager but do take a moment to review our documentation first!

If you’re not a customer, get started with us here! 

And if you’d like to dig deeper into the engine that powers Optimizely experimentation, you can check out our page faster decisions you can trust for digital experimentation. 

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How to Use Email Marketing Automation to Encourage SaaS Adoption

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How to Use Email Marketing Automation to Encourage SaaS Adoption

SaaS adoption refers to the process that earns your product a permanent place in your user’s workflow. This happens when you empower your audience to extract useful value from your solutions.

Email, a tried and tested communication tool, plays an essential role in helping brands relay their product’s value to their customers and educate them on how to make the most of it.

However, smaller teams might find themselves at a crossroads, balancing the need for personalized communication with the scale of their user base

Email marketing automation offers a practical solution by ensuring that each message is tailored and timely, yet sent out with minimal manual effort.

In this article, let’s look at five tips that will help you build robust email marketing automation that will motivate your audience to adopt your tool and make it a part of their daily lives.

1. Segment your audience

Audience segmentation is crucial for personalizing your emails, which in turn, can significantly boost SaaS product adoption. Remember, a message that resonates with one segment might not strike a chord with another.

The key to effective segmentation is understanding where each customer is in their journey. Are they new subscribers, active users, or perhaps at the brink of churning?

Here are some actionable steps to segment your audience effectively:

  1.  Analyze User Behavior: Look at how different users interact with your SaaS product. Are they frequent users, or do they log in sporadically? This insight can help you create segments like ‘active users’, ‘occasional users’, and ‘at-risk users’.
  2.  Utilize Sign-up Data: Leverage the information gathered during the sign-up process. This can include job roles, company size, or industry, which are excellent parameters for segmentation.
  3.  Monitor Engagement Levels: Keep an eye on how different segments interact with your emails. Are they opening, clicking, or ignoring your messages? This feedback will help you refine your segments and tailor your approach. Plus, consider setting up small business phone systems to enhance communication with your audience.

2. Create campaigns based on behavior

Sending behavior-based campaigns is pivotal in effective email marketing. By focusing on performance metrics such as open rates, click-through rates, and engagement times, you can gauge the effectiveness of your emails and adjust your strategy accordingly.

You can also use digital signage to entertain or make customers aware of something new – product or service, through a digital sign.

Different types of email campaigns serve various purposes:

  1. Educational Campaigns: These are designed to inform and enlighten your audience about their problem. They can include tips, best practices, and how-to guides. The goal here is to provide value and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry.
  2. Interactive Campaigns: These campaigns encourage user engagement through surveys, quizzes, microblogging platforms, or feedback forms. They not only provide valuable insights into user preferences but also make the recipients feel heard and valued.
  3. Onboarding Campaigns: Targeted toward new users, these messages help them get the value they seek from your product as soon as possible. They can include step-by-step tutorials, video guides, or links to helpful resources.

4.Re-engagement Campaigns: Aimed at inactive users, these emails strive to reignite their interest in your SaaS product. They might include product updates, special offers, or reminders of the benefits they’re missing out on.

3. A/B test before deployment

Rather than pushing a new campaign to your entire audience as soon as you draft the emails, A/B testing helps you know whether your messages are any good.

Here are some best practices for A/B testing in email automation:

  1. Test One Variable at a Time: Whether it’s the subject line, email content, or call-to-action, change just one (or a couple) element per test. This clarity helps in pinpointing exactly what works and what doesn’t.
  2. Choose a Representative Sample: Ensure that the test group is a good mix of your target audience as a whole. This way, the results are more likely to reflect how your entire audience would react.
  3. Measure the Right Metrics: Depending on what you’re testing, focus on relevant metrics like open rates, click-through rates, or conversion rates. This will give you a clear picture of the impact of your changes. Along with these steps, it’s important to use an SPF checker to ensure your emails aren’t marked as spam and increase the deliverability rate.
  4. Use the Results to Inform Your Strategy: Once you have the results, don’t just stop at implementing the winning version. Analyze why it performed better and use these insights to inform your future campaigns.
  5. Don’t Rush the Process: Give your test enough time to gather significant data. Adopt comprehensive marketing reporting solutions that give you a clear picture of your campaigns’ efficacy.

4. Leverage email templates

When managing multiple email automation campaigns, each with potentially dozens of emails, the task of creating each one from scratch can be daunting. Not to mention, if you have multiple writers on board, there’s a risk of inconsistency in tone, style, and branding.

Email templates are your secret weapon for maintaining consistency and saving time. They provide a standardized framework that can be easily customized for different campaigns and purposes.

They are also a great way to communicate with your customers. Another way to communicate efficiently with your customer is through best small business phone systems, which is especially efficient when conveying information about your product or service.

Here’s a rundown of various types of templates you should consider having:

  1. Welcome: For greeting new subscribers or users. It should be warm, inviting, and informative, setting the tone for future communications.
  2. Educational Content: Used for sharing tips, guides, and resources. If you are making this template to introduce online GCSE physics tutor services that you provide, you should be clear, concise, and focused on delivering value in your template.
  3. Promotional: For announcing new features, offers, or services. It should be eye-catching and persuasive without being overly salesy.
  4. Feedback Request: Designed to solicit user feedback. This template should be engaging and make it easy for recipients to respond.
  5. Re-engagement: Aimed at rekindling interest among inactive users. It should be attention-grabbing and remind them of what they’re missing.
  6. Event Invitation: For webinars, workshops, or other events. This should be exciting and informative, providing all the necessary details.

5. Use a tool that works for you

Email is more than just a marketing platform; it’s a multifaceted tool that can drive customer engagement, support, and retention. Given its versatility, it’s crucial to choose the right email automation tool that aligns with your specific needs.

When selecting an email automation tool, consider these key features:

  1. Intuitive Interface: Even your non-technical team members should find it easy to use.
  2. Robust Segmentation Capabilities: The tool must offer advanced segmentation options to target your emails accurately.
  3. A/B Testing Functionality: Essential for optimizing your email campaigns.
  4. Integration with Other Tools: Look for a tool that integrates seamlessly with your CRM, analytics, and other marketing platforms. Additionally, integrating a multilingual translation support can further enhance the tool’s versatility, allowing you to reach a diverse audience with tailored content in their preferred languages.

Popular tools like Mailchimp and ActiveCampaign offer free trials which are great for brands to take these for a spin before making a choice.

Wrapping up

Leveraging email automation makes it easier for SaaS brands to market their solutions to their audience and ultimately increase adoption rates.

Segmenting audiences, creating messages based on their behavior, testing emails before setting campaigns live, utilizing templates for speed and consistency, and adopting a tool that you are comfortable working with are essential email marketing automation tips to help you get started on the right foot.

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MARKETING

Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

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Marketing Team Reorgs: Why So Many and How To Survive

How long has it been since your marketing team got restructured? 

Wearing our magic mind-reading hat, we’d guess it was within the last two years. 

Impressed by the guess? Don’t be.  

Research from Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds that almost half of marketing teams restructured in the last 12 months. (And the other half probably did it the previous year.) 

Why do marketing teams restructure so often? Is this a new thing? Is it just something that comes with marketing? What does it all mean for now and the future? 

CMI chief strategy advisor Robert Rose offers his take in this video and the summary below. 

Marketing means frequent change 

Marketing Week’s 2024 Career and Salary Survey finds 46.5% of marketing teams restructured in the last year — a 5-percentage point increase over 2023 when 41.4% of teams changed their structure. 

But that’s markedly less than the 56.5% of marketing teams that restructured in 2022, which most likely reflected the impact of remote work, the fallout of the pandemic, and other digital marketing trends. 

Maybe the real story isn’t, “Holy smokes, 46% of businesses restructured their marketing last year.” The real story may be, “Holy smokes, only 46% of businesses restructured their marketing.” 

Put simply, marketing teams are now in the business of changing frequently. 

It raises two questions.  

First, why does marketing experience this change? You don’t see this happening in other parts of the business. Accounting teams rarely get restructured (usually only if something dramatic happens in the organization). The same goes for legal or operations. Does marketing change too frequently? Or do other functions in business not change enough? 

Second, you may ask, “Wait a minute, we haven’t reorganized our marketing teams in some time. Are we behind? Are we missing out? What are they organizing into? Or you may fall at the other end of the spectrum and ask, “Are we changing too fast? Do companies that don’t change so often do better? 

OK, that’s more than one question, but the second question boils down to this: Should you restructure your marketing organization? 

Reorganizing marketing 

Centralization emerged as the theme coming out of the pandemic. Gartner reports (registration required) a distinct move to a fully centralized model for marketing over the last few years: “(R)esponsibilities across the marketing organization have shifted. Marketing’s sole responsibilities for marketing operations, marketing strategy, and marketing-led innovation have increased.”  

According to a Gartner study, marketing assuming sole responsibility for marketing operations, marketing innovation, brand management, and digital rose by double-digit percentage points in 2022 compared to the previous year.  

What does all that mean for today in plainer language? 

Because teams are siloed, it’s increasingly tougher to create a collaborative environment. And marketing and content creation processes are complex (there are lots of people doing more small parts to creative, content, channel management, and measurement). So it’s a lot harder these days to get stuff done if you’re not working as one big, joined-up team. 

Honestly, it comes down to this question: How do you better communicate and coordinate your content? That’s innovation in modern marketing — an idea and content factory operating in a coordinated, consistent, and collaborative way. 

Let me give you an example. All 25 companies we worked with last year experienced restructuring fatigue. They were not eager creative, operations, analytics, media, and digital tech teams champing at the bit for more new roles, responsibilities, and operational changes. They were still trying to settle into the last restructuring.  

What worked was fine-tuning a mostly centralized model into a fully centralized operational model. It wasn’t a full restructuring, just a nudge to keep going. 

In most of those situations, the Gartner data rang true. Marketing has shifted to get a tighter and closer set of disparate teams working together to collaborate, produce, and measure more efficiently and effectively.  

As Gartner said in true Gartner-speak fashion: “Marginal losses of sole responsibility (in favor of shared and collaborative) were also reported across capabilities essential for digitally oriented growth, including digital media, digital commerce, and CX.” 

Companies gave up the idea of marketing owning one part of the customer experience, content type, or channel. Instead, they moved into more collaborative sharing of the customer experience, content type, or channel.  

Rethinking the marketing reorg 

This evolution can be productive. 

Almost 10 years ago, Carla Johnson and I wrote about this in our book Experiences: The 7th Era of Marketing. We talked about the idea of building to change: 

“Tomorrow’s marketing and communications teams succeed by learning to adapt — and by deploying systems of engagement that facilitate adaptation. By constantly building to change, the marketing department builds to succeed.” 

We surmised the marketing team of the future wouldn’t be asking what it was changing into but why it was changing. Marketing today is at the tipping point of that. 

The fact that half of all marketing teams restructure and change every two years might not be a reaction to shifting markets. It may just be how you should think of marketingas something fluid that you build and change into whatever it needs to be tomorrow, not something you must tear down and restructure every few years.  

The strength in that view comes not in knowing you need to change or what you will change into. The strength comes from the ability and capacity to do whatever marketing should. 

HANDPICKED RELATED CONTENT:  

Want more content marketing tips, insights, and examples? Subscribe to workday or weekly emails from CMI.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

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