AdWords Universal App Campaigns Outplace App-Install Campaigns

Universal App Campaigns

Thanks to Google AdWords, driving mobile app downloads is easier than ever. Originally the only option on AdWords for an app campaign was their manual app-install campaigns. With the launch of their Universal App Campaigns (UAC) two years ago, things have become even more a breeze. Now, AdWords is moving all app-install ads under the UAC umbrella, putting Google in the driver’s seat.

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How to Use Automated Lead Generation to Grow Your Business

In today’s technology-driven business world, speed is everything. Just as the internet has changed the pace of communications, it has also irrevocably altered the way we do business.
Gone are the days of pounding the streets to generate leads or cold calling endless lists of potential clients.

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Managing Emails like a Rock Star with Marketo

Marketo is an extraordinarily versatile web-based marketing automation tool. It can help you run email campaigns, create landing pages, capture data from forms, integrate with webinar and CRM software, and nurture leads throughout their entire lifecycle.

It would take us several more articles just like this one to cover everything that Marketo marketing automation software can do, so we’ll stick to the basics: using Marketo to create and run a simple email program with associated email and audience.

Launch Marketo

First, start up Marketo and log in. If you don’t have an account on there, Marketo offers a free trial. Keep in mind that you have to request the trial, and it’s usually only offered to companies with 10 employees or more.

Create a Campaign Folder

A campaign folder is where everything in your campaign will reside. In this case, we’ll be putting an email program, an audience, and the email itself in here. If you were sending a series of emails, you’d put them all inside a single campaign.

    • Right click on Marketing Activities and click New Campaign Folder
    • Call it Test.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Call the new campaign folder Test.

Create an Email Program

A program is another type of folder, which contains assets like emails and leads.

    • Right click on that folder and click New Program
    • Make sure it’s in the Test folder and call it Test Email Program
    • Under Program Type, select Email
    • Under Channel, select Email Send

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose Email for Program Type and Email Send for Channel.

Define an Audience

If you’ve got a pre-existing set of emails in a spreadsheet, you can import those emails into Marketo.

    • Click the Test Email Program, then under the Audience panel, click Import List.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Under the Audience panel, click Import List.

    • Click Browse and locate your CSV or XLSX file with your contacts. Click Next.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Find your comma delimited file or Excel file and click Next.

    • You’ll need to map each of the fields in the spreadsheet to an existing field in Marketo. Most of the time, the fields will match on a 1:1 basis. If you’ve got full names in a single column, match it to the Full Name field, for example.
    • Click Next again.
    • Enter a name for your list, or click the dropdown to add it to an existing list. Click Import.
    • Click Leads, and you can see the leads you imported.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
See all the leads you imported in this list.

Create an E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Click New Email under the Email pane.
    • Make sure the program matches. Call it Test Email. Select the Blank template for now.
    • Click Create.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Enter a program and name and choose a template, then click Create.

    • The email editor will open. Choose who you want the e-mail to be from, and what email you’d like to handle them. If there are a large number of leads, this address will get a lot of unsubscribes, bounces and so on, so you may want to create a new email in your email app just to handle these. Write a subject.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Determine who the emails will reply to, even in the case of bounces.

    • Look below the subject. Notice there’s a text box already created. Double click this box. You’ll get a new edit screen, where you can design an email in HTML.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Design the email in HTML here.

    • If you’d like to add a company logo or other graphics, you can drag and drop them from the Insert Elements box on the right. Then, choose the image, and it’ll be inserted into the HTML.
    • When you’re done designing the email, be sure and click Copy from HTML so that there’s a text version. Not everyone likes HTML email, so having both integrated into the same email is wise.
    • Click Save when done.
    • You’ll then need to right click on the Test Email and click Approve. Nothing goes out from Marketo without you approving it first. You’ll see the approval marked by a check box.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Right-click Test Email and click Approve.

Schedule the E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Choose a date and time to send the e-mail under the Schedule pane.
    • Click Approve Program.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose a schedule and click Approve Program.

You’re all done! Your email will now go out at the scheduled time. Now you’ve learned how to set up a new program, a new email and a new list. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Marketo can do.

Read up in Marketo’s tutorial section for more advanced features, like landing pages, email campaigns, YouTube videos, webinar integration and more. There’s really no limit to what you can do with Marketo.

Why You Need Marketing Automation

It can be difficult to find marketing automation software that fits your needs when you are searching for the first time. Our partner, Marketo, teamed up with Software Advice, a marketing automation evaluation company, and spoke to hundreds of companies to determine their uses of marketing automation software.

79% of companies were already using some kind of software to help them manage marketing. Most high tech companies are looking to purchase some kind of marketing software. The largest group of buyers were companies with less than 500 employers. Another key finding was that the top reason companies evaluate marketing automation software is to improve lead management and automate processes. The most requested capability in marketing automation software is lead nurturing, which beat out reporting/analytics and lead scoring.

International Data Corporation (IDC) predicts that the overall market for marketing automation will grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015.

Three key trends have been driving companies to adopt the technology.

  • Changing buyer behaviors forced companies to change how they market and sell.
  • The 2008 recession permanently altered how companies approach revenue generation and measurement.
  • The software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery model made the technology available to many more companies than ever before.

Read on to learn more about what people look for when purchasing marketing automation tools:

State of Marketing Automation Trends 2014

Brought to you by Marketing Automation Software by Marketo

Are you ready to get marketing automation for your company? Ask yourself what you need out of the marketing automation software and contact us to help you find the perfect solution for your brand.

StrataCast, Episode 1

The time has come at StrataBlue…we’ve started a podcast!

Led by one of our social media account managers, Chelsea Tuttle, we will have a new podcast each month for you in which we interview industry experts across all digital marketing fields to give you some insider information.

For our first podcast, we decided to dive into the subject of marketing automation since we recently partnered with Marketo. According to Marketo,  marketing automation is a category of technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows, so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster. IDC predicts that the overall market for automating marketing will grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $4.8 billion in 2015.

Marketing automation is no longer only for large businesses, but can be beneficial to businesses of all sizes to help lead generation, segmentation, lead nurturing and lead scoring, relationship marketing, cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention and marketing ROI measurement. Find out why we at StrataBlue believe in the power of marketing automation for your business in our podcast below, and check back next month for the next installment!



Creating a Content Strategy in the Wall of Noise

Recently Entrepreneur Magazine wrote an interesting article about the failure of content marketing. In a nutshell, they suggested that content marketers have a long haul from blog post to sale. Entrepreneur suggested content value, professional help and measured analytics can greatly help with content strategy, and who am I to argue? However, I will have to disagree that the focus should be solely on content marketing.

Content Shock

Content Shock

Less recently social marketers had to deal with an ice storm of gloom and doom in the form of Mark Schaefer’s content shock blog post. The idea is that everyone will create so much content that eventually (pick your timeline) creating content will be pointless for anyone but the biggest competitors. There was a lot of backlash to this idea, and multiple arguments against the concept. Change can be difficult, even for people in this field.

What is most enlightening was Schaefer’s response to the arguments against content shock. When addressing that “great content will always rise to the top,” he pointed out that content has a long way to go before it even reaches the eyes of potential customers. Search optimization, Schaefer argues, is as much of a factor of content strategy as content meaning is.

Refocusing Your Strategy

The only constant is that everything eventually changes, and that is doubly true in the field of online marketing. Take a look at SEO. I remember the days when guest blogging was the new silver bullet. How things have changed. Things can also be cyclical, though. I believe that marketers have championed content marketing as yet another cure-all, and now they’re surprised when it’s losing its edge.

So if content marketing isn’t the answer, what will we turn to next? If content is going to reach a high water mark, how can we continue to remain effective? I believe the answer relies on diversifying.

Basic Search is beyond important in a future world where everyone is producing far too much content. It may seem like a simple suggestion, but in a world where SEO has taken a backseat to social, marketers have gotten sloppy when it comes to keyword optimization. Far smarter people than me have written really great articles about using Google’s Keyword Planner, so I’m just going to point you their way. I would also suggest you spend some time with your meta tags. It’s an easy search feature that many marketers overlook.

Video Marketing is about to explode. Forget that, it already has exploded for the big guys. While everyone cannot create amazing written content, almost anyone can try. It takes a bit more work and thought to put together a piece of video content. And while you’re at it, I would suggest looking into podcasts and video blogs as well.

Marketing automation has grown from an emailing tool into an end to end process for sales departments. Perhaps you cannot snag every potential customers with your blog, but you can track their interests through other channels. If content marketing is going to be the silver bullet of the past, marketing automation will be the wave of the future.

What have you done to alter your marketing strategy in a post-content shock world? Have you expanded your marketing grip or re-doubled your efforts on fantastic content? I would love to hear your thoughts below or on Twitter.

Crutchfield’s Digital Experience Rocks More Than Just Ear Drums

I recently came across an interesting white paper published by Ektron titled, “Demystifying Digital Experience Management.” The paper offers tips for creating positive and memorable digital experiences. In the middle of reading this document, I heard a knock at my front door. It was the deliveryman holding a product I had ordered from online electronics retailer Crutchfield.

Not long after I closed the door, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. Crutchfield had sent me an eerily-timed email promoting a sale on their high-end, touch screen receivers (an undeniable step up from what I had just purchased). It was from this experience that the idea for this blog post was hatched. According to Ektron, shaping an outstanding digital experience requires proper contextualization, consistency and integration across web, social and mobile platforms.

How would I rate Crutchfield in these areas?

Contextualization Grade: A

It’s no secret that individuals’ experiences, interests and preferences can differ greatly. These important factors also contribute to the “context” that surrounds any business interaction. The more a digital experience is customized to fit an individual’s unique profile, the more effective communication with him/her will be. Ektron believes “Adapting the context of the communication to fit the individual is a hallmark of a great digital experience.” Crutchfield understands this.

For example, when browsing their website, they ask shoppers to input the year, make and model of their vehicle to quickly identify products that are compatible. Behind-the-scenes, this information is also used to deliver personalized content, like the e-mail below I received after plugging in my vehicle’s details.



Consistency Grade: B

Maintaining consistency across numerous digital channels is another important component of the digital experience. What needs to be consistent? According to Ektron, not only a brand’s look and feel but also its messaging. After a quick look at Crutchfield’s Facebook page you’ll notice two things: (1) their logo and brand look are consistent with its other channels, and (2) the content and feel are much different than what you’d expect based upon their website and e-mail communications.

For example, their typical Twitter message tends to be polished and professional with an occasional “very cool” or “that’s awesome” slipped in. Their Facebook Page in contrast, is full very humor heavy (while still relevant) with an occasional straight-faced post mixed in. As a fan of humor myself, I’m not saying I’m against this approach. The post below has received over 250 likes and 121 comments, which are solid engagement stats.  I’m simply saying that this break from consistency seems to go against Ektron’s recommendation. What are your thoughts?



Integration Grade: A

Ektron’s white paper also discusses the importance of integrating systems such as content management, marketing automation, customer relationship management, analytics and social data into a company’s digital tool kit. I’ve never sat in on a Crutchfield digital integration strategy meeting, but my experience as a customer tells me that they’re highly aware of its importance.

Previously, I mentioned receiving an e-mail from them that included suggested products to fit my specific car. What I didn’t mention is that I received that e-mail literally minutes after I had added an item to their online shopping cart and then abandoned the purchase. This tells me that they’re likely using a marketing automation solution to automate real-time follow-up. Apparently they’ve designated shopping cart abandonments as an e-mail trigger within their workflow. Their use of automation software would also explain how/why I received a digital and paper catalog shortly after my initial purchase.



When you add up these grades, Crutchfield earns a report card that would make any mother proud. There’s no doubt they’ve done their homework on the digital experience and have successfully integrated their knack for service excellence into their digital efforts (see their retweet below). It’s no coincidence they’ve received so many awards including Bizrate Research’s Circle of Excellence Platinum Award for 14 consecutive years!



Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter. I’d love to hear about your most memorable digital experience, your thoughts on digital automation or your smack talk about the old school car I drive!

Marketing Automation: A Tool Your Company Can’t Afford to Ignore

Marketing automation can help your business by streamlining, automating and measuring marketing tasks and processes across multiple marketing channels. Think it’s not for you? Without it, your content marketing strategy isn’t living up to its full potential. Don’t let your competitors beat you, learn why you need this powerful tool in this Slideshare:


Why You Failed at Marketing Automation

52% of B2B marketing organizations say lead generation is their #1 marketing challenge. The solution? Marketing automation.

Marketing automation is a very effective tool in providing companies with leads. By nurturing prospects with highly personalized, useful content, marketing automation helps convert prospects to customers and turn customers into delighted customers. Why then are companies failing to capitalize on marketing automation? Here are the most common missteps of companies who use marketing automation wrong:

  • When companies buy email lists, it hurts more than their bank account. When they send emails to people who never requested the information, those emails get flagged for spam, bring down reading rates and hurt the company’s IP address reputation. All this will result in those emails going straight to spam folders for buying email lists.
  • Companies think marketing automation will do the marketing and lead generation for them. This is not the case. Marketing automation will help that company become successful, but it will not do all the work. Companies need to create valuable content that speaks to their potential customers.
  • Email marketing isn’t dead. You can read more about that in a recent blog of ours. It is an ineffective tool if it’s the only channel you are using to talk to your potential customers. The average person will receive more than 10,000 emails this year, according to The Radicati Group, Inc. If companies are only relying on emails, how confident can they be that they are separating themselves from the other email noise? Too many companies use marketing automation solely as an email engine.
  • Nurture campaigns are often considered the most complicated feature of marketing automation. But B2B marketing is very similar to building a relationship with someone. When you nurture a lead, your message should always be relevant and timely based on customer actions. It takes time to figure out what customers want before you can start to sell to them. These types of campaigns have two times the open rates and three times the click-through rate compared to a one-off email. In a nutshell, you have to treat a nurture campaign exactly as you would any other sales relationship.
  • Leads get handed off from the Marketing Department to Sales too early, resulting in raw leads. According to Sirius Decisions, only 2-5% of raw inquiries actually convert to sales. That is a very small percentage to be wasting efforts on.

63% of companies that are outgrowing their competitors use integrated marketing automation. Avoiding a few common mistakes when integrating this tool will keep you and your business in that percentile. Have you already incorporated a marketing automation tool with your business? Has it freed up your time and energy to focus on other tasks? Comment below with your insights!