Marketing How-To: Implement Marketing Automation

Here are the lessons we’ve learned—and pitfalls we’ve found—to help you implement marketing automation with fewer headaches in a shorter amount of time.

This article on marketing automation implementation best practices is part of the “Marketing How-To” series by Rogue Marketing where we skip the high-level punditry and get our hands dirty.

The most successful marketers are never “just marketers.” We’re always marketers+: Marketers+sales, marketers+developers, marketers+videographers, marketers+supply chain, etc. Marketing automation experts have to be marketers+IT support, because no system gets tied into your digital properties without a strong partnership between you and the tech team.

Here are the critical steps to get a new marketing system up and running in the first week:

Email Verification

Whether you’re an agency or doing your own marketing automation, you cannot reach your audience’s inbox without verifying your email domain. Once you verify that you have rights to use email with the @gorogue.net extension (or whatever your domain may be), you can alter the alias.

For example, if my email were atticus.finch@gorogue.net (NOTE: not a real address), I would enter that email address to verify the domain. Your automation tool will send you an email to open and click to confirm, and then you’re set. When you’re ready to start campaigns, you can modify the username to say “IT-help@gorogue.net” or “marketingautomation@gorogue.net.” Go crazy. The verification is based on the domain, not the username.

You can choose to make the campaign username unable to receive replies, or you can set up an account where your audience can respond to your automation and keep the relationship going.

DKIM Settings

For marketers not yet initiated in the world of IT, DKIM settings are CNAME records that your IT team will need to enter in the DNS. Not every email client or automation platform will require DKIM settings, so make sure to send a test email after you’ve verified your domain. If it goes to junk or spam, you need the DKIM settings configured on the domain you want to use (for example, @gorogue.net; NOT @mail.gorogue.net).

DKIM settings may look like this, but each hosting service will have different names for the fields where you enter the information:

Type: CNAME
Name: key1._domainkey.yourwebsite.com [NOTE: Because you are entering this information into your site’s DNS, you may only need to enter “key1._domainkey” in the CNAME record.]
Data: key1.v9473010.c937291947.e.yourautomationtool.com

Type: CNAME
Name: key2._domain.key.yourwebsite.com [NOTE: Because you are entering this information into your site’s DNS, you may only need to enter “key2._domainkey” in the CNAME record.]
Data: key2.v9473010.c937291947.e.yourautomationtool.com

If you’re an agency, remember that some large clients are very protective about what goes into their DNS, and they may have a policy against implementing DKIM settings. At Rogue we ran into this issue with a university. If you’re not an agency, you will need to check with your IT team that they are willing or permitted to enter CNAME records in order to manage your marketing automation through a tool that you have chosen. We’ve also seen companies that won’t do it for anybody, agency or internal.

CRM and Two-Step Verification

Marketing automation systems usually offer an integration with your sales CRM—and if you are considering a marketing automation system that doesn’t sync with a CRM, then think again. Leads are constantly flowing between marketing and sales as they come in, get nurture campaigns, receive communication from the sales team, get DQ’d and sent back to a nurture campaign, etc. Your CRM and marketing automation system need to synchronize all communications to leads, whether that lead comes from a campaign or from a sales rep.

Your CRM will need to be able to scan sales reps’ email accounts for addresses that match the lead email addresses. When it finds emails to or from those addresses, it brings that information into the system where communication continues to be tracked.

But saying that they can talk to each other does not mean that linking them up is as easy as putting together Lego blocks. In order to make that sync (or “handshake,” as some might say) happen, your CRM will need to log in behind the scenes, and that means you need to tell your email provider (Gmail, Outlook) that you are allowing the CRM bots to get in and scan. Your IT team can help.

If you’re using Gmail as your email provider, you may need to set up two-step verification—and Google doesn’t make the links easy to access. Here’s what you’ll need:

Turn on two-step verification: https://www.google.com/landing/2step/
Set up an app password: https://security.google.com/settings/security/apppasswords

When you set up a marketing automation system tied to your email domain, you are opening another door into your system. Google adds an additional layer of verification to make sure that your domain is secure at the new point of entry so that you don’t become a victim of hacking.

If you’re using Outlook as your email provider, you may have an easier setup. Microsoft relies on securities already in place to protect email from external threats.

Landing Pages

Not all marketing automation tools have the ability to manage landing pages and their analytics; but as a marketing automation expert, you are going to need landing pages that are easy to build and that don’t have a place in your site’s sitemap.

If you’re doing this for your own business, you can easily create a landing page template and de-list it in Google Search Console. But you may have a situation where your CMS is cumbersome, your site is flat-file HTML, or you may be an agency with limited access to a larger client’s full website backend. In any of those cases, you may be using a landing page service either in your marketing automation tool or alongside it.

If you are using a landing page service, you can’t use your own domain (ww.gorogue.net/landing page or lp.gorogue.net) without mapping it in the DNS. To do that, you’ll need another CNAME record. It will look like this:

Host/Alias: http://subdomain.domain.com
Value Destination/Points To: http://subdomain.domain.com.landingpage.service

Now you can build landing pages for each campaign without losing the integrity of your primary domain.

Rogue Can Help

Part of Rogue’s abilities as an agency is providing end-to-end marketing automation to help you reach your goals.

We provide a marketing automation solution that allows you to identify specific visitors and send highly specific workflows based on user activity—whether or not they fill out a form during a given session. Once visitors raises a hand on your site, you are able to track their activity and speak directly to their interests and needs. Rogue marketing provides “seed-to-fruit” marketing services that start with creating clear strategies and finish with tracking through to ROI.

If you want to do something genuinely unique to stand out to your audience, contact us today.