From Form Fill to Inbox: Optimizing Your Welcome Email Campaign Flow with Marketo
Summary - From website visits to post-send activities. Learn the secrets behind crafting successful welcome emails. Discover the state-of-the-art in campaign creation.
When it comes to user onboarding, the timing is everything. A welcome email delivered at the right time can make a big difference in your user’s product onboarding experience. The email itself serves as an introduction to your team and offers a straightforward way for users to get in touch with support or sales. Many welcome emails are pragmatic and aim to provide users with helpful steps to get started with a product.
There’s a lot involved in crafting a successful welcome email in Marketo. Sure, beautifully designed emails are one part of the equation, but there’s a lot more than meets the eye. In this post, we’ll take a look at what’s happening behind the scenes in Marketo from form fill to inbox.
Setting the Stage for User Signup: The Website Visit
The user’s journey to your product often begins long before they start visiting your website as a result of your marketing campaigns. However, visiting your website is the critical first step in following your user’s journey in Marketo. An enticing landing page experience sets the stage for your user’s experience and interaction with your brand and product. This initial encounter with your brand can leave a lasting impression, so it’s critical to make it count.
There are two components to consider at this stage: the form design and the landing page design.
Form Design in Marketo
Marketo provides a robust set of tools for non-developers (read: me) to create sophisticated web forms that work with minimal configuration. If you’re using Marketo Landing Pages, then your forms are easy to embed and deploy to start capturing new users. If not, then you can share the embed code with a web developer and it’ll be easy for them to deploy for you.
As you design your user signup form, you’ll want to carefully balance the number of fields you use as form length can impact conversion rates. The data you collect on the form will be key to setting up Segmentations and Dynamic Content in Marketo down the line.
Landing Page Design in Marketo
One thing that is often overlooked at this stage is the value in tying the landing page experience to your welcome email. The landing page sets the expectation – and the welcome email should meet and confirm those expectations. In part, this is about the content itself; in part, this is about using a consistent brand design across email and landing pages. This consistency builds familiarity and trust – essential ingredients in the user journey.
An example of a landing page designed in Knak for user signups.
Capturing User Information: The Form Fill
The humble web form is a lynchpin in the user signup process – completing your product’s signup form may kick off a dozen or more processes across product, sales, and marketing. With Marketo, you can design and build forms without any programming knowledge and easily deploy them to a landing page through the form embed code.
It’s important to have a clear understanding of how the data collected in the user signup form integrates with your current Marketo process. This could be as simple as using approved fields or as advanced as setting up hidden fields to pass information, like UTM parameters, into your Marketo instance.
From Form Fill to Program Enrollment: Data Processing
When a user fills out a form, Marketo will kick off processes behind the scenes using the data provided by the form, including any hidden fields you may be using, captured by the Munchkin cookie. The data provided by the form may be used in data management, lead management, lead scoring, lead lifecycle management, and many other Marketo processes.
If you were to look at the Activity Log of a new user, it would likely be full of processes you have set up, run by Marketo as part of its standard data management. You may be set up with this initial data set to start assigning users Segmentations and utilizing personalization features.
However, it’s important to remember that your data story for this particular user may be somewhat incomplete at this stage.
Despite the requirements of sending an email very quickly, it may take upwards of a day for all the data systems to completely sync up. The lead data may come from the product story as well, or your product analytics tool. So even if you want to send a very robust email, it’s important that we operate off of the data that we have available to us.
This is why this form fill is so important – it’s effectively the starting blocks for email communications with them.
Campaign Creation Means Automation: Program Enrollment
As part of the data processing step, Marketo will check your programs to see if criteria has been met to enroll a user.
This will be accomplished by having a Smart Campaign that listens to the Form Fill event and perhaps has additional filters based on your requirements.
Your Marketo program is where your more advanced logic and automation will reside. I’ve found it valuable to use custom programs to set up Program Status values that align to the type of program I’m running (free trial, freemium, product onboarding, etc).
Program statuses are useful because they can help track the progression of your user throughout their engagement with you. Based on subsequent user actions, you can progress users to stages such as “Member, Engaged, Activated, Converted, Expired”.
This foundation for your welcome email enables you to build increasingly personalized, high-converting content. Programs not only house all the logic and assets for your campaign, but they also can use program tokens which can be a big first step to personalizing your content.
In essence, program enrollment is where campaign creation meets automation. It’s where you set the wheels in motion for your welcome email campaign and kick off the onboarding process.
Delivering the Welcome Email: The Send
The user has met all the enrollment criteria of the program, now the email will be sent using a Smart Campaign. It’s important to have well-designed welcome emails that set the expectations and match the expectations of your end users.
Example of a Welcome email – Personalization can be subtle yet impactful. See more examples in the Email Examples Gallery
The best welcome emails are designed to provide immediate value to the end user.
How you accomplish this depends on your product, services, branding, and positioning. Some emails are focused on utility by providing next steps, while others make sure users know how to get contact with sales or support.
Welcome email personalization can take many forms: from the easy-to-implement personalizations like First Name tokens, to more advanced personalizations that use Segmentations (or even a combination of them) to serve up unique content with the Dynamic Content feature.
From Email Delivery to Open: Post Send
Marketo has lots of features to analyze the success of your program. You can use a number of reports such as:
- Email Link Performance
- Email Performance
- Landing Page Performance
- Program Performance
- Web Page Activity
Analyzing these results will help you evaluate the performance of your welcome email and subsequent user onboarding emails.
Your Marketo program may have additional Smart Campaigns to send follow up emails. For instance, in a free 14 day trial you may send the welcome email on Day 1, then follow up with emails on Day 2, 3, 7, and 14.
As you develop more sophisticated, personalized programs, you may create branches in your program based on attributes such as product engagement, ideal customer profile (ICP) fit, lead interactions, or a combination of these. The welcome email may be the first point to start creating these branches: start simple by setting up a separate branch for those who open the welcome email versus those who do not.
Conclusion: A Single Campaign Creation Tech Stack
With Marketo as your data and operations basecamp, you can start to dig into the types of optimization strategies that will yield results. The underlying data and program architecture in Marketo is how you can unlock optimization capabilities like personalization and dynamic content. It is important to note here that another, more subtle, point that is often overlooked when it comes to optimization is the focus of providing a consistent brand experience over both email and landing pages.
Check out our article on the state of campaign creation tech stacks in 2023: The Complete Guide to Best-in-Class Email and Landing Page Creation
What users see on the web page sets expectations that are critical for your welcome email to match. To do this, you need to have a tight data process in Marketo (which we outlined in this article). Another aspect of this experience is providing a consistent brand experience. I’m a firm believer that if you have the right data as a marketer, you can tailor experiences in such a way as to improve the overall user experience.
At the heart of this process is the interaction between the landing page, form, and email. By having a robust data process, you can deliver timely, high-value emails. But don’t forget the brand experience either: using a campaign creation platform like Knak lets you control brand elements across landing pages and emails. This means you can deliver consistent brand experiences from form fill to inbox.