Monday, March 30, 2009

Showing Area of Web Activity in your CRM System

Recently we talked about pulling web profile information into your Contact record within Eloqua, and how that can be a very powerful technique that is useful for many things. One way that can be used is to bring deep insight into the area on your website that prospects are interested in, and present it - in a summarized form - to your sales team in, Oracle on Demand, or Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In this example, we'll look at presenting to the sales team the number of views, percentage of views, and favourite offer viewed out of a set of 5 offers. The offers are presented on the web, and we will associate the 3 or 4 pages that reflect each offer so that each contact is updated with the pages viewed across all relevant pages.

To do this, first create Contact fields within Eloqua and in your CRM system, and ensure that they are mapped in the integration area. For each offer, we'll create an "Offer A Pages Viewed", and a "Offer A Percentage of Views" field, and then one field for "Primary Area of Interest".

In the content tagging area, create a Content Tag for Offers, and a Tag Value for each Offer. In the Profile setup area, create a Profile Field for "Number of Times" and "Frequency of Selection" for each of your offers. Also create a "Most Frequently Selected Choice" to reflect the favourite offer.

As we'll be updating directly from the Contact record in Eloqua to the Contact record in your CRM system, use the technique we talked about last week to pass data directly from the Visitor Profile to the Contact. With that as a feeder to your Program, simply pass those Contacts into your CRM update program and the data will appear in their record in your CRM system.

Your sales team is able to quickly see what their favourite offer is with one glance. This technique can be used equally well to show sales a product of interest, buyer role, or likely industry.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Feeding Web Visit Information into Contacts

There are many situations where it might be ideal to have web visitor profile information, such as number of pages visited or total number of visits fed directly into the contact record for the contacts you are dealing with.

There are usually a lot of options for accessing web activity information through things like activity based filters and decision rules tied to segments, but if you need to get the activity information into a contact field, it's very easy to do.

The technique takes advantage of a Program Feeder option to use saved reports as a source. In this example, we'll walk through a simple example that uses just Visitors with a known email address, but you can expand on the technique to look at any selection of Visitor data as your feeder.

I've limited the report to the Last 4 Hours, as we're going to run this feeder very regularly, but if you are not, make sure you have the saved report use a time frame that is as long as or longer than the frequency that the feeder runs so there's overlap.

Save the report first from the reporting area, as you'll need to select it when you build the feeder. Make sure the range is relative (Last 4 hours) rather than fixed (the 4 hours prior to when you save it) so that it is continually updating.

As you use saved reports of Visitors as feeders for Program Builder it's useful to know what is happening. As you know, Visitors (web) and Contacts are different, and are linked if an identifying action like filling out a form or clicking on an email is taken. As a program feeder, you are taking a list of web Visitors, and, by using their known email address, updating the Contacts that are found with those email addresses.

To do this, we need to map the Visitor Profile fields that we're interested in over to the Contact fields we're interested in saving the data into. As we save the feeder, it will ask us this in two steps, the first will be selecting the fields from the Visitor Profile we're interested in, and the second will be the Contact Fields we are interested in mapping those into.

Generally, you will only want to bring a limited amount of information into the Contact record, and for very specific purposes, as in most cases there are other ways to do it that require no set up work. However, if you do need to, this is a quick and easy way to feed needed web visit information into your Contact records.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Using Deep Web Activity Insights in a Decision Rule

Sometimes when building a program we want to look at fairly light information about what a person did on the web site - number of visits, or whether they clicked through an email. Sometimes, however, we want to look at a much deeper view of what they did online, where they went, and what they looked at.

You can build this with Program Builder quite easily, by having a Decision Rule look to see whether there is a web visitor associated with the contact in the program, and whether that web visitor meets the set of rules you define in a Segment.

The Decision Rule works like any other type of Decision Rule, just select "Segment Membership" as your type. From there, you either select or create a new Segment definition.

Segments are rules that look at web visitor profiles to build a specific rule of which visitors performed a specific set of actions. You have access to the full set of AND, OR, and NOT operations to build whatever rule makes sense in your situation.

We talked the other day about using search terms to understand and define where in a buying process an individual was, so let's look at adding that logic to a program. We'll build a Decision Rule that determines whether a person has searched for terms related to the awareness phase of the buying process. As we talked about in the original post, these are terms that have to do with "lead scoring", "lead management", or "marketing automation".

To build our segment that looks for a set of these terms, we will define it as looking for Visitors who have searched for any of the terms we are interested in. Segments are built from individual conditions, and we'll look for specific terms in each of those conditions.

For each of the conditions, it's important to remember that we're looking for the phrase as the user typed it in to their search. Wrapping a key phrase in wild cards usually gives you the best ability to cover a variety of terms

For example, looking for a Most Recent Search Query of "*lead scor*" covers "lead scoring software", "best practices in lead scoring", and "what is a lead score". Remember to cover mistakes, alternate spellings, and alternate phrasings. For example, we would need another condition to cover "how do I score leads" as a search term because the words have been reversed.

Using a Decision Rule to look into whether a Segment Rule has been met gives you a good technique for defining a very precise rule around web activity. This can be leveraged for lead scoring, as we did in this example, or for understanding the area (or product line) of a prospect's interest, or in a variety of other situations. It's a very versatile technique worth being comfortable with.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Using Search Queries to Understand Buyers

One of the things that I talk about quite frequently is thinking about the prospects' buying process rather than our own selling process. Thinking in this way is key to making sure that we deliver the right message to each buyer based on where he or she is in his or her own thinking.

I wrote about the topic over on the digital body language blog here:

This discussion though quickly leads to the question of what to look for to give an indication that a prospect is at a certain phase of their buying process. One place to look is in search queries - the full search term used, not just individual key words.

I pulled some examples from the raw data in Eloqua's own marketing to give you a sense of this. In the first list, you can see general, pain-related and category-related terms, "lead management", "demand generation", terms that are only related to the general space in which Eloqua operates such as "marketing service provider", and terms that are clearly education-oriented, such as "digital body language".

Individuals with these search queries are, more likely than not, in an early education phase of their buying process. They are trying to learn about possible opportunities, or looking into solutions for pains that are somewhat related to what we solve.

At this phase in the buying process, high level thought leadership, ideas, and market research are often most of interest.

The next set of terms seems to be one step further down the buying funnel. By looking for more specific details such as "lead generation software", or detailed use cases like "marketing automation case study", we can see the buyer is progressing to the phase where he or she is looking to discover specific solutions to a more well formed view of a problem or an opportunity.

Being clearly visible (SEM and SEO) to searchers on terms at this phase in the buying process is key, as they are often looking to put together a list of possible vendors.

As buyers move further through the process, and begin to validate their chosen solution, or finalize their decision among two or three short list vendors, their search terms begin to get much more specific.

Often at this phase, you will see your own company name, and a very tactical query. Pricing, objections, issues, and specifications will often show up. From a marketing perspective, ensuring that information on key decision points and objections is readily available is key.

Also, as you work with your sales organizations, ensuring that they have insight into this aspect of their buyer's digital body language is critical as they can understand how the decision is progressing, and what top-of-mind issues are happening. Presenting that digital body language in their CRM system, or through Prospect Profiler can be a great way to keep sales armed with developments at the buyer's organization

Friday, March 20, 2009

Finding Eloqua Online

I've just completed a fantastic series of Eloqua user groups. I had so many great conversations with marketers building fascinating campaigns, working with their sales team in new and interesting ways, and performing deep analysis on their marketing efforts that my head is still spinning with great ideas.

One theme in the question that came up in each of the group discussions though was "Where can I learn more? Where can I network with other Eloqua users to share ideas?"

Luckily, with over 20,000 users, many of whom are passionate about marketing and demand generation, you can find us in many places. Each forum where Eloqua users congregate is used in a different way, of course, so browse through a few of them, join a group or two, and start meeting other Eloqua users in your area or around the world

Here are some that I know are active:

Eloqua User Group on Linked In:
This is a forum where Eloqua users get together, discuss ideas and best practices, and ask each other questions on techniques, ideas, and things they have tried. Also a great spot to see which Eloqua users are active in your local area:

Eloqua North-East User Group on Linked In:
A forum for Eloqua users local to the North-East of the US. Continuation of discussions from local user groups and local peers to meet up with an exchange ideas:

Eloqua Minneapolis User Group on Linked In:
A forum for Eloqua users local to the Minneapolis area. Continuation of discussions from local user groups and local peers to meet up with an exchange ideas:

Eloqua Twitter Group
The Eloqua team, and many Eloqua users are active on Twitter, and it can be a great forum to share ideas on how Eloqua and social media are being tied together in interesting and innovative ways.

Follow @eloqua for Eloqua news and information.

Eloqua on Facebook
It's a work-hard, play-hard world, and nothing caps off a great marketing discussion, user group, or show better than a meal, some drinks, and relaxation. Eloqua on Facebook is a great place to get to know the social side of your Eloqua team, other Eloqua users, or those people you know by name after many phone calls, but have not yet met face to face. Come get to know us a bit better on Facebook - we promise not to talk shop:

Eloqua Blogs

There's nothing we enjoy more than sharing ideas and engaging with marketers in good discussions on a variety of topics. We enjoy it so much that you'll see a number of us actively blogging. Join the discussion, comment, or share your ideas.

Digital Body Language
A discussion of the transformation that is happening in marketing, as we better try to engage with today's new buyer. Approaches and discussions ranging from lead scoring, sales alignment, and analytics, to social media and marketing economics are discussed:

Marketing Insights
A blog on marketing best practices from Eloqua best practices consultants and customer success managers. Discussions on what is working in today's best marketing organizations in terms of lead scoring, nurturing or analytics.

Eloqua Artisan
This blog, of course. Tips, tricks, and ideas on what can be done with the product, and how to approach it. Designed for users of Eloqua.

Cloud Talk
Andre Yee, our SVP Product Development, discusses SaaS computing, Rich Internet Applications, and how today's marketing environment is evolving as new technologies enter the picture.
Dennis Dayman, our Chief Privacy Officer, and a few other industry luminaries discuss technical, regulatory, and social aspects of privacy and email deliverability in this great blog that is a wealth of knowledge for anyone involved in email marketing

Anything Goes Marketing
Chad Horenfeldt gives the marketing practitioner's view of the world in discussing how to approach various campaigns, what has worked, and what has not worked.

Crowds 2 Crowds
Astadia's Eloqua consulting team (where the Astadia Tip of the Week comes from) has a great blog with excellent Eloqua and marketing related content:

We look forward to you getting involved. Contribute and share ideas, ask questions, look for advice, or just listen. Marketing is evolving, and we are all in this together.

If I have missed any online spots where you and other Eloqua users congregate (I'm sure I have), please add them in the comments and I'll be sure to update.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Understanding Traffic Sources

In a couple of posts recently, I have talked about setting up online referrer campaigns to track where your traffic is coming from, and then how to look at individual web visitors and understand where they were last referred from.

This data is also very interesting looked at in aggregate in order to understand which of your online sources are driving the most traffic. To do this in Eloqua is quick and simple. In the web profiling -> Referrers area, choose the channel (such as Online Media) that you want to understand better and select the "View Marketing Campaign Breakdown" option. This will show you all of the campaigns you have configured under that channel, and give you a breakdown of those campaigns by the traffic that they have sourced.

The resulting report, of course, can be added to email updates or custom dashboards, to give you an ongoing sense of where your traffic is coming from. In our case, for example, we learned that our discussions on Twitter were sourcing more traffic than we had anticipated (although yes, the data to the left has been slightly disguised...).

By setting up tracking for relevant blogs that have high profile links to your site, you can gain an understanding of whether those references are driving traffic, and how much. In our case, I learned that Valeria Maltoni's Conversation Agent, Adam Needles Propelling Brands, and Jep Castelein's Lead Sloth were interesting sources of traffic to Digital Body Language recently.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Most Recent Campaigns as Source of Insight

I wrote recently about setting up Online Media referrer campaigns to track where your visitors are coming from. It's a simple but powerful technique in Eloqua to give you better insight into what sites are driving traffic your way.

This is equally valuable though, when looked at from the other direction. For each visitor on your website, you can see what the most recent referral campaign was that drove them to your site. With the tracking already set up, all we have to do is add that as a field to their visitor profile view.

Under the web profiling area, edit the profile view you want to show the most recent referrer campaign. Under profile fields, you should see an option for "most recent marketing campaign". Add that field to the appropriate spot in your profile view. You will also see similar fields for most recent search query, most recent channel, etc. All of these can be used in a similar manner, and can provide some very interesting insight into online media sources, blogs, and even Twitter.

With that in place, now when you use that Profile View for your reports, you will have columns that show the most recent online referral campaigns that drove each visitor to your site. Presenting this information in your visitor reports, especially those going out to your sales team can provide very important information as part of the prospect's digital body language.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Tweet This - A Creatively Social Addition to your Marketing

It's very easy to make it quick and simple for your marketing audience to share things that they find interesting on Twitter, which exposes those marketing assets to a new audience. Although services like Twitter make sharing things discovered online quite simple to start with, we found that by making it even easier, we saw a lot more Tweets from people who found the content interesting enough to share with their friends and colleagues.

In a recent marketing campaign we were sharing a whitepaper called "The Springboard Effect" that talks about 5 strategies to help you emerge stronger after the recession ( if you're interested), Eloqua's own marketing team used this approach with great success.

On the Hypersite landing page for the whitepaper, there was a simple one line question - "Have a Twitter account? Tweet about this whitepaper!". That was linked to the following URL (note that replacing spaces with the + sign can make things work much smoother):


This link puts the person into Twitter, and pre-populates their Tweet with a quick comment on the whitepaper, and a URL that has already been shortened to make it fit into 140 characters. You can change the "status=" field to talk about your marketing asset in a way that would be appropriate for someone who found it interesting to share it on Twitter.

This is a simple technique to add to any marketing asset that might be something that your audience is interested in sharing. By simplifying the process to one click, and by reminding the audience to think about Tweeting, you can quickly see interesting content making its way to a larger audience than you first engaged with.

One thing to think about when doing this, is that you also have an opportunity to add a lead source code to the link that is shortened. For example if leads users to rather than just you can easily track the effectiveness of this effort.

Of course this post would not be complete without a link to Tweet about this post.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Social Media Tracking - Inbound Referrals

As social media becomes an increasingly relevant environment in which your prospective buyers learn about your industry or your solutions, you need a way to understand its influence from a marketing perspective. Luckily, this is easy to do in Eloqua, you can use Referrer Tracking to track which blogs are sending visitors your way.

To give you an idea of how we can do this, I’ll use an actual example from the Digital Body Language blog. Valeria Maltoni on Conversation Agent referred to the Digital Body Language blog in a post on her site. That post began driving traffic, and I wanted to understand what that traffic was looking like.

In this case, Valeria had been kind enough to insert a custom tracking query string (more on that later as it opens up some interesting options), but in most cases you won't have that, so we'll set up referrer tracking assuming that custom tracking query string wasn't there.

To set it up, I went to the Web Profiling -> Referrers area and created a new Online Media campaign. These track external campaigns based on two main things, the referring URL and the landing URL. I set this up so that any visitors to any Eloqua web property (the Digital Body Language blog is tracked as part of the overall set of Eloqua web properties) that came from Conversation Agent would be marked as being part of this referrer campaign for reporting purposes.

This was done by adding the Conversation Agent URL as a referring URL, and leaving the landing URL blank. By checking the box to check for past website activity, anyone visiting from this referral recently would automatically be added. Given that we often don't know in advance of a referral in social media, and the traffic spike will happen within a day or two, this is a very useful ability.

To see which visitors came to the blog from Conversation Agent, all we have to do is select the “View Marketing Campaign Visitors” menu item, and we’ll see a list of the visitors that came from Valeria’s referral link.

What we’ve done for tracking a referring blog as an online referral source can be done with any similar online source. If the referring site, landing URL, or both, are known, you can easily define that as an online referral source and quickly and easily understand which of your visitors have been referred via that source, without the need for custom links and query strings.

We've used this internally for any campaigns that drive traffic to our site, whether from blogs, industry analysts, or news. It provides a great perspective on where each individual is coming from, and traffic patterns in general.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Getting Creative - Hidden Form Submits to Make Links Powerful

In many marketing campaigns, certain links in your email can be very indicative of prospect interest. You may want to use the fact that the recipient clicked on that specific link to trigger a very clear series of actions. Perhaps the click should associate that contact with a campaign, perhaps it should add them to a program, or perhaps you want to notify your sales team directly as soon as the link is clicked.

Whereas all of this can be done by using content tagging and web profiling, there is a much easier way. This is something that Heather Foeh, who writes on Marketing Insights talks about quite a bit, and it's a great technique so I wanted to share it here.

Using a technique called “hidden form submits” you can directly tie the clicking of a link to the submit of a form within Eloqua. From there, all of the processing steps within the world of forms are available to you. The key to this technique is the fact that when a form is submitted, the way in which the data is sent to the web server is the same as the way in which a URL is formed, with each of the fields in the form in the URL’s query string in a Field1=Value1&Field2=Value2 format. If you structure your links in your email in this way, each link will act identically to a form submit.

To do this, first create your form in Eloqua as you normally would. Usually, you would only create a form with one or two fields in it for this technique, definitely email address, and perhaps one more (if you have a “click for Yes” and “click for No” pair of links, for example, you might have one form field for “Answer” also).

Once you have done this, and you have created the form processing steps to do what you want with the incoming data, the next step is to structure the link for insertion into your email. From the form, go to the Integration Details page (button is on main Form details page). You will see a number of fields on this page that give you what you need to structure the link.

The first is the page to submit to. This will be similar to and is the first part of the link. From there, you will take the other system form fields that are presented there and structure them as name=value pairs. The first name=value pair starts with a “?” and the rest are separated by “&”. This will create a link that looks like with the site ID and form name representing your form.

The next step is to insert a field that represents the recipient’s email address. This is, of course, different for each recipient, so you will need to insert an email field that will dynamically populate their email address. If you have worked with the HTML behind email fields, you will be familiar with this. The email address insertion code is as follows (assuming you use the standard email address field, otherwise adjust that field name to yours): “&C_EmailAddress=<span class="eloquaemail">EmailAddress</span>”. If you have custom fields, for example our Yes and No options, you will likely want to hard code their values into the link. The “yes” link would have “&Answer=Yes” while the “no” link would have “&Answer=No”.

With this in place, your final link will look something like:<span class="eloquaemail">EmailAddress</span>&Answer=Yes

You can then use the Insert Hyperlink function in the email editor to insert your carefully constructed link into your email, and you will have a link that acts as a hidden form submit.

This technique is a very powerful one as it allows you to get creative with what happens when your email recipients click on links within Eloqua emails. All of the capabilities of the form engine are available to you.

I look forward to your comments on how this technique has worked for you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Marketing Source Codes and Display Maps

One of the challenges with setting up source codes for tracking interest that comes from a variety of sources is that you end up reporting on the "code", which is often not intuitive to the reader.

To make this a lot easier, within Eloqua, you can set up Display Lookups to allow to to track the codes in their raw form, while displaying a more intuitive, readable source to the person reading your reports.

In the Web Profiling -> Query Strings tab, when you are setting up a query string to be tracked, at the bottom of the page, there is a line for Display Maps. A Display Map is a very simple thing - it takes a list of your raw "codes", what shows up in the actual query string, and it maps them into something more friendly to display.

By clicking "New", you can create a Display Map that fits the codes you are using. If the code does not exist in the Display Map, you will just see the original code rather than the mapped value, so there's no issue with a less-than-perfect mapping.

Once you have the codes and values mapped, you are all set. From here, report on your query strings, the way you normally would, and the values that are presented will come from your Display Map rather than the raw codes. A much more presentable way to show the data.

For example, here is the basic Query String Values report, and you can see that it now shows the values rather than the original codes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Email Analysis By Region - Batch Overview by Group

If you are running a marketing operation that is larger than one region, you'll likely want to be able to split your analysis by region. Even very useful reports such as the email batch overview report become too busy to be useful with a large marketing group sending many batches per day.

Many of these high level reports can be broken down by region in one or more ways.

One of the easiest ways to break down the "email batch overview" report, for example is to use the "email batch overview by security group" report instead. This presents the same information, but is done based on the security group of the sending person.

If you have existing groups of marketers that suit your purposes, you can use them, or if not, you can create these groups.

Defining groups based on "marketers in France" vs "marketers in Germany" allows you to split your reporting along geographic lines, while defining groups based on "marketers targeting SMB" vs "marketers targeting Enterprise" allows you to split your reporting based on market focus.

Once you have selected your group, you can run the report and see the email batch overview based on that group of marketers. This report can be added to a custom dashboard or an email update as you require.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Soft bounces, full inboxes, and email marketing myths debunked

If you are doing a fair bit of email marketing, you may want to read the post on discussing the myth that soft bounces are caused by a full inboxes:

The post talks about how full inboxes are not the problem, and often soft bounces are early warning signs of deliverability problems or blocking.
The great thing is that Eloqua now provides the depth of insight into bounceback reporting that you'll need to dig into those issues and understand your situation better.
In the reporting console a quick search for "Bounceback" shows you a selection of key reports that you can use for understanding your bouncebacks better. For any given email, batch, or email group, you can use the "Bounceback History" report to show you a detailed breakdown of your bouncebacks. Individual recipients who bounced, the error code, and the message that came with the bounce. This gives you the insights you need into what is happening (list, content, IP address, etc) and how you might want to work to resolve it.

The Contact Bounceback and Unsubscribe report shows similar data, in aggregate, against the associated contacts. This of course, allows you to work with that contact data either within Eloqua, or by exporting to a spreadsheet, and attempt to resolve any issues that you detect.

The Bounceback History Statistics report shows you, at a high level, what types of errors you are seeing from your email marketing efforts, in order to identify high level trends. If you are seeing high levels of spam notifications, or unknown users, you will need to look into your lists or practices to better understand how you can improve your deliverability rates.

Deliverability is something to continuously watch, manage, and improve. I wrote a bit about the general topic here on the Digital Body Language blog to give you a sense of the overall approaches. Now with deeper bounceback reporting within Eloqua, you can better manage and monitor your own deliverability success.