Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ready to Welcome Your New Leads?

(Guest post from Heather Foeh, Eloqua's Manager of SMB Customer Success.)


In this 1-minute video featuring Paul Teshima, SVP of Customer Strategy and Success at Eloqua, explains the benefits of a Welcome Program and why you should consider creating one:

(if this does not load, click here for the video on using marketing automation to create a welcome program)

Now, let’s dig in and build a 3-step Welcome Program in Eloqua. Just follow the instructions below and you’ll be on your way.

Step 1: Build 3 Emails

If you’re not sure where to start with your content, think of Who, What and How:

• Who: Introduce your company. Set the tone for welcoming the prospect into your “home” - this is your chance to be friendly and inviting. Be sure the user has a way to contact you via phone, email and social channels. Also, let them know why they are receiving this communication.

• What: Introduce your products and services. Think of this as the “grand tour” you give someone new when they come to your home. You may want to link to a comparison chart on your website which explains your different product options. If you’re a service company, consider adding a testimonial quote from a happy customer. Highlight your flagship product through visuals and links.

• How: Give the prospect a way to educate themselves further. If you have a Top Ten checklist-type of document, this is a great time to share it. Or perhaps a document outlining “Five Things You Need to Know Before You Buy a _______”?
We recommend putting all three of these emails in their own Email Group in Eloqua so that you can easily report off of them.

(P.S. - Remember to keep it fresh. Add a reminder in your calendar to look at these emails at least once a quarter and make sure that they are still up to date.)

Step 2: Create Your Workflow in Program Builder
Create a new Program and in the setup screen un-check the box that says “Allow members to enter the program multiple times”. In the Default Member Type field choose “Contacts”.

The simplest program will have this flow:

00. Start – entry step without an action, just a holding step
Decision Rule: Created in Last Hour? – This is a check to make sure that the contact is indeed new to your database:

02. No Path/Remove from Program - pre-existing contact

05. Yes Path/Wait 1 Day – this is an optional step but you may want to wait 1 day (or more) before sending someone the first email in your series

10. Send Email 1 – point to the first email that you created

15. Wait 4 Days – the timing is up to you, but we recommend not waiting more than 1 week. Your goal is to engage with people while they’re newly interested in you, so don’t wait too long.

20. Send Email 2 – point to the second email that you created

25. Wait 4 Days – again, the timing is up to you.

30. Send Email 3 – point to the third email that you created
Decision Rule: Email Clickthrough? – Check to see whether or not the prospect has clicked through any of the emails in the Email Group (another reason why it’s nice to have all three lumped together in their own Group)

35. Yes Path/Remove From Program: Responded – by creating two separate Remove from Program steps you’ll be able to easily report on the success of your marketing program.

40. No Path/Remove From Program: No Response

Here’s what it looks like:

Of course, you can get much fancier with this program by adding in decision rules along the way to see what the prospect has already downloaded from your site and then send them different assets. Or you may want to include only prospects who have a low lead score or who have certain titles. But if you’re just looking to get a program up and running, start simple then add complexity after that.

Step 3: Add Contacts to Your Program
As you know, the beauty of Eloqua is building something once and then letting it run like a workhorse in the background. We lovingly call this “set it and forget it.” The best way to do that for this program is to edit your Forms to push people into it via a Form Processing Step. The Processing Step is called “Add to Step in Program Builder” and you’ll configure it to look for your Welcome Program and the first step (00. Start) in the program:

Another tip: If you are uploading a list and you’d like to drop those names into this Welcome Program, you can do this during Step 4 Upload Actions of the Upload Wizard in the “Add Contacts to Program Step” section.

That’s it! You now have a Welcome Program nurturing all of the new leads in your database. We’d love to hear from you… Drop us a note in the Comments section if you plan to implement this or if you have any ideas or questions.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Postman always rings twice, but how often do you ‘ring’ the Postmaster?

Great post from Sweeney Williams, one of the Email Deliverability gurus who helps keep Eloqua head and shoulders above any other marketing automation platforms when it comes to the critical issue of getting your email delivered.


I get asked quite often about how / where I find out about best practices when delivering to an ISP, removing blocks, etc. and there are a few answers there. The main one is that ISPs tell EVERYONE who takes a bit of time to look.

How do they do this? Via Postmaster pages, which are sites set up to provide delivery information specific to those ISPs. The Postmaster is the person / group of people responsible for email traffic in and out of that ISP’s network.

Something I find gets lost all too often when discussing ISP delivery with clients is that ISPs do not have a bias against email marketers and by no means do they look to block as many as possible. They are also not tirelessly trying to find new ways to send your legitimate mail to the Junk folder. They are, by large measure good natured folks who simply want to ensure their clients get the mail they want, and none of the mail they don’t. Stop and think about that for a moment…it’s not about ‘blocking’ or ‘filtering’, it’s about ‘allowing’, but ONLY allowing WANTED mail. They are working to ensure the best possible email experience for their users, which means allowing only good email in.

This is an enormous task when you consider the sheer volume of email that is incessantly trying to enter their networks. Coupled with that is the economic reality of shrinking Postmaster teams, at times pared down to one or two individuals, in the face of an ever growing stream of SPAM email. One way to ensure that legitimate mail does not get erroneously flagged as SPAM is to tell legitimate marketers what is required to achieve the best possible delivery.

I am not going to list all Postmaster sites here, as that would take away the fun of searching (hint: there may be a Word to the Wise somewhere that could help), but do want to highlight a couple of my favorites: Yahoo! and AOL.

The Postmaster site for Yahoo! is and provides information about their SPAM policy, SMTP error codes (I hope you’re checking that Bounceback History report every once in a while), and even My email is being blocked by Yahoo! Mail. What can I do?

By the way, you can even find out if there are inbound mail issues that can affect your mailings here:

The Postmaster site for AOL is and takes things even farther. Not only does it list information about error codes, block removal, best practices, and authentication, it also has a relatively new and incredibly cool feature: AOL IP Reputation!

That’s right – you can find out EXACTLY how AOL views your mail via their internal reputation system located at Simply plug in your IP address and you can see if your reputation is Good, Neutral, or Poor:

They then link to resources that can help you correct issues that may have led to a poor reputation. I think this is a great feature and hope that others follow suit.

As always, the best way to ensure you get into the Inbox is to keep your data clean and your content relevant, but too much information is never a bad thing. Visit the Postmaster from time to time and see what’s listed.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Personalizing Flash with Eloqua Data

(Guest post by Pancheliyan Pancras)


After my last post on creating a web form in Flash© and integrating it with Eloqua, there has been a lot of interest in how to pass personalization data into a Flash file. There are several different methods of doing this. Today I will be covering a fairly basic method that utilizes the ‘FlashVars’ property. This method allows you to import variables directly into your Flash movie. Using this in combination with Eloqua PURL pages you can really create dynamic and unique Flash content for your web site visitors. There are two parts in implementing this using Eloqua.

First, we will need to create our Flash file. I will be using Action Script© 3.0 for this example. Before we even dive into the coding we must plan ahead to determine which fields we will be using. In this example we will be working with First Name, Last Name and Email address. Please see the sample Action Script code below for what to call the parameters and how to insert them into the dynamic text fields within the animation.

(click on the image for a larger version)

• Line 1: Declare an object using the LoaderInfo class to enumerate all the parameters we are passing from the PURL page

• Line 3: Declare a string called ‘first_name’ to the first parameter called firstname (variable within the FlashVars found on the PURL page)

• Line 4: Declare a string called ‘last_name’ to the first parameter called lastname (variable within the FlashVars found on the PURL page)

• Line 6: We are simply concatenating first name and last name with an exclamation. Just so it looks better when we present it using the Flash animation

• Line 8: Another way of directly passing the parameter to a dynamic text field

Now that the Flash file is ready to accept parameters, we will need to create a new PURL page to host our dynamic content. As mentioned previously we will be using the property called ‘FlashVars’ which almost looks like a regular query string in a URL. Each parameter will be separated by an ‘&’ symbol. Note that URL escape codes will work as well (if you want to add any spaces, symbols etc...).

To insert Flash into a web page we use the object element to embed the animation. This is also where we are going to use the power of Eloqua Field Merges to pass the parameters. Please refer to Eloqua’s Customer Central (which is now open for everyone) for helpful user guides on creating PURL pages and inserting Field Merges.

Within the object we will need to add a line using PARAM to set the value. This is where we call 3 Eloqua field merges (highlighted in yellow) to provide us the information from the contact record. These fields are populated dynamically based on your PURL record. If you are hosting this page on your own website you will need to use Data lookups to pre-populate these fields.

(click on the image for a larger version)

Then we will need to call the 3 field merges again within the embed tag.

(click on the image for a larger version)

So for our example above, our final code and result would look like this.

(click on the image for a larger version)

The above example is a simple illustration of what can be done with Eloqua PURL pages and Flash, but using these tools marketers can get really creative to deliver exciting content to their clients.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Denver Customer Success Tour Recap

(Success tour writeup by Jason Pemberton, Eloqua Customer Success Manager)


Eloqua prides itself on having a vast community of innovative marketers and partners who are proving time again marketing value with their Eloqua instance. In some cases, clients are not able to attend our international user conference Eloqua Experience which brings together our users together to learn and share with great marketers, but also to celebrate marketing excellence with our annual Markie Event . A key point is that our clients never lose sight of community as throughout the world, we offer customer success tours. From a new user, to the more mature Eloqua ‘Maverick’, nothing brings the marketing user community together better than attending a success tour. Nothing beats networking with like-minded marketers in your neighbourhood to share ideas and best practices with!

Recently, I hosted the Denver Success Tour (see Facebook for pictures) which to date was the largest attended event for the area! We are spurred on to succeed by hearing the success of others! At this event we shared not only the successes of two of our clients, but also spent time learning some tips and tricks to turn our clients into reporting ninjas and providing insight into the upcoming product releases.

Some of the items that we highlighted during our event included:

- Product Overview and Success Story from Return Path – As Return Path is both a value added partner and also a client our group was able to take advantage of their deliverability expertise by providing insight into the functionality that was available in Eloqua and also highlighting the importance of our Boost package offering. From a marketing standpoint, Return Path blew us away with their ‘Wizardry’ program, demonstrating to the group that they were effectively using landing pages, forms, and a detailed integration with CRM to pass qualified leads to sales in a unique fashion!

- Use of Eloqua at Vaisala – A very compelling story of a client who has learned everything from our self help options! Vaisala has been able to implement multiple lead nurturing programs, create a contact washing machine, set up sales notifications and reports while looking ahead to developing their lead scoring program – ALL OF THIS IN HOUSE! Vaisala credits their CSM and Customer Central for their successes thus far! When asked – how much of your time does Eloqua take the client responded – “about 15% of my time!” This session spurred great discussion from the group! Everyone wants to be a Vaisala!

- Become a Reporting Ninja – Discussing a handful of reports that were accessible within Eloqua. It was great to see that some clients were currently using these reports, but to take it a step further, many discussed their favourite report, or began to get into discussions on how they could find their most wanted report.

- Product Roadmap and Demo – By the far the most exciting moment I have had as an Eloquan thus far! Out of the 34 in attendance, only 2 had seen the demo at EE09. Needless to say, the random outbreaks of applauds and hugs were enough to inform the Eloquans in the room that we were on the right track.

A great event was followed by drinks and laughs as we enjoyed the opportunity to speak and network with both the partners and clients that were present! To those in the Denver area, thank you for an amazing event and we look forward to our next visit in September. For those who have not taken advantage of this great experience, please visit to see when we’ll be coming to your city!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Using Form Reposts for Advanced Form Integration

Guest post from Victor Ho, Product Consultant. Victor and the product consulting team get involved when there are interesting business challenges to tackle, and creative configuration is needed.

In this post, Victor looks at an advanced option for integrating with web forms and still maintaining full tracking when you must process, and alter, the form data on your own servers prior to Eloqua tracking.


We can’t emphasis enough the importance of integrating web forms with Eloqua.

The obvious reason is to collect explicit data from the visitor to create/update a contact record in Eloqua for future marketing purposes. In the mean time, triggering automated processes such as a confirmation email or adding to a nurturing program.

But more importantly, the form submission converts an “unknown” visitor on your website to a “known” visitor. This action allows Eloqua to tie all the online activities that we’ve been collecting to a contact record.

This in turns increases your visibility into the online activities data as a whole.

The goal here is to setup web forms where ever appropriate on your website to increase the population of known visitors.

Why Repost?

There are four types of front end forms:

1) Created and hosted by Eloqua
2) Created externally, hosted by Eloqua
3) Hosted externally, pointed to Eloqua
4) Hosted externally, reposted to Eloqua

In scenario 1 – 3, the conversion from an unknown to known visitor (In Eloqua language, this is called “profile association”) is done automatically because the Eloqua communicates directly with the visitor’s browser when he/she hits the “submit” button.

In scenario 4, this is typically done if data needs to be manipulated by a third party before entering the Eloqua database. Here are some examples:

A) you have a demo of your software and will need to generate a demo key that you then want to add into the form submit to Eloqua.

B) You are collecting sensitive data such as credit card information; your web server will repost only the necessary contact data to Eloqua for marketing purposes, omitting any sensitive data in the mix.

Writing a repost script to relay form data to a destination may sound like a very simple task for your IT team; but the most important piece of information in this form integration is the GUID value that resides in the Eloqua cookie within the visitor’s browser.

We can summarize the conversion process with this equation:

Email Address + Eloqua GUID = Known visitor


You will need an IT or Web resource to assist you with executing this process.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deploy a form repost process.

Eloqua Backend Configuration

1) Create a backend form in Eloqua to receive data.

By clicking on the “Integration Details” button, you will find all the necessary technical information you need for this process.

You will need to create all the necessary backend form fields as the receptor for each data point in the repost.

To facilitate testing in step (6), create the following 2 hidden fields:

Frontend Web form Configuration

2) Ensure the 2 lines of Eloqua tracking Script are present on the web page
(elqCfg.js and elqImg.js).

The purpose is to drop the Eloqua cookie onto visitor’s browser.

3) Insert the 2 required hidden fields within the form tag of the form that you want to integrate with:

Place holder hidden field to store the GUID value retrieved from the Eloqua Cookie

Copy the “elqFormName” field from the “Form Integration Fields” section. The value of this field is based on the HTML Name of the Eloqua backend form.

4) Insert JavaScripts to retrieve GUID value that is stored in the Eloqua cookie.

This section of code must go after the 2 lines of Eloqua Tracking Scripts.

Purpose: This JavaScript function will execute on page load and store the GUID value retrieved into the “elqCustomerGUID” hidden form field.

You will find the above JavaScript in the “Forms Detail” area shown in (2).

The version illustrated above has been modified to utilize field “IDs” as target reference instead of using field name attribute.

Here is demo web page on how to successfully retrieve the GUID value stored in the Eloqua cookie via JavaScript.

On form submission your web server should receive the “elqCustomerGUID” value + “elqFormName” value, along with the rest of the form fields.

Important Note: Test thoroughly to ensure your web server is indeed receiving the elqCustomerGUID value.

5) Write Server Repost Script to post data to Eloqua


You may also use if you require a secured connection

Mandatory fields

Field Name: elqSiteID
value = "You will find the elqSiteID value in the Forms integration details area"

Field Name: elqCookieWrite
value = "0"

Field name= elqCustomerGUID
value = "GUID Value from cookie"

i) elqSiteID represents your Eloqua Instance. Value is static (e.g. 1234).

ii) elqCookieWrite = 0 indicates to Eloqua that this is a repost scenario. Eloqua will perform profile association with the GUID value submitted.

iii) Include the elqCustomerGUID field value that is submitted from the frontend along with the rest of the fields that you want to post to Eloqua

6) Final Step - Testing

Once your IT team has confirmed that the repost script has been deployed, proceed with a few test form submissions.

Inspect the form data in Eloqua to ensure that all necessary field values are present. The “elqCustomerGUID” value should be consistent. The elqCookieWrite value should always be 0.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Reporting on sparkly clean data

(guest post from Mike MacFarlane @eloquamike)


In the year and a half that I have been working in Eloqua’s Marketing Operations team, one of the things that I have realized is that Marketing Automation is more than just “deploying an email”. Actually, it is much more than that.

Using Eloqua to really drive the alignment between our sales and marketing teams, I've realized how valuable it is to have absolute accuracy on any reports. This means, sometimes, I want to run a little bit of a cleanup routine on data before I report on it, rather than just running the out-of-the-box reports.

For our own team, this approach had started off a while back with managing how data came into our database and what we did with it once it entered. Enter the “Contact Washing Machine” – a program that I built within our own instance of Eloqua that helps to standardize and normalize key data that we segment and report off of. Once we were able to align our data, it opened up a world of possibilities in terms of the depth of reporting I could do (as well as how easily I could pull reports).

We wanted this confidence in the data to carry over to all our reporting, and I want to show you how we achieved that when we were building what we call our Activity Dashboard (there is lots of information in Eloqua’s Customer Central on how to build out your dashboard). The primary purpose of this dashboard was the help visualize exactly what was happening in our database – everything from total inquiries, inquiries by segment, inquiries by normalized title… the list goes on and on!

To get the ball rolling on this process, I created a very simple program in Program Builder which would help me to bucket active prospects into one group. We have various definitions of what an inquiry is, but for simplicities sake, I am going to define my inquiry as a form submission.

Step 1: I built an Activity Based Filter that evaluates any and all form submissions within the last day. This lets me get started with the set of data I'm interested in having a sparkly clean report on:

Step 2: I took my filter and added it as a feeder to my program (*note that activity filters only evaluate once a day). This technique lets me work with the data before I see it in a report, rather than use the out-of-the-box forms reports:

Step 3: The same step where I have my feeder setup, I also have a step action to add these people to a contact group. I'm going to report on the contact group members, rather than directly on the form submissions, so it allows me to do a little bit of data cleanup first:

You will notice above that after I add these people to a contact group, I evaluate to see if they are a current customer or partner of Eloqua – if they are, I remove them from the contact group that placed them in originally. The purpose of this is because I strictly want to evaluate inquiries from prospects. Any other cleanup and massaging of the data that you want to do before you report on it can be done here in this program. I'll just show this one cleanup step of removing customers and partner, but you can extend and elaborate.

Step 4: Once you have your contact group setup, you can start to build out all kinds of reports to place on your dashboard. For example, if you wanted to have a report that showed your inquiries by title, you could use the report called “Contact Field Values By Contact Group”. Simply select the title field in your database (or in our case at Eloqua, we use our Normalized Title field which is part of our Contact Washing Machine) and the contact group that is referenced within your activity program and run the report. The output looks something like this:

Steps 5: Next, you will want to add this report to your dashboard:

Your end result will look something like this - a very similar report to what you would have had out of the box, but now sparkly clean:

There are many other reports that you can add to your dashboard by simply utilizing this one, dynamic contact group so feel free to check out the Report Console within Eloqua. I would love to hear your feedback about how you are utilizing dashboards within Eloqua to help provide visibility on your marketing efforts, so feel free to leave your comments below.

Happy Marketing!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Report Highlight: Easily Slice & Dice Data from Your Multi-Touch Email Campaigns

(guest post from Amber Stevens)

Eloqua Report: Email Group Overview Grouped by Contact Field

My colleague, Mike MacFarlane (@eloquamike), is always showing me cool new ways to use the Eloqua application. This past week we were chatting about the performance of a new three part nurturing program that automatically “welcomes” net new names in our marketing database. I was curious about the best way to see how different segments or like contacts were converting in the program. Mike mentioned a report called “Email Group Overview Grouped by Contact Field” – it’s a mouth-full, I know, but I was quickly impressed with the little nuggets it yielded.

Even if you don’t have an automated lead nurturing program yet (here’s a nurture program idea to get you started), you can use this report to group similar contacts and evaluate their response against any group of emails. Some questions you might answer with this report would be – How many CTO’s (or any other job title) clicked through last week’s webinar invite and corresponding follow up? What sales reps by territory are getting the most inquiries? How are my best targets or highest scored leads engaging with a series of emails? Etc (just make sure that your emails are saved as a group).

To test out the report, navigate to Evaluate -> Reporting -> Report Console. Search for the report “Email Group Overview Grouped by Contact Field”.

Choose your report parameters and group by any contact field value that you track like job title, revenue, state, account owner/sales rep, etc. I was specifically interested in the click through rates sorted by prospects co-dynamic lead scores.

Run the report, and check out the results. I learned that in the last week, our “welcome” lead nurture program achieved a 25% click through rate within our best prospect group (A1 lead rank). This was great insight and confirms that the content is working to engage our community of marketers.

I also grouped by Normalized Job Title and discovered that few titles that we may wish to remove from this program due to poor click through conversions, or adjust the content to better relate to these contacts.

Try it this report and share any interesting data points you find by posting a comment below.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Curing Curiosity with Visitor Reports

Guest post from Adrian Chang, Customer Success Manager, and avid tennis fan. Adrian has a long history of helping Eloqua clients succeed, and in this post, he looks at exploring patterns in website visitor behavior through a pair of his favorite reports.


Like most marketers, I am a curious creature. I want to know what additional information can I help my customers acquire for contacts who reside in the same region, attended the same event or performed the same download. What info can I learn about them? Where did they come from, how frequently have they been on your site, what was their search term and engine? Also, can I get their contact details into the same view for further analysis? The answer is yes - I have two new favourite reports that have helped me develop a newfound love for Eloqua’s ability to capture digital body language for specific contacts – Visitors in Contact Group and Visitors by Contact Filter.

Start with a View

Before we begin, I recommend that you spend some time getting acquainted with our Web Profiling area. You should setup a view that contains the attributes that are important to you. Search tends to be popular with my clients in addition to Most Recent Form Submitted, Most Recent Referrer, Total Pages viewed, as well as Most Recent Search Query. You may also care about First Page In Visit. My point is, if you’re curious like me, you’ll start off with a wide net and narrow it down as you start to figure out what online attributes are you trying to figure out.

If there are contact fields that you would like to add to this view, you may do that by creating a profile Field off a contact field. Bringing in your combined lead rating field from your lead scoring program would be neat to see against recent activity.

Visitor in Contact Group

Many customers are using contact groups to store recently uploaded contacts, event attendees and registrants or blind form submits for recent asset downloads. Since it’s quite probable that these contacts are responding to other campaigns in real time, you should run this report relatively close to the date that their action has occurred. Whether you have just rescored a lead, sent your followup communication to contacts from a tradeshow or have recently launched a new product, I hope this report is of value to you.

Visitors by Contact Filter

If you are looking to find out the online patterns of your contacts who share the same implicit or explicit attributes (visited x pages in x days, are part of this region, or have this job role), then you can derive the same value via this report. (Advanced - try Visitors by Contact Filter and Segment - you can remove your own employees from the report by domain if this is already setup in this area for you).

One of my customers happens to be one of the NBA Teams who came across a previous blog post that suggested that search would be valuable attribute to add to their lead scoring program. They use a contact filter to identify season ticket holders and this report was able to help them determine if there were patterns with search queries and ticket buyers.

Would love to hear how else you are using these reports.