Category Archive: Marketing Automation

How Organizations can benefit from a Business Process Automation application

Avatar photo June 10th, 2022 by

Business Process Automation (BPA) is the application of technology to replace recurring, manual tasks, allowing organizations to focus on more strategic initiatives. This can include automating email communications, membership renewals, payment processes, hiring and onboarding as well as many other functions of an organization. Implementing BPA can help organizations improve efficiency and save time and money.

Business Process Automation

Here are a few of the most impactful benefits of automation:

  • Better Customer Service – Business process automation can help organizations keep track of member inquiries and requests, ensuring that each one receives prompt attention.
  • Improved Data Management – When it comes to data management, automation is key. By streamlining your data entry and retrieval processes, you can improve efficiency and accuracy across the board.
  • Reduced Operating Costs and Increased Efficiency – By automating repetitive or time-consuming tasks, organizations can free up time to focus on more strategic initiatives. As a result, automating key processes can help organizations operate more effectively and save on labor costs in the long run.
  • Improved Communication – By automating email and text messages, organizations can ensure that their members are always up-to-date on the latest news. In addition, organizations can use automated systems to track member activity and gauge interest in specific topics. This information can be used to tailor communications and ensure that members are receiving the information they need. 
  • Greater flexibility – In today’s rapidly changing world, organizations must be able to respond quickly to new challenges and adapt their processes accordingly. Automating key processes can help organizations to become more agile and responsive. 
  • Improved member satisfaction– When organizations make it easier for members to access the information they need, they are more likely to be satisfied with their membership experience.
  • Stronger relationships with vendors and partners- It is easier to develop strong working relationships with vendors and partners when associations have streamlined processes.
  • Better data for decision making – By automating data collection and analysis, associations can make better-informed decisions about their operations.

A business process automation (BPA) application can provide your association with a number of benefits, including increased membership engagement, better customer service, improved data management, reduced operating costs, increased efficiency, greater flexibility, and improved member satisfaction. If you’re interested in learning more about how a BPA application could benefit your organization, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be happy to discuss the options available and help you find the perfect solution for your needs.

What is Pardot?

Stephen-St.-John April 13th, 2022 by

What is Pardot? Or what is Marketing Cloud Account Engagement? (Pardot’s new name)

In today’s digital world, all organizations realize the need to have robust Marketing Automation Software. Marketing automation software allows you to automate your marketing processes, streamline workflows, and track campaign results. In addition, it can serve as a central marketing database, allowing you to provide tailored, segmented, and timely marketing to your customers.

Marketing automation software can assist you in determining the effectiveness of a campaign as a whole. There are several software solutions out there, but Salesforce Pardot (or Marketing Cloud Account Engagement – as Salesforce renamed their product) is one of the most popular. So, in this blog, we are taking a closer look at one of the best marketing automation tools available in the market, Salesforce Pardot.


What is Pardot/ Marketing Cloud Account Engagement?

Pardot is a lead-generating and nurturing system. It is a Salesforce solution that allows businesses to analyze and assess the efficacy of their communications, acquire insight into user behavior, and tailor content across campaigns depending on a variety of parameters. As a result, you can be sure that you’re interacting with the correct person at the right time and in the appropriate tone when you use Pardot.

Salesforce Pardot provides a 360-degree view of all prospects in various industries and helps organizations generate more leads, boost sales, and complete transactions.

Pardot is now ranked sixth in market share, with over 85,000 websites using it daily. Moreover, by 2024, the B2B automation market will have nearly quadrupled from its current level of 3.3 billion USD. As a result, it is essential to understand the several benefits of Pardot to select the most refined automation platform among the numerous options accessible.

Benefits of Pardot

  • Track your return on investment (ROI) to improve your marketing efforts – With configurable and sophisticated reporting, you can calculate the true ROI (return on investment) of all marketing initiatives. The platform assists you in gaining insight into which marketing campaign brings in new business so that you optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.
  • Email marketing – Use the easy email editor to connect with customers. Using customization strings, automation rules, dynamic content, and customer profiling, create segmented lists personalized to the exact specifications. Also, use email SPAM analysis and A/B testing to see which material resonates with customers and optimize it.
  • To increase your revenue, you can look at success in context – B2B marketing dashboards with custom Wave and visual reporting make it possible to see success in context and make immediate modifications to increase income. It also allows the user to acquire fresh insights into how well campaigns are doing to maximize marketing efforts.
  • Includes the benefits of Salesforce – There are several advantages to using the Salesforce-Pardot interface among the various marketing automation solutions. Salesforce allows sales reps to examine Pardot data and send Pardot emails. A task in Salesforce is also triggered when a lead score hits a certain threshold. As a result, experts agree that Pardot’s actual value rests in its integration with Salesforce.
  • Prospect tracking gets better with time – Pardot uses IP look-up software to track in-depth, progressive prospect tracking of website visitors and monitoring social media, Google AdWords, and webinars.
  • Helps you understand the sales funnel – The Lifecycle and Engagement reports provide a high-level picture of the sales cycle, showing how your leads are moving through the funnel.
  • Allows you to nurture your leads – It’s simple to modify content by taking a list of prospects and running a lead nurturing campaign with templates for emails, forms, and landing pages.
  • Lead grading and scoring are differentiated – To improve sales productivity, Pardot differentiates between lead grading, or who is of interest to the organization, and lead scoring, or who is interested in the items.
  • Benefits of integrating sales and marketing – Pardot’s various capabilities link with all firms’ sales and marketing operations to help them develop a super-strong sales funnel and reap the benefits of sales and market integration.
  • The sales cycle is shortened thanks to automation – Pardot’s automation allows users to do certain marketing and sales operations without relying on manual labor to shorten the sales cycle.

You can find a detailed analysis of the benefits of the Marketing Cloud Account Engagement  here

For Salesforce clients searching for a B2B Marketing Automation platform, Pardot/ Marketing Cloud Account Engagement is the obvious choice. Pardot is appealing to new users as a detailed product and easy to learn. In addition, it is connected with Salesforce’s core functions, and because of its low pricing point, it is accessible to many enterprises. So, with Pardot, give your marketing efforts a boost right now.

Automated Journey Tips & Tricks

Susan Baumbach August 5th, 2021 by

Automated Journeys are a key capability of marketing automation tools for associations. These journeys can be thought of as a detailed map showing the experience a customer or member will have with your organization. One of the primary reasons for moving to a new tool is the inability of the legacy platform to successfully automate critical journeys, such as a lead nurture campaign or a new member onboarding journey.

Automated Email Journey Working with clients over the last two years on marketing automation implementations, I have developed a lot of tips and tricks to share that you can use when you start to configure an automated journey. Read on to check out some of the most useful strategies!

Send Times

Depending on the tool, you can send journey emails during a specific time frame, or even allow the system to determine an optimal time. For example, Pardot allows emails sent through a journey to be delivered within a 6-hour time frame or longer. You cannot tell Pardot to only send between 9am – 10am, for example, since it requires a minimum of 6 hours for sending.

On the other hand, Marketing Cloud can send journey emails at a specific time. Depending on the number of email recipients, people may not all receive the email exactly at 9am – it may not be until 9:05am until they are all sent (that is a non-issue in most cases).

Additionally, Marketing Cloud and the Einstein add-on will send journey emails at the best time, based on the open history for a specific contact. The following chart shows optimal send times based on data from Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Pardot Send Times

When determining send times, it is imperative to not only evaluate your data, but also take external factors into account. Business hours do not just have to be during the 9am – 5pm work day. Instead, think about what hours your members conduct business with your association. For example, if you send emails primarily to a member’s work email, the standard business hours would likely be the right choice. However, I once worked with a client whose members were surgeons that were very busy during the normal workday, so the client decided to send emails only on the evenings and weekends.

Wait Times

When configuring a journey, all marketing platforms will allow for a wait time between steps. While this seems straight forward, wait times can be a bit tricky, so it is important to understand what the options mean.

For example, you want to wait two days to see if the contact opened an email. One option is for the system to continually “listen” if the email is opened. When the contact opens the email, they immediately move on to the next step, whether that happens 30 minutes after the email is sent or a day and a half later. With this option you can see that contacts will move through the journey at different rates depending on how quickly they opened an email.

A second option is to give the system a vacation for two days and at the end of two days, it checks who opened up the email. In this option, all contacts in the journey move forward at the same time. Systems with this flexibility are generally more helpful when it comes to covering various use cases for your association’s automated journeys.

Exit Criteria

A lot of times when thinking about journeys, people think of only the entry criteria. That is important, obviously, but do not forget about exiting the journey. Should everyone who enters the journey go all the way through the journey, or should they exit early for some reason?

The classic example I hear is an event invitation journey. You send multiple invites to an event, but if someone registers after the first email, you do not want them to receive a second or third invitation. Another example is asking members to renew their membership. If they renewed, then you do not want to continue sending them reminders.

In Pardot, you could have an entry list of everyone you want to invite to the event. Your next step would be to build a dynamic list of everyone who has registered for the event, and then use that as a suppression list in the journey. That way, if someone registers they get added to the suppression list, which means they no longer receive invitations.

In Marketing Cloud, you can use a function called Exit Criteria , instead of a suppression list. If at any point in the journey the Exit Criteria are met, then the contact is removed from the journey.

Automated JourneyPausing Automations

It is important to understand how to update your journeys. Maybe you want to change email content or the flow within the journey. In some marketing automation platforms you need to pause the journey to make those changes. Make sure to understand what happens when the journey is paused.

Typically contacts within the journey are frozen in time. Therefore, if users are on day two of a five-day wait step, when you unpause the journey a week later, they are still on day two. Therefore we recommend that journeys are paused only temporarily – one day at most!

Repeating Automations

There may be some journeys that you want a contact to repeat. For example, you might want the user to complete a form on the website to access a white paper. In the journey they are automatically sent an email with a link to the PDF download. If the contact submits the form multiple times, they should receive that follow-up email multiple times as well.

Depending on the platform, you can decide if a contact is allowed to repeat the journey and how many times they are able to repeat. Also, there may be instances where someone is in the journey, but then they qualify again to be in the journey. Do you want the same person in the journey twice at the same time or not? There are very few use cases where this is needed, but if that use case is specific for your association, then make sure the marketing automation platform you use has that ability.

fusionSpan Is Here For Assistance!

Looking to get more ROI on your Marketing Efforts? Want to understand why your members have a low engagement rate? fusionSpan is here to help take your organization’s marketing to the next level!

Reach out to the fusionSpan team for best-in-class Digital Strategy consulting and solutions!

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Rethinking Marketing Automation And Your Membership Lifecycle

Susan Baumbach June 3rd, 2021 by

Many association professionals are undoubtedly aware of the membership life cycle of Awareness, Recruitment, Engagement, Renewal, and Reinstatement. The concept can be pushed further since your relationship with members does not look the same year after year, instead, it evolves. Thinking about the membership life cycle three-dimensionally is more realistic. Therefore, we now have a Membership Spiral!

spirals dimensionally

In this Spiral, you can think about the X-axis as several different things. The first is most obviously time as the member learns more about your association and you learn more about your member. The renewal cycle for your first-year member should look different than a renewal cycle five years down the road. The Spiral shows this concept more effectively than a two-dimensional life cycle. Also, your engagement with that member should be managed differently as they already know about your association and you may want to engage them by advertising different events or volunteer opportunities.


Another way to think about the X-axis is a measure of the member’s advocacy activities for your association. As time goes on you may have a segment of your membership that invites their colleagues to events, presents at conferences, or serves in a leadership position on a committee. These members have the opportunity to influence the Membership Spiral of other members as well.

When thinking about advocates, first you need to define how someone becomes an advocate. Is it after they forward 20 of your marketing emails to others, or that they attend 10 conferences in a row, or something else? Next, do you have the data to know when they cross that threshold? This question can be very difficult for some associations to answer if the data lives in unconnected platforms. For example, the marketing automation tool holds information about email forwards and the event management system holds historical attendance information. This leads us to a discussion of your association’s tech stack, with a specific focus on marketing technology (or MarTech).

Segmentation of Membership Spirals Using Data

Just as you can think about segmenting member advocates, you can also use data from across your technology platforms to segment the various membership spirals. The key factor is to have a tech stack that brings together all of the ways that members have engaged with you historically. The graph below is from Pardot, which is a marketing automation tool that integrates with Salesforce data and can also capture information about website interaction behavior. In Pardot as a member opens an email, clicks on a link, or visits the website, their score increases. This graph shows their cumulative score overtime, so in this example you can see the members stay consistently engaged. There is a leveling off in December, which makes sense due to the holiday season. This member is spending time with family and not opening association emails or the association wasn’t sending out communication during that time.

Segmentation of Membership Spirals Using Data

The next example looks a bit different because there is no engagement over the summer months. This was taken from an association that has a large segment of their membership who are university professors. So having little to no engagement over the summer months would make sense. If you are able to bring together historical data about your membership, then try to see if you can create segments. This is critical because how you engage with the member above versus the member below would be very different.

Segmentation of Membership Spirals Using Data

Awareness and Recruitment

Having a highly integrated tech stack will allow your organization to better capture leads and recruit them for membership. Many marketing automation tools will allow you to place tracking code and forms on your website. Once a lead completes the form, the system is then able to track website visits and behavior. Based on that behavior, for example two visits to the Join Now page but not purchasing a membership, would trigger automatic marketing emails to the lead about the benefits of membership. Once the lead purchases a membership, which is typically a data point captured in the CRM, that will feed back to the marketing automation tool to remove that person from the automated emails.


The classic example of engagement for brand new members is an automated welcome campaign that triggers once someone purchases a membership. But, let’s think further down the membership spiral when the member has been active for 4-5 years. By that time an integrated tech stack should know if this person typically attends the annual conference, or a bunch of regional events, or primarily engage with online training courses. Based on this historical data, if you are seeing a dip in engagement for a specific member, then you could send opportunities that are similar to how the member engaged previously. For example, if someone never took an online training course, that probably isn’t the avenue to re-engage them.

Depending on the marketing tool, you can also understand how and when the member interacts with association content. Do they typically open emails at 6am in the morning on their mobile phone or 9pm at night on their desktop computer? Capturing this information can help your association better target your content so that your intended audience is more likely to engage.

Renewal and Reinstatement

For association membership teams, renewal is a critical phase of the Membership Spiral. Alot of associations I work with will send renewal reminders and pretty common intervals, such as 30 days before expiration, 15 days, 7 days, etc. I haven’t found if there is a particular reason for that, or that is what the default values are, so everyone goes with it.

Again, let’s actually look at the data. What days of the week show higher email engagement? How many days before the renewal date do members actually renew? If 75% of your membership doesn’t renew until 3 days before the renewal date, then sending a 30-day reminder email may not be very effective. When looking at the data you could segment your membership to those who typically renew early versus at the last minute. Of all the data so far discussed in this blog, I’m nearly 100% positive that your association will have this data, but I really don’t see many associations using it.

Stay Tuned For More

By thinking of the Membership Spiral concept and leveraging integrated historical data from multiple platforms, associations can more easily attain membership goals. There are many ways to refine how your association interacts with members during each phase of the life cycle and over time.

Stay tuned for upcoming content focusing on tips and tricks for marketing automation at your organization. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out to our talented team here at fusionSpan for all your Digital Strategy needs!

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Leverage Pardot Forms as Lead Generation Tools

Komal Chauhan fusionSpan Team December 17th, 2020 by

Forms are very common features on association websites to collect information from visitors, regardless of if they are members or not. The information gathered on forms can help turn anonymous visitors into identified prospects. For example, when a visitor provides an email address in the form while signing up for a free newsletter, you will be able to capture the name and contact information of that user. Therefore, forms serve as ideal lead generation tools.

Forms can further be used to gather more information about the contact. Based on the demographic or preference information, more personalized emails can be sent in the future. Different associations value different information, so the fields can easily be customized to get the most important information required into the marketing database.

Associations use a wide variety of marketing tools (MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, Pardot, HubSpot, Marketing Cloud, etc.), many of which have form functionality. On of the most common platforms associations tend to use is Pardot. Pardot is a B2B Tool built on top of Salesforce, and makes it easy for users to create customized and user-friendly forms based your organization’s needs. While these forms appear advanced, they are easy to handle and maintain over time.

TABS Case Study CTA

There are two different form types available in Pardot: Forms and Form Handlers.

Pardot Forms

Pardot forms are designed and managed completely in Pardot. They are easy to use and collect information about people visiting your website or landing page, and can be set up quickly by using the Form Wizard tool. Benefits of using Pardot forms include:

  • Prevents data duplication by merging form submission with any existing prospect with the same email address
  • Includes progressive profiling
  • Invisible bot protection
  • Tracks form views and logs error data
  • Can be embedded in a Pardot landing page
  • Can set up automation rules based on form views
  • Displays customized “thank you” content after form submission

Form Handlers

Form Handlers connect Pardot to external forms, which allows you to funnel prospect information into Pardot. With Pardot’s form handlers, you can keep all your existing, styled web forms and still collect the data in Pardot. fusionSpan recommends form handlers if you have an extensive form infrastructure already in place, need total control of your form’s design, or just want to pass data back to Pardot from specific fields in pre-existing forms. Some features include:

  • Integrates with third-party forms
  • Integrates with Salesforce Web-to-Lead forms
  • Maintains existing web forms that are already styled to your association’s brand
  • Captures information from a form that may be writing information to multiple other databases

Progressive Profiling

Forms do not have to be static. Instead, associations can use progressive profiling to set up iterative forms that enable you to define which fields appear in order to gather even more information about the prospect. Every time a prospect fills out a form, you are progressively collecting valuable new information about them while keeping your form as short and easy to complete as possible. Pardot forms can dynamically change and hide questions based on what you already know about the prospects.

For example, let us say a prospect has already filled out a form with their name, company name, and email. If you want to ask the prospect for additional information, you can use progressive profiling to automatically replace one of the form fields they’ve already answered, like a company, and exchange it for a different field, like a phone number.

The benefits of progressive profiling include:

  • Shorter forms have better conversion rates
  • Progressive Profiling avoids repetition and saves time
  • Users are able to capture more valuable prospect intelligence over time

Completion Actions

Once a user fills out a form, you will want to take next steps with that lead. Pardot has a functionality called completion actions that allow you to immediately perform an action on a prospect record. Below are several examples of completion actions:

  • Automatically add new prospects to a welcome email nurture program/journey
  • Send auto-response after a form is completed
  • Send an email to the prospect asking them to sign up for additional email preferences
  • Assign prospects to a source campaign to later identify their member journey
  • Notify an association staff member that a prospect completed a form

Contact fusionSpan For More Assistance!

As you can see, forms are an easy-to-use yet effective tool. By using forms, you can enhance your customer’s journey and turn unidentified prospects into strong leads.

For more information on Pardot, Forms, or Marketing Automation, don’t hesitate to reach out to our talented Digital Strategy team here at fusionSpan!

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5 Ways to Improve Your Next Email Campaign in Mailchimp

Komal Chauhan fusionSpan Team November 5th, 2020 by

In today’s age of social media and digital transformation, email is often overlooked as a marketing tool to effectively use to reach members. Email campaigns are an inexpensive option for associations to reach a large group of members and are even still relied upon as the primary form of communication.

One email marketing tool that fusionSPAN’s Digital Strategy team assists clients with is Mailchimp. Though it may seem to be one of the more inexpensive marketing tools, Mailchimp is one of the more commonly used platforms throughout the association space due to its ability to automate marketing efforts and provide users with the ability to design creative and interactive email templates.

At its core, Mailchimp is an all-in-one marketing platform that shares emails, ads, and other messages with audiences. These email messages are referred to as “campaigns” when created in the platform. Campaigns provide flexible settings and design options, as well as tools that help users build and create the best email templates for their target audience. 

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Getting Started in Mailchimp

It is important to understand the skill set required to create email campaigns in your organization’s Mailchimp platform. By default, you can create campaigns using Layouts, Themes, and Code Your Own Templates.

Layouts and Themes are two easy-to-use features, as they include drag-and-drop content blocks consisting of various options. They do not contain complex code and are rather easy to maintain.

On the other hand, the Code Your Own feature, which is also called import HTML, import zip file, or paste in code, requires the Mailchimp user to have a strong working knowledge of Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). Learning the required HTML and CSS can take a long time for team members that do not have a basic understanding of computer programming languages.

Therefore, if associations want to leverage custom HTML features (which is the preferred method for organizations sending frequent and/or complex communications), they need to have a team member on staff who knows HTML and CSS well or leverage a partner such as fusionSPAN.

Five Ways to Improve Your Emails

When creating a new campaign, users can add designs either via drag-and-drop templates or through a coded template of their own. Let’s explore the five best practices that the fusionSPAN team recommends to improve your next email marketing campaign!

1. Understand Content Blocks in Regards to Layout, Theme, and Code Your Own Templates

Email templates and landing pages can be easily created in Mailchimp with drag-and-drop content blocks, available in both Layout and Theme templates. There are a variety of content block types for users to implement when creating email campaigns, such as text boxes, RSS feeds, dividers, images, buttons, signup forms, and more! Content blocks are designed to be easy to use and can be dragged horizontally or vertically throughout your email template to provide the required outcome. In fact, depending on the content block, there are various styles and settings features to allow for even more customization of your content.

Understand Content Blocks in Regards to Layout, Theme, and Code Your Own Templates 

It is important to keep in mind that custom coded email templates do not contain the drag-and-drop content blocks. Creating a Custom HTML email is not much different than coding a website, as the same design tools are used to produce your result. Using Mailchimp’s template language, users can add editable regions to their custom coded email templates.

To get started creating custom email templates, you will select the “Code Your Own” template option. Code all structures using the table element. For more complicated layouts, you should nest tables to build complex structures. Remember that leveraging the Code Your Own feature will require a front-end designer with an intermediate working knowledge of HTML and CSS.

2. Use Background Colors in Your Template Designs

Mailchimp email structure is divided into three basic parts: header, email body, and footer. When designing campaigns, you can actually assign different background colors to each part of your email. By default, the Mailchimp content blocks do not allow you to assign a background color to the full content block, and will always keep some default padding. 

In terms of HTML, coding all structures using the table element allows users to nest tables to build complex structures. The background color can be customized in each of those table element structures/content blocks. Having background colors implemented throughout your email will help differentiate sections and create a more attractive design. 

3. Insert Buttons To Share Links

The Button content block creates a button in your email that links to a website or file to download. Buttons are a great way to call out a particular link that you want readers to click, drive visitors to a particular product on your online store, and more.

The drag-and-drop Button block allows for various alignment, width, and style options to most effectively design a call-to-action in your email. In fact, the Style tab allows you to adjust settings for the border, corners, background, font, font size, and padding. Keep in mind that you can not use custom padding for a button you insert, as it will assign the same amount of padding to the top, right, bottom, and left side. Additionally, you can not use any icon or image under the button style.

In terms of HTML customization, button width is dependent on the amount of text inside of the table cell. Within the cell, you can design your button coded to your exact requirements. Users can code custom padding, icons, or images for buttons in their email campaigns. While it is sometimes difficult to edit the custom HTML button within Mailchimp, it allows for more customization that an image or drag-and-drop content block would.

Insert Buttons To Share Links

4. Leverage Social Media Icons

To make the most of your Mailchimp email template, you will want to give your readers a way to share what you have sent and interact with it on social platforms. The social follow content blocks will give you the option to add social profile links to your email or page, whereas the share content blocks will allow readers to share your content on social media. Like buttons, inserting social media icons will allow you to create more interactive content for your readers.Leverage Social Media Icons As with other content blocks, the social follow and share content blocks allow for a variety of design and display options within the style and settings tabs. Furthermore, creating custom email templates via code allow you to use a wide range of social icons and can be easily adjusted as your campaign design requires.

5. Don’t Forget About Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness is an incredibly important yet often overlooked aspect of marketing campaigns. Chances are a good portion of your audience views your emails on a mobile browser, and could very well make up the majority of your email viewers depending on the target audience.

By default, Mailchimp campaign templates use responsive design to adjust the layout of your campaign to appear correctly on any device. Each content block in the Campaign Builder includes a Mobile Styles section, where you can change designs as your campaign requires. However, not every device handles responsive code the same way, which in turn can make your campaign appear slightly different on mobile format than in a web browser. This is where having an HTML and CSS expert is not so much of a want as a need.

Resolving Mobile Issues Via HTML/CSS

To resolve mobile responsive issues, media queries are used in the code to modify email template layouts depending on screen size. It is necessary to inline CSS styles, either by hand or through automation, before an email is sent. Since media query styles work on a trigger, and are not default styles, it does not make sense to inline any of it. Therefore, the email’s normal CSS needs to be inlined and the media query CSS needs to override those styles once it is triggered.

Media queries use an @media rule to determine whether or not to include a block of CSS properties. They consist of three parts: the media type, a condition, and the styles that need to be applied. If this is not the case, your inline CSS is used. Media queries are specified in the <head> section of the document and only work when embedded in the HTML. This means that you cannot use media queries as inline styles. Inline styles have the highest specificity in the cascade, it’s necessary for every media query style rule you write needs to be marked with an !important declaration. With this declaration in your code, you override all the inline styles.

Contact fusionSPAN for More Assistance!

As you can see, Mailchimp allows for a great deal of customization on top of their out-of-box templates. Users have the choice to build emails and pages using drag-and-drop content blocks on a variety of templates or have the option to build out completely customized content of their own via code.

While the standard templates and designs would work for some basic communications, building out any sort of complex email or page requires a significant amount of HTML and CSS knowledge. For more complex or frequent communications, a custom HTML design would be a much better fit for any organization looking to deliver the most value to members. Don’t hesitate to reach out to our talented Digital Strategy team here at fusionSPAN for more resources and assistance!

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Elevate Your Marketing Game With Transactional Emails

Susan Baumbach July 17th, 2020 by

Managing email communication with your association’s members includes more than the marketing emails that are sent to advertise events or share information. A key part of email communication is transactional emails (also called Operational Emails), which many organizations leverage to provide members key information.

These emails update members with essential information relevant to their association membership. fusionSpan believes that all email communication, marketing or transactional, should offer a consistent experience across the board for every user.

What is a Transactional Email?

On the Federal Trade Commission website about CAN-SPAM, transactional content “facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction.” In addition, transactional emails give “information about a change in terms of features or account balance information regarding a membership, subscription, account, loan or other ongoing commercial relationship.” Many non-profits and associations can leverage these emails either in their Salesforce platform, or housed in their internal marketing tool.

Transactional emails that I typically see organizations send are related to new membership subscriptions, membership renewals, receipts, invoices, sales orders, or confirmation of events/webinars. These emails are important for all associations because they have a higher delivery rate than marketing emails, which can be opted out from. Since members are more likely to receive and open these emails, having them designed intentionally is important.

Transactional Emails in Salesforce

Transactional Emails in Salesforce All associations need to think about types of transactional emails that are sent out and what tool is sending them. With my clients using Fonteva, transactional emails are already set up for membership reminders, receipts, invoices, event registrations, and other notifications of that nature. By default, these transactional emails are basic text emails that, for example, include the contact’s name, a simple sentence describing the reason for the email, and a link to the receipt. It makes sense that these default emails are not branded for each client because it allows each association to customize them as needed.

If your association has decided to keep transactional emails within Salesforce, the first step would be to modify the email content to provide additional information from the association. For example, the membership renewal reminder email may provide information about the benefits of membership. An event registration confirmation email could list additional information about that specific event by adding merge fields to the template.

Once the content of the email has been updated, fusionSpan recommends styling your email to one that mimics the header and footer used in your marketing emails. There are multiple technical ways for styling to be added to Salesforce email templates and fusionSpan helps clients determine the best method for your association’s use case (fill out this Contact Us form for more information)! Below is an example of a base Fonteva transactional receipt email.


The sample below is a basic template that fusionSpan has created that can be customized based on your associations logo and brand colors. Additional customization can be used to create a button instead of providing the long URL link. Please reach out to our Digital Strategy team to learn more.


Transactional Emails in a Marketing Tool

Another option for managing transactional emails is through your marketing tool, which typically removes the requirement of having an unsubscribe option in the footer of your email.

When setting these up in your marketing platform, you must evaluate your use case and decide:

  • Firstly, can all the information required for the email (date, link, and product information) be brought over to the marketing tool? Depending on the tool, the sync of information is different, so you will need to figure out how to bring the transactional information into the marketing system.
  • Secondly, can the marketing system trigger transactional emails automatically? In Pardot, for example, a transactional email can only be sent as a one-time list email, and you are not able to send automated transactional emails through an engagement program. As a result, Pardot may work for one-time membership renewal reminders, but would likely not work for receipts that are on-demand at the time of purchase.

Journey Builder is a Salesforce Marketing Cloud tool used to create automated campaigns. It uses the contact’s behavior to tailor either transactional or marketing content.

Marketing Cloud is coming out with a release shortly that will allow transactional emails in Journey Builder, which is an exciting development!

Leverage Transactional Emails Today!

Overall, no matter where your organization decides to send transactional emails from, fusionSpan believes that all emails should have styles that align with one another. This helps the recipients quickly understand which organization is contacting them and they receive a unified voice and experience.

Thinking through which system is best suited for transactional emails is a consultative process during fusionSpan implementations. By elevating transactional emails, your association can see great returns quickly!

Importance of Support Services After a Marketing Platform Implementation

Susan Baumbach May 7th, 2020 by

Sending the first email on your association’s new email marketing platform can be exciting and probably a bit nerve-wracking. Over the past few months, you have worked with an implementation partner to configure the system and ensure it integrates properly with your CRM, helping you to send the right email, at the right time, based on your member’s most up-to-date information. After a few weeks of tweaking the email templates and creating new lists, you all of a sudden realize that your seemingly minor changes to the template mean it doesn’t display properly on Outlook and your new lists have a high unsubscribe rate.

For moments like these, it is important that you have someone you can rely on to help get the answers you need.

fusionSpan believes that the addition of support services, after a marketing tool implementation, is a critical component to the successful adoption of that tool. Not only is that support answering questions from staff, but also there is a maintenance component to ensure any product features are upgraded and new tools are vetted before use. There are valid concerns about the monthly cost of support, being reliant on an outside party while not building capacity internally, and dealing with knowledge transfer if you do end the support agreement in the future. These issues may arise if expectations are not clear at the onset.

When starting a support agreement with any partner it is important to understand what value the partner offers and to communicate your needs. Do you imagine a support arrangement with more concentrated hours in the first few months that later decreases to cover complicated or urgent questions as needed? Is the support partner expected to train your staff if the same question arises and a quick 30-minute training session means your staff can resolve the issue themselves in the future? Make sure to notify your support partner several months in advance when your staff starts feeling confident in the tool so that a strategy can be developed to reduce support hours in the future.

Benefits of Support

  • Time and cost savings because the partner providing support thoroughly understands the configuration and does not need to “get up to speed”.
  • When an issue does arise, a partner is able to dissect it and offer a solution quickly because they are the subject matter and tool experts.
  • Having an ongoing support agreement means that you do not have to wait for contracts to be discussed and ratified before the partner can go in and try to identify the issue. Not having your main line of communication to your members working optimally for several days can incur a significant cost.

Use Support Services to Assist Staff Who Already Have a Full-Time Job

Training internal staff quickly to become expert users is an achievable goal but may take longer than expected. Priorities and circumstances shift and training is put on the back burner. Typically, we see multiple tools being implemented together, so your team would need to learn several items at the same time. Your staff already have full-time jobs and it takes focus on the product to really maximize your investment. A support partner is aware of the tool’s ultimate capabilities and they also have a pulse on new system updates that can resolve issues and enhance your staff’s work. In addition, a partner has experience with the reporting and analytics capability of the tool, allowing it to be refined to better engage members in the future.

Staff may engineer a solution to a problem that works initially, but may not follow best practices or be future-proofed. Partners work in these tools every day and have significant experience by working with multiple clients. This experience can be invaluable in identifying the best, long-term solution for your association. Ultimately, having a support relationship with the same implementation partner will ensure the services you receive are personalized and allow you to fully leverage your newly implemented marketing tool.

October 2019 Salesforce MC Release Update

Avatar photo October 7th, 2019 by

The semi-annual Salesforce update this fall will happen between October 12, 2019 and November 1, 2019. Here is Gayathri’s synopsis of the stand-out items from the release. Reach out to Gayathri or the Digital Strategy team if you’re interested in Marketing Cloud.

Marketing Cloud Setup:

  1. Access MobilePush and GroupConnect admin pages from Setup.
  2. Enable the following Email Studio features in Setup: HTML Paste, Double Opt-In, From Name dropdown of Users, Send Throttling, BCC Emails, Impression Tracking, and Text-online Email.
  3. Setup automatic email reminders about expiring FTP account passwords.
  4. New GetSendTime() AMPscript function returns date and time of the individual subscriber instead of existing function Now() which returns date and time of current system date.
  5. Can now delete all queued SMS messages in a Send Definition using a new transactional message API called “DELETE messaging/v1/sms/definitions/{definitionKey}/queue”.

Some updates to Studios/Builders:

Content Builder:

  1. Nested tags being introduced. Marketers can add multiple dimensions to tags, making them easier to find, categorize, and analyze.
  2. Share data sources in business units: “Data Sync customers who synchronize data sources with a single Sales or Service Cloud Organization can share data sources across Business Units with the new Sharing tab in the Marketing Cloud Enterprise Account.”

Email Studio:

  1. Combine Email Studio with Account Level Seed Lists: “Return Path seeded sends now use Return Path Account Level seed lists. Account Level seed lists automatically synced with Return Path which prevents over-sending.”

Journey Builder:

  1. View Google Analytics 360 SMS metrics inside Journey Builder.
  2. Event Follow-Up template can be used to build a journey to engage with attendees after an event.

Social Studio:

  1. Google My Business enhancement: Admins can more easily add filters that allow end users to filter on cities, states, regions, provinces, and countries.
  2. Ability to delete unused screens from Command Center.

Mobile Studio:

  1. Register your own LINE channels and match company branding in GroupConnect.
  2. Use brand colors in in-apt messages (MobilePush) in Content Builder and Journey Builder
  3. New MobilePush SDK ReactNavtive module. Which enables “basic push functionality and analytics tracking for ReactNative-based hybrid mobile app”.

Ending functionality:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Connector 2011 support ending January 2020.

Distributed Marketing

*Enhancements being released to non-production environments on October 27, 2019

  1. New Editing Experience: Icons on the left side of modal to move between editing and previewing content.
  2. Click an area of a preview to edit directly.
  3. Top navigation bar options to change the message you’re editing (only in multi-message campaign sends), change send settings and view the record you’re sending to.
  4. More information available in Preview: “To” shows Name and Email address from recipient contact or lead record. “From” shows Name and Email Address of User Record running the preview.
  5. Can send a message to Contact, Lead, or Account directly from case record.
  6. Distributed Content Blocks can now be used as reference blocks.
  7. Can add custom image via a URL for up to 10 valid domains.
  8. Use List Views to send a Quick Send Message to an Individual.