I just finished a cleanse and it sucked.
It had me drinking water like it was my job, taking horrible pills and chugging gag-inducing drinks for 10 straight days.
So why do it?
Well, for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I wanted to lose some holiday weight that had been slowing me down and secondly because I wanted to start my year off right with a clean slate and healthy foundation for moving forward.
You’re probably wondering what my stupidity in taking on this ridiculous cleanse has to do with your marketing automation. The short answer is, a lot actually.
You see, just like our bodies, the marketing automation software and databases that we use can easily be “mismanaged” leading to bloated, poor performing shadows of what they once were. Just like my cleanse, taking the time to clean out useless junk in your marketing automation while setting the foundations for a healthier existence moving forward is a great thing to do on an annual or semi-annual basis.
You may be saying to yourself, “Ok, I get it, cleaning out my database is a good thing to do every now and then but what’s in it for me besides a less cluttered digital space? Why waste my time?”
That’s a fine question.
Cleaning out your marketing automation database has a number of benefits aside from the organizational aspects. If you’re actually the person paying for this software, I’m sure you know that most automation platforms charge by the number of contacts stored in the system. Others charge by the tools and features provided in different licenses. Others still, charge by the number of emails sent out. If you aren’t paying attention to these key aspects, you may be receiving overage charges or be paying for tools and features that you are never using. These aren't cheap overages either. The difference in price for housing 101 contacts on HubSpot's Basic liscence versus housing 100 is $1,200 a year!
Yes, just like everything else in life, when the money gets involved people start to pay attention. So for you unorganized marketers out there who could use to put their automation platforms and portals through a cleanse of their own, here is a list of places where you should start along with some advice on how you can keep them cleaner moving forward.
- Establish a list of contact properties that you believe disqualify a lead, making their contact records unnecessary to keep. Delete anyone who meets the requirements you’ve created. This list can include:
o IP Country- If your company only does business within the United States then you don’t need to keep records of contacts from outside the country.
o Spam Email Addresses- If you’re a B2B company, you most likely don’t want to deal with any leads who are giving you gmail and yahoo email addresses over their company addresses.
o Email Opt Outs- If a contact opts out of email communication from you this can sometimes (but not always) mean the end of automation actions that you can take with them. Is it worth keeping them in your system after this?
o Negative Personas- Not all personas are created equally. If you know that there are a certain portion of similar site visitors who will never be a customer for you, tracking and deleting these contact records could save you time and space.
- Create/Maintain the above list. Either check this list on a regular basis and manually delete the contacts you believe to be un-qualified or create a workflow that automatically deletes the list’s members as they join it.
- Establish lead scoring to automate the qualification process of leads as they come in. While the above list may help you quickly dismiss obvious un-qualified leads, this system can help you avoid wasting time on “fringe” leads versus “hot”, priority leads.
- Review all lists that are not currently being used by other tools (workflows, individual marketing emails, etc.).
o Edit or delete these lists to gain more from them or clear out your listing tool.
- Delete one-off lists. Sometimes you need to create small, one-off lists for specific emails or functions and then never use them again after that. Chuck ‘em.
- Create a set of folders that should house every type of list you have. Consider sorting your lists into folders like:
o Persona Lists
o Specific Offer Downloads/Form Submissions
o Buyer’s Journey Stages
o Static Lists
- Make a habit of deleting one-off lists as they become irrelevant. For example, if you create a one-off list of contacts that didn’t open a specific email so that you can resend that email to them, delete the list once the email goes live.
- Review all landing pages. Ask yourself questions like:
o Are they still optimized with current SEO best practices?
o Are they still relevant?
o Are the offers/promotions attached to the landing page still live?
- Delete or archive any page that is no longer necessary. Be sure that no resources (your site, external links, etc.) are currently linking to this page.
- Establish and implement a clear naming convention for all landing pages. Consider:
o Type of page (landing page vs. thank you page)
o Type of offer (awareness vs. consideration vs. decision)
o Name of page (what is this page promoting?)
- Set dates to review, edit or archive time-sensitive pages. For example, if you have a landing page that is promoting a contest give-away, once the winner is chosen you will want to either archive the page or edit it so that people know that they can no longer enter.
- Review all unused workflows. Ask yourself:
o Does this workflow still need to be live? If not, delete it.
o Do I need to edit either the rules or the connecting triggers so that the workflow sees more action? Not all workflows are optimized for visibility within its campaign. You may need to tweak or fix a few things so that the right people are being sent to the workflow.
o Can I consolidate the actions performed in this workflow with another? Sometimes you can get 3 different things done within one workflow instead of 3 separate ones. Look for ways in which you bring both internal and external activities into one workflow.
- Consider consolidating your workflow strategy. Instead of having one email nurturing campaign/workflow for each offer you have, why not create persona-based workflows that spend more time sending persona-specific content to the lead versus offer-specific? This can help you consolidate from half a dozen workflows to 3 or 4.
- Establish a simple naming convention. Consider the different elements in a workflow, including:
o Offer name
o Action performed in workflow (Internal notification vs. external nurturing campaign)
- Review all unused or barely visible automated emails. Consider:
o Is it part of a workflow no longer in use? Can it be salvaged or should it just be deleted?
o Are there few opens and click through’s? Should the subject line and body be edited to optimize for these?
- Same with workflows, consider consolidating the automated email strategy. Will one “thank you” email per persona work better than per offer downloaded?
- Establish a clear naming convention for your automated emails that takes into account:
o Offer/Workflow it’s connected to
o The stage in the workflow this email can be found
- Review all unused forms. If there are forms that were attached to old offers or landing pages that won’t be used in the future, delete them.
- Consider consolidating your form strategy. Instead of creating a new form for every new landing page or offer created, establish a 3 form system connected to the different stages of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration and decision). These forms can then easily be attached to the lists and workflows that you just cleaned up.
- Review your keyword strategy. Are you still focused on the same keywords that you started your campaign with? If not, consider:
o Deleting the keywords you no longer believe to be relevant
o Adding new, more targeted keywords for your current campaign
o Focus on variations of successful keywords versus new ones (not completely, of course)
- Review keyword rankings on at least a weekly basis to keep track of successes and failures.
- Establish monthly, quarterly and annual sessions to review, edit and clean out keywords from your campaign.
Calls to Action
- Review all CTA’s in your system.
o If they are live on pages but not getting clicks, consider a redesign or reworking of the written call to action on it.
o If they aren’t live on pages, consider deleting or archiving them.
- Establish monthly or quarterly sessions to review the success of CTA’s on your website. Use insights gleaned from successful CTA’s to rework or replace underperforming batches. Use this time to find older designs that may need updates to stay in keeping with your website’s.
Just like a cleanse, looking at the amount of work and restrictions that this type of data clean up creates can be a little unnerving. While the process may seem daunting, the benefits are well worth the hassle. A cleaner marketing automation system will work faster and can literally save your company thousands of dollars a year! Isn’t it time your system shed a few unnecessary pieces?