By Alejandra Melara

Marketo is a powerful tool that can automate marketing campaigns for every step in the customer journey. There is so much you can do一but when you’re starting out, there is a good chance that the first email you set up will be a newsletter. 

Email newsletters are weekly or monthly roundups of company news or offers, depending on your industry. Newsletters are often the first building block in a great email strategy, because they are an easy way to share meaningful content and build trust with your audience. 

Marketo makes it easy to build, customize, and automate email newsletters at scale, even across multiple geographies or verticals. Here are seven steps for getting started with email newsletters in Marketo.

Learn how SmartBug generated a 6,800% increase in email marketing traffic using  Marketo and inbound marketing tactics.

1. Choose Your Program Type

Marketo offers four program types for different kinds of email automation. For a welcome series or for emails that trigger based on key moments in the customer journey, you will want to explore engagement programs, event programs, and default programs. But for an email that is sent once and does not trigger any follow-up actions, you can probably stick with Marketo’s email program tool. 

2. Define Segments and User Roles

While email newsletters can be a cinch for small businesses, they get more complicated if you are navigating shared ownership between headquarters and complex regional territories or industry verticals. 

In an ideal world, many organizations would like to create centralized messages or creative that can be regionalized as needed by local teams, without giving too much latitude for going rogue and off brand. 

Segmentations in Marketo help you do that. Before you build your first email, define any geographic or industry groupings that you will need for content customization. Later, you will be able to easily change content by segment. 

You should also define user permissions. You can decide which users have the ability to send emails on their own, and which need to run through an approval process. You can also make some content areas locked to certain user profiles; that brings us to snippets.

3. Use Snippets to Personalize

Once you’ve defined your segments, you will use snippets to populate any content that you will be controlling centrally. Snippets are controlled in Marketo’s design studio, rather than at the individual email level. You can decide which users get design studio privileges.

Snippets are based on your segmentations, making it easy to build out different logos or unsubscribe language for different audience segments. A good place to start with snippets is in your header and footer. Snippets can help you ensure brand consistency and unsubscribe information moving forward. 

If regional users clone and edit an email template built using snippets, those content areas will automatically pull in the most recent version of the snippet. This makes it easy for you to keep tens or hundreds of email versions up to date with one edit. 

4. Customize Your Body Content

You can use either dynamic content or snippets to customize the body of your email newsletter for different audience segments. Which you choose will depend on your needs. In general, dynamic content is best for content that varies by segment but is unique to this email. Snippets are good for standard language or assets that you will reuse over time.

5. Personalize with Tokens

So far, you’ve customized your email based on audience segments. But like any marketing automation tool worth its salt, Marketo also gives you the ability to personalize your emails based on any field on your recipient’s record. If you use a CRM like Salesforce, you can pull in information from related records as well. Marketo does this personalization with tokens

For a newsletter, personalization probably starts with some version of “Dear First Name.” But you can also personalize sender information. You might consider using tokens to include the name and contact information of each recipient’s sales rep in the copy of your email itself. You can also use tokens in your “reply to” information, so that each audience segment automatically sees an email from the correct sender in their inbox.

6. Set Up an Automated Smart List, Then Send

Once your email looks and sounds like your brand, it’s time to get it out into the world. Instead of using a static list to define the audience for your email newsletter, do yourself a favor and set up a Marketo smart list. Smart lists let you define the audience for your send using filters, instead of through a manual process. Those filters fire right before you send, meaning your list is never out of date. 

In addition to whatever custom data you want to use to define your list, your smart list can also include filters for whether or not someone is a member of one of Marketo’s pre-built system smart lists. These lists are also always up to date and allow you to easily exclude people who have bounced, unsubscribed, or become ineligible for marketing emails based on other factors.

Once you have your email and your list, you are ready to send yourself a test email, schedule your send, and watch the clicks roll in

7. Clone and Update Your Email Newsletter for Next Time!

Once you go through these steps for your first send, your life is about to get much easier. 

You (or your regional users) can easily clone your email newsletter for next week or next month. Your smart list filters will stay the same, as will your snippets and segmentations. Simply edit your subject line and whatever body content needs to change, and you are good to go! 

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Alejandra Melara

About the author

Alejandra Melara is our Content Marketing Manager and she's based out of El Salvador, Central America. Ale is our very first LATAM employee. She's worked remotely for the past 5 years and she's had different roles in sales and marketing. In her free time, she works on creating educational videos around digital marketing for her "InboundNomad" social accounts where she promotes traveling the world while being a full-time marketer. Read more articles by Alejandra Melara.

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