Drive Productivity with Scheduled Automations

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:

  • Identify campaigns and email sends to automate.
  • Explain how templates can help you increase productivity.
  • Explain how data and automations can drive personalization at scale.

Be More Productive

Pulling all of your data together to create a single view of the customer is the first step toward becoming a marketing superpower. With the data all in one place, you can start to scale your marketing efforts using personalization and templates. But before we dive into getting you set up with up marketing campaigns, let’s identify which campaigns to send as part of your scheduled automations.

By scheduling automations, you can create emails ahead of time and plan when they go out. You also can schedule updates to data and content or change the emails themselves right before they go out.

When you’re trying to scale your marketing efforts, first determine your campaign schedule. Start by identifying weekly, biweekly, or monthly newsletter or promotional sends. Decide which emails can drive consistent connection and engagement and send those with a regular cadence.

Next, take a look at the seasonality of your business in the United States. For example:

  • For retail, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big days. Plan for a strong email push just ahead of those dates.
  • If you sell lawnmowers in Alaska, plan your campaigns for the spring thaw.
  • If you’re in the tax business, April 15 is an important date to target.
  • Healthcare companies can do an email push during open-enrollment periods.

Our point is this: Identify your business peak seasons, pull out the calendar, and get your campaigns and email sends slated. That goes for both routine campaigns and other events that revolve around the seasonality of your business.

Finally, consider event-driven campaigns that are specific to your organization. Take another look at the calendar. Which trade shows, conventions, or industry events do you need to plan communication or promotions around? Also take stock of happenings specific to your organization and find ways to celebrate them. Is it your company’s birthday? Share the fun with your prospects and customers.

Scheduling a Birthday Campaign in the Marketing Cloud

By planning ahead and considering all your options for email campaigns, and then scheduling automated email sends, you can make your marketing and scaling efforts much more productive.

Create Templates and Put Data to Work

So you’ve decided which campaigns and emails you want to send—and on which days. Now you can make the most of some templates. What is a template in the marketing world? Essentially, it’s an email that includes your branded email header and footer. Have some fun with this. The idea is to drive engagement and let subscribers know that the email is coming from a trusted brand.

For more on creating email templates, check out the Marketing Cloud Products module or this short video.

Once you’ve created your email template, you can target and personalize different content areas based on all that great first-party data that you’re collecting. Content areas are parts of your email templates that can contain images, text, HTML code, or embedded videos or articles. As the marketer, you can create rules to tap into your data and, via dynamic content, fill those content areas with messages targeted to specific audience segments or individuals.

Let’s say a retailer sells a lot of outdoor gear and wants to target Juan, who lives in Montana. In a state famous for its fly-fishing, you can bet Juan gets offers for top-notch fly-fishing rods and waders. But over in Arizona, Yukiko loves desert hiking, so she sees offers for hiking boots and water bottles. Both Juan and Yukiko get the exact same email, but each with offers and content that take into consideration their region and interests.

You can use templates over and over. Create a template once, then generate hundreds of versions of the same email with customized and personalized content for each audience. Now that’s productive!

Schedule, Templates, Action

You have your schedule, your templates, and your valuable subscriber data. Now you’re ready to tie it all together and take action. Pick some data, such as region, loyalty status, or area of interest, and use it to craft compelling content to plug into your template. Then schedule your first email.

Let’s say you work at a bank and you want to send out a weekly newsletter. What day and time is best for you to send the email? To determine this, look at your email open rate and conversion data—for example, the completion of a form or purchases of a product—from your previous campaigns. You can use this data to decide when to fire off the next email.

Now take a look at the hero image—the large image at the top of the email that draws the most attention. It’s the first thing that people see when they open the bank’s emails. You want to connect to each subscriber in a way that’s relevant to where the person lives. You can make the hero image a local one that resonates with each subscriber. So people in Indianapolis get an image of Monument Circle, while those in San Francisco see the Golden Gate Bridge.

Now it’s time to create the text of the email. This is another chance for you to personalize the content. You can address each subscriber by name and call out specific information about their account or products that they own.

Finally, you can take advantage of data about each subscriber’s behavior. You can add a type of content block called a reference block or reference content. This is content you create based on what you know a subscriber has browsed for on your website or put in their cart—and then abandoned. You want your customers to use more of the bank’s services—credit card offers, retirement accounts, college savings funds. The reference block can remind the subscriber that they’ve browsed these services on the bank’s website before. This is a good opportunity to embed an article or video that can revive their interest.

Now you know how you can use one email template to personalize content with images, information about each user’s account, and the products or services they’re most interested in. You can create hundreds, maybe even thousands, of personalized emails, all with data and templates, scheduled to go out at just the right time. And that can really drive your productivity and help you scale your marketing efforts.


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