Best Practices – Salesforce Marketing Cloud

This article is your one stop to find the best practices for Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Salesforce and Trailhead has the best content management and creation as per my knowledge, you can get to learn any topic you want. However when you are working on some thing and would like to find any best practice related to Salesforce Marketing Cloud, its hard to look at different places and also its time consuming. Therefore this guide will be your friemd, so keep it handy 🙂

Best Practice for data segmentation in Salesforce Marketing Cloud- Keep the following things in mind when you create your segments:

  • Always use Contact ID as Subscriber key: this is how we connect the Contact between Salesforce Core and Marketing Cloud
  • Always use your primary data extension for filtering the data. You can use the related data extension to add more filters to your segmentations.
  • As per the GDPR regulations always include contacts who have given a positive consent when creating commercial emails to avoid sending communications to customers/contacts that haven’t given consent.
  • For the Deliverability’s sake and email sender reputation of your SFMC account always ensure to Include contacts/customers with a valid email address

Best Practice for Email Studio in Salesforce Marketing Cloud- Keep the following things in mind when you create, test and send an email in Email Studio

  1. Always use your companies Master/Global Template as a starting point when you create a new email. Because:
  • It helps in maintaining uniformity across departments and clients
  • It includes a tracking code snippet that’s required for certain back end processes
  • Its QA tested for rendering on different devices and email clients providers

2. Double check the sender name, Subject line and your pre header its really important.

  • Emphasise on Sender name as its the most important even more important than your subject line and pre header, as it helps us build the trust factor.
  • Make your subject line catcy as the reader tends to open an email based on your subject line, best practice is to keep it short around 25-30 Charachters max, however there are studies which shows over 2 million emails uses the length of 41-50 char. Decide wisely !
  • Always use pre headers as its a text which is shown when a reader previews an email along with your subject, use it as per your needs, it significantly boost your open rates.

3. Make sure your images are compatible with the SFMC email studio requirements i.e. 300px by 600px

4. If your company uses any naming convention for UTM’s/Parameters make sure to add tem in your emails, it helps in tracking purposes and cagn optimisation.

5. If your email has a dynamic content make sure to test the rules before the send out.

6. Check all the links, event the image links before you do the send out – I lknow we have job link feature available which helps us change the links even after the send ut but its good to be carefull.

7. Check the email via litmus or any other related tool before sending to the actual list (To test its rendering on each device and email client)

Best Practice for Email Deliverability in Email Studio –

  • Accirding to the CAN – SPAM ACT all the emails should include an opt out process
  • Youe unsubscribe link should be valid for atleast 30 days and should not include more thn 1 step
  • There should be your company’s physical mailing address within the body of your email.
  • Complete IP warmup before using SFMC full flegedly
  • Make sure to send commercial email only to the contacts with positive consent
  • Run an engagement test and purge all the inactive, Incorrect email adresses from your account

Best Practice for Journey Builder in Salesforce Marketing Cloud – Keep the following things in mind when you create a 1-1 journey campaign in SFMC

  1. Preplanning/Conceptualisation is really important, when you create any new campaign or decide to choose a new channel you always create a strategy, similarly you should always create a strategy for your journeys, some best practices for doing so are:
  • Define objectives & success criteria – what is it that you want to achieve with the journey and how can you measure that.
  • Define your audience.- Think about the data you are going to need for segmentation, both at the beginning and through the journey (decision splits) and Indicate the contact points within the Customer Journey.
  • Think about the channels you will use and prepare the assets.
  • The sequence of activities and the waiting time between them.
  • Start small with the end goal in mind
  • Start simple use what you already have in place. For example, select one segment or a set of initial touchpoints.
  • Implement, test, iterate and continue develop the journey based on your learnings
  • Identify the gaps that you need to bridge to e.g. add new touchpoints, segments, paths or decisions.

2. Execution/Implementation of the journey is the phase where you actually build a skeleton of your campaign, SFMC gives you a very easy drag and drop facility to do so, However there are few things you should keep in mind while doing so.

  • Use wait activities only if necessary and dont use it as a first step of your journey and also avoid using wait activities less than 5 mins.
  • Limit adding activities more than 150-200 in order to prevent from slow processing
  • Avoid using more than 3 Decision splits at the start of the journey as it reduces the batch size, Also make sure not delete the decision split after coniguring the steps because deletion of a decision split deletes all the activities from the journey canvas. (I learned it in a very hard way)
  • For data segmentation instead of using filter criteria within the journey prepare the Data before hand either by fiter option or SQL
  • Dont modify the data extention that is used for the entry source in the active journey as the changes will not be reflected, the best way is to create a new version.
  • If the data for the journey is stored in multiple data extensions, create a single entry source data extension using a query. Create queries in Automation Studio using the SQL Query Activity.
  • Use journey data instead of contact data (You can check the whats the difference between this in here)
  • Filter unnecessary contacts from the journey
  • Make sure to select the contact entry mode as per your need
  • For Goal and Exit Criteria – Use fewer than 20 filter criteria for optimal journey performance.
  • Validate, Test and Run

Best Practice for Automation Studio  in Salesforce Marketing Cloud – Keep the following things in mind when you create an automation in SFMC

  • For automations that run regularly, don’t use static file naming conventions
  • Dont edit a running automation, If you had to do so pause it first.
  • Before selecting a file drop option as a starting point make sure to create an Enhanced FTP enviornment in your SFMC account.
  • Create seaprate folder for different automation – Folders already used by another file drop automation are locked and display as In Use.
  • Dont change the name of the file on FTP doing so will not trigger the automation
  • Activities in the same step can’t share a destination or target data extension. Move activities that share a destination data extension into a separate step.
  • Dont forget to add the email adress for reciving notification of the success or the failiur of an automation
  • Don’t include a file extension in the filename pattern.
  • Always make sure to run once your schedule automation to test hw data flows in or if the automation created is correct
  • In order to find an automation quickly use qutation marks

Best Practice for Data Management –

  • Plan and identify the data that’s available to you from multiple sources before importing.
  • Create data extensions by using primary keys to enable performances and apply indexes to the data.
  • Security is really important as we are using confidential information i.e. our customers data make sure to use TLS and secure your code
  • Follow a structured naming convention
  • If the data is being manually imported and cleaned, then it is best to use Automation Studio to automate this process using import activity and SQL queries.
  • If your audience is too small then I would suggest to use Lists as a data model, on the other hand if you want fast speed, complext data model, use both REST and SOAP API’s and your audience is more that 500000 use Data extention model.
  • Map your data in the contact builder by creating attribute groups to use variety of engagement flows in the journey builder.

Best Practice for Mobile Studio  in Salesforce Marketing Cloud-

  • Before you deactivate a LINE channel, ensure that there are no active journeys or automations on the channel. Deactivation of a LINE channel with active journeys or automations causes errors. Once a channel is deactivated, it cannot be reinstated.
  • Keep the char up to 1024 per message and use emoji’s and text specified by the UTF-8
  • Use images up to 200 kb and in jpeg format of 240 by 240 px
  • Make sure to create a HELP keyword and review the default STOP keyword
  • Make sure to add different mobile numbers if there are two similar person’s acoount as MobileConnect prevents duplicate sends to a mobile number that is associated with multiple contacts.
  • Use the SDK to add Contacts into MobilePush on a regular basis, as the SDK ensures that the latest information is populated.
  • Use Imports if there are existing mobile apps or if you want to import existing push subscriber data information.
  • filter the contacts via a Query before running the Import MobilePush Contacts activity because in mobile push all contacts are imported in with optin status.

Best Practice for Analytics –

  • When selecting a custom date range make sure to set the end date parameter to the following day, else the last day date will not be included in the report.
  • To View contact count report in analytics builder enable the access permission under contacts
  • It is useful to have last 6 months/1-year data being backfilled into the tracking data extensions using either Data factory Utilities (to export data outside SFMC) or SQL queries (to manipulate data within SFMC)
  • Keep a close eye on the fields you specify in your URLs to make sure you are not sending any Personal Identifiable Information or Personal Health Information in the URL query parameter.
  • Your fields should never reveal the customer data as URLs and query platforms are quite vulnerable to security breach.

Hope this article was helpful ! Do let us now your feedback

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