What Exactly Journey Builder is?

By Swati Bhalla

Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journey Builder is an all-in-one automation tool which helps up reach our customers at the right time with the right communication. It gives us a chance to build complex digital journeys, create content, do testing, and helps us analyze, optimize, evaluate our results at one place.

It is an application in Marketing Cloud that allows you to customize, optimize and automate campaigns in a simple way. It is not a stand-alone application, but comes to live together with, for example, Email Studio and Automation Studio.

Benefits of Journey Builder

  • Journey Builder enables you to build Customer Journeys which are a model of your communication campaigns, including email sends and scenarios involving the behavior of your customer
  • Journeys can be pre-planned and automated based on various conditions.
  • Allows you to automate multi-step Marketing Communication.
  • Treat each customer as a unique individual.
  • Measure a campaign’s effectiveness and performance through goal setting.
  • Easy-to-use interface.
  • No technical expertise needed to build a journey in the canvas simple drag and drop.

When to use journey builder?

  • When you (Marketer) want to reach your customer with multi-channel communication.
  • When you want to automate your communication – Now you will ask why not use automation studio ? of course you can use it, but automation studio will not give you all the features that journey builder has for e.g. based on the logic sending the customers to different paths, based on engagement (open/clicks) sending a communication and much more.
  • When you (Marketer) wants to create lifecycle campaigns like Lead Nurture, Welcome journey, Anniversary campaign, Loyalty programs, retargeting and Repurchase.
  • When you have less SQL knowledge just use drag and drop activities to defile logic and send your audiences to different path.

Different types of Journeys

  • Multi-Step Journey – Automated campaigns that include a series of interactions. These campaigns can be one-off campaigns or always-on programs. They can target “batch” audiences or let contacts entry individually.
  • Single Send Journey – This was launched in 2020.  Simple, one-touch campaigns  to a “batch” audience
  • Transactional Send Journey – Single messages sent to contacts, triggered via the Transactional Send API.

Some tips on How to start defining your journey

  • 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).
  • 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 and identify and 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 eg add new touchpoints, segments, paths or decisions
We call this “crawl, walk, run!”

Journey Builder Overview

Elements of Journey

Types of Entry Sources in Journey Builder-

There are total 9 Entry sources available in Journey builder sharing 6 out of them which are often used: 

Flow Control Activities

Note – Path Optimizer a new flow control activity came in with the May 2020 release, It helps us test up to 10 variations of the journey path to determine which path performed best – Full article will be shared soon  

Communication Activities

Message Types:

  • Email
  • SMS (can be enabled on request)
  • Push Notifications
  • Inbox
  • LINE Message
  • Ad Campaign (Part of Advertising Studio)
  • Ad Audience (Part of Advertising Studio)

Cross Channel Activities

Sales and Service Cloud Events and Activities in Journey Builder enable a marketer to create or update Sales and Service Cloud records, connecting Marketing Cloud contacts with the Sales and Service Cloud. Sharing few of the below – 

Salesforce Sales and Service Events & Activities:

  • Entry Events: Monitor for triggers like Service Case Closed, or changes that occur in the Sales or Service Cloud to start a Journey.  
  • Activities: Create or update records within the Sales Cloud & Service Cloud during a Journey. Create Lead, Contact, Accounts, Task, Case
  • Engagement Data: Emails sent through Journey Builder will return tracking to the Sales Cloud & Service Cloud. 

Journey Builder Data VS Contact Data

Journey Modes and Versions

Update a Journey without having to stop an active running Journey and eject all contacts currently in it with a new version. Retain metrics of previous versions in order to contrast and compare different strategies and content.

Journey Modes:

  • Draft
  • Running
  • Stopped
  • Testing
  • Finishing

To not interrupt an active Journey for adjustments, a new version of the Journey can be created.

  • Version 1 will run until all contacts have exited the Journey which have entered before Version 2 got activated
  • Version 2 will run as soon it got activated and include all new contacts .

Note – Announced in the May 2020 release, Marketing Cloud users can now temporarily stop Journey Builder processing contacts within a Journey

Journey Builder Settings

  • The Contact Entry dictates when a Contact is eligible to enter a Journey. Journey Builder offers three entry options to define when contacts can enter a Journey.
  • The Default Email Address and Mobile Number can be selected if a single Contact is having more than one email address or mobile number. Here you should always select Use email attribute from Contacts.

Journey Builder Best Practices

  • To really test a Journey you need to activate it and make sure that during the test only test contacts are injected.
  • Inject test users as contacts. To easily identify and filter them from other contacts use special naming conventions. (e.g. last Name Test contact)
  • When not in test mode, change the wait activities to minutes.
  • Without naming the Journey, attempts to save it will fail and cause an error.
  • Be careful when deleting Decision Splits – all subsequent parts of the Journey will get deleted as well.
  • With Copy Activity you can easily copy one ore more activities to you clipboard and reuse them.

Do let me know if the blog was helpful, also reach out in case you have any questions 🙂

Thank You

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