The Email Campaign Manager (ECM) is Sitecore’s module that allows you to create large scale e-mail campaigns to proactively engage and interact with your users.
The beauty of the ECM is the front- end functionality and its tight integration with Sitecore CMS, Digital Marketing System and your CRM if you choose. Out-of-the- box, ECM will integrate with Microsoft Dynamics and Salesforce but customization will be necessary to integrate with homegrown or other CRMs. ECM takes the data held within your CRM and makes it actionable data for targeted email campaigns.
At Aware we use the ECM tool to send messages to our clients, partners and contacts to keep them informed of new and helpful web site strategies, announcements and training videos. Since we maintain two different websites (awareweb.com and sitecoreuser.com) it was important for us to be able to send each audience type a unique but branded message. The design team solved this by creating two highly customized HTML e-mail template (one for each site) that visually distinguish the two sites. See examples of the templates below. Visually the only thing the templates have in common is a standard, hard coded header graphic and footer graphic. The remaining body area of the message is extremely flexible and utilizes a series of mix and match components for graphics and text that are chosen depending on the content needs of each send. The component capability is natively built into the tool which is a really nice feature and sets Sitecore’s tool apart from the pack. Both templates and associated components are stored in our one instance of Sitecore and ECM.
AwareWeb.com E-Mail Template
SitecoreUser.com E-Mail Template
After each send Aware utilizes the basic analytics and tracking built into the tool to determine the effectiveness of each message. We also have a handful of customized reports we’ve created using the raw data for slicing and dicing or isolating certain attributes we want to analyze in more depth. All unsubscribes are collected in one master opt-out role (list) which makes management easier for us on the back-end. The alternative is each Audience Type with a separate opt-out list but we find this to be cumbersome over time and prefer just one master list. Since Sitecore ultimately manages the opt-outs in the system, we know that even if an opted-out address accidentally gets uploaded, we will never mail to a user who has opted-out. Huge sigh of relief!
Other than what has been discussed so far there are many additional features included in the ECM module. Here’s a summary of some of the features worth mentioning:
- Subject line testing
- Scheduled sends
- Detailed analytics reports
- User behavior tracking reports (Engagement Plans)
- CRM integration – for subscriber lists.
- Attach a file to a message
- Personalize a message - automatically insert a recipient’s name in the message or subject line.
- Automatically create a plain text and live browser version.
- Sending duration estimates - prior to launching a message, know how long the send process will take.
- Multi-language capabilities
- Preview a message - see how your message is displayed in various e-mail clients and fix any errors before sending the message to subscribers.
- SPAM detection - test your message or subject line to see how different spam filters will treat it. If your message fails the system will provides suggestions.
Overall we’ve found the ECM tool to be very robust and highly customizable just like Sitecore’s other modules. The possibilities are endless with what you can do and how data can be tracked. The nice part about having ECM is everything is housed on the same platform, under one roof. Meaning the same interface and editor used to manage our two websites is the same place ECM lives. This makes learning and adapting much easier which translates into better efficiency in the end. Sitecore users who are looking for a solution that integrates nicely with other Sitecore tools and maintains Sitecore’s user-friendly functionality, Sitecore’s ECM will be a great addition. The ECM can also be integrated with ecommerce platforms making it that much easier to reach your customers. In order to take advantage of the full power Email Campaign Manager has to offer, your site should have the Digital Marketing System (DMS) installed. The email functionality is handled by a trusted third-party messaging transfer agent (MTA). The relationship with the MTA is brokered through Sitecore and this relationship is established for a fee; however, customers have the option of purchasing a license to use any MTA they choose.
Hopefully this post has motivated you to want to explore ECM as part of your DMS toolset. If the process feels too overwhelming we would be happy to talk to you no matter where you are in the process. If you are interested in our Sitecore Specialty Services on CEP and DMS planning contact us today!