I’ve always wondered why “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music is exclusively on holiday playlists. Except for the lyrics about snowflakes and silver white winters, there is no reference to holidays, just a woman’s list of things that make her feel better when she feels bad. I find myself humming this tune in my head when using different features in Mautic, and since the holidays are approaching, why not highlight some of my favorite things I’m using every day in the Mautic marketing automation platform.
Without a doubt, Campaign Builder is at the top of my list of favorite things. Personally, I really like seeing a marketing automation plan come to life visually. Campaign builder is actually like using a whiteboard to map out goals and journeys. When I show a campaign outline to non-marketers, they can understand it without explanation. I have the ability to set and label each step and action, so whatever internal naming conventions you’re used to, the tool can accommodate and adapt to what you need. There’s no need to follow strict rules associated with an ESP (Email Service Provider), you have the freedom to design your flow as you like. Seriously, you can drag and drop and re-name and “jump-to” and make as many connections as you like till your campaign automation looks like a map of the London Tube.
I got into the practice of writing clear labels for every Decision, Action, or Condition I use. Since a ‘Condition’ is a filter or question, I always put a question mark on the label, like “Is Contact in Massachusetts?” If I have an ‘Action,’ I actually write out the action like “Send Confirmation Email” or “Update Contact’s Custom Field.” Decisions, Actions, and Conditions are color coded which makes it easy to recognize what’s going on, but having the freedom to apply your own labels and naming structure is an extra way Mautic lets me personalize the user experience for myself and my team.
Campaign Builder can support very robust marketing plans. For instance, on-boarding customers into loyalty programs. Usually, there is a lot of information brands want to share with their new members up front – how to use their app, how rewards work, when to expect communications or alerts – a well planned email marketing strategy can be executed using Campaign Builder to deliver this important information, over time, without bombarding your list. You can set emails to drip at specified intervals, and you can also ask the system to make decisions in real time based on the customers path or behavior. Maybe you have contacts who need to add a payment method or update their shopping preferences – Campaign Builder’s options allow you to personalize messages based on different decisions. Plus, you can execute more than just email! Send sms messages (that’s text), social media messages, perform webhooks, and more!
I haven’t seen too many campaign or journey builders that are as fluid and easy to use as the Campaign feature in Mautic. Marketo’s Smart Lists is a similar feature, but I’ve found the static boxes aren’t representative of an actual action taking place. The view doesn’t match what’s actually going on, so it’s difficult to imagine that my records are flowing down the correct path with the SmartLists view. Similarly, Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s Journey Builder is very static and rigid, as I mentioned in part three of my SFMC Platform Comparison series. It’s impossible to get a full view of what’s going on. I remember having to paste together screenshots of a past welcome series to show my team how someone was actually flowing through. Sometimes when you use a tool for a while and get used to it, you get too familiar and become complacent with it, and then you stop thinking about whether the tool makes sense and is working for different stakeholders. With SFMC, I often found myself explaining my marketing plan to management, then taking additional time to explain “how the plan actually works” in the marketing automation tool. This extra step shouldn’t be something we marketers have to do. Mautic’s simple layout really is translatable to other teams without the hand holding explanation needed in other platforms.
A simple feature that is so much fun! Focus Items give you the ability to place a notification, form or link on your website in a bar across the top or bottom of your page, a modal window or ‘lite-box,’ a sliding notification or even full-page overlay. Here are a few more reasons why Focus Items are on my list of favorite things (and we have full documentation on this feature too, see it here).
There are four basic steps for creating a Focus Item which I’ve listed here.
You decide what you want the “focus” to be. This could be prompting an email newsletter sign up form, a link to a new product or upcoming site maintenance work.
Then choose when to engage with a record. I usually see brands display a message after a few seconds of being on their site instead of an immediate pop-up. I have also seen pop-up messages come when I’m scrolling over something specific or about to click to exit. You have the option to control engagement in the settings.
Focus Items have many different looks which are all editable in the settings. Picking the style allows you to choose which design is going to be most impactful with your audience. Pick a bar that spans the whole screen or have a small square form appear front and center on your website. (This can be something you might want to test!)
Control the Focus Item to be on-brand with your design guidelines. Set fonts and colors and even use HTML if you want to really personalize the message beyond the initial options.
I often use a Focus Item when we have a new piece of content to share with visitors. I also like to use the feature to invite visitors to upcoming webinars. Focus Items are quick to create and can have big results. And whether you’re managing your own pages or giving the snippet of code to someone else on the team who owns website updates, Mautic has built this feature to ensure it’s a simple handoff.
One of the best parts about Focus Items is the ability to publish and unpublish these directly in Mautic. If I have an upcoming webinar I want web visitors to sign up for, I make sure to unpublish the Focus Item after the webinar starts, and it immediately stops appearing. You can delete the snippet of code later, but the publishing option puts the control of the message in the marketers hands.
Here’s what a Focus Item could look like once finished. Use the mobile view button to toggle between desktop and mobile views.
In the B2B world, it’s all about them forms. Mautic’s form builder is one of my favorite things because it branches out into so many other components of the tool. I feel extremely powerful when I set up a form because I’m the type of person who likes organization and automation.
To be honest, I’m most impressed with what I can accomplish after a form is completed by a contact, and I’m not just talking about applying hidden fields, I’m talking about the ability to send external and internal communications, apply tags to the contact, and export results directly from the form page, to name a few. Mautic’s open marketing approach allows you to sync your forms with different sites and tools like Zoom or Salesforce to ensure leads and customer behavior is getting captured.
An overall aspect of Mautic that doesn’t always get highlighted, but which I, as an everyday user, identify as a favorite thing, is Mautic’s ability to recognize edits and apply them to different features. For example, if I change the name of an email – this edit is carried over in the other channels and components of Mautic. I am always after the best way to organize my account and assets and so sometimes I need to change naming conventions. Whatever I edit in the “Emails” feature of Mautic, gets automatically edited in other platform areas like Campaigns and Forms. There is no need to update the name of the email or the content in the Campaign Builder. This same functionality exists with Segments, anytime a change takes place, the edit is heard and acted on throughout the whole system.
Using other tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Responsys and SalesFusion, automations would simply fail or error if a change was made to an email or list name. Or, the changes I would make to the copy wouldn’t get picked up. Entire, lengthy nurture campaigns would need to be rebuilt because of edits like this. The other marketing automation tools really don’t allow marketers to learn and pivot once they start to capture results. Nurture campaigns should be fluid like Mautic’s Campaign Builder – where edits are picked up and implemented without down time. Impactful marketing campaigns aren’t successful when they stay static. Editing and making improvements to continue to get more and better engagement and conversions from customers is a constant goal of marketers, and marketing automation tools need to keep up. Mautic does.
This list wraps up only a few of my favorite things in Mautic. Please check back soon for more updates on Mautic’s platform like Custom Objects, Reporting, and Points!