My Grammie always waited to start her spring cleaning until my summer break—which was a coincidence, I’m sure. Every summer cleaning was the same: empty, categorize, evaluate. Little did we both know, my Grammie’s annual ritual was equipping me with marketing automation system maintenance best practices. What can I say, the woman was ahead of her time. Whether you’re cleaning a home or an automation system, both take time, consistency, and attention to process to achieve results.

It’s a State of Mind, Not a Season
The first step in Grammie’s process was to empty her purses, closet, and drawers to get everything out in the open. So, get everything out in the open. Face the problem and then commit to completing it. Find a time that works for you, if that means capitalizing on periodic workload lulls or dedicating a week of afternoons—commit to it. Set a deadline so it doesn’t slip to the bottom of your to-do list as marketing automation system maintenance is wont to do.

Sort It Out
The next step in Grammie’s method was to sort everything into categories—blouses, knick-knacks, jewelry—and candy if I was lucky. Working by category keeps you from being overwhelmed by the entirety. Categorize and tackle. Start with those you can’t email and remove them; especially if your contract is based on email addresses. Next, evaluate your mailable contacts. Is there information you’d like to have (e.g. job title, birthday, phone number, etc.)? Try to identify missing information which will help you segment. Do you have old assets you can remove? Any legacy landing pages and forms that are hanging around gathering dust?

Set Aside and Repair
Once Grammie and I had our piles sorted, we could see which items needed to be mended or cleaned. You’ve categorized so now examine what you use the most—your lists. Are they being properly targeted? How were people added to them? Figure out who isn’t being messaged and determine if they should be. If you realize that you should indeed be sending emails to this audience, there may be a gap you need to plug. Perhaps a form isn’t processing data correctly, needs improved entry field standardization, or is performing poorly (i.e. high views, low submissions).

You may have already fixed a few glaring issues but you’ll need to prioritize those which remain. Address critical matters (e.g. a list with high weekly subscriptions but no corresponding list) first then work your way down the list. Don’t forget to automate this cleanup to save yourself some time in the future.

Sweetness of Success
Grammie’s process never failed and there was always a candy in it for me at the end. Once you clean up everything, you’ll have some pretty sweet opportunities moving forward. You can do everything from automating alerts to directly contact your inside sales team or creating A/B testing for email subject lines, content, and more. You may want to add lead scoring so you know who is a warmer lead, or adjust your existing lead scoring strategy to capture leads more effectively. Or, you might want to exclude employees and/or prohibit your competitors’ email domain—make them work for it. Lastly, start a nurture program; it will alleviate workload and allow you to leverage data to build user paths that lead to closing. Which is really what we all want in the end.

Incorporate these tactics and your marketing automation system will be as clean as your closet—the Grammie process is a win-win, after all. If you can’t seem to get started, reach out! We’re automation neat freaks.

Jenni Waggoner

Jenni Waggoner