5 Steps to a Successful Journey Builder Implementation

If you’ve searched for marketing automation, it’s likely that you’re using it, or you know that marketing automation is what you need to take your marketing strategy to the next level. The biggest hurdle is often getting started. Here is our step-by-step approach to a successful Journey Builder Implementation.

1.Visualize the customer experience.

If it’s your first attempt at creating journeys, don’t try to do them “on the fly.” This tool takes a level of planning you may not be accustomed to if you’re used to managing campaigns manually. Instead, start by sketching out a “light” version of the custom experience you want to create. Start by answering the following questions:
  • What is the goal of this journey?
  • What do we consider a “successful” journey? What units of measurement are involved?
  • How does a person (customer, constituent, donor, etc.) begin a journey?  
  • What triggers the first message (or what criteria qualifies them to receive it)?
  • How many messages should I send?
  • Should messages and/or paths be triggered by behavior actions (like opens or clicks), decisions a person makes or randomization?
  • Should the person receive other types of communication in addition to emails, like texts, ads or social messages?
If you can answer the above questions, it’s time to put pencil to paper. Write down each step of the customer/constituent’s journey, including triggers, messages, actions and more so you can see the journey visually before taking the time to input it into Journey Builder.

2. Determine vision vs. reality.

Once you have a visual of your desired journey, you might be inspired (or perhaps overwhelmed) to create an automated journey. Unfortunately, you might have a few roadblocks (like data and resources) preventing you from actually doing so. Consider the ideal journey you’ve sketched out as it relates to your company or department’s state of affairs. What is the state of your data? What are your current resources? What is your desired outcome? Do you have the data and resources available to put your journey into action? If not, what gaps exist? If you’re unsure where to turn, it’s time to seek help from the experts - people who know Journey Builder inside and out (like us!) and can give you specific feedback to get you where you want to go. At this point it is time to bump your sketch up against reality. It’s time to build your vision in Journey Builder, or if you’re unsure how to turn the vision into a working journey, call Balance to implement.

3. Build & refine your plan.

Your demo will quickly bring to light changes that might be needed in your data or content strategy. We will document those changes, log into Marketing Cloud and being building the actual Journey. We like to start by building a journey with no emails so we can run records through it without fear of sending to anyone on accident. Be sure to incorporate criteria that only pulls test records. If your department has a dedicated person to work on content, they can begin building and testing all of the emails that will be a part of your journey while the data is being tested to move things along more quickly.

4. Test, test and test again.

Once your journey is refined properly, the time has come for an end-to-end test. Add email content into the appropriate places along the journey, include any engagement splits that were a part of your plan, then...activate! Launch your journey to test records to watch how it all plays out.   Depending on the number and nature of the splits in your journey you may find it helpful to recruit others on your team to receive emails. Make sure to give each person explicit instructions on what to do with those emails (i.e., Person A should click on email 1 and download the PDF from the landing page; Person B should click on email 1 but not download the PDF; Person C should not click on email 1, etc.). Gather specific feedback from your team and make any adjustments that are needed. Remember, you want everything in place correctly before going live!

5. Make adjustments based on findings.

All deploying correctly? It’s time to go live! Start a new version of the journey and modify your entry criteria so production records will be found. Then, activate the journey and check on it regularly to verify records are entering as expected. If you set a goal for your journey, check it when appropriate and report back to your marketing stakeholders.