I want to state right up front that I am offering my opinions and I am also oversimplifying some of the features of Act’s new email program called Act Marketing Automation.
The reason for this is so that I do not confuse you with the subtle differences between the three programs they offer. As of August 2019, they have three programs named Professional, Premier and Ultimate. My focus is going to be on their Professional and Premier programs. The ultimate program simply offers more emails per month.
Just remember I am oversimplifying some of the differences.
The major difference between the professional and Premier programs that Act offers is the inclusion of drip marketing. The professional program is a straightforward email program in the premier program offers drip marketing.
The drip marketing component offers a wide range of possibilities. It is complex. It can be confusing and frustrating. It takes some work, training and patience. I liken it to hiring a salesperson and having to train them. It can be expensive: $2400 per year. However, $420 of that amount is the price of one Act subscription or license for the year. Let me offer up an example of how this can work for your company if you have 10 Act software subscribers. The first license would be $2400 and each additional license for the next nine people in your company would be billed at $420 per year each.
Who should spend $2400 per year on Act Marketing Automation? To be frank, I believe you are going to need some consulting help to get this up and running quickly and correctly. There are too many variables to consider when setting up this program. More on that later. I believe you should plan that Act Marketing Automation will cost you an additional $700-$1500 in the first year in consulting and training expenses bringing your first-year expense to approximately $4000. That is the number I am going to use for the purpose of talking about Act Marketing Automation and drip marketing. Just for the record, Act has created a series of excellent training videos for you do-it-yourselfers.
If you sell a product or service in which one sale can create a profit greater than the $4000 cost then you should be using this tool without any doubt. As you learn more about what it can do I think doubt will become readily apparent to you.
Campaign example number one: The Pan Mass Challenge
For the last 18 years I have been riding a charity bike ride called the Pan mass challenge. Over the years I have had approximately 200 different people contribute to my ride. All of these contacts are in Act. I have a field in Act called donor and a second field called 2019. All past donors will get a series of emails from me asking for a donation. When they donate, I put the amount of their donation in the 2019 field.
I created a dynamic group that contains all donors that have not yet donated in 2019. The drip marketing campaign sends a new email to all the individuals that have yet to donate.
The importance of groups when working with Act Marketing Automation
When you decide to send out an email you must create a campaign. A campaign is made up of the steps or the number of emails you decide to send. How does Act marketing automation determine who to send the emails to? This is based on groups. Now I am a big fan of groups and this is the first area in which you will most likely need some help and training to understand how groups work and the power of using groups. One of the challenges of Act Marketing Automation is that it works best if your data is organized well within Act. If your data is poorly organized this process will force your hand to think about your data and how you can better organize it to make it more efficient and profitable. The whole process of going through Act Marketing Automation can have awesome side benefits that you will not have thought of or anticipated as an Act user. It will make your whole lifetime experience of using Act better.
I created a group in Act using group membership rules that grouped all the contacts in Act in which Donor was present in the PMC alumni donor field and the PMC 2019 field was blank. I wanted the first email to go out to everyone that had donor in the PMC alumni donor field. Obviously, once they donated I did not want them to get another email. Therefore, after they donated I would put the amount of the donation in the PMC 2019 field. Hence, they would automatically be taken out of the Act group. The only ones left in Act group were the individuals that had not donated yet.
The whole concept of creating groups can be confusing and I will help you through that process. Do not worry about it all. This is what the campaign looked like in its workflow:
So now that I have decided who I want to send it to using a group and decided how often within the campaign, the next step is to create a template to send out to my past donors. This is the template that I used: