Ship It Already: How to Start an Engagement Program & Build On It Later

It’s tempting to hold back on shipping a new piece of content or a nurturing program until it’s perfect.

But guess what, dudes – it will never be perfect.

Ship it.

Do it.

Press that button.

But Wait, I’m Not Ready

It’s nerve-racking to press send on a massive campaign that you’ve invested blood, sweat, and tears into.  I’ve been in this industry for a decade, and I still need to take deep cleansing breaths when pressing that big “send now” or “start” button.

Does that feeling ever go away?  Because it hasn’t for me.

In any case, don’t let this inital gut reaction hold you back from launching an Engagement Studio Program that’s waiting to share your content with the world. Even if you’re still dotting your t’s and crossing some i’s, you can absolutely start a program and iterate on it later.

This blog will outline ways you can be brave and launch with ambiguity and loose ends involved, including hitting start with:

  • A partially finished list
  • Missing or incomplete content
  • Content that hasn’t been tested
  • Work in progress timing
  • A messy campaign structure

Launch with a Partial List  

The best types of Engagement Studio programs are the ones that are continually fed.  You may be tempted to craft a master list of ideal recipients – don’t.

Come up with smart criteria for inclusion, and “feed” the program on an ongoing basis with a dynamic list or an automation rule.

If the list is small, come up with a plan to continue to build that list.

Want to preserve flexibility to suppress one-off people? Create a static, CRM visible list called “Suppress from [Your Engagement Studio Program Name]” and let your team know how they can add people to this.

Lists

Launch with Incomplete Content

The good news about time-delayed email sends is that you have built-in deadlines for when the next thing is going to go out.

Say you have the first 3 messages written of a 10 touchpoint series, each staggered a week a part.

You don’t have to wait until you have all 10.  Ship it! If you have 3 parts done, that means you have 3 weeks to work on the next 7 in the series.

Launch with Content that Hasn’t Been Tested

Can Engagement Studio do A/B testing?  Not officially.

But – if you have two pieces of content and you’re not sure which will perform the best, consider adding branching logic separating prospects into groups by the first letter of their last name.

Is this a “random” sample?  No.  But randomish.  And allows you to split test.

Here’s an example of what that would look like:

 Last Name.PNG

P.S. Did you know that you can use the “between” operator in this way?  I had no idea – shoutout to Janna from the Sercante team for unearthing this gem.

Launch with Work in Progress Timing

Do you plan to continue adding to the end of your ESP as time goes on?  Or is it a realistic possibility?  No problemo, but plan ahead for this scenario.

An important thing to note is that when your prospects reach the end step in the program, they’re donzo.  That prospect will never progress further in the program, even if you build out more steps at the very end.

To work with this constraint, consider adding a hugely long wait step at the end of the program:

Wait Step

This will act as a buffer that stops your prospects from ever getting to the end of the road.  Then, if you decide you want to add more steps later, you have some flexibility to work with.

Speaking of timing — definitely recommened taking advantage of the new testing feature to preview the dates your messages will go out.  It’s awesome, and it will help provide a sanity check that you’ve gotten the wait steps right.

Launch with a Messy Campaign Structure 

I’m obsessed with the new connected campaigns functionality.

Do I think most companies should turn it on and invest the time in the planning needed to fully leverage this?  Absolutely.

Are you racking up technical debt every time you avoid having to deal with campaigns and get your org cleaned up? Yep.

But do I think execution and content delivery should cease until you have that all figured out?  No way Jose.

SHIP IT.  You can fix campaign member lists later if you absolutely have to.

What’s Holding You Back?

Is there anything that prevents you from hitting send on that next big Engagement Studio program?  What blockers stand in the way of your success?

Let me about your fellow readers know in the comments!

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