Today's guest post is from CRM MVP Mitch Milam, proprietor and Chief Technologist of CRM Accelerators. Mitch has contributed for years to the CRM community via his blog, two books and now, his "KnowledgeBits" email series, which he sends using ClickDimensions.
Earlier this year I created an information delivery system I call KnowledgeBits. This is a multi–channel electronic newsletter containing tips and tricks covering a variety of Dynamics CRM–related topics including:
- .NET Development (beginning and intermediate)
- Training Strategies
KnowledgeBits are delivered via email and you will receive one per day, for each "channel," which is one of the categories above.
You may sign up to receive your choice of KnowledgeBits here:
I used several ClickDimensions features to accomplish the goal. Let's review the details of my solution:
Creating the KnowledgeBits
Each KnowledgeBit contains a single tip or trick or discussion about a specific topic area. I created a standard email template containing the base formatting and layout for all KnowledgeBit emails:
This was later cloned for each of the different topics within each individual channel:
Create a Marketing List
I created one static Marketing List for each of my KnowledgeBit channels which will be used by the ClickDimensions nurture feature to actually deliver the KnowledgeBit.
Customizing the Contact Entity
The Contact entity needed to be modified and fields added to save the user's KnowledgeBit channel preferences:
As you can see, there is one Two Option field for each KnowledgeBit channel. These are used on the web content form to actually collect the data:
This is the actual web form that is embedded on a page within each of my blogs.
Create a Custom Workflow
ClickDimensions will either create a new contact or update an existing contact. Regardless, when this happens a custom workflow I created will be executed.
Here are the execution properties of the workflow:
The main triggers in this case are:
- When a new Contact is created.
- When one of the KnowledgeBit channel signup fields are updated
The actual steps of the workflow look something like this:
I perform a check on each of the KnowledgeBit channel signup fields to see if it has been set to Yes and if so, I execute a step that adds that person to the specific marketing list for that KnowledgeBit.
Note: The Add To Marketing List step is a custom workflow activity from one of my commercial products since this functionality is not built into Microsoft CRM.
I have one marketing list created for each KnowledgeBit channel. We'll be using the ClickDimensions nurture feature to deliver our KnowledgeBits and it requires that we use a static marketing list instead of the dynamic marketing list.
Create a Nurture Program
The final step to this process is to create an actual ClickDimensions nurture program to handle each of the KnowledgeBit channels.
Each nurture is linked to the marketing list for that channel:
The actual nurture steps could not be simpler:
Here is how the email step is configured:
As you can see, I have selected my Email Template as the basis for my email. ClickDimensions will automatically replace the placeholder with the Contact's first name, which adds a bit of personalization to the process.
This was a very interesting process to undertake and it highlights both the power of Dynamics CRM and what a well-designed integrated application like ClickDimensions can give you.
I will be honest in saying that the creation of the process took much less time than the creation of the individual KnowledgeBits. I way underestimated how much I could say and how long it took me to say it. But judging by the comments I've received from KnowledgeBit recipients, it was well worth it.
So, go forth and do likewise.
Everyone has knowledge to share, you just need to pick your sharing methodology. This is just one more tool in your toolbox.
Contact me if you have any questions.