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Ah, the elusive subject line. Just when you thought you wrote something brilliant, you find that your open rates are less than impressive. How could writing 5-7 words be so hard? You used to write 2,000-word papers in college. You can form a sentence in your sleep. No really, you’re a sleep talker.


The truth is that subject lines are the doorway into your email campaigns. If that doorway isn’t enticing, no one will go on to click your emails, let alone buy your products. In fact, Convince and Convert reports that 33% of email recipients open email based on subject line alone. Even more challenging, your readers are inundated each and every day by a tidal wave of other emails vying for their attention. So how do you write email subject lines that cut through the noise?


Let me first reveal that subject lines are everywhere—on billboards, in songs and commercials, magazines, news articles, and even everyday conversations. To create your own, all it takes is knowing how to shape it, and the inspiration will start flooding in.


I’ve spent the last three years working in demand generation with one major goal in mind: crack the code on writing the perfect subject line. After hundreds, if not thousands, of subject lines tests, I have boiled it down to these three tips to improve your subject lines and increase your open rates:


1. Front-Load the Important Words

You know that one friend who’s horrible at telling stories? You know, where 15 minutes into telling their story, you begin thinking “Where is this even going? Are we ever going to hear the good part?” And by the time they finally get to the good part, you’ve already checked out. Yeah, some subject lines are just like that—don’t let it be yours.


People want to know why your email is more important than the thousands of others in their inbox, so put all the important, actionable words in the front of your subject line to entice opens. In other words, get to the point! In my experience, changing the structure of the sentence line to front-load the important keywords has increased open rates by 10-20%.


Let’s take a look at a recent email from Chase to their Sapphire Preferred cardholders. “Earn 10K bonus points” catches the eye, and it hooks you into wanting to learn how, perhaps by opening the email. Rather than asking their subscribers to do something first, they front-load the subject line with the benefit they’ll receive.


Chase Sapphire Subject Line


2. Use Numbers

People love numbers and lists. They’re easy to read, help us make sense of more complex concepts by breaking it into smaller parts, and let us know exactly what to expect (e.g. 5 Things Your Subject Lines Are Missing). The New Yorker even published a piece on “A List of Reasons Why Our Brains Love Lists,” which goes into this in depth. Numbers can also be used to create a sense of urgency or emphasize a discount. For instance, Godiva uses numbers to do both in the example below.


Godiva Rewards Subject Line


3. Use Rhymes, Alliteration, and Puns

This might seem weird, but I have always seen subject lines that use rhymes, alliteration, or puns do really well. Have you ever read a word or name over and over again until it either sounds weird or gets funnier each time? My word is “hullabaloo,” which means a great noise or excitement. Or have you ever read a subject line that was so clever it deserved to be opened?


If you can write a subject line that rolls off the tongue, you will get a higher open rate. It’s like music to the ears! It’s not easy to come up with these but when you do, they will perform exceedingly well. In fact, I’ve seen extraordinary subject line performance where I’ve beaten the control by 30-40%! For some inspiration, just take a look at some of the session names from SXSW. Some of my favorites from previous years? “Social Music Marketing: Bands, Brands and Fans” and “An Unusual Arsenal: Tech Tools to Topple a Tyrant.”


That’s it! 3 tips to improve your subject lines and get your emails opened. I hope that these tips inspire you to get out there and write subject lines like no one has ever seen before. Remember, subject lines exist everywhere. All you have to do is keep your eyes and ears open.


What other tips do you have for improving email subject lines? Share them below!

This was a nice catch by user AD on the Community and something I somehow missed before! It has significant effects on tracking and on branding in general.


When you set up Domain Aliases in Marketo (and corresponding CNAMEs in DNS) you can access your Marketo-hosted LPs via a choice of different URLs. The path/page name stays the same, but you can use a different domain.


      For example, you can use for the bulk of your pages, but publish some pages under for special products. The pages will actually be accessible under any of your Aliases as well as your Primary (i.e. if somebody manually changed the URL in their browser) but by taking care to link to the preferred domain from ads, social, and email, you can keep content/layout/logos/etc. totally different.


    If you're an agency, you might even use Domain Aliases to service multiple clients at the same time, the only restriction being you can't use the exact same /pagename but would have to mix it up like /jiffylube_coupons_2017 and /spiffylube_coupons_2017.


Cool concept, so... ?

Problem is, siloing Domain Aliases from each other falls apart if you select a Thank You page from the dropdown of Marketo LPs.



Read the full post on TEKNKL :: Blog →

Hello Marketo Community,


Marketo University is pleased to announce that we are expanding our course offerings to give our customers more specialized courses in important functional areas of Marketo. We have just released two new courses “Establishing a Successful ABM Program” and “Configuring and Managing Marketo” that are both available for immediate enrollment.


Establishing a Successful ABM Program: If you are responsible for marketing and creating a long-term relationship with your customers than we have the course for you. The “Establishing a Successful ABM Program” course will teach you how to align your marketing and sales resources to focus on the accounts that truly matter to your organization. The course will cover subjects relating to Marketo’s ABM program and will teach students skills such as: assessing your organization’s ABM readiness, identifying and working with targeted accounts, measuring ABM efforts, and much more.


Configuring and Managing Marketo: If you are responsible for configuring Marketo or if you are in an admin role within Marketo than we have a brand new course for you. The “Configuring and Managing Marketo” course is designed to give participants a firm foundation in the key areas of Marketo administration that every admin needs to know. The course will cover subjects relating to Marketo’s admin role such as: learning how to establish secure access to your Marketo instance, customizing email settings, creating and setting up tags and channels following best practices, managing your Marketo-hosted landing pages, and performing other key admin tasks.


Course descriptions and schedules for these new courses and our complete course catalog are available at:


For any questions or assistance with enrolling into Marketo University courses, please email


Marketo University

Calling all Marketo Certified Experts! By becoming a Certified Expert, you have demonstrated your broad knowledge of Marketo.  Now you have the chance to prove your mastery in eight unique functions of Marketo with our Specializations. The Specializations, which are listed below, allow you to be recognized for your proficiency in these key areas of Marketo. Click here to learn more about maximizing your Marketo mastery.


  • Analytics Attribution Specialist: Validate your knowledge of tracking and measuring first touch and multi-touch attribution, as well as how to use Marketo’s advanced reporting to build insightful ad-hoc reports.
  • Creative Assets Specialist:  Prove your proficiency in creating and customizing design assets using HTML and CSS, including customizing colors, buttons, styles, landing pages, emails and more, to align with your visual brand identity.
  • Email Deliverability Specialist: Prove your skills designing emails for optimal performance, configuring key technical settings to authenticate your emails, and setting up your Marketo instance to ensure people receive only the communications that they want.
  • Event and Webinars Specialist: Prove your knowledge of using events and webinars to engage your buyers by showing how to create and track events and webinars in Marketo, how to set up and execute both online and offline events, and how to manage attendance at live events using the Marketo Live Event application.
  • Nurture & Engagement Specialist: Demonstrate your practical knowledge of creating engagement programs, adding content, building streams, adding people and reporting on success.
  • Programs & Campaigns Specialist: Validate your ability to automate programs, clone them, use tokens and report on important program data such as ROI and acquisition.
  • Social Marketing Specialist:  Demonstrate your capability to plan and strategize social marketing campaigns, manage your social media presence in Marketo, use Marketo social marketing features and report on the impact of your social marketing activities.
  • Web Personalization Specialist:  Affirm your abilities to create personal, relevant experiences for visitors on your website, create audience segments based on demographic, firmographic and behavioral data, develop different types of web personalization campaigns using Marketo and report on your web personalization marketing initiatives.
  • *Coming Soon Account-Based Marketing: Demonstrate your ability to focus marketing efforts on key accounts by understanding ABM account scoring, how to configure ABM, assessing AMB readiness, and how to engage targeted accounts across channels.


Need a refresher? Don’t miss our Preparation courses which discuss the important material on many of the Specialization topics. Check it out here!

Here are 25 elements you can test in your emails:

  1. Subject line
  2. From name
  3. Day of week sent
  4. Time of day sent
  5. Cadence
  6. Links vs. buttons
  7. Image-based CTAs vs. HTML CTAs (aka bulletproof buttons)
  8. HTML vs. text
  9. Subject line character length
  10. Social sharing icons
  11. Preheader text (text preview following the subject line)
  12. Personalization–first name, company name, address, etc.
  13. Header height
  14. One column vs. two columns vs. three columns
  15. Video in email
  16. Using lists and numbers
  17. P.S. note in email footer
  18. Using trust icons
  19. CTA placement
  20. Short copy vs. long copy
  21. Social proof
  22. Mobile optimization
  23. Special characters in subject line
  24. Declutter
  25. Resending to non-openers


For more resources on email marketing, check out our blog on Tips & Tricks for Optimizing Your Emails as well as our Email Marketing Best Practices.


Happy testing!

As part of our drive to understand and distill the best thinking from across the marketing world, we have been lucky enough to engage in conversations with senior marketing leaders from a broad range of industries. Through all our discussions, it is clear that certain themes are top-of-mind for many marketers, so we’ve distilled key insights to share with you.


The first of these is the rising importance of content. In a world where audiences are ever more connected and engaged, standing out in a noisy marketplace is increasingly challenging. Those audiences constantly have sales messages pushed at them and steadily become more immune to traditional pitches. Engaging, high-value content provides a possible route to future success, but how is this shift viewed by CMOs and their organizations? Our conversations provided several important takeaways from executives from Accenture, BBVA Compass, Brocade, Lionbridge, Rambus, and Softek.


Read the full post on CMOnation.

Using Inferred Company information is tricky due to the thousands of different interent service providers.



It may be a lot of work to identify all the different providers for not a lot of value. In the United States some of the largest providers are Comcast Cable and Time Warner Cable, but there are thousands of smaller companies providing service.

Here is an example of a batch data management campaign to populate an empty Country field with the Inferred Country value. In this case I only wanted to populate the Country field if the inferred value isn't "Anonymous Proxy."


Smart Campaign

Populate Country with Inferred Country Value


Smart List


{{lead.Inferred Country}}

If necessary you can use the ‘Add Choice’ logic in the Change Data Value flow step to change the Inferred Country value to a different value.



Run daily in the middle of the night.



  • Create the campaign as a trigger campaign if you need low latency. Here is an example of building a trigger campaign.
  • Information about using Inferred Country
  • Information about using Inferred State

Although inferred information is far from perfect it is still one of the best options for identifying the location of records which fill out your forms. Marketo populates a known record with inferred state information leveraging the IP address.


If the inferred country value is not exactly what you want you can use an 'Add Choice' in your flow step to set the correct value.


Examples of country values.

It is possible for the Inferred Country field to be populated and the rest of the fields will be empty.

In some cases it is possible for the Inferred Country field to be populated with a value of 'Anonymous Proxy.'

Sometimes Inferred Country will be 'Anonymous Proxy' and the State Region value will be a state.


Part II - Instructions to Populate Country with Inferred Country Information.

Marketo GVP of Corporate Marketing, Karen Steele, recently authored this post for CMO Nation. See below for a preview, and then click the link to at the end check out the full piece.


At a recent company event, Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayan made the bold claim that “customer experience is all or nothing.” That’s certainly true, as far as it goes. But I want to suggest something equally bold, which is that this statement overlooks a crucial component of the customer experience equation: engagement.

Customer experience and engagement are the yin and yang of the new Engagement Economy, joined in a symbiotic union. As marketers, we own the relationship that forms the customer experience, which is the destination. But we also own customer engagement, which is the journey. And it is impossible to reach a destination without some kind of journey.

Done correctly, engagement is the glue that holds customers and fosters long-term relationships. Experience without engagement is not “sticky.” It does not create the lasting bonds that keep customers from drifting away. As the marketing landscape shifts towards maximizing lifetime customer value, the ability to personalize every journey and engage meaningfully at every step is paramount to delivering a consistently winning experience that brings buyers back again and again.

Let’s look more closely at how this works.

Head to CMOnation to read more.

This month, Marketo unveiled its latest suite of product capabilities to further empower marketers to create more personalized and authentic cross-channel experiences for their buyers. Built into the Marketo® Engagement Platform, the solutions in this release allow marketers to make informed decisions on target accounts within their account-based marketing strategy to yield better results, create more seamless cross-channel personalized experiences that resonate, and prove the impact of their marketing programs through data-driven analytics.


"Marketo is committed to delivering the technologies that will enable marketers to engage buyers across every channel and touchpoint at the speed and scale required to succeed in the Engagement Economy," said Cheryl Chavez, group vice president of product management, Marketo. "This latest release includes many of the capabilities that our customers and partners asked for to help them listen better, learn more, engage effectively, and measure the impact of those engagements in driving revenue."


Personalized Cross-Channel Engagement 
Today's buyers are more particular than ever and can be found on myriad channels, including mobile. The challenge for marketers is to ensure their personalized brand experiences reach across all channels and connect with buyers. To support marketers in creating personalized cross-channel engagements, Marketo has released several new features, including:


  • LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms Integration allows marketers to collect high-quality leads on mobile via LinkedIn's pre-filled forms and sync that data to Marketo. This enables marketers to engage and retarget prospects instantly or alert sales reps to follow up.
  • Web Personalization Campaign Enhancements provide marketers with flexible customization and triggering functionality to create more tailored website experiences. The new enhancements enable marketers to listen and respond to new customer intent signals, such as scrolling and exit intent. This provides marketers with more control over web campaigns without having to tap IT resources.


Effective Account-Based Engagement 
Account-based marketing (ABM) poses certain challenges to sales and marketing teams, such as managing high volumes of data and understanding customer interactions at an account level. To address these challenges, Marketo has released several enhancements for the Marketo ABM solution, including:


  • Custom Fields for Named Accounts that enable marketers to append and sync account data in Marketo for more precise targeting and personalization.
  • Percentile Scoring for Named Accounts makes it easy for marketing and sales teams to prioritize accounts based on scores from multiple inputs, such as behavioral, firmographic, and demographic data. For example, teams know at a glance whether an account is in the top 10 percent of active accounts or the bottom 10 percent.
  • Account List APIs enable marketers to access and share named account lists with other applications to effectively execute a cross-channel ABM strategy. For example, marketers can now more effectively target accounts through ad networks, and marketing and sales can better harmonize their efforts for the same set of accounts across the buyer's journey.


Analytics That Demonstrate Impact
Today's marketers are under scrutiny to demonstrate the business impact of their campaigns to the C-Suite. Marketers need access to real-time analytics that prove campaign success. Recognizing this need, Marketo has unveiled real-time analytics and key performance indicator monitoring that are tailored for marketing executives and their organization.  


  • Marketing Performance Insights (MPI) provides a highly visual and interactive dashboard that enables marketing leaders to explore how campaigns and channels are driving business results, such as opportunities, pipeline, and revenue. MPI empowers these leaders with tailored insights to optimize channel mix without the need for specialized and complicated business intelligence tools. Currently in beta, MPI will be generally available in the coming months.

Today, Marketo announced that Lennox International Ltd., a leading manufacturing company, is leveraging the Marketo® Engagement Platform to build lasting relationships with customers and employees. From coupon-driven loyalty programs to field training, Lennox is able to listen to, learn from, and engage with individuals and measure the impact of its marketing activities.


Results include:

  • Enterprise-wide use of Marketo across 18 functions
  • Ability to track revenue from coupon-driven loyalty program
  • 12 percent increase in field training class size
  • 1,237 segmented email campaigns deployed in 2016


While the manufacturing industry is historically slow to adapt to change, Lennox knew it needed to stay relevant and top-of-mind with its customers by undergoing a complete digital transformation. This is why, in 2014, the 122-year-old company chose to implement Marketo.


Since adopting Marketo within its residential business unit, Lennox has engaged with its dealer base to promote field training classes, coupon-driven loyalty programs, digital product launches, and lead generation campaigns to deliver consistent and personalized brand messages to the field.


Lennox is refining the ways in which it engages customers throughout the buyer journey to impact sales positively and more efficiently provide training resources to its teams. By connecting Marketo with its e-commerce platform, Lennox is able to look at what products customers are buying and send them personalized and relevant promotional offerings that lead to more purchases.

"With Marketo, we have the ability to know who's buying, in what quantities, and where geographically," said Tom Towe, director of brand management, Lennox. "This helps the entire Lennox team to customize messages to improve engagement and also grow further in the areas where we are doing well."


To learn more about how Marketo helps other businesses in the manufacturing industry, visit Manufacturing Marketing: Grow the Bottom Line – Marketo .

Here is an example of a data management campaign to populate an empty State field with the Inferred State value. In this case I only wanted to populate the State field for certain countries. Simply remove Country and Inferred Country if you want to populate the State field for all countries. Notice I set the Source Type to Web form fillout since I wanted the Lead is Create trigger to only fire when the record is created via a web form.


Smart Campaign

Populate State with Inferred State Value


Smart List


{{lead.Inferred State Region}}

If necessary you can use the ‘Add Choice’ logic in the Change Data Value flow step to change the abbreviation to the full name of the state. Remember to create two different campaigns and put the most popular states at the top as noted in this article for better system performance.


  • Run the campaign as a daily batch campaign if you don't need low latency.
  • Information about using Inferred State.
  • Information about using Inferred Country.

Marketo VP of Product Marketing, Matt Zilli, recently authored this post for CMO Nation. See below for a preview, and then click the link to at the end check out the full piece.


Within a very short period of time, the business world has been flipped on its head. It used to be marketers who defined the customer journey. Now, thanks to the digital technology that informs every part of our lives, it’s buyers who set the experience and determine how they want to be engaged. And this has changed everything.

Experience and engagement are the yin and the yang of the Engagement Economy. Joined at the hip, engagement adds to and strengthens the customer experience, while an increasingly positive customer experience provides more and better opportunities for engagement. Some companies are hyper-focused on engaging the customer, but haven’t nailed the customer experience part. Others are all about the experience, but are scattershot when it comes to engaging. The rare few that get both sides of the equation exactly right tend to be the disruptors and dominant players in their markets.

As marketers, it is vital to be mindful of this powerful dialectic while recognizing the immense control that customers now possess. People want – in fact, they expect – personalized and authentic relationships with the companies they do business with. The same technologies that make it easier to reach customers also make it ridiculously easy for them to walk away from a brand or a service that does not align to their wants or values.

Head to CMOnation to read more.

Marketo populates a known record with inferred state information leveraging the IP address when a person fills out a Marketo form. Here is an interesting article about what's behind your IP address.


The Inferred State Region value for US states and Canadian provinces is abbreviated.




Inferred State Region values for other countries are often city states.






Part II - Instructions to Populate State with Inferred State Information.

Brian Law

SFDC ID – A Deep Dive

Posted by Brian Law Employee Jul 4, 2017

The SFDC Id token can be used in emails and the value can be viewed in a Smart List and on individual records. You unfortunately can't search by a SFDC Id in the database area of Marketo.


The SFD id can’t be used in a Change Data Value flow step to populate a custom field. The SFDC Id also can’t be used as filter in a smart list. You can populate a custom string field with the 18 character SFDC id using the tokens {{lead.sfdc lead id}} and {{lead.sfdc contact id}}.


Flow example

If you have a large database, I recommend running 100K batches at night and on the weekends and waiting a few hours after each is completed so you don't impact system performance.


By the way, after a lead is converted to a contact you will need to run a daily batch campaign to set the new SFDC Id.


Here is an example of how to set the Smart List of the batch campaign.

A resource guide for identifying records with suspect field values:


Records with a possible Invalid Email address. Includes a solution from Sanford Whiteman on correcting common issues.


Records with a generic email address.


Imported records with the Unicode replacement character.


Records with a suspicious field value.


Records which appear in Marketo again after you have deleted them.

Good data governance is keeping your Marketo database up-to-date, accurate and useful. Here is how to create a smart list to identify fields with abnormal values.


In this example, I created the smart list in my master data management program.


Smart List - Imported and Web Form Records with Possible Field Value Issues


In this example, I am assuming unusual values coming from records created from is intended behavior. If you are interested in reviewing your entire database rather than records created by list imports and web form fillouts simply remove the first filter in the smart list.

Here are the values used in the smart list above:







I intentionally left out #, & and * which are often used. Feel free to adjust your own smart list according to your requirements.

The Unicode replacement character � (often a black diamond with a question mark in it) will often appear when imported data is invalid.


Here is a smart list you can setup and subscribe to be alerted of an issue with a list import.


In this example, I created the smart list in my master data management program.


Smart List - Unicode Replacement Character- List Import (Created in past 24 hours): Set the subscription to this list.

In this case I sent the date of activity for the past 24 hours but you can customize the time frame.

Set Subscription

Now you can trouble shoot issues more quickly.


Additional Resources

  • Instructions for importing records with Unicode data into Marketo. Here is some test data if you want to try out the instructions.


Email AddressCompany NameFirst Name
testrecord05@record.comGermanä ö ü
testrecord06@record.comSpanishá é í ó ú
testrecord07@record.comSwedish/FinnishÅ å Ä ä Ö ö
testrecord08@record.comDanish/NorwegianÅ å Æ æ Ø ø
testrecord09@record.comFrenchÀ à Â â Ä ä È è Ô ô


Here is a recent thread about Unicode issues in Marketo. There are other ways to import Unicode as stated in this thread.


Here is a wiki article if you are interested in learning more about the replacement character.

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