Mautic Personalization on Steroids

Not really steroids, just some of our great plugins and some various web services that are available.


We work with several websites that have hundreds of new contacts added daily.  Those sites get their share of spam submissions as well.


Whether you offer a download or not after filling in the form, you always have to be wary of the data filled into the contact form.  By now you have probably read our post on our single/double opt-in solution for emails.   But during the great virus of 2020 lockdown we got a chance to get creative and really build on that concept.


We were frustrated by the contact forms where the full name, or first name was entered in all lower case, all UPPER case, or the user just took a swipe at the keyboard and we got asdffsdf as the name.  There were also the creative ones that gave us made up names like Mickey Mouse, Bruce Banner, Tony Stark (those are the nice ones) and other made up names.   With the spam entries we got our share of web addresses and other junk in the name line as well.


We found some really outstanding services that could examine a name, and validate that it was real.  Many of these would also format the names, obeying International formatting standards, and some would even take stab at guessing the gender based on the name, some would even allow you to determine how aggressive you wanted to be.   My middle name Lynn, is fairly common name in the U.S. but can be either male or female and all the services handled these names as well.

So we created some plugins that talk to these services, the basic concept is when a contact is created or the name is changed, we fire a call to one of these services with the contact information, the service returns a status, usually something like, valid, invalid, fake and a gender of male, female, or unknown/either.


We take the status and add that as a tag to the name.  Then we run it through a couple of campaigns that we have setup within the system.


Before I talk about the campaigns, let me tell you about the segments we created and their purpose.   This is our way of doing it, there certainly are alternative ways either more complex or less complicated.   I would love to hear how you do segments, just comment below.


Segment one is the new contact segment, basically, everything new contact regardless of the source gets put here.


Segment two is the scrubbed segment, here are where there is at least something good to work with in the contact record, from a perfect record where everything is great, to the record that just the name, or just the email is good.  We have another segment that is the backend of this, which passed-scrubbing and is just a temporary holding area.


Next is where we really start to get a bit crazy depending on how many products you sell and funnels and all those sorts of things.  We will keep it relatively simple and assume one product and one main funnel.  So segment three becomes the Non-Personalized segment, this is where we know we have a good email address, but the name validation came back questionable, invalid, fake or some other code that is not good.   We might have a good phone number as well.


Segment four is personalized and can also be split into segments 4a, 4b and 4c for male, female and unknown gender, or if you choose to you can segment by tag in the campaign, it is just a matter of you like to organize.  We like to segment then have separate campaigns as it is easier to report.    In this segment we know we have a good user name, a good email, possibly a phone number and have a good guess at the gender.


Our first campaign runs with the names in segment one, it does some manual scrubbing checking for domains that we know are used by spammers, for us that is any email address that ends in .ru, or has http or https in the name, we just instantly delete.   If it passes all 25 of our manual checks, it is placed into segment two by the campaign.

We have this second campaign step in our process due to the number of different services we use, most people will have just an email service and one of the name services, or they may have a combination of name, phone, and email checking.   We check our email tags on the name, and if they use a free email service with an address or similar, or they have a catchall type email address like webmaster@, we send out our confirmation email, if we have a phone number we also text them to watch for the email to confirm their email address.  This is our hybrid double opt-in where you only get the double part if you have a questionable or free email address.   This could easily be part of the first campaign if you were not dealing with multiple services.  All contacts that get through this step successfully are added to that temporary passed-scrubbing segment.


Once they reach here, we look at the name tags, gender tags and make them all uniform.  Since we have different services that we use and rotate through, we have to standardize the tags to something like NameIsValid, GenderIsMale, PhoneIsMobile, so that future campaigns can be service agnostic and run off these standardized tags.  With these tags the contact is sorted into the non-personalized, personalized-male, personalized-female or personalized-generic segments.


Then we setup campaigns that are the actual funnel that we are running each segment through.  Non-personalized get the more generic emails and text, they start with Hi, Hey, or something similar, but not personalized.  Personalized-generic, will get a Hi Greg, or Hey Greg, salutation, and maybe their name in the body of the copy a few times, but written in a voice that could appeal to men or women.  Then our personalized-male and personalized-female segments are used in two other campaigns and we personalize to their name, and their gender throughout the copy.   If we have done our job correctly, these should convert at a higher rate (we have seen as much as double the conversions)  as the non-personalized and personalized-generic campaigns.


Some people may feel that these extra steps just are not worth the effort, but if you are doing medium to high volume and can get 50% of your contacts to convert at 2x the rate of the the other half, this system won’t take long at all to make the extra time and effort worth it.


Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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