8 Tips To Successfully Set Up an Account

Congratulations, you’re opening a brand new account with Customer.io! We know first hand the excitement that must be brewing to have the world of Customer.io right at your fingertips and a blank slate to make all your marketing automation dreams come true.

Before you begin to build mind-blowing campaign workflows and click-worthy newsletters, take a look at some of the top tips from our Customer Success team on how to lay the foundation for an optimal Customer.io workspace.

1. Put Your Plans to “Paper”

Well-thought-out integrations tend to start on whiteboards and spreadsheets. Aligning with internal stakeholders on what campaigns you will be building and what data points you need will be essential to your success early on. Being able to see this visualization on a piece of paper, whiteboard, spreadsheet, or equivalent will help make sure everyone is on the same page.

Once you’ve outlined the intended outcomes, work backwards to first identify what user attributes and event data you need. Once you have those mapped out, you’ll naturally arrive at the requirements for your integration. 

2. Standardize Your Attributes

An attribute is generally a singular piece of information that is related to the customer profile (think first name, plan type, subscription start date) and an event is an action or behavior that a user performs either one or many times over the course of their lifecycle (think payment completed, call scheduled, or plan upgraded).

While there are reserved attributes in Customer.io accounts such as ’email’ and ‘ID’, the large majority of attributes will be custom and based on the data you send in through integrations.

When naming your attributes, we advise using all lowercase characters and avoid using spaces. Instead, replace them with underscores (e.g. first_name or plan_type). When attribute formats are standardized, it’ll be easier for your team to reference these attributes when segmenting and personalizing content using liquid in the future.

3. Don’t Forget about created_at

Speaking of reserved attributes, the ‘created_at’ attribute comes highly recommended by our Customer Success team. This attribute should be sent in UNIX format and reflect when the profile was created in your database. It’s important to note that this is not necessarily the same as when the profile was created in Customer.io.

This attribute comes in handy down the road to identify audiences that joined at specific times or when troubleshooting any issues that may arise regarding your data integrations.

4. First Things First, Campaigns and Transactional Emails

While it can be tempting to start sending large volume newsletters as soon as your workspace is configured, this is not something we recommend because it can have detrimental impacts on your domain health and overall deliverability reputation.

Focus on campaigns and transactional messages first so you organically ramp up the volume of your sent emails in the beginning. This will give your sending domain a moment to settle into the new environment and give you a pulse on deliverability health before you begin sending newsletter-style blasts.

5. Leave your Baggage, but Bring Your Engagement Data

One of the benefits of moving to a new platform and starting with a blank slate is getting to fix all the things that drove you bonkers about your previous setup! That said, grabbing any data on how your contacts have engaged with your messages before you migrate will give you a leg up when it comes to your deliverability strategy with Customer.io.

We recommend that you pull any lists from your existing platforms of people who have opened an email from you in the last four months. This list will serve you well as it’ll include users who you can build engaged audience segments with and reduce the risks of damaging your domain reputation.

Sending emails to people that have not opened an email in over four months presents higher risks of ISPs dinging your sending reputation and also poses an increased chance that your emails will be reported by users as spam.

6. Build an Engagement Filter and use it Forever

When it comes to a great deliverability strategy, we know that nuance is the name of the game. If you’re on our Premium Plan, your dedicated Customer Success Manager and our Deliverability team are here to help you strategize every step of the way.

We have tried and true best practices that we recommend for all our customers. One of the best and easiest things you can do to benefit your deliverability health is to use a data-driven segment to capture people that have opened an email in the past four months. This will become an engagement filter that should be applied to all of your newsletters and non-transactional campaigns so you’re not messaging people who are unlikely to engage.

7. Configure Google Postmaster Tools

Google Postmasters Tool is a reporting tool from Gmail that provides insights as to how audiences are interacting with your emails within your domain and translates it into deliverability health. Because Gmail is one of the largest ISPs used industry-wide, this can be an excellent resource to help evaluate the sending reputation of your domains and IPs as you begin sending emails through Customer.io.

Google Postmaster Tools is free to set up, though you may need some assistance from a colleague that can verify the domain in the DNS. When setting up your domain in Postmasters, you’ll need to authenticate your Customer.io subdomain. From there, you’ll be able to see additional insights into your email performance and have access to tools to troubleshoot if you run into any deliverability hiccups.

8. Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Sticky

Sticky Notes were built as a hack in one of our virtual retreats and having them now leaves us wondering… how did we ever get by without these? There are a lot of moving pieces when it comes to migrating your high-impact campaigns to Customer.io. Use Sticky Notes to write reminders for yourself on items to come back to, detail specifics for other collaborators on the workflows, and jot down questions along the way.

These Customer Success-approved tips will pave the way for you to focus on building a personalized messaging experience for your audience so that they can benefit from everything you have to offer. For more detailed articles and best practices, check out our getting started docs. We can’t wait to see what you build!