Eloqua for Dummies

A guide for new or recent users of Eloqua

Let’s start at the beginning

Since 1999 Eloqua has provided users the opportunity to deliver unique customer experiences with cutting edge technology.

In December 2012 Eloqua customers received a massive boost with the acquisition of Eloqua by Oracle Corporation.

In late 2012 Oracle outlined the following as part of the reason they acquired Eloqua:

“The combination of Oracle and Eloqua is expected to create a comprehensive Customer Experience Cloud offering to help companies transform the way they market, sell, support and serve their customers.

The combined offering is expected to enable organisations to provide a highly personalised and unified experience across channels, create brand loyalty through social and online interactions, grow revenue by driving more qualified leads to sales teams, and provide superior service at every touchpoint.”*

*SOURCE: Oracle Press Release

About Eloqua for Dummies

How to use this guide

Given the changing nature of Eloqua as a SaaS product and combined with quarterly releases from Oracle, there will be many links from this guide to Oracle online resources. 

For example the Oracle Eloqua Help Centre, Topliners and others. This will help ensure you have access to the most current and up to date information about Eloqua.

In addition I will add my own insight and tips to help you understand Eloqua better and how to get up to speed faster.

Why this guide

Following a webinar I hosted in 2019 and the following question from a customer, I decided there was a need. The customer asked:

“Do you have a resource where beginners like myself can access tutorials for the basic functions and capabilities of Eloqua? Like an “Eloqua for Dummies” guide, perhaps?” 

They do exist, however thinking further I believe there is room for a guide like this one.

Good to know

This guide will grow over the coming months and years and I will be editing all sections from time to time.

My primary focus will be on the areas of Eloqua I find customers have the most questions about.

We’ll begin with the Campaign Canvas and develop further from there.

I’ll also develop a resource page that will take you to many of the Oracle Eloqua online resources that you can access today.

Dummies start here.

How to navigate this guide

The green icon below will return you to this point, the contents section of the guide.

The grey icon below will return you to the beginning of the chapter.

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If you don’t have time to read, start with these resources.

Marketing Cube YouTube Channel

DISCLAIMER: I work at Marketing Cube and much of the content on this YouTube Channel has been produced by me or members of my team.

You’ll find replays of the popular Eloqua User Group, some tips for Eloqua users and more.

The Eloqua User Group replays can be watched at your desk while working on other tasks.

Oracle LaunchPad – Free Oracle Cloud Training

LaunchPad provides FREE eLearning, video and text based modules for Oracle Cloud customers. As an Eloqua user, select the “Business User” profile and then Marketing and then Eloqua. 

Try these initial modules as a beginner:

    • Getting Started With Oracle Eloqua
    • Building Campaigns
    • Campaign Reporting
    • Managing Segments
    • Working With Emails

Oracle Marketing Cloud Help Centre YouTube Channel

DISCLAIMER: I work at Marketing Cube and much of the content on this YouTube Channel has been produced by me or members of my team.

You’ll find replays of the popular Eloqua User Group, some tips for Eloqua users and more.

The Eloqua User Group replays can be watched at your desk while working on other tasks.

Chapter One: The Campaign Canvas

What is the Campaign Canvas?

The campaign canvas includes a wide variety of elements that you can use to create rich, multi-step campaigns that meet your marketing goals.

Each element has its own configuration requirements: some elements, like Wait, are very straightforward, while others require a more complex configuration. When you fully configure an element, it changes colour. You must fully configure all elements before you can activate a campaign.

You can also extend the functionality of the campaign canvas by using Oracle Eloqua AppCloud apps. These apps enable you to integrate your campaign with other systems like WebEx or Zoom.

The following topics provide more details on the different types of campaign elements:

Long before you login to Eloqua, you really need to have your strategy worked out.

If you’ve just started using Eloqua, the biggest mistake you can make is to keep using Eloqua just like you did with your previous email marketing or marketing automation platform. You had a reason for buying Eloqua, let’s make sure you capitalise on that reason and get some magic happening sooner, rather than later.

Where to start?

To answer that question, I’m going to have to make some assumptions. The main assumption is that you’re new to Eloqua – the fact that you’ve ready this far would be a good indicator that you’re new.

I’m also going to assume that you’ve secured a certified and qualified Oracle Partner to implement Eloqua. That means you should be in a position to build a Segment, build your Emails, Landing Pages, Forms and add them to the Campaign Canvas.

Try thinking about the Eloqua Campaign Canvas/Multi-Step Campaigns like this.

When you build your Campaign Canvas and drop various Elements on the canvas, you need to think about the flow of your campaign members through the campaign.

The canvas is extremely logical in the way that works, it will do exactly as you tell it to do. Eloqua doesn’t randomly adjust the flow of a person through a campaign for random reasons. There will always be a reason.

Some fundamentals to remember

The following are considered the basics, if you can get your head around these aspects of Eloqua, you’ll be in a great place.

  1. Eloqua will never send the same email to the same person twice.
  2. A single unique Contact/Email Address can only enter a Campaign once. e.g. if you have the same Contact sitting in two different Segments on the one Canvas, they will only progress through the campaign from ONE of the Segments. Eloqua will choose which one.
  3. A Campaign cannot be activated unless all Elements are configured.
  4. A Campaign can be deactivated once it has been activated. You can then reactivate the campaign. There is no pause function.

EXAMPLE: A basic Campaign Canvas Design.

The Campaign Canvas ‘Elements’ above are explained below…

Segment Element Campaign Canvas

The canvas shown above is probably one of the more basic campaign canvas designs. It begins with two Segments, both directed to the Contact Washing Machine. It’s worth noting at this point that you can have multiple Segments on a single Canvas.

This can be helpful from a reporting point of view, it delivers a more granular breakdown of Segments/Audiences and their engagement with your emails.

Segment Members Audience Element

Segments are groups of contacts generated based on filter criteria and contact lists. Segments can filter contacts based on criteria like whether or not they receive a newsleter, whether or not they registered for a conference, or whether or not they visited a landing page.

Segments are used to feed email distribution in campaigns. They allow you to specify which contacts are included, and then to customise the subsequent actions for those contacts.

SOURCE

Contact Washing MachineElement Campaign Canvas

The Contact Washing Machine App is a free app you can add to Eloqua. I use it primarily to ensure key data is in Propercase. e.g. a person’s first name should be presented as “Derek”, not “DEREK” or “derek”.

The app has a wide range of actions it can perform, CLICK HERE to read in more detail.

Contact Washing Machine App Action Element

The Contact Washing Machine enables cleansing of contact fields. You are able to define one or more contact fields as inputs, then run actions such as trim, concatenate, adjust case (propercase or lowercase), and perform lookups to populate fields.

The data can then be mapped back to that same field or a separate field. Keeping data clean improves the accuracy of scoring, segmentation, and personalisation.

SOURCE

Email Element Campaign Canvas

This is the fun part – this is where your strategy mixes with your design and all comes together in the Email Design (drag & drop, not HTML) or Source (for lovers of HTML) Editor.

Email Send Asset Element

Once you add your email asset to the email send element, you will have the ability to adjust a range of actions for that email send. You can create a schedule e.g. only deliver this email during a set window of time, on certain days and in a specific time zone. This is helpful if your Segment is dynamic meaning you have people entering your campaign on a regular basis. Think on-boarding campaigns, event campaigns. Essentially we’re talking about “always-on” campaigns.

SOURCE

Wait Element Campaign Canvas

The Wait Element is probably the once step missed by new Eloqua users. It’s a critical step in your canvas design and provides two options.

You can wait for a period of time, hours, days or weeks or you can wait until a specific date and time. 

You will typically use one type of Wait based on your campaign.

The Wait Action Element

This element allows you to specify how much time will lapse between steps of your campaign. You can also set up a wait step notification for when contacts enter the step.

Example: If you want to send an email alerting contacts and prospects to register for an upcoming seminar, after the initial email step, you can add a wait step. You can specify an amount of time to wait (hours, days or weeks) before continuing on to the next step, perhaps sending a reminder to those who have not yet responded.

SOURCE

Opened Email Element Campaign Canvas

The Opened Email? decision element allows you to evaluate a persons engagement or lack of engagement with your email. In the canvas above we’re going to send a second email to campaign members if they did not open the first email.

The Opened Email? Decision Element

Evaluate and route segment members differently depending on whether they opened a specific email at least once or a selected number of times.

SOURCE

Other considerations

Remember, the Canvas default will not send the same email to the same person twice. So in the Canvas example above you need to save-as the first email and create a second email.

In this example, the second email will only be sent to people who did NOT open the first email. So, all you really need to change is the email Subject Line and the Preview copy. Given the first email wasn’t opened, the Subject Line and Preview text/copy are the only tools you have available to change in the hope it grabs the attention of your audience.

 

Chapter 2: More Common Components

Using Components to create engaging & personalised content

The Component Library consists of Images, File Storage, Hyperlinks, Shared Content, Dynamic Content, Field Merges and Headers, Footers and Signature Layouts. I’ve explored each of these below and given you some examples of where you can use them.

Headers & Footers

The most basic function of your email, headers and footers play an important role in your email asset build and are required components by Eloqua.

From a technical perspective, you don’t actually have to have any content in these two components, but they must be part of your email build.

However, you will want to add some content to these two components in most cases.

Good to know

When you create your Email Groups/Subscriptions you can assign header and footer defaults. This means when you create your email, assign your email group and save the email asset the default header and footer will be associated to the email. You can select a different header and footer within the Email Editor to replace the default if you need to.

Headers

Most see the header as copy with something like “click here to view this email online”. However, you can also add your logo and any other artwork/visual assets you’d like to have across all emails.

Footers

I’ve seen Eloqua customers use Footers in a range of ways. The most common, following their initial implementation, is to have a single Footer used across all Email Groups. This is ‘good enough’, but it can be much better.

Field Merge Personalisation

The Field Merge helps you take data connected to the Eloqua Contact or a Custom Object (or Custom Data Object) and insert it into your email or landing page.

At the most basic it’s how you address people by name in your email e.g. “Dear Derek,” e.g. “Dear FirstName,”

Field merges help you personalise your emails, landing pages and forms. I’ve the three of these below to help you set up the basics.

Emails.

Any piece of data you have stored on the Eloqua Contact or a linked Custom Object can be merged and used in your emails or landing pages. In most cases you will create one field merge for a single Contact or Custom Object field.

The most common is First Name from the Contact. When you create your field merge you are given the chance to provide a default value, should the field itself be empty.

Let’s take First Name as an example. My contact in Eloqua has my first name as Derek. However should the First Name field on my Contact be blank, you may want to create a default value of e.g. Valued Customer. That means you want to create a field merge with the default value of “Valued Customer” meaning my email will be addressed as follows:

“Dear Valued Customer,”

TIP: It’s likely you will create multiple field merges from the same field with the various default values e.g. “Valued Partner”, “Friend”, “Team Member” etc.

When you create these Field Merge don’t just call them “First Name”. I suggest you follow a naming convention which identifies the name of the field and the default value.

Something like this “First Name Valued Partner” or “First Name Friend”. This will avoid confusion when you access the list of First Name field merges from the single select picklist in the editors.

Landing Pages

Everything listed above for use in emails is the same for Landing Pages.

Consideration needs to be given to where the field merge will be placed in a sentence. Let’s use Company Name as an example. My company name may be “ACME Imports”.

However, if the Company Name field is blank on my Contact or my contact is not linked to an account record, then we need to consider how this will look in the email or landing page.

If my field is blank, you need to think of a word or sentence that could be used as a default. Personally, I use the words “Your organisation”. Given the variety of people I talk to, “business” or “company” is not always appropriate.

Then I need to consider where in the sentence I’ll use the field merge, so I create two field merges for the contact field Company. I title the field merge as follows:

    • LC Company Name
    • PC Company Name
    • LC = lower-case e.g.: “your organisation”
    • PC = proper-case e.g.: “Your organisation” (Notice the capital “Y”)

This means, should the company field be blank, the field merge would look like this:

“We have economical methods to deliver services to your organisation that surpass our competitors.”

or

“Your organisation can benefit from the savings our team can deliver across the country, compared to our competitors.”

TIP: If your organisation is lucky enough to have copywriters, they need to be aware of this functionality as they develop copy for your campaigns.

The other thing they need to be aware of is the placement of the field merge in the copy to factor in missing data from the contact specifically as it relates to headings. You may create a heading for a landing page like this:

“Derek, it’s great to have you back on our website”

This works well, if you have the first name field populated. But what if you only have a default? Then it would look like this”

“Valued Customer, it’s great to have you back on our website”

Or, if you don’t have a default value, it would look like this:

“, it’s great to have you back on our website”

I think you’ll agree, that’s a pretty poor CX. My tip is to adjust your sentence to something like this:

“It’s great to have you back on our website Derek”

However, I would use a field merge titled “First Name Blank” to deliver the following experience:

“It’s great to have you back on our website”

Notice I’ve avoided using a comma or a full-stop or a period. That way, should the first name field be blank, it’s not so obvious.

Dynamic Content

Dynamic Content allows you to change the content you present to your audience members based on the data stored on their Eloqua Contact or linked Custom Object.

Dynamic content and field merges both use Oracle Eloqua data to determine the output of content. Field merges display Oracle Eloqua data directly, whereas dynamic content uses the data to determine which version of the content to display. It is also worth noting that field merges can be included in dynamic content.

One of the more popular Eloqua functions, dynamic content is used widely by many Eloqua users. However, I find new users are sometimes apprehensive because they believe their data has to be 100% to take advantage of this function.

That’s not true. Dynamic content works much like a field merge in that you must have a default value for a contact who doesn’t meet the rules to set up for the dynamic content.

That’s the difference between a field merge and dynamic content, you create rules to determine which piece of the dynamic content you present to a unique contact. With a field merge, it’s a one-to-one relationship with the contact e.g. First Name.

TRY THIS EXAMPLE

If you have a newsletter you send to subscribers on a regular basis, Dynamic Content can be used to tailor the appearance of images as well as copy, or both combined into a single piece of dynamic content.

I’ve created dynamic content for the email banner and the images in the banner show iconic scenes from the eight capital cities across Australia and two from New Zealand, Auckland and Wellington.

Creating the rules.

The dynamic content interface works in much the same way as the Segment interface where you drag in certain field names and then assign a set value.

The rules I create for Sydney and a banner showing the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour are as follows. Click on the image below to see the detail a little better.

The logic above takes into consideration various values that should exist on a person based in the capital city of Sydney in the state of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. You can see above a few common data points have been used from the Eloqua Contact to narrow down contacts based in New South Wales. The first is the state designation of “NSW”. I’ve then added two of the more populated cities* “Sydney” OR “Newcastle” AND “Australia”. (There is also the city of “Newcastle” in the U.K., hence the need for “AND Australia” The final data points relate to zip or postcode bands. It’s important to use the OR operator in place of the AND operator. I’ve taken a range of values that I know relate to not just the city of Sydney, but across the state of NSW.

*NOTE: This is where your local knowledge comes in. Your knowledge of your own Eloqua database also helps. If you have a major client in a more obscure city, you can add that to your rules. Just be careful. For example, in Australia, the city of Burwood exists in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. You need to think these things through as you create your rules.

TIP: If your organisation is lucky enough to have copywriters, they need to be aware of this functionality as they develop copy for your campaigns.

The other thing they need to be aware of is the placement of the field merge in the copy to factor in missing data from the contact specifically as it relates to headings. You may create a heading for a landing page like this:

“Derek, it’s great to have you back on our website”

This works well, if you have the first name field populated. But what if you only have a default? Then it would look like this”

“Valued Customer, it’s great to have you back on our website”

Or, if you don’t have a default value, it would look like this:

“, it’s great to have you back on our website”

I think you’ll agree, that’s a pretty poor CX. My tip is to adjust your sentence to something like this:

“It’s great to have you back on our website Derek”

However, I would use a field merge titled “First Name Blank” to deliver the following experience:

“It’s great to have you back on our website”

Notice I’ve avoided using a comma or a full-stop or a period. That way, should the first name field be blank, it’s not so obvious.

Shared Content

Shared content is reusable content snippets that you can create once, then reuse in emails and landing pages. It allows you to “build once, re-use everywhere” for your most valuable common pieces of content.

One of the most basic examples is your company logo. As you build emails and landing pages you will add your logo, then you will add a hyperlink to your home page behind the logo. Shared Content enables you to create a single asset with the logo and hyperlink already connected and use it over and over.

Shared content is different to dynamic content in that you do not create rules to present different images and/or copy. Shared content is a fixed asset or snippet, all members of your audience will see the same content regardless of the values on their Contact or linked Custom Object.

Some examples of where I’ve seen Eloqua customers use shared content.

    • Your Company Logo
    • Banners for Landing Pages
    • Footers for Landing Pages
    • Various calls to action e.g. “Visit our blog”, “Subscribe to our newsletter today”

Other uses could be for seasonal or campaign level calls to action. You may have specific sales you want to remind your audience about or perhaps registration for an annual conference.

These pieces of shared content can be used across various assets, emails or landing pages, in the lead up to the sale or the annual conference.

TIP: Once you’ve used a piece of shared content and then choose to make changes to it, all future assets where it’s used, will be changed. In addition, any historical emails you look at will show the edited shared content, not what was sent to your audience.

When you view an email in Eloqua that has been sent as part of a campaign, you’re viewing a mash up of what is in Eloqua today. Eloqua does not make a copy of the email at the time it was sent and store that for archival or audit purposes. This is specifically important to understand for industries like e.g. financial services where shared content could display interest rates or content that has an expiry date.

So, a best practice approach would be to save-as your first version of the shared content and create version 2 should you need to make changes to it for future campaigns. Once an email has been sent and is sitting in a person’s email inbox, you can’t make changes to that email and its content.

Image & File Storage

The component library lets you view and organise images and files that have been uploaded to Eloqua. You can use these images and files in emails, forms, and landing pages.

You can upload images, and files such as documents, web pages and JavaScript files to a dedicated web server using the upload wizard. Eloqua automatically generates both direct and trackable URLs for the files uploaded to File Storage. You can insert these links into emails and other marketing assets as hyperlinks or references to provide your customers and prospects with easy access to those files.

Signature Layouts

Signatures layouts are templates for automatically inserting Eloqua sender information into emails. You can create a standard signature layout that defines how signatures should look and what information they should contain.

This allows you to maintain consistency in corporate branding, and it makes it easier to generate signatures for a large number of employees. A single signature layout can be created which then dynamically pulls in the details of the sender.

Your Signature Layout can be built without HTML, but as of release 19D (November 2019) I’d suggest your Signature Layout will look better with a little HTML magic. 

In the example below we’ve set the photo of the team member on the left and the office address details on the right, requiring two columns. It’s the need for two columns that requires some HTML.

The part of this process that generally stumps new users is knowing where the personal data comes from to populate the field merges shown in the Signature Layout above? Technical speaking they are not Field Merges, they are “User Fields“. You’ll notice that if you hover your mouse over the centre icon between the image and hyperlink icons on the right of Signature Layout window.

The data is sourced from Eloqua User Profiles. It does NOT come from an Eloqua Contact that you may have in Eloqua for your company employees.

TIP: Signature Layouts are tied to Signature Rules, Eloqua Users and then actioned via the Campaign Canvas. Once you select the Signature Rule from the Email element on the Campaign Canvas, the rule over-rides the default sender details you see in the email editor.

Step by Step Guide to Eloqua Signatures

If you broke it down into steps, the creation of your signatures for use in emails would go like this:

  1. Add your users to Eloqua. You can upload multiple users at once via a .csv file. Be sure to set them as “No. User is Disabled”, this means they’re not consuming an Eloqua License. Your Eloqua Administrator may need to complete this step for you. Ask your administrator for the user upload excel template, it’s accessed from the User area of Eloqua. If you complete the template correctly, the upload process is a five minute task for your Eloqua Administrator.
  2. Create your Signature Layout. You can have multiple signature layouts. For example, if you use Eloqua to market under multiple brands, you may require multiple signature layouts. Or, if you run joint marketing campaigns with business partners, you may need a layout that includes their logo and/or your logo, this would be an additional layout. As a general rule, you will likely use one signature layout for 90% of your communications.
  3. Create your Signature Rule. You can also have multiple Signature Rules. If you’re using Eloqua to market one brand, you will probably have a single rule. If you need to send an email from one person, you can access the list of users from the Email element on the Campaign Canvas, you don’t need to create a rule for one person/user.

Once you have your Signature Layouts and Rules in place, you’re pretty much set. You don’t need to create new layouts or rules for each Campaign.