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The challenge when integrating Eloqua was to create a subscription process to comply with anti-SPAM laws, specifically adding a double opt-in for users from Canada or Europe.


The business requirements of this project were to give the user an option to explicitly opt-in to emails upon form submissions, manage their subscriptions from a subscription center and to comply with anti-SPAM laws.


Prior to Eloqua, the platform set up was a single opt-in for all users to all three email groups upon a form submission with an option to manage their subscriptions from a subscription center. Since Eloqua was being integrated for the first time, there wasn’t anything previously set up in the platform.


The Plan

The first step in the planning stage included meeting with the stakeholders to define which countries were considered single opt-in, double opt-in and embargoed nations as well as understanding what each of those scenarios meant. The initial planning stages also included confirming the three previous email groups will be used moving forward and provided examples of the type of emails that would be used for each email group. It was also decided to have a subscription center similar to the previous one.


The next phase in planning was to understand the user’s status in every possible scenario. I then mapped out each user scenario for brand new contacts and the different variations of returning contacts for a single opt-in user, a double opt-in user and an embargoed user submitting a form. I also mapped out the user scenarios for a form submission from the subscription center.


The Design

From the planning stages, the next step was to design the data architecture which was based upon the user scenarios. What came from this was to create additional Eloqua Fields for the subscription items as a double check point to ensure that Eloqua was reading the data as intended. This also gave us the opportunity to capture additional data on the user such as date stamping when a user chooses to globally unsubscribe and/or double opt-ins.



The Build

Subscription Center.png

To begin building out the elements, I started with the Form. The first piece to tackle was the country pick list and defining the opt-in process accordingly. The solution that I went with was to use JavaScript to populate a hidden field on the form with ‘single’, ‘double’ or ‘embargo’ depending upon the country selection. The conditional items on the Processing Steps were based upon that hidden field. By doing this, I went from 200+ countries to incorporate into the Processing Steps to just three.


The next items on the form to create were two checkboxes for the opt-ins; one for single opt-in countries and one for double opt-in countries. I also used JavaScript here to display the correct checkbox for the user based upon the country selection. To configure the Processing Steps and the conditionals for these fields I found the Advanced Editing and Form Processing class, Topliners research and a lot of trail-and-error helpful in understanding how Eloqua works.


For the single opt-in data architecture, I also created a Program for a user that is already opted-in to check to see if they had changed any of their subscription preferences instead of just opting the user in for every email group again. To effectively create this program, I referenced the Program Builder class and Topliners.


When a user checks the checkbox to double opt-in, there are fewer Processing Steps since the user receives an email with a blind form submit link to confirm that they want to be opted-in. The Processing Steps on the blind form submit do most of the heavy lifting. I went back and referenced my notes from the Blind Form Submits class when creating this email.


And finally for the embargoed nations, these Processing Steps were much easier to configure since not much was happening. I only set up a Send Notification Email to someone within the organization and a Redirect to Web Page Processing Step to send the user to a landing page to let them know the organization is unable to conduct business with them.


The final piece to tackle was the subscription center as displayed. Since I created additional Eloqua Fields for the subscription items and wanted to make sure those were marked accordingly, a custom subscription center was needed. It was initially set up as taught in the Custom Subscription Management class but I found that process was not browser compatible with IE8 and the business was not ready to phase out the dated browser. I ended up using hidden fields, merge tags and JavaScript to complete this. After the form was tested and working, I then updated the Email Footer to take the user to the new subscription center.


The Completion

Overall the completion of this project helped to improve the user experience by setting expectations with the customer and honoring their email communication interests while lowering the risk for the company.


Since the completion of this project, I plan to transfer the Eloqua Fields for the subscription items to Custom Objects after learning about them in the Effective Marketing with Custom Objects class to clean up the Contact Records and create a one-to-many relationship.


The Academy Courses

  • B2B: Advanced Editing and Form Processing
  • B2B: Program Builder
  • B2B: Blind Form Submits
  • B2B: Custom Subscription Management
  • B2B: Effective Marketing with Custom Objects

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