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StreetEasy Activate Deep Dive

Activate Summit NA Deep Dive: StreetEasy

Activate just ended…miss us yet? If you’re itching for more Activate content, have no fear, there’s another Activate to look forward to on the horizon. But, to whet your appetite during this Activate in-between, we want to keep the incredible speakers at Activate Summit North America, and the inspirational sessions they presented, top of mind.

In this limited series we’ll be covering a handful of the most loved sessions in-depth, providing skimmable, sharable tidbits. How is our memory that good, you ask? It’s not! All of the session recordings are available on-demand right now. We know not everyone has 30 minutes to watch a recording, so we’re providing a written breakdown of some of these sessions (but we do strongly recommend listening to the speakers tell it themselves. They do much better than we ever could).

Connect & Collect: Propelling Customer Journeys With the Power of Automation

Connect & Collect: Propelling Customer Journeys With the Power of Automation was presented by Nate Casimiro, StreetEasy’s Senior Marketing Operations Specialist. StreetEasy is Zillow’s New York-specific real estate app, tailored to the complex boroughs and neighborhoods of NYC.

To give a sense of the scale StreetEasy operates within, Nate highlighted that StreetEasy sends over 80 million messages a month using over 150 journeys and triggered campaigns (most of which use Catalog or data feeds).

In his session, Nate covered five ways StreetEasy uses Iterable features to automate once-manual marketing processes: content and applications, confirmations and alerts, listing cards and recommendations, announcements and reports, and blog updates and rollups.

Gated Content & Applications

To automate gated content creation and applications for data collection, Nate mentioned how his team employs third party applications and webhooks. While it may have been a bold choice to kick off the session with third party applications, Nate made a good point. He said, “Let’s face it. Everyone here has a super hyper complex, convoluted marketing tech stack, so you probably have some platform you have to make work.”

Four requirements for third party applications and webhook journeys:

  • Web forms: I want a message triggered when a user fills out a form on our website.
  • Gated content: I want to deliver content that is not easily accessible by others to specific people.
  • Update other platforms: I want to update another platform when an action is taken in a communication sent via Iterable.
  • Real-time triggers: I want my communications to fire as soon as an action is taken.

Confirmations & Alerts

When automating confirmations and alerts, Nate’s team uses custom events and journeys. Nate used resetting a password as a perfect example of a custom event because you have to pass through a token to reset it, but you also want the email to expire in 24 hours.

Four requirements for custom events and journeys:

  • Real time triggers: I want my communications to fire as soon as an action is taken.
  • Filter by field: Once an event is triggered, I want to filter which users receive communications based on event or user profile data.
  • Product data: I want to populate data from my product within a communication.
  • Timelines & schedules: I want to trigger a communication in real time but hold a send until specific days of the week or time of day.

Listing Cards & Recommendations

Nate’s team uses catalogs, collections, and snippets to create listing cards and recommendations. StreetEasy uses more than 12 catalogs with tens of thousands of values in each catalog. Nate says his team uses Catalog when they want to automatically sync with data in their product, store and compile it in Iterable, and pull it into emails, as needed. (Think: Zillow’s listing recommendation emails.)

Four requirements for catalogs, collections, and snippets:

  • Dynamic content: I want to populate specific property details based on a single key value using a minimal amount of code.
  • Code collections: I want to easily reproduce this result across a number of templates with minor adjustments.
  • Minimize engineering: I want to iterate versions of this content while minimizing the amount of engineering effort.
  • Personalized data: I want to display pieces of data and content within a message that is personal to a user.

Announcements & Reports

To create announcements and reports, one of Nate’s “favorite things to talk about,” the StreetEasy team uses both Catalog and Google sheets to automate the process. In the example provided, Nate explains how the emails his team sends to agents are half populated by Catalog, and half populated by a Google sheet, making it extremely easy to edit without breaking the email template.

Four requirements for catalogs and Google sheets:

  • Self service: I want copywriters or other team members to edit the copy of a campaign, at will, without me.
  • Safety first: I don’t want the copywriters to have the ability to change any code and break my template.
  • Time after time: I want to reuse this process every week, month, etc.
  • Style savant: I want copywriters with fundamental HTML skills to be able to change colors, text styles, etc.

Blog Updates & Rollups

To send blog updates and rollup emails, Nate’s team uses data feeds. Nate points out that one of the main reasons to use data feeds is because it’s real-time. Data feeds automatically pull in information that already exists elsewhere and doesn’t need to be created from scratch, like in the emails sent to agents.

Four requirements for data feeds:

  • Blog content: I want to populate content I’ve created in another platform, such as WordPress.
  • One and done: my copywriters don’t want to rewrite copy for email that they’ve already summarized on web.
  • Time after time: I want to reuse this process every week, month, etc.
  • Safety first: I don’t want the copywriters to have the ability to change any code and break my template.

Data Feeds Versus Catalog

To close out the presentation, Nate presented an analogy to help clarify the difference between Catalog and data feeds. He said, “if you have a guest over at your house, and they’re thirsty and they want some water, you would go into your fridge and you could get them a bottle of water—maybe you have ten bottles of water. That’s kind of a catalog. It’s convenient, you can hand it to them, they can take it somewhere else.

But, if you want a data feed, that’s like handing them just a glass and they walk up to your fridge—the water dispenser—and they fill the glass with water. You’re never going to run out of water.”

We had to include this analogy because it is an extremely helpful visual to clarify in which scenarios you’d want to employ Catalog versus data feeds. Nate also shares StreetEasy examples to help clarify further, so be sure to check out the full recording if you have the time.

Each Activate session was jam-packed with helpful information, so be sure to check out some of the other sessions. Plus, don’t miss the chance to see next year’s Activate in-person! Save the date for Activate ‘23.

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