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I won’t lie. Marketing automation can get very confusing. With numerous individual emails, workflows and lists being needed to build a single automation, it can quickly become hard to track and keep everything straight – doubly so in the beginning when planning what you might want to build and the sky is the limit to what is possible.
I was introduced to mind maps (specifically mindmeister) here at Marketing in Color and have been utilizing them ever since to help plot out automation plans for clients as well as keep a base of information (a Knowledge Base perhaps? ) on all of our automations. This has helped me to create a “recipe book” of sorts, where at a quick glance all automations for a particular client are laid out and easy(er) to digest. It has helped us as a team immensely, and we are going to look at how you can implement something similar for yourself.
What Is a Mind Map?
A mind map is basically a diagram that allows you to lay out information in a visual way, and connect different bits of information that are relevant to each other together. Doing this allows you to create a visual flow of information that is easier to find and understand, especially when compared to having everything written out in a single text-only document. Lifehacker actually has a great article outlining mind maps and different ways to use them.
Things to Include in Your Mind Map
Some of the most useful things I find about mindmeister is the ability to add descriptions, links connections and pictures to each point on your map.
Adding descriptions helps to clarify your map, as well as add instructions or notes/thoughts to yourself. You won’t see the note until you click on or hover over the point on the map, which helps to keep your map clean and clear and under control.
I use images to document settings so that they can be quickly referenced and duplicated.
Links are especially useful for linking out to email copy. You can view your map as a whole to get a sense of what needs to be built, and then link out to specific copy for when you build the emails.
Connections allow you to (literally) connect different pieces of data/thoughts together. I find it especially useful in showing which automations use different custom fields. This allows me to see where different custom fields are used, so you know how changes to it can effect your automations/emails.
Why It’s Perfect for Planning Automations
Automations quickly get complicated, with different list segments getting different emails that have different content based on actions on social media or your website. In order to keep your sanity, a tracking tool is needed. Mind maps allow you to gather multiple assets into one area, and then label, organize, and link them together in a visual way. This allows you to see the communications from a 10,000-foot view, as well as how your actual customer would receive them.