Customizing Customer Engagement
Email marketing is based on trust. Using dynamic content and personalization to give your email communications a more familiar tone suggests that a true relationship has been established with your subscribers and makes them more responsive to hearing from you.
A dynamic content email is one in which the content is varied to create highly individualized and targeted messages. The content is based on a wide variety of gathered data, including contact information, demographics, behavioral patterns and preferences. By pulling from these different data points, you can create content blocks within offers to create a customized stream.
The key benefits of dynamic content are the ability to create a personalized experience, achieve better relevancy and timeliness, and spur more active customer engagement. But remember: dynamic content is only as effective as the data that it leverages. That’s why it’s critical to execute a fully featured welcome program to capture both demographic and preference data that you can overlay with behavioral data to enable a true “who gets what” scenario to unfold in your email marketing campaigns.
The level of personalization in emails can vary and doesn’t have to be too complex to get the job done. Simply using your recipients’ first names or referencing part of their past purchasing history shows that their interests are important to you and builds a stronger rapport. This also helps with open rates and responses, which produce a stronger sender reputation for your brand.
In fact, adding personalization to an email message has been shown to boost the effectiveness of the message by as much as 25 – 30%.
At the very least, use these personalization techniques to introduce your emails:
- “Friendly from” name: Account managers or sales reps will be known to subscribers, so leverage that relationship and use mail merges to change the “friendly from” name in your email to that of their account manager.
- Subject line: The subject line must let subscribers know why your company is sending this communication. By making it clear what the email contains, they will be able to respond to it when it suits them. Annual reports might be a lower interest to your database than a support renewal contract, so empower the database to manage your communications.
- Sender address: Rather than using the default email address that was set up with your account, take the opportunity to personalize and brand your sending address so it is immediately recognizable to subscribers. This is not only very effective but will help to increase your deliverability rates.
You can take personalization a bit farther by using these tactics:
- Include first name personalization. Make sure the tone of the greeting matches the rest of the conversation.
- Reference past activity. Include a reference to a specific product or service that the recipient has either purchased or has requested information about.
- Try personalizing by location. Personalizing an email based on the recipient’s location is a great way to help people feel a sense of belonging.
- Test images and multimedia. Add a product image that corresponds with an item they’ve already purchased or an image of a familiar skyline. Humanize messages with photos of executives, speakers or sales reps.
- Reward subscribers. Get personal by rewarding your most dedicated subscribers with a coupon or special offer, or incentivize the sharers.
A couple of caveats: When personalization is overdone or done improperly, email marketing campaigns can come across as phony, contrived or downright creepy. Make sure your email database is free of missing or mixed-up fields – an error in your records can lead to your email showing how little you know about your subscribers, as opposed to how much. And be sensitive to your recipients’ privacy concerns and don’t overdo it. An email with too much personal information may seem like an abuse of privacy.