Chances are you’re feeling the pain of figuring out how to continually create engaging content strategies, subject lines and content that get more opens, more clicks, more ROI. You’re not alone. Marketers are increasingly challenged to find ways to better connect with their target audiences. Of marketers surveyed by DMA in 2016, 54% said that increasing engagement with email marketing was their No. 1 priority. It’s clear that the answer lies in data. If you’re able to masterfully leverage data about your audience the way that Amazon and Facebook do, you also could rule the internet — and get at least a couple of pay bumps. In the absence of that type of power, you do have access to tools that you’re probably not leveraging — tools that could significantly increase your ROI by delivering a personalized experience to the people you’re trying to target.
Marketers Falling Short with Personalization Efforts
While email marketing platforms are nothing new, a surprisingly high number of companies are still not using them effectively to connect with their subscribers. Based on a survey by Evergage, only 31% of 300 marketers believe that they and their peers were getting personalization right. When using personalization, many marketers are only sticking a name in the subject line and moving right along — an approach that’s not likely to help you gain maximum results. Consider these findings:
- 53% of marketers say ongoing, personalized communication with existing customers results in moderate to significant revenue impact. DemandGen
- Personalized messages only (no subject line) resulted in an 18.8% open rate and a 2.1% click rate, compared to a 13.1% open rate and a click rate of 1.9% with no personalization. Evergage
- About 90% of companies using personalization see a lift of 1% to 20%. Evergage
- Email personalization and list segmentation were rated the most effective email strategies in 2017. DMA 55% of marketers surveyed in 2018 were more likely to say they do not have sufficient data to be effective with their personalization compared to 45% who said they had enough. Evergage
It’s apparent that personalization is critical to getting more engagement.
7 Ways to Get Email Personalization Right
When you implement an email personalization strategy that goes beyond using the recipient’s name or a company name, you can significantly increase the ROI on email marketing — which already has a high ROI of 122%, according to an eMarketer study. Keep in mind the end goal whenever implementing this type of strategy: You want to develop a better, more personalized relationship with each subscriber. It’s a feat that is impossible without email marketing automation software that captures the data you need to make a connection to large groups of recipients. Here are 7 strategies to further personalize your campaigns using an email marketing automation platform.
1. React to how a user engages on your website.
When a subscriber not only opens your email but takes the time to click on a feature to get to your website, you can count that as two wins. However, data about their next steps are the key to generating more engagement through a personalized campaign. If you’re using a marketing automation platform, you can effectively capture data about the user’s activities, including browsing, shopping, and enrollment. Is the user spending 75% of their time shopping for women’s soccer gear on your B2C site? Do they seem more interested in streetwear footwear? Or are they browsing children’s bicycles? Use that data to guide future content and targeting. Likewise, a visitor to a B2B site will leave glimpses of what primarily interests them by downloading or browsing specific content. It also can give you insights into where they are in the buyer’s journey. In the same way, an educational institution, such as a university, can track relevant data in an effort to boost enrollment. High school students browsing websites are likely searching for information about the majors, clubs and school activities they’re most interested in. By tailoring content based on the student’s browsing activities, marketers can send them targeted content related to their interests. A student who feels more connected to a university is likely to be more motivated to enroll in that institution.
2. Create highly targeted segments based on subscriber activities.
Using data fields, you also can segment your audiences by gender, geography, educational level, industry and job title for marketing campaigns. But those are only the obvious categories. You can go much further than that, creating highly personalized campaigns based on more specific behaviors and characterizations that you previously gathered by tracking your subscribers. By hyper segmenting your subscribers based on additional data — including level of activity (like opens and clicks), recency, preferences, interests, purchase history, social media follows, etc., you can start creating highly defined segmented groups that allow you to create more personalized messaging your targets can identify with. Your subscribers who have been purchasing your products for a number of years don’t deserve to be bombarded with messaging that provides an overview of the services you offer and other basic information. Likewise, new subscribers may feel lost if you’re sending them highly detailed information they don’t understand. The impact of segmentation can’t be underestimated. According to DMA, marketers who used segmentation realized a 760% hike in email-related revenue. Subscribers who consistently receive highly relevant email are less likely to disengage and eventually unsubscribe. Instead, you’re much more likely to boost open rates and click-through rates and increase conversions.
3. Pull in data from other sources.
To get the results that you’re going after — a highly personalized experience that truly engages your audience, you need to gather invaluable data from other apps and platforms like CRM, lead generation forms, and analytics. By integrating databases and systems through APIs (application program interface), you’re able to build a more comprehensive experience. including Eventbrite, Google Analytics, Salesforce, Shopify, Gravity Forms, Privy, Magento, Pipedrive, and Insightly. The additional data automatically gathered from platforms like Eventbrite, Google Analytics, Salesforce, Shopify and Gravity Forms can create a seamless way to gain insights about your customers — all of which can give you the ability to create relevant messaging that’s delivered at just the right time.
4. Simply ask for relevant information.
With the integration of user-friendly forms, you can better position yourself to ask new subscribers for information that allows for a more tailored experience. Be transparent when asking for information. Let new subscribers know that your goal is to send messages that will appeal to them. With this approach, you can get relevant information upfront — a step that can go a long way in creating a more personalized experience. For instance, if you offer three main categories of services, ask new subscribers if they’re interested in receiving email for just one category or all three.
5. Develop event-triggered automations.
Any solid marketing strategy with the goal of creating a personalized experience should include event-triggered automations. These work for all industries, including B2B, nonprofit and ecommerce. Think of event-triggered automation as you would the natural flow of a face-to-face conversation. More than likely, you’ll respond to people differently based on how they’re reacting to whatever you’re saying. If someone responds positively, you’ll likely engage differently with them than you would with someone with little to no response. That’s how event-triggered automation works; it’s yet another tactic that enhances your personalization strategy. By creating a series of specific, tailored messages that are automatically “triggered” to send based on subscribers’ actions, you can engage in a more relevant conversation. The setup for event-triggered automation requires more upfront planning than other campaigns. However, the payoff can be significant. Consider event-triggered automation strategies as a response to …
- Abandoned shopping carts
- New subscribers
- Renewal of memberships
- New donors
- Purchase of software
Depending upon the type of engagement you’re seeking, you can set up event-triggered automation to include dozens of messages tailored for different stages of the subscribers’ journey with you.
6. Use real-time event data to increase engagement.
If a prospective consumer were to show interest in purchasing your product — or simply requested more information, wouldn’t you want to respond as soon as possible? How about in real-time? The likelihood of that happening with email under normal circumstances would be fairly low — unless you happened to be sitting in front of your computer at the time. With real-time event data, you can be immediately notified about significant activity from your subscribers — allowing you to respond immediately. In sales, this is particularly critical. If you wait too long to reply, you might as well count it as a loss, according to Harvard Business Review (HBR), which conducted a study about the impact of response time on sales. After studying 1.25 million sales leads, HBR researchers found that sales reps who responded to potential customers within one hour were seven times more likely to close the sale than those who waited to reply within two hours. Besides the fact that you could lose out on a sale, the ability to respond in real time — whether directly from a live person or an automated personalized response — gives your prospect the assurance that they’re being heard. This type of immediacy also can be used for other forms of engagement. It’s a way to come across as authentic — a real person.
7. Sending personalized 1:1 messages.
Ultimately, the goal of any email personalization campaign is this: Regularly creating an experience that makes every email recipient feel as if the message was targeted specifically for them — and delivered at exactly the right time. This may have been possible to manually pull off when you had 50, 60 or 100 subscribers. Today, it’s also possible if you have marketing automation to do the job at scale — especially with the added ability to deliver send text messages to subscribers who are willing to engage via a messaging app or web push notifications. With a messaging feature, you have the ability to communicate with your audiences more quickly — and in an intimate 1:1 format.
Start getting more personal
Personalization is key to attracting more engagement with your subscribers — and, with email marketing automation, it’s possible to start connecting in meaningful ways that get noticed. Let us show you how to leverage data to build lasting relationships with your subscribers. Request a demo with Delivra today.