Business development 20 December 2017

Email personalisation in 2018: Seven ways to make your marketing more effective

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If emails aren’t personal to the recipient, they will simply be ignored

We’ve all moved on from the days when “Dear Paul” felt like email personalisation – or we should have done. But how many people still receive too many irrelevant, unpersonalised branded emails each day?

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful channel – particularly for retailers – but if emails aren’t personal to the recipient, they won’t be read. Here, James Martin, head of email at ecommerce agency Infinity Nation, offers seven ways to help marketers achieve a better response.

Companies now have access to a wealth of data, but don’t always utilise it for email campaigns or use dynamic approaches effectively. Here are seven ways to make your emails as powerful as they can be in 2018.

  1. Gender – There are some basic rules to follow

Knowing your customer is essential, and it’s a good idea to dynamically populate emails based on gender.

There are a couple of ways to establish gender – either use the title the customer gives or if that’s not possible, filter based on products purchased – particularly multiple gender-specific items.

If your customer purchases your most fashionable handbag why not follow up by suggesting lipstick, perfume or high heels. Ultimately, men are less likely to want to know if a clothing store is dropping prices on women’s apparel, whereas a sale on men’s clothing will make male users open and engage.

  1. Geographic location – Not just for closest stores but also for time-sensitive emails

Geographic location should influence the time that an email is sent; for example if you sell your products internationally and are promoting a time-sensitive offer, make sure that the correct emails are sent according to time zone.

And how about basing the content of your email on the weather in a specific region? For example, if you own a franchise of coffee shops, consider changing what’s displayed to customers based on their region’s weather forecast.

By dynamically populating your email at the time of send, hot drinks can be presented on a cold, dull morning and soft drinks if the weather clears later on, all within the same email.

  1. Age – Don’t email your best booze bargains to a 14-year-old

Age-related personalisation is very effective. By using conditional content, you can decide what message or products are displayed to the end user based on his or her age.

For example, a well-known video-on-demand online streaming service uses data given when an account is created to target and encourage users of specific ages to watch age-appropriate films on their platform.

Find out why email marketing is still a small business owner’s best friend

If you create an account with a child-friendly sub account they will not only send you emails related to your age and interests but also emails that will suggest the best films for your kids to watch too.

  1. Job titles – A useful email tool

Building personas for your customers is another smart move – by analysing the end user right the way down to their job title, you can tailor your messaging to suit their position. Whilst we’d all like to think that each and every one of our emails are landing in the decision maker’s inbox, that’s not always true.

So, it’s essential to tailor messaging and trigger an initial engagement. The ultimate goal will be communicating with the decision maker.

  1. Interests – Capture these up front and be sure to build up a profile as they engage

If the offer in front of a customer doesn’t interest them, you have no hope of converting them. There are a number of ways to ascertain what interests are. One of the most simple and effective is by having a preference centre – a page on your site which allows your customers or prospects to pick and choose what they are most interested in.

This can be overlayed with their purchase data over time, to keep it up to date. For example, if they start buying for children or change location.

  1. Transactional data helps with up-selling and cross-selling

A great use of transactional data is using it in a post-purchase email trigger strategy. For example, if a customer has purchased a fancy pair of cycling shorts, your first stage will be a receipt or notification of his purchase.

By sending a follow-up email three days after the initial purchase to ensure he is happy, you can take this opportunity to recommend the matching cycling jersey.

  1. Behavioural data, such as customer versus prospect, is invaluable

As with any other channel, in email marketing customers and prospects should receive completely different messaging. You’ll be thanking a customer for their purchase and thereafter nurturing that relationship via a carefully planned email trigger strategy to ensure that they become a repeat customer.

With a prospect new to your brand, you’ll need to build trust from the get go to make them feel comfortable taking on your services or buying your products. The second prospect challenge is to ensure you offer the best price for the best quality.

Appealing discounts are important, but overall, don’t worry – think about the long term, lifetime value of the prospect turning to customer, turning to brand advocate.

Subtle persuasions are key in email marketing. For example, offer a fixed monetary value or a percentage discount on sign-up and ensure that you have an abandon basket email trigger in your armory, as you will be surprised how easily distracted your customers can be.

These three cost-effective marketing methods are giving small brands an edge

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