Email personalization is a topic we never get bored with around here. There are countless ways to bring personalization to your email marketing strategy, and the savviest marketers out there are constantly honing their craft. Why? Because email personalization is expected. Thankfully, the batch and blast email days are long behind us. We have wonderful tools like marketing automation to help us reach our target audience through engaging content.
However, a tool is just a tool—and technology alone will never replace the human mind. (Well, let’s hope not anyway, otherwise I’ll become Robo Marketer.) The company or person using that tool has a responsibility to personalize it.
Nearly two-thirds of companies would like to improve their personalization (64%), marketing automation (64%), and segmentation (62%) – Econsultancy, Email Marketing Industry Census
Love analogies? Me too, so here we go! Okay, I’ll stop listing off all the desserts I want to eat right now. I know that eating sugar all the time is unhealthy for my body, just like we all know impersonal emails are unhealthy for our lead generation efforts. But knowing something and doing something about it are two very different things. I will say that cutting out sugar entirely is madness. But we should definitely do our best to cut impersonal emails out. We just have to take steps, so we don’t get overwhelmed. When I want a crepe with Nutella and bananas, I’ll have a banana with nut butter instead. I’m making the decision to replace a bad habit with a good one. Take a serious look at your current email programs, and think about it. How can I make these emails more personal? More about them—and less about me, my service, or my product. How can I make them healthier?
There’s power in numbers, so we invited four marketers over today to share their expertise by answering one question: “How do you bring personalization into your email marketing strategy?” We hope their answers will inspire you to improve your programs!
Aaron Dinin, Co-Founder of RocketBolt
Instead of emailing people about your product when you want to, find opportunities to email people about things they’re interested in at moments when you know they’re likely to respond.
Step 1: Identify a lead who would have reason and resources to buy. Stop with the “spray & pray” style. Instead, be highly selective about who you contact and why.
Step 2: Follow your lead on Twitter. Twitter is great because you can keep tabs on people’s activities regardless of whether you know each other or not.
Step 3: Setup Google Alerts. Create alerts for both your lead’s name and your lead’s company and Google will email you.
Step 4: Search for your opportunity every day. Be on the lookout for a relevant professional opportunity suggesting the person’s company might need your product/service and a shared personal interest.
Step 5: Make contact. Once all your research and monitoring uncovers a genuine reason to make contact, you’re finally ready to send an email with a highly personalized message.
At RocketBolt we saw that the research needed for effective email personalization takes tons of time, so we built a platform that automates it. These steps will get you started!
Majaliwa Bass, Senior Product Manager at Growth Hacking Intuit
Simply put, you personalize it. At Intuit, we know we need to really look at our customers. See what your customers purchased or what pages of information they engage in. Seek to find similarities among your customers and break them into segments. Toss those segments into your email marketing tool and send them blog articles or offers you know they’ll care about based on the data you saw. Web analytics (or Google analytics) can also help you glean demographics and interests of your visitors.
Luke Hamon, CEO and President of Orange Pegs Media
As an inbound practitioner at Orange Pegs Media, our contacts and those of our clients are all permission-based. We have the luxury of demanding certain information from them before they ever become contacts, and we’re able to do this by offering valuable content in exchange for it. So, not only do we get answers to certain questions, but we see the type of content they download, and we’re able to segment our lists based on that data.
When you have leads coming in on a regular basis, as is the case with inbound, it’s good to have tools that will help you in a variety of tasks:
- Segmentation: Being able to divvy up your contacts based on their behaviors is incredibly valuable, especially if this is set up to happen automatically. This way you can send emails that matter.
- Scoring: Assign point values to certain behaviors, so you can send elevated marketing materials to those who engage in highly desirable activities.
- Automation: By having your contacts automatically segmented, you can enter them into drip campaigns through triggering tools.
- Personalization Tokens: Use your contacts’ names and other personal information that they give to you in a form submission.
- Smart Options: Change the content of your email based on the context of the individual.
Jehan Lalkaka, Product Marketing Manager at SurveyMonkey
SurveyMonkey relies on personalized email marketing to meet a variety of business goals. Here’s what I keep top of mind to drive results:
Step 1: Pick the right goals. Isolate what your biggest challenge is and clearly define it. If your biggest challenge is developing more solid leads through email, then develop specific content that signals purchase intent if it is downloaded by email recipients.
Step 2: Segment your customers in a purposeful way. Your segmentation should a) fit your goals b) align well with your customer needs c) be limited to what data you have available. For example, simply segmenting by industry can tell you more about an email recipient than using no segmentation at all. This knowledge can be used to craft headlines, content, and landing pages targeted to a specific industry’s pain points or hot topics.
Step 3: A/B test or simply trial your email marketing campaign before launch. Developing more than one email iteration for each segment isn’t easy, but a small A/B test at this stage will save you from being unpleasantly surprised if your email campaign underperforms. If A/B testing is not possible, consider sending a trial email to a limited number of random email recipients for a rough estimate of future results.
Step 4: Track your email marketing results over time. If you don’t have a full technical stack to measure and store campaign results, you should create a repository of email campaigns (with content and creative), target segments, and campaign results (open rates, click rates, purchase rates). This knowledge will help you forecast and constantly improve upon past results.