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The value of personalized emails is clear, but 70 percent of businesses fall short, which goes to show it’s a lot harder to implement than one would think. At one time, “email personalization” just meant inserting your name into the email subject line and header. Next, smart shopping engines enabled sites like Amazon to make intelligent upsell recommendations based on purchase history. (In fact, more than a third of Amazon purchases come from their personalized suggestions nowadays!) Customer Relationship Management software makes this task even easier if you have the right tools and strategies in place.
Much of our email marketing consultingrevolves around helping businesses make smart choices with regard to their email marketing practices. You can contact us for assistance or get started yourself with these 8 ways to connect with prospects through email personalization that translate into real dollars…
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We all know that segmentation is crucial to getting email personalization right. There are plenty of programs that promise to “break it all down” for you based on social media profile data. But we say: Why bother guessing based on demographics, when you can just ask a straightforward question and let the answer guide you?
Once a person subscribes to your email list, becomes a user, or visits your website, send them an email (or pop-up) that asks why they ended up there. For instance, wedding specialist website Paper Style asked whether people were planning for their own weddings or a friend or relative’s wedding. Each answer took customers down a different timeline with five different emails targeted to that particular group. As a result, their open rate jumped 244% and their click-through rate went up 161%!
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2. Give an exclusive or introductory offer.
If you notice that subscribers have spent a lot of time on your site looking at a particular product or service, hit them with a special, personalized introductory offer with a specified time limit to encourage action. Sometimes people just need an added excuse to move from interested to engaged. For instance, Spotify sent Lady Antebellum fans an exclusive opportunity to purchase presale tickets for her solo tour and also provided access to a brand new single.
3. Tell a better story.
So many emails we’ve received have been bland discussions of what a company wants to sell. They are clearly excited about this new product or service, but we could care less. Why? Because they are layering on feature after feature, but we still can’t see how it relates to us. “Storytelling is the heart of all good marketing,” as WrittenBySumer.comso eloquently put it. Audiences are more likely to respond when you highlight a serious problem, reveal the steps needed to overcome the problem, and explain your role in providing the solution. It’s just that simple.
4. Keep a good calendar.
JetBlue sends out anniversary emails to celebrate “365 days of emailing” a person. This simple gesture shows that they value the people in their network and keeps them in the forefront of their mind. Similarly, Rent The Runwaysent out anniversary emails with a special 20% off discount that had a high engagement rate. Software like Hatchbuck makes it easy to send similar emails for birthdays, renewals, anniversaries, and other special moments.
5. Make it fun.
People are all about interactive content these days. So why send a bland email when you can spice it up like McCormick did with their FlavorPrint App? They offer a game-like experience that lets prospective buyers answer questions about flavor, ingredients and cooking techniques to create a flavor profile. Gamers can then sign in to receive recipes matching their profile.
6. Hang onto subscribers using humor and compassion.
Personalization involves more than just following up with engaged buyers. It’s also about keeping tabs on the reluctant ones or those most likely to leave you. In our post, “How To Win Back Unsubscribers”, we discuss ways to woo back the lost customer. Sometimes a little bit of humor is all it takes to make a potential unsubscriber reconsider. Other times, asking for feedback or providing one last juicy offer can improve how you interact with prospects who are slightly dissatisfied or on the fence. Lastly, building in a way for people to save face and easily re-subscribe or navigate elsewhere is enough to prevent the dreaded customer drop-off.
7. Use eBooks to begin building customer personas and pathways.
Crazy Eggreports that persona based emails got 28 percent more opens and 7 percent more conversions for higher education company Collegis Education. They began by offering prospects an eBook download on categories like: Business, Education, Health care, Justice studies, Design, or Technology. From there, they sent out soft leads from their partners, asking prospects where they are in their career paths. Next, they were sent landing pages, course information, academic calendars, financial aid information and credit transfer FAQs relevant to the eBook they downloaded and career path option selected. People who needed more guidance were sent to a landing page encouraging them to contact someone for information, whereas people who were further along the sales pathway were asked more direct questions about their interests. The moral of the story is that much can be gained by showing you are helpful and providing prospects with a robust amount of tailored content to aid with their decision making process!
8. Start a lead nurturing campaign based on behavior.
We’ve talked about email drip campaigns before. Behavior-triggered emails are important because they deliver the right information to the right people at the right time. They are also an easy, smart way to warm up leads with content so they move further down the sales funnel automatically, without wasting your time. According to Kissmetrics, trigger emails have a 152% higher open rate than traditional emails, which goes to show: they work!
Smart Insightsrecommends setting up triggered email sequences for behaviors like:
– A new subscription or signup
– A repeat subscriber who returned a second time after a period of non-engagement
– Shopping carts abandonment or period of inactivity
– Searching the site for a while without making a purchase
– A purchase that will require repurchase or replenishment