As a marketer, you already know that personalization can lead to big wins in email marketing. Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened
and marketers have found a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented campaigns.
Even though there are heaps of articles about how personalization and dynamic content can lead to success, there’s still a lot of confusion about how to make it a reality. How can you send personalized emails if you don’t have information about your subscribers?
These challenges are real. So in this post, we’ll explain how you can integrate personalization into your email marketing campaigns and engage with your subscribers in a whole new way.
Why aren’t more marketers personalizing email?
Marketers now have the ability to provide more personalized experiences. Today, you can tailor ads to increase conversion rates, create and send emails to a specific group with particular needs, and target social media ads to a certain, pre-determined audience.
According to a study by The Aberdeen Group, 96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance. And 45% or more marketing professionals anticipate implementing features like dynamic content elements and personalization this year according to an article by eMarketer.
With such a large number believing in personalization, why aren’t more marketers taking advantage?
Personalization has obvious benefits, but marketers are struggling to integrate personalization into their campaigns. During the holiday season, 80% of marketers placed promotions within their top three email marketing strategies, but only 56% of marketers listed segmentation-based targeting as a top tactic, and only 21% were leveraging real-time personalization or A/B testing, according to Media Post.
Marketers want to personalize, but they don’t believe they have the tools to do so. They’re unsure how to segment their database, integrate personalization into their strategy, and ultimately use it to drive more successful email marketing campaigns.
How to start using personalization
In order for personalization to be successful, it needs to be done well. Many marketers shy away from personalization because they think they’ll have to re-organize their entire database, when, in reality, a few changes could go a long way.
Here’s how to start using personalization:
Have a plan & get your team on board
ESPs like Campaign Monitor are making it simpler than ever to personalize with easy-to-use, yet powerful tools that allow you to send hyper-targeted campaigns and deliver relevant content to the right person at the right time.
The first step in building personalization into your email marketing is coming up with a plan, then getting your team on board. Share the data on what personalization can do for your company, get key stakeholders invested, and come up with a plan that can make personalization a reality. Using an email service provider that makes these tools accessible (both in price and ease-of-use) can go a long way in moving your plan forward.
Get the right fields in your sign up forms
To increase the relevance of your email campaigns you have to understand your audience. You need to find out as much as you can about the people you’re communicating with so you can tailor content that is unique to them.
One of the best ways to do this is by improving your sign up forms. When someone signs up for your list, you might ask them for their name, gender, or particular interests.
For example, a clothing retailer might send personalized emails based on gender. They might send men’s styles to men, and women’s styles to women. In order to accomplish this, they should ask for the information when someone signs up.
Segment your lists
List segmentation is a great way to get started with personalization, and it can add an extra punch when you segment using transactional data.
For example, you could create a VIP customer segment of customers who have spent $500 at your business in the last six months. Once you’ve created that segment, you can easily insert a promotion or offer that will only be seen by those people using dynamic content fields.
Beyond geography, you might also consider segmenting your audience by gender, age, job title, company size, industry, interests, and more. Here are some of the categories that marketers use to segment their lists:
- Geographic location
- Job title or company size
- Transactional data such as past purchases or particular plan
- Behavioral data such as customer vs. prospect
Use the right email software
If you’re using a legacy system that doesn’t have a lot of functionality, it may be time to upgrade to an email marketing software that can support your personalization efforts. This software will have integrations, as well as the option to easily add dynamic content right in the builder.
Campaign Monitor makes it easy to use dynamic content when creating your emails. When you’re creating your emails in our builder, you can use the “who should see this” setting for each block of content. It allows you to select which lists or segments of lists should see that particular part of the email. This allows you to create several versions of the email for different sets of customers based on what you know about them, all from within one campaign.
Pro-tip: We provide extensive information on personalizing an email campaign (such as personalized tags, custom fields, and fallback terms) here.
Take advantage of integrations
If a subscriber has bought something from you in the past, you may already have information about them, such as their physical address, past purchases, and their name. This information can help you personalize campaigns, especially if you take advantage of integrations.
Even if you haven’t collected subscriber information via an email signup form (such as one on your blog), you can use information collected from your CRM or e-commerce platform to personalize your campaigns. For example, Magento might tell you which individuals live in a certain geographic area based on their billing address. You can then use this information to send emails that are tailored to a subscriber’s physical location, which is useful if you’re promoting an event in a particular city.
If you want to do some more complex personalization, most email service providers, also allow you to take advantage of multiple databases and systems through the use of APIs (application program interface). The best part about Campaign Monitor’s API? You can use it to leverage the systems you already have with a custom solution.
“You can use our API to build a custom integration with any system you want,” said Andrew King, Sales Engineer at Campaign Monitor. “Your developers can pull whatever data they like from one system and push it into another.”
For example, if you run marketing for an e-commerce store that has a list of 10,000 email newsletter subscribers, you can see if they’re also customers by matching their email addresses to those who’ve made purchases in Magento.
Use what you have
If your company has been using email marketing for a long time without recording any subscriber information, don’t panic. It’s never too late to start personalizing your efforts.
For example, if you have an email newsletter list, but no information about people’s first names, that’s okay. You can use dynamic content and fallback fields to provide a different experience to those who subscribed before you asked for that information.
While email personalization can seem complex, modern tools have made it easy to make your emails targeted, personal, and more engaging than ever.
Ultimately, personalization results in a deeper, more meaningful relationship with subscribers, and it’s worth using in your email marketing campaigns starting today!