Increasing Relevance with Dynamic Content

Chapter 1


There is no magic shortcut for improving your email marketing results - it’s not about increasing the number of subscribers, sending more emails, or changing when you send. All three of those tactics will fail without the single most important ingredient: relevance. Unless the people you’re sending an email to care about what you have to say, your email campaign won’t be successful.

The key to relevant content is personalization. It’s considered a fundamental best practice: According to one study, 96% of organizations believe that email personalization can improve email marketing performance. (We’re not sure what the other 4% were thinking). And more importantly, it’s a best practice that really works. The same study reported that personalized emails improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%. (Source: The Aberdeen Group)

So it’s no surprise that delivering content relevant to audience segments is the number one tactic US B2B marketing professionals are relying on to improve email campaign performance (Source, eMarketer). Still, as fundamentally important as relevance in your email content is, it’s easy to overlook when you’re trying to get your email campaign out the door. In this guide, we’ll break down how you can quickly and effectively take advantage of one of the most powerful methods of personalization you can use in email marketing: dynamic content.

What is dynamic content?

Dynamic content is where you use what you know about your subscribers to show more relevant content to them. Where classic email personalization inserts the exact data into an email, dynamic content takes it further by using that information to display different content to different people.

For example, say you sell clothing and know the gender of your subscribers. Using dynamic content you can send a single email that contains the latest men’s range for male recipients and the latest female range for women. This technique opens the door to sending highly targeted, relevant information to different types of subscribers - all through a single email campaign.

Why you should try it

Relevancy is the biggest reason to give dynamic content a go. Usability studies have shown that the inbox is an even harsher environment than the web when it comes to people skimming over content and paying attention to almost none of it.

Here's some sobering evidence from usability expert Jakob Nielsen:

“…the average time allocated to a newsletter after opening it was only 51 seconds. “Reading” is not even the right word, since participants fully read only 19% of newsletters. The predominant user behavior was scanning. Often, users didn’t even scan the entire newsletter: 35% of the time, participants only skimmed a small part of the newsletter or glanced at the content.”
Email Newsletters: Surviving Inbox Congestion - Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox, June 12, 2006

So maximising the attention your email gets by showing content that will grab that subscriber’s attention is really important. Unsurprisingly too, more engagement from subscribers leads to more people going on to take the desired action, which ultimately means better results from your email campaigns.

Another benefit is the savings in setup time. Have you ever had to produce an email for your organization where 90% of the content was the same for everyone on your mailing list, but time had to be spent creating a completely separate campaign targeting the other 10%?

That’s something you can forget with dynamic content. You can hone in on the most relevant content for your audience segments and roll everything into one design.

Consider a deal-of-the-day website that features discount vouchers for various products and services. When signing up, subscribers select the type of discount vouchers they want to hear about, for example: Camping & Outdoors, Homewares, Dining Out, Entertainment, Health & Beauty.

Using dynamic content you deliver only the offers each subscriber wants to hear about and nothing more, all wrapped up in one campaign:

Previewing each email with dynamic content

So shorter, more relevant emails that are quicker to setup. Why wouldn’t you give dynamic content a try?

Applying dynamic content to your campaign

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