While there’s no dispute that personalized emails are highly valuable to B2B marketers, these same marketers admit they struggle with strategies for personalizing their campaigns. In fact, a recent study by Adestra shows that 46% of marketers say they are still in the early stages of implementing email personalization, and the remaining 64% say they want to improve their personalization initiatives.
For some, getting started at a most basic level might mean simply inserting the prospect’s name in the opening email salutation, but the art of effective personalization goes much deeper. It involves time, along with a plan that is anchored by data collection and analysis. With that in mind, here are five tips on how to supersize the way you personalize your email marketing:
- Collect better data: By simply asking a few questions of your email recipients, you’ll be able to better segment your prospects and ensure they receive the right information. To start, you might ask your prospects (via a pull down menu of options) the reason they are looking for information via, say, subscribing to your newsletter or joining your webinar. With this information in hand, you can then craft your messages accordingly.
- Develop customer personas: I’ve written previously about the benefits of developing customer personas, which is done by digging deeper into the needs, backgrounds and demographics of target audiences. This can be done by asking subscribers for information (over time and not too much all at once), or perhaps more effectively and discreetly, by examining their download history on your website.
- Target the ideal time and location: Through A/B testing you might know the best days and times that generate optimal responses from your targets. But if that time is, say, Tuesdays at 10:00 a.m., what time zone is this in? And is this time for just the U.S.? Use your customer demographic data to send the message at the time that works best for their specific time zone. This might entail, for example, sending your U.K. emails at a better time than 10:00 a.m. PST – which is 6:00 p.m. local time for them. Of course, now that you are segmenting your U.K. mailing list, be sure to use British spellings and create offers that work best for them.
- Pull the trigger: Triggered emails (communications based on how prospects engage with your company) have a 150% higher open rate than standard emails. That’s why Expedia will email you when fares change for the flight you looked up but didn’t book, or Amazon sends you a picture of the item in your shopping cart that you have not yet purchased. My blog on triggered emails gives several examples. Research shows that triggered emails provide value, and get your audience thinking about your offering or (even better) gets them back to your website to learn more.
- Get personal: Emails sent from an actual person (as opposed to a generic company email address) generally result in better responses. So make your message from a real person and include their contact information -- and, ideally, a friendly picture. People generally like to buy from people, but test this with your audience to confirm.
Personalization works to generate better responses from your prospects. But it takes an investment up front, dedication to collecting the right prospect information, and sending emails at the right time and place to generate maximum results. If you haven’t yet gone down the path to email personalization, with 2017 on the horizon, now is the time to get started!
Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you achieve better email marketing ROI, and convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.
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