The topic of email personalization is a bit like the weather – everyone talks about it but very few are doing anything about it.
Studies show that personalized emails have 29% higher open rates, 41% higher unique click rates and six times higher transaction rates compared to non-personalized emails. However, recent data seems to verify that B2B marketers continue to struggle with email personalization.
One recent study shows that almost half (46%) of emailers surveyed admit they are still in the “early stages” of implementing email personalization, and almost two-thirds (64%) of them acknowledge they need to improve their capabilities.
Although we recently provided some personalization email example ideas on the blog, here are seven important best practices to keep in mind.
- Start with the recipient’s name: Simply including the recipient’s first name (Dear John) or last name (Dear Mr. Smith) is easy to do with today’s electronic mailing platforms, and makes the message much more likely to be read. If you’ve ever received a message with a generic salutation (Dear Friend), you know this is a big spam red flag and your guard is up right away. In fact, you will likely not even bother with reading the rest of the message. With the right name from the get-go, you’re reducing fear, establishing trust and showing that you are making an effort to earn your prospect’s attention – and business.
- Provide YOUR name: As long as you’re including the recipient’s name, be up front with who you are by providing yours. Emails sent from an actual person (as opposed to merely from your company) also generate better responses. So attribute your message to a (real) person and include the proper contact information. After all, no matter what product or service you provide, studies show that people like to buy from other people.
- Use triggers as a reason to reach out: Triggered emails are communications based on how prospects engage with a company. Examples include Amazon sending you a picture of the item in your shopping cart but not yet purchased, or in the B2B world, trigger emails nurture the relationship (and the sale) after a prospect has engaged with a company in some way, such as following a white paper download or webinar participation. Because triggered emails are spurred by prospects’ own activities, they boast a 150% higher open rate compared to standard emails. When you have a very relevant reason to contact your prospects, such as timed milestones, renewal reminders, or some new information to which they’ve shown previous interest, your email not only provides value, but also gets them back to your website to learn more.
- Find the right time and location: Through A/B testing, you’ll know the best days and times to generate optimal responses from your targets. But keep in mind U.S. time zones as well as optimal times overseas. And if you are sending internationally, remember to localize your content – both in your email and on the web page or other content you may be directing your subscribers to.
- Leverage customer personas: I’m a big proponent of developing customer personas, which is done by digging deeper into their needs, backgrounds and demographics. This can be done by asking them to provide information over time or, perhaps more discreetly, by examining their download history from your website.
- Collect personalization 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 (via a pull down menu of options) the reason they are looking for information via, for example, your newsletter or your webinar. With this information in hand, you can then craft your messages accordingly.
- Click to the right landing page: Be sure your call-to-action (CTA) link leads to the specific CTA promised in your message – and not to a different, generic offering page or, worse, simply your homepage (and hoping your prospect will figure it out from there – ugh!) Personalize this page using previously gathered customer persona and personalization data.
Personalized emails will generate better responses from your prospects, but only when the investment is made from the beginning – collecting the right information, generating the proper message and delivering it to the right audience at the optimal time, and sending them to the right page on your website.
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.