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.
If that’s not enough, it also turns out that email is the ideal medium for personalization: new research by MessageGears reports that 3 out 4 marketers surveyed say creating personalized email messages is “easy,” compared to over half who say creating personalized SMS and push messages is not easy.
Even if personalization is easier with email than it is with other channels, the hard part for many marketers is getting started. Here are 5 first steps you can take to incorporate it into your campaigns:
- Collect more relevant data: By simply asking a few questions of your email recipients – via your web forms, surveys or other means – you can better segment your prospects and ensure they receive content that is the most relevant to them. While this might include simple birthdays, product preferences or anniversaries in the B2C world, in the B2B realm, asking about business cycles, service contract expirations, industry event plans, etc. By finding out more about prospect behaviors and interests you can build out a more complete customer profile. This in turn will lead to stronger email engagement and better responses to your products and service offers. The idea is to map your content and offers to their specific interests and to their stage in the buying journey.
- Invest in creating personas: We’ve written before about the benefits of developing customer personas, which is done by digging deeper into the backgrounds, demographics, purchase motivations and behavior patterns of target audiences. This can be done by asking recipients for information over time, or by tracking their page visits and download histories on your website.
- Determine the best time and place: Through A/B testing, you might know the best days and times that generate optimal engagement from your targets. But if that time is, say, Wednesdays at 9:00 a.m., are you also clear on the time zone? Use your customer demographic data to send your messages at the ideal time for your prospects’ specific time zones. Also, research has shown that emails sent between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m. have the best open rates, and emails sent between 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. have the best download and engagement rates. You might also consider a personalized email sending time where a recipient is sent an email based on the time they opened the previous email sent.
- Get triggered: Triggered emails are communications based on how prospects engage with your content, and typically have a 150% higher open rate compared to standard emails. Examples include Amazon sending you a picture of the item in your shopping cart that you have not yet purchased or Expedia sending you hotel or car deals for the city you will by flying into. Triggered emails get your prospects thinking about your offerings again – and incentivize them to go back to your website to learn more. If your business is not e-commerce based, triggered emails can also be sent based on where a prospect is in the sales cycle.
- Be real: Emails sent from an actual person (as opposed to a generic company email address) generally result in better responses. Make your messages come from a real person, include their contact information (including phone number for easy mobile click to dial) and, ideally, a friendly picture.
Personalization generates increased responses from your prospects. But it takes an investment up front, dedication to collecting the right prospect information, and a commitment to sending emails at the right time and place to generate maximum results. It also requires a commitment to continually optimize and improve even the smallest aspects of the customer journey.
Speaking of commitment, my challenge to you is to commit to using more personalization in your email marketing in the months ahead. Game on?
Outward Media’s proven data cleansing services and targeted, accurate email data can enable you to achieve better email marketing ROI and, ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Take a look at our case studies to find out more.