How many commercial emails have you received today? And how many did you open? Chances are, most of them went straight into your trash folder — except the ones with personalized marketing messages.
I receive hundreds of emails each day. Along with those related to work, as well as the occasional message from a friend or loved one, I get offers for diet pills, Botox injections, college scholarships and medications I'm far too young to need. Even companies I've done business with for years send me promotions for products I've never expressed any interest in buying. You'd think that because I'm in the digital marketing business, I'd be more sympathetic to these brands and open up their promotions if only to give their engagement numbers a little boost. However, as a busy professional and dad, only fraction of these emails avoid my trash folder.
Your customers receive (and delete) just as many irrelevant emails. The average person gets approximately 416 commercial emails each month, yet according to Silverpop's "Are You a Best Friend Brand?" study, they only regularly open messages from 4.5 brands.
The keys to being one of those brands? Trust and relevance. In fact, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they're more likely to make a purchase if the initial email outreach has been tailored especially to them.
So, how do you deliver the personalized marketing experience your customers want? Here are four things to try:
1) Customize the Subject Line
Forty percent of consumers won't open an email if the subject line isn't relevant to them. To get your customers' attention, it's not enough to simply include their names. Show that you've been paying attention to who they are and what they want by basing subject lines on their loyalty-club status, demographics, geographic location or behavioral data.
For more ideas on how to customize subject lines, download Silverpop's white paper, "20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience."
2) Use Behavioral Data to Generate Ultrarelevant Content
The more you know about your customers, the more engaging content you can send them. That's why you need a marketing automation system that's capable of tracking and analyzing user behavior across platforms. Which pages on your website have they been viewing? What items have they abandoned in their carts? Which links have they clicked on in previous email campaigns? How have they been using your mobile apps?
All of these behaviors can tell you who your customers are, what they want to buy and how they want to engage with your brand — information you can use to personalize content and offers.
For example, the Orange County Register used behavioral data to create an email campaign that won MarketingSherpa's Silver Email Award and had open rates that were greater than 20 percent. (Read the Orange County Register case study.)
3) Get the Timing Right
Your customers have unique email-checking habits and preferences that a good marketing automation platform will help you analyze. Then you can send messages at the ideal delivery time for each individual based on when they've been most receptive to previous emails.
Girl Scouts of the USA learned the value of a well-timed email when trying to solve another problem: server overload. A victim of its own success, the organization's weekly promotional emails were so popular that users immediately jumped online to view promoted items, which often crashed the website. To solve this problem, the organization began delivering emails at the best time for each recipient. This not only eliminated the site-traffic issues, but it also increased open rates by 10 percent and boosted conversion rates by 12 percent.
4) Test Your Assumptions
Another great way to determine what appeals to individual customers is to test different approaches. With A/B testing, you can try out different subject lines, content and images, and then get real-time results about which are most effective.
Often the results are surprising. For example, Peter Glenn Ski & Sports assumed that showing products for sale would be more likely to engage customers. However, A/B testing revealed that a lifestyle image was far more effective, resulting in a 63-percent lift in click-through rates. (Read the Peter Glenn case study.)
For more on delivering a personalized marketing experience for your customers, watch the Silverpop webinar, "Delivering the Perfect Message by Listening to Your Customers."
1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience"
2) Blog: “A Look Inside My 5 Best Friend Brands”
3) Blog: “Personalizing Content on Every Channel”