Email marketing has reached a whole new level of sophistication and effectiveness. Today, instead of sending semi-targeted messages to buckets of recipients according to general demographics, marketers can target individual prospects one at a time according to their tracked content interests, viewing habits and email behaviors (among other actions). With automated digital marketing tools and analytics, you can now deliver streamlined, personalized messages at the perfect times, breaking the spam barrier for a much higher return on your marketing investment.
Here are eight ways to engage your prospects by adopting better behavioral marketing tools and general best practices for outbound marketing.
1) Personalize subject lines with recipient names
Don’t underestimate the psychological power of direct communication. Which of these two subject lines is more compelling to you? “Get your free widget!” or “John, we want to give you a free widget”? (Of course, you’ll want to do some subject line A/B testing to confirm that your instincts are correct.)
2) Use engaging subject lines
A potential buyer deserves a dynamic subject line — something that creates a spark of interest: “John, we’re offering all new members 20% off for the next 48 hours.” A recent buyer, on the other hand, would be more attracted to a thank-you offer such as, “Thanks for your purchase. Here’s a special deal on extended warranty options!”
3) Individualize content lists
Your subject line grabs the reader, but to hold that attention, you have to deliver relevant content that doesn’t sound canned. Displaying purchasing or viewing details makes a customer feel heard and valued. Any action item offered in the email becomes relevant and timely for that prospect!
4) Drive ecommerce with lifecycle content
You can transform traditional emails into relevant messages when you have the ability to predict customers’ current and future desires: “You have three days left in your free trial offer — how’s it going?” or “You recently bought a printer from us. Do you need more ink?” By delivering lifecycle content, you convert your emails into customer service messages aimed at making recipients’ lives easier.
5) Use website behavior to determine content
Capturing Web behavior drives individualized experience in email marketing. If a prospect browses technical specs on your website, you can infer that he’s interested in receiving technical content in future emails. Guided by his actions, you can craft relevant messages that encourage him to go deeper into your site and, ultimately, into your sales funnel. You can even develop custom website landing pages to appeal to his specific content interests.
6) Optimize the send time
Deliver emails with precision, instead of relying on sweeping demographics. Yesterday’s marketers appealed to broad categories of recipients, assuming that all CEOs, for example, had similar viewing habits. Today’s marketers have the tools to target recipients more precisely to deliver relevant messages exactly when a specific prospect tends to open her email. Silverpop case studies show a 20 percent to 30 percent lift in open rates when send times are customized to unique recipients instead of broad categories of people.
7) Use customer data to serve dynamic banner images
Precisely targeted messages have an even greater impact when delivered along with the perfect image. With data-driven dynamic image capability, you can serve prospects customized images that attract their attention as they are scrolling through their inbox.
8) Provide a score-driven dynamic offer
With behavioral scoring, you assign points to each prospect for specific types of behavior, such as downloads, purchases and social media influence. Based on a prospect’s engagement score, you can then customize an irresistible offer. And remember, even the customer with the lowest score is telling you something important: Send me more engaging content!
Prospects receive countless promotional emails every day. Differentiate yours by piquing their interest with timely delivery, targeted content and personalized subject lines. Stay tuned for part two in this series, where I’ll share how to create an individualized Web experience that sells.
1) White Paper: “20 Ways to Personalize Content and Enhance the Customer Experience”
2) Blog: “Universal Behaviors: What It Means for Marketers and Customers”
3) Ebook: “Print Money Today: 7 Emails Marketers Should Automate to Drive Massive ROI”