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Using Integrations to Make Your Emails More Dynamic

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
13 March 2013

I’ve written and talked a lot about how to get the most out of your email program, from moving beyond one-off campaigns to focusing on your email “black Friday.” One of the most exciting ways to move the needle on your program is to start viewing the channel as a wildly dynamic, cutting-edge medium that can put a real jolt into customer engagement and overall revenue.

One key to this transformation? Tapping some of the super-cool technologies out there today, from Web analytics and e-commerce platforms to CRM and personalization engines – along with a host of others.

The Glue Across Channels
This is where your digital marketing platform comes in. The power of email is that it can be used as an integration point for all these technologies. In other words, email can become the dynamic content platform that’s basically pulling in content and data from these different sources.

This enables you to shift from thinking of email exclusively in terms of broadcast mailings or even segmented messages. Instead, you can start looking at its potential to serve as the glue across multiple channels and technologies, transforming even the most “basic” messages into individualized emails packed with relevant content.

Building Emails on the Fly
Once you’ve built in the necessary integrations, you create the dynamic content blocks, set up the related rules, and your messages automatically pull in whatever personalized content you’ve specified. With upfront planning and effort, you’ll be able to build emails on the fly, with previously static messages transforming into a collection of disparate data sources that form a highly individualized, dynamic whole.

For example, imagine that you want to use a cart abandonment series to remarket to customers that abandoned shopping carts on your website. Using an integration with either Web analytics, e-commerce platform or specialized cart/targeting solution (e.g. Adobe Analytics, Magento, SeeWhy, etc.), you could send a triggered message at the designated times of your choosing (e.g. one hour, one day and one week after the abandonment).

Now, imagine you could take the personalization in this email up a notch by:

  • Pulling in the product image(s). This could be handled by the same integration you’re using to capture the abandonment behavior, but would ratchet up the personalization, adding a visual element to the reminder beyond the product name and description. To ensure your message doesn’t become overcluttered if someone loads up their cart, you could put a business rule into place that puts a cap on the number of photos shown.
  • Pulling in a product review or rating on the product(s) in the cart. Maybe the customer is choosing between a few options. In many cases a third-party perspective might be all that person needs to nudge him or her toward a purchase. Using your product review software, you could include this element.
  • Inserting related videos, social media comments or blog posts about the product. Perhaps offering helpful information in a different medium can propel the prospective buyer closer to making a decision. To that end, you might also leverage a content management or content automation system to insert related info about the product.


  • Pulling in related product recommendations. Maybe the reason the consumer abandoned the cart was that the product wasn’t exactly what he or she was looking for. A similar recommended product might do the trick, so you could use recommendation/personalization or e-commerce software to pull in these elements.

The beauty of these integrations is that many of the same technologies could be used to enhance other types of triggered emails, such as browse abandonment messages or post-purchase upsell/cross-sell emails.

The result? By pulling in data from various channels and areas that prospects and customers interact with at different parts of the marketing funnel, email becomes a versatile content aggregator uniquely capable of engaging each individual in your database — from the first-time visitor to your website, to the new customer who’s sharing his enthusiasm to his Facebook friends, to the loyal advocate who’s been buying with you for a decade.

Related Resources:
1) Blog: “5 Email Tips for Increasing Conversions
2) White Paper: “How to Turn Cart and Process Abandonment Scenarios into Revenue
3) Blog: “Browse Recovery, Part Two: Best Practices


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