This article has been contributed by Kristina Bio.
Personalization is huge in email marketing especially for e-commerce, where it is often the difference between a click or nothing at all. Here’s a look at where we have been & what to expect in 2016/17 for email personalization.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind once you hear the phrase ‘Email marketing’?
Chances are, email marketing brings to mind tons of intrusive and frustrating spam messages you used to get in your inbox each day, before Google (and other services) came up with the idea to move this ‘chain mail’ to a separate folder, in which they may rest in peace without causing any distress to the recipient.
But things change very quickly these days. Presently, each Marketing Specialist or Manager understands the importance of this channel when it comes to working with the clients or making repeat sales.
Among the obvious benefits of email marketing are its efficiency and low price, while proper implementation of this marketing tool may give you a head start in the race with your competitors.
Mass mailouts are either gradually fading out, or undergoing such fundamental transformations that it gets quite hard to identify them as such. Showing clients how much you value the cooperation with them is no longer possible without developing a personal approach towards each of them.
As for the email marketing, the only way to make sure your email gets opened and read is to resort to the hyper-personalization techniques (i.e. to the isolated segmentation of both your client base and the content you are sending to each client).
The case is, the client experience evolves together with your business, and by 2016, merely adding the client’s name and the list of the items they watched into your email is no longer a key to success.
Today, a much higher degree of personalization is required to make a sale.
Similar to each field of work, email marketing has its own latest trends. This year, the hyper-personalization is in the first flight.
The Tools and Methods of Hyper-personalization.
These days, all roads lead email marketers to the so-called hyper-personalization of emails.
Subscribers and registered users will find the content created in accordance with the ‘method of isolation’ (which is used in the regular person-to-person communication) most useful.
Meanwhile, marketing departments will benefit largely from an automated platform, which gathers and processes large amounts of personal client data, and thus allows to reach virtually 100% of personalization (yes, this is more than true!).
Each year, the number of emails a user receives increases by about 10%. For the most part, this boost is stipulated by the multitude of various companies’ mailouts, which offer all sorts of limited offers, bonuses, and discounts in order to get clients’ attention.
At the same time, whereas many companies make full use of the contextual advertising, search engine optimization and social media marketing strategies, only a few of them are experts in email marketing automation.
Could it be that they are simply unaware of the incredible opportunities granted by email marketing technologies, and thus are not using their initial colossal potential to the full extent? The case is, trigger mailouts boosts conversion rates, which allows to cover the outlay for customer acquisition and increase the overall company income.
What exactly should be personalized and why?
Those managers, who worked on the mailout at least once, have noticed that once the mailout size grows, the efficiency showings tend to drop. The reason behind this tendency is quite simple – all people are different, which means that you need to develop a unique approach to various types of recipients.
In this case, the personalization of a trigger mailout is your go-to strategy. No more ‘one size fits all” emails.
The narrower you client base segments get, the more likely becomes the hit when shooting for the client’s needs and preferences. Needless to say, the odds of the customer making a purchase will thus be turning in your favor.
Gathering and keeping the data for personalization
When it comes to personalization, an important question arises – where do you find the information about your clients, and consequently, how do you process it and where do you keep it?
Your first steps would be to gather and store the data. Only then do you process and use it.
There’s no need to spend loads of money on the development of specific mechanisms on your website to make all this happen. There are plenty of email marketing automation services, which you can easily involve.
Possessing all the necessary information will let you create the most relevant email to a certain client. Mind it, there is no need to limit yourself solely to what we listed above – the more data you collect, the better outcomes you will.
What is done by night appears by day.
To create the most relevant email, you can resort to either implicit or explicit personalization.
In the first case, you can compose different emails for each age group.
Marketing research has shown that individuals whose age ranges from 18 to 24 years old are more inclined to fall for the messages informing about all sorts of discounts, whereas middle-aged and senior people tend to pay more attention to free shipping.
Such sociological peculiarities can also be used when selecting the theme and the design of the email.
The explicit personalization in email marketing can be illustrated by the communication with the clients that have already made the purchase. Let’s imagine, a girl is shoe-shopping on your website.
After a while, she gets an email asking: “How do you like your new sling-backs? Did you know that they go perfectly with this skirt from our latest collection, which is now on sale?”
The best time for sending emails
As we have already mentioned, finding the best time during the day for sending emails to a certain user also impacts the ultimate result. Unlike mass mailouts, a platform like Triggmine can sendemails to potential clients at the most convenient time, as it can be adjusted to fit the user’s behavior.
To check how well does a chosen strategy work, you’ll have to monitor the users’ reaction to such trigger emails, as well as keep analyzing open and click rates for each mailout. But most importantly, you need to evaluate the quantity and the price of the purchases your customers make after receiving the emails.
Thorough personalization, individual approach
All of the mentioned above suggests that in 2016 & 2017, the demand for thoroughly personalized emails will be sensational.
What makes 2016 different is the fact that the new trend will include every type of personalization that existed before and was used separately, and will be extended by the new possibilities.
Trigger email chains will no longer be simple, and will not consist of a single or just a few conditions.
The clients have also changed, becoming more experienced and picky, so forget about those days you could amaze them by simply throwing in the items from the abandoned carts into your email.
The new standards of personalization
Some experts even predict that new standards of personalization will outlive faceless mass mailouts completely.
The main advice these experts give you: segment the client bases by gender, age, geographic, social, behavioral and every other available factor.
Naturally, anticipating the client’s needs and desires for each group is not that easy, but it is the only way to outplay your competitors on the modern market.
However, when following the latest trends, don’t forget about the individual approach. No expert knows your clients better than you do. What if your customers prefer a more conservative approach and value classic emails?
If so, forget what the term ‘trends’ means, and focus on living up to the expectations of your audience in the first place.
Kristina Bio is a CMO at TriggMine, an email marketing automation service. She is great when it comes to email marketing tips & increasing conversions. She’s successfully launched more than 50 email campaigns for e-commerce websites and spoke at 100+ events in Europe & Asia.