Believe it or not, email marketing is still the most lucrative form of online marketing. In fact, on average it returns $44 for every dollar spent (source). Small businesses often wait to start their email marketing programs until they have met a self-imposed threshold of contacts on their list. But, truth be told, you can start now, and you can you can even start implementing some email personalization strategies with limited subscriber data.
What is email personalization?
Simply put, email personalization is the use of any information you have about a subscriber that makes them feel that you are tailoring your content specifically to them. It’s proven to increase open rates by as much as 760%, because, when used effectively, it enables marketers to to provide the most relevant content to their subscribers.
The most basic way to personalize your emails
You don’t need a huge list that is segmented like crazy to get started with email personalization. Sure, the bigger your list, the more you are able to segment and the wider the breadth of information you can share, but it’s totally ok to start small.
For starters, your email marketing program most likely has the ability to put the recipient’s name in the subject line. In fact, studies have shown that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Additionally, using your subscriber name in the salutation, as well as in your call to action will help them feel that the email is directed to them, rather than batch and blasted to a large audience.
One important thing to note: In order to begin personalizing in this way, make sure your email opt-in form on your website offers a required field for at least a first name.
Another way to personalize your emails is by using an actual name as the sender. So, if I were to send an email blast, it would seem much more personal and familiar if it came from “Diane at D. Arthur Digital” than from “D. Arthur Digital”. Make sense?
Expanding your email personalization
As you are growing your list, you may want to consider adding more data fields to your email opt-in form to gather data that will be useful in segmenting your list. Some information you can capture is:
- Geographic location
- Job title or company size
Once you have this information collected, you can separate out your lists based on the information provided. For example, perhaps you are a retailer of men’s and women’s shoes. You can segment your list by gender, and send women’s styles to the women, and men’s styles to the men.
Another example is a client of mine who is a commercial real estate broker. It is important for her to know what types of properties her buyers and sellers are interested in. With this information, she can send content appropriate to the individual, such as sending information about industrial properties to those interested in investing in industrial complexes, and information about retail spaces to those people who have indicated retail as a preference.
Advanced email personalization
The ways you can personalize your emails is endless…and advances in email technology enable you to provide dynamic content based on different demographic and geographic data. For example, some platforms offer the ability to dynamically change content that is sent to subscribers based on their geographic location, age, gender, even based on what the weather is doing in that person’s location that day!
You can also personalize based on user behavior. Many marketing automation platforms enable you to create series’ of emails based on what they have engaged with previously. For example, perhaps you are a retailer, and you notice that a subscriber has clicked through several of your jewelry email campaigns to your website. You can further target this subscriber by sending him or her deals specific to what he or she looked at on your site. (Amazon is annoyingly good at this, which is why I give them so much of my money!)
As you can see, there is an overwhelming number of ways to use personalization to achieve greater engagement in your emails. If you want to get started with an email campaign, but aren’t sure how to go about it, I can help you! Contact me today for a free intro consultation!