Personalization rules the email world these days, or so it seems.
Personalization is the magic key that gets more email delivered, viewed, and acted on, and all that activity means more sales, higher revenue, and better deliverability, right? We even have personalization platforms that make creating 1:1 emails as easy as clicking a few buttons.
But not everybody agrees. In December 2019, research firm Gartner rained on the personalization parade when it predicted that 80% of marketers would abandon their personalization efforts by 2025. However, two days later, the Association of National Advertisers crowned “personalization” as its word of the year for 2020.
What’s going on here?
The truth is that email personalization isn’t as easy as dropping your customer’s first name in the subject line or message body.
You need a reason to use it. You need plenty of data, and that data must be well-organized and easily accessible. You need creative content that uses personalization in the right context so your subscribers don’t freak out when...
Personalization is a major goal for most email marketers. But one of the factors holding them back is not having the good-quality data they need to do it effectively.
In “Email Strategies for Success,” a 2017 research report by the email service provider Upland Adestra, 77% of respondents said they believe email marketing effectiveness is increasing significantly. Also, 64% said improving email personalization was one of their most important goals, but 51% of the respondents said that data quality is the biggest barrier to personalizing effectively.
As this study makes clear, executing “personalization” is not as easy as everyone makes it out to be. It all boils down to having “good data.”
In 2020, I am willing to bet that the need to implement personalization remains as strong as ever, but marketers are still having the same issues with data quality.
Below I will highlight two of the important steps needed to unlock the value of email personalization.
Begin by defining personalization in email
If you're working from home right now like we are at Trendline, you might find yourself so overwhelmed with your daily activities that you find it difficult to break out of the “business as usual” mold. Looking for something to switch up your routine? Try something new and innovative. You may be missing out on the bigger picture–your target market’s brand journey.
Start By Understanding Your Audience
Identifying your audience for each campaign is key. Before getting started, stop and take some time to really dig into your subscriber base by analyzing your data. Some important details to look at include:
Where/how your subscribers will be viewing your message
Where your subscribers are in the buying cycle
By analyzing the data you already have, you can begin to have a better understanding of your audience and how they react to your messaging. While analyzing the data, you may discover that you don't have enough data to really understand your...
Customers are now more powerful than ever. Their always-connected status and ability to find information anytime from anywhere–in a matter of seconds–puts them in control of their own experience, and this trend has forced marketers to rethink how they engage and connect with their customers. Here are 4 tips to drive engagement for your digital programs.
Make it Personal
Personalization has been deemed as one of the most important tools for data-driven marketing, according to more than 70% of 220 marketing experts surveyed by Ascend2. The ability to personalize your messaging, rather than simply sending out a blast campaign, is key to increasing the user experience and therefore increases the success of marketing campaigns. Begin by creating groups of similar customers, and target promotions to each client’s specific needs. The most common ways to segment are by demographics, geographic location, purchasing behavior and/or psychographic segmentation (interests, hobbies, lifestyles, values, and attitudes). By segmenting your lists, you will begin to see an increase...
Understanding human behaviour and what drives consumers to engage with a brand is a goal all marketers share. However, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Econsultancy, while 76% of marketers were implementing basic segmentation, only 15% of marketers were using behavioural targeting. (This data is based on web activity.) This suggests that the majority of marketers have a ways to go before they are optimally targeting their customers.
Defining Behavioural Targeting
While the majority of marketers limit their segmentation to customer demographic data such as gender, age, and geography, leading marketers are taking it a step further and demand a more comprehensive, psychographic profile of their customers.
Behavioural targeting advances a marketer’s scope by providing data segmentation based on customer behaviours, giving marketers the ability to organize customers based on variables and preferences related to their previous online activities.
Marketers can leverage this data and establish specific steps of action for different customers. Essentially, data enables marketers to build digital profiles to reach...
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again–personalized marketing is the center of inbound marketing. The same goes for email. If you include all your subscribers in one list, you’re assuming they are all the same person (same interests, same title, same industry, same hair color, etc.). People want to feel unique in today’s digital world. Personalizing and segmenting your email subscriber lists will help you increase delivery, open rates, and engagement with your call-to-action.
In the recent State of Email Marketing Report by The Relevancy Group, it was identified that only 32% of marketers know the quality of their email subscribers. This is a huge gap in your email marketing program and a wasted opportunity to target your message. When you know which subscribers are more valuable based on their engagement level, you can segment and deliver specific content in order to increase relevancy and engagement.
Segmenting doesn’t mean changing your entire brand, messaging, and offering. It means using details...
Indulge me for a moment as I walk down the Memory Lane of email trends.
2006: It's a year after Sender Policy Framework moved us forward in sender authentication and a year before the iPhone debuts. On ExactTarget's list of email trends for 2006, at No. 7 is the following: "Email will get more personalized."
2009: A year before the iPad launches, we're talking about the need to personalize emails "to individual recipients based on their needs and behavior."
2012: "Relevance" pops up at No. 4 on a list of 10 email trends. Personalization is at No. 6.
2016: Personalization is one of the usual suspects again in an Econsultancy survey, coming in behind segmentation, list hygiene, and optimizing for mobile but ahead of lifecycle email, dynamic content, and lead nurturing.
2019: We're still talking about personalization–only now it's "hyper-personalization," along with interactive versus kinetic content.
Echolalia in our trend predictions?
It looks to me that our predictions have descended into the condition...
Personalization – the science of creating highly relevant emails that are as close to one-to-one messages as you can get at scale – is an email marketer's goal and the toughest challenge.
Personalization is the most effective email tactic for 62% of email marketers who participated in a recent survey by Ascend2. But, 47% of them also said it was the most difficult one to pull off, thanks in part to the trend toward hyper-personalization from higher-order data integrations like artificial intelligence.
I've seen this in my work with clients as well. Many struggle with personalization and segmentation, and it's not just lack of data or the capability to integrate it in their email platforms.
They just don't know where to start.
They have an abundance of data everywhere and no clear starting point either for upgrading a personalization program or starting a new one.
Here's my best advice: Begin this by inventorying the data you have, identifying what you need to...