Personalization, loyalty, and education have long been fiercely debated topics in email marketing. In fact, marketers have different definitions of what personalization actually means in email. Some believe that Fname is all they need to do, while others believe that true personalization is combining all offline and online behavior and using predictive models to customize content and experiences into the next email that is sent. Either way, personalization is one of the key components to the loyalty of a subscriber and customer. However, driving loyalty at any level takes time and patience on behalf of marketers.
To that end, I have something to admit: I am an insanely loyal person. However, in order to win my loyalty, I have to have a special experience with the person or brand. I can’t really explain what the special experience is but when you win my loyalty, but I almost never waiver. I am the kinda guy you want to take into battle, up the steep hill while dodging bullets, because loyalty means a lot to me.
I have over 1.1 million emails across a couple of inboxes (more on that another time) yet there are only a few brands that I am crazy loyal to. One of those brands is American Airlines. Say what you want about them and re-live in your head some of those unpleasant experiences, but they are a company I will never be disloyal to. Sure, I have had some unpleasant experiences with them, yet I chalk it up to no one is perfect (including myself).
Let me be clear, I do have status with them but it is certainly not Concierge Key or even Platinum, it’s only Gold and I like to keep it that way. While I fly about 30,000 – 40,000 miles a year, I am fine with that because the more miles I rack up, the more I am away from home and I am known for loving being at home. Don’t get me wrong, I love to travel to see clients and experience places all over the world, but the older I get, the more travel takes it out of me.
American Airlines sends me email from four unique brands:
- American Airlines AAdvantage Program
- American Airlines Vacations
- American Airlines
- The AAdvantage Dining Program
Some are flight notifications while others are exclusive to my Rewards Program and Vacations that I have booked through them. Also, to be frank, most of the emails they send me are not necessarily the prettiest or even coded responsively, yet as an email snob I still open and engage with them.
One of the things that I really appreciate about AA email is the education aspect. Last year they changed their loyalty program, AAdvantage, with how people earn Elite Qualifying Miles. They sent out quite a few emails prior to the change explaining the new benefits and ways to earn, but what really got me hooked on the new system was how they made the awards personal to my experience. The email below is a good example of where they referenced a flight I took to Austin and explained how the new award miles were earned. The CTA was clear in two places and it was obvious that they were trying to tell me how much better the new program was.
As email marketers, we always think about ways to personalize the experience, and sometimes we overthink it. We often believe that email has to constantly be a 1to1 communication and while that might be ideal, it sometimes is not always possible. If you are launching something new which requires people to learn about it, think about ways to tell them why it’s better and make that email experience as personal as you can. Your engagement rates will thank me later.
To learn more about building great email programs with personalization and engagement strategies, contact the email experts at Trendline today.