Marketing technology enables us to target, create and adapt messages to consumer preferences and behaviors. We’re in the era of personalization, but not everyone is playing. We’ve got data—business intelligence—and tools to do the heavy lifting, so now is the time to make email messaging a personalized experience.
Why is it important? The bottom line is personalized messages get a better response. Customers feel noticed and appreciated when an email seems built just for them.
However, personalization has to be done correctly to be effective. Just inserting a name field there, a location field there, won’t work. Consumers see through that. You’ve got to give them more.
Personalization Is Still a Challenge
Marketers are still struggling with personalizing email campaigns for several reasons. Many might know where they want to be—that is, more intuitive with messaging, delivery, retargeting, etc.—but aren’t there yet because they don’t know where to start. Maybe they don’t have the resources, their data is a mess or they’re having difficulty understanding what it means. Some might not even have access to data at all!
But if you’re not personalizing, you’re going to spend a lot of time managing marketing fatigue and customer fallout. Most marketers know that it’s more effective and cheaper to retain and drive revenue from existing, loyal customers than to acquire and convert new customers. Personalization allows email marketers to develop this loyalty and in turn, more revenue with less effort.
Brands Doing Personalization Right
During my time at Adobe, I’ve come across some great personalized emails. Here are three examples of brands that are getting it right.
Creativity Leads to Conversion
Within two hours of a visitor abandoning a cart on a certain childrens retailer’s site, they send out a follow-up email with a simple message: Did you forget something? The message comes with a really nice visual and a clear call to action. It reads, “Don’t forget about your cart. We noticed you left some items in your cart, because you probably got sidetracked with a phone call or even a unicorn sighting. If you have any questions about your order, feel free to contact our customer service department. View your cart.”
Why it’s great: They aren’t devaluing their brand by saying, “You forgot to check out, here’s 20% off.” That kind of email diminishes the return on investment. Some brands feel they need to offer a lower price to get visitors to come back. The truth is customers might buy if we just give them a little nudge. In this case, the consumer may have had every intention of converting but as a busy parent, they likely got distracted during the checkout process. This email assists with the conversion by providing helpful customer service. Bonus: They’re witty, creative copy also helps strengthen the overall image of the brand.
Cross-channel personalization builds relationships
My next example is from an online retailer that offers a monthly subscription service for razor refills and supplies. In this example, they personalized an email by analyzing social data. A relative of mine left a comment on the brand’s Facebook page about how much he loved the razors, but that he received way too many, and now has a surplus supply. Within four days of writing that comment, he got an email that read, “Too many blades? Get your razors delivered every other month if that’s what you need.”
Why it’s great: The club proactively sent him this message knowing that it’s going to make less money, but might create a more loyal customer. Bonus: He’s a relative newbie to social media, and LOVED that they took time to not only leave a response under his Facebook comment, but also sent him the email letting him know he could update his delivery preferences. He now recommends the service to all his peers!
Offline to online personalization to advance loyalty
One of my favorite fashion retailers does a great job of matching in-store purchases to their email subscribers. In this case, I bought a bunch of petite dresses at one of their brick-and-mortar stores. A few days later, I received an email with a nice visual of a petite model and some petite size options. The message felt like it was created just for me. It read, “Looking for petite sizes? We got you.”
Why it’s great: The email was meant to reinforce the point that the company suspected I was a petite shopper based on my instore purchases. It was a simple reminder there was an entire online shop with way more petite options. This type of message keeps the brand top of mind for me, providing a connection that will keep me coming back. Bonus: Again, in this case, there was no need to push a discount.