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Dale Carnegie, author of the famed How to Win Friends and Influence People, said in his book, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
That concept is a powerful truth that you can spin to your advantage in practically any aspect of your marketing strategy, most of all in email since it is the most personal, one-on-one online marketing channel.
That being said, let's explore how and when you should use personalization in your email marketing campaigns and why it matters so much.
How to Personalize Your Emails
Using the recipient’s name is certainly the foremost way to personalize your emails and start the one-on-one conversation with your subscribers but it’s not the only way.
Here’s a quick list of more options to personalize emails that go beyond using just the name:
- Industry (esp. for B2B marketing)
- Browsing data (from visit sessions on your website)
- Customer data (previous purchases)
The important thing, however, is to remember to collect all of this data. Some of this data can be collected through form fields when a new subscriber initially inputs their data. The rest of it, such as location and browsing data, can be obtained through user tracking and the like.
One of the keys to implementing personalization is not to go overboard with it. Often, just the mention of a name can pique subscriber interest, then adding in one or two more data points really makes the email seem individualized.
Here’s an example of how Shopify uses personalization to keep subscribers to their forum interested:
Not only do they use a first name, but they also utilize the user’s browsing history on their website to match up forum threads that the subscriber will actually find interesting and relevant to Jonathan.
When to Personalize Your Emails
Knowing when to personalize an email and when to withhold revealing information collected on a customer is tricky but extremely important.
The first email, serving as the initial contact point between you and the subscriber, is critical to the future of your relationship. First impressions do matter, and if you can make the user feel like you’re paying them attention right from the get-go, by at least including their name, chances are you’ll preserve a favorable perception of your brand.
Other important email types to personalize are transactional emails, upsell emails, and emails during the course of a sale.
Personalization can help to make a purchase memorable to your customers, and it will also go a long way towards your current customers feeling comfortable with purchasing other related products, ultimately boosting sales and revenue.
On the contrary, including too much super-specific information, like location, can be off-putting to some users. Given the current climate surrounding the whole privacy issue, subscribers, particularly older generation Internet users, may be disturbed by how much you know about them. Keep this in mind and choose when to use data wisely.
Why Personalization Matters
So now that we’ve discussed when and how to implement personalization in your email marketing strategy, let’s drive home why it matters to your business. There’s no better way to do that than by taking a look at the results other marketers have achieved through personalization:
- Research by Aberdeen shows that across all industries, personalization provides a 14% boost in click-throughs and a 10% boost in conversions.
- An eConsultancy survey revealed that 74% of marketers who used personalization—that’s three fourths—strongly agreed that it improved customer engagement.
- An Experian study saw personalization skyrocket transaction rates by a factor of 6.
If you haven’t yet started using personalization to revamp your email marketing strategy, you’re missing out. Download The Personalization Playbook today to deliver on your customers' expectations and in return win their loyalty and increase revenue!
In this week’s episode
This week, Robert ponders how we compare ourselves to others. In the news, we talk about a new initiative from three marketing associations that puts the blame for bad online advertising directly on the shoulders of publishers. We also discuss media companies’ rankings for brand loyalty – though these aren’t the media companies you’re looking for. Our rants and raves include Nielsen’s bid at measuring Netflix, and what we can learn from one-hit wonders; then we wrap up with an example of the week on the “Gary Vaynerchuk” of sustainable farming.
Download this week’s PNR: This Old Marketing podcast
- (00:01): An advertising blast from the past: “Gotta Be Pepsi Now!”
- (00:30): Robert muses on this week’s theme: How do you compare?
- (05:45): Welcome to Episode 206: Recorded live on October 23, 2017 (Running time: 1:05:58)
- (11:38): Content Marketing Master Classes – Our multi-city tour is returning for another round of in-depth content marketing training. Starting on November 6, we’ll be making stops in Boston; New York; Washington, DC; Seattle; San Francisco; Chicago; Atlanta; and Austin, Texas. Robert and I would love to see you there, so register today.
Content love from our sponsor: Ahrefs (12:38)
Ahrefs is a powerful SEO tool set that has many amazing tools for content marketers who’re looking to grow their traffic from Google. With Ahrefs tools you can easily find out what people are searching for in Google, so you can create content around the most popular search queries. You can also discover content that got the most shares or earned the most backlinks, so you can piggyback from it and get the same results. And finally, you can easily research your competitors and find out which content brings them the most traffic from Google. Here’s an exclusive opportunity for PNR podcast listeners: Any listener who tweets using #ThisOldMarketing between the dates of September 30 through October 28 will be entered into a drawing to win an annual Ahrefs account plus a signed copy of Joe and Robert’s new book, Killing Marketing. One randomly selected participant will be drawn each week; four winners in total.
The quick hits – Notable news and trends
- (14:28): Who are 2017’s top brands, ranked by customer loyalty? (Source: Marketing Charts)
- (22:32): Publishers may have to “volunteer” in fight against annoying ads. (Source: AdAge)
The deep dive – Industry analysis
- (28:14): Ad Age Ad Lib Podcast: Neil Vogel’s adventures as an accidental publisher. (Source: AdAge)
- (34:40): Content marketing is dead. Long live marketing. (Source: Forbes)
Content love from our show sponsor: SnapApp (41:39)
Today’s buying committees are diverse; Millennials are already taking their seats among Generation X and Baby Boomers at the buying table, making navigating the already complicated buying environment even harder, thanks to their different preferences. Though this shift might seem minor, it greatly impacts how marketing teams operate, sales teams engage, and how purchase decisions are ultimately made.
SnapApp and Heinz Marketing recently conducted research to answer the question: How do different generations like to buy? Their report, “The Millennials Are Here! How Generational Differences Impact B2B Buying Committees Today” looks at the differences between the rising Millennial buyer, their Generation X and Baby Boomer counterparts, and how B2B marketing and sales strategies can address the gaps between them. Read the report.
Rants and raves
- (44:02): Robert’s commentary: Nielsen is poised to start measuring the viewing audience of TV shows on Netflix. According to TechCrunch, the company’s new Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) Content Ratings Service will base its measurements on panel surveys, comparable to how it estimates linear TV ratings. While Robert understands why Nielsen is looking at this audience, he feels they are going about it all wrong.
- (48:36): Robert’s rave: Adweek profiles a new Burger King ad about tackling bullying that Robert simply loves. It’s feel-good advertising that handles the discussion of social issues in an elegant and effective way.
- (50:50): Joe’s rave: James Altucher‘s podcast is a regular listen for me. The latest episode, featuring singer-songwriter Mike Posner, is a particularly interesting one for a few reasons, including his discussions on updating his older content, and a process he uses, which I would call an influencer marketing strategy.
This Old Marketing example of the week
(56:40): Polyface Farms: A reader recently referred Robert to the story of Joel Salatin, a second-generation farmer in Virginia who grew up watching his parents struggle to maintain their family farm. Though the Salatin Family had already started to explore organic farming and more humane farm animal practices at Polyface Farms, they were finding it even more difficult to turn a profit while using these techniques. However, once Joel took over the business, he committed himself to taking these practices to the next level, while increasing the farm’s profitability at the same time. He started by answering questions and offering advice to his fellow farmers to increase their understanding of the benefits of greener, more sustainable farm operations, and the idea quickly took off. Eventually, he turned his education platform into books, lectures, and other published content works. Years later, Joel Salatin is one of the most famous and successful farmers in the world, with a content portfolio that includes live tour experiences at his farm, as well as recipe of the week competitions, and other user-generated content initiatives. By creating a media brand to drive the success of his sustainable farming business, Joel has built Polyface Farms into a quintessential Content Inc.-style example of This Old Marketing. (Sources: Permaculture; Virginia Tech’s Virginia Cooperative Extension; VCU Office of Sustainability).
For a full list of PNR archives, go to the main This Old Marketing page.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute