Getting personal with e-mail

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Luc Vezina
Luc Vezina

E-mail marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategies businesses use to communicate with customers. As more businesses are using e-mail to market to their customers, marketers face the daunting challenge of ensuring that their e-mail campaigns stand out from the crowd. Incorporating personalization practices into e-mail campaigns is essential for marketers to get the attention of their customers – resulting in increased open, click-though and conversion rates.

Inboxes are constantly cluttered with junk mail. It can be hard to sort through the e-mail mess let alone try to figure out which e-mails are worth taking the time to read. Taking the time to personalize e-mails via the subject line, salutation and content provided is the only way not to be overlooked in the quagmire of your customer's inbox. According to the Aberdeen Group's report, ‘Email Marketing: Get Personal with Your Customers,' 96% of organizations surveyed for the study believe that e-mail personalization can improve e-mail marketing performance. Personalizing e-mail campaigns lets customers know that you understand their interests and want to offer content that speaks to them. Personalization also shows customers and prospects that they aren't just another e-mail address added to your mass mailing scheme.

It's important that marketers use their customer data – geographic, behavioral, demographic and transactional – when personalizing their e-mail campaigns. (If you don't have a current database, ask your customers to fill out a survey or questionnaire to find out their interests.) This information is very valuable to the campaign's success. It can be used to better segment your lists in order to more narrowly target customers – offering them relevant content that specifically speaks to their interests.

Reviewing metrics also is essential when trying to figure out what is or isn't working in your email campaigns. Change in consumer behavior should be flagged and marketers should take a different approach in the campaign if a vast change has been seen. Metrics provide marketers with a lot of insight as to what evokes the most interest with their customers. This information provides marketers with a deeper understanding of customer needs, leading to better personalization. Research has shown that the average order value increased by 57% as a result of personalization.

Automation also helps marketers' personalization efforts. Although automation doesn't sound like a personalization practice, when used correctly automation processes can improve content targeting and personalization. Automation processes can allow marketers to easily follow-up with customers based on consumer behavior – delivering messages at the right time. This keeps your business top-of-mind and helps to keep an on-going dialogue with your customers – further building your relationship. Customers are more likely to do repeat business with companies they trust.

E-mail personalization allows marketers to connect one-on-one with customers. Relationship building through relevant communication is key to successful campaigns. It's important to remember that your customers signed up to receive your e-mail newsletter for a reason – they believe you offer something of value and interest. Give them what they want. Customers will open an email from a trusted brand that consistently speaks to their interests.

Luc Vezina is VP of marketing at Campaigner. Reach him at lvezina@campaigner.com.

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