Email tip: personalized emails are irresistible

Admit it – technology is awesome. As a digital agency specializing in all thing’s online, you could argue we’re a bit biased, but FaceTime? GPS? Fitbit? Beacons? Smart thermostats? Remote car starters on a snowy day? Online shopping, while watching Netflix and browsing Pinterest? What’s not to love?

These technical advances automating our daily lives save us time, hassle, and money, but some argue that our innovations cost us valuable personal interactions.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! At Whereoware, we combine the efficiency of automation with a one-to-one approach to digital marketing – personalizing interactions with our customers on an individual basis, instead of treating all customers like one generic group.

Personalization is win-win

In our opinion, our approach is win-win: we deliver customers’ relevant content to make their lives easier, which in turn, boosts customer engagement with our brand. But it’s not only our opinion. Results of the one-to-one approach speak for themselves.

According to the 2013 Email Marketing Study from Experian Marketing Services, personalized promotional mailings have “29% higher unique open rates and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings, and generate transaction rates and revenue per email that is more than six times higher than non-personalized emails.”

Results from automated campaigns triggered by online behavior (like campaigns executed in marketing automation tool Silverpop) show similar results. According to the same Experian study, “personalized, triggered mailings have 25% higher unique open rates and 51% higher unique click rates, and deliver more than double the transaction rates of non-personalized, trigger mailings.”

In fact, we’ve seen a 300% increase in conversion rates and 60% increase in click through rates of personalized emails for our own clients.

Why is personalization so effective?

One-to-one marketing requires paying attention to customers’ online behavior, needs, and interests, and speaking to those interest points, instead of filling their inbox with generic advertisements. It’s looking for ways to make customers’ experience with your brand better at each and every interaction – more personal, efficient, timely, informative, engaging, and fun.

Personalization in action – a Whereoware sample

Whereoware used email personalization to help our client Currey & Company raise the bar on their record breaking annual sale. In concert with an updated website and mobile app, Whereoware leveraged customer data (captured in their marketing automation tool Silverpop) to segment and target a series of email campaigns. (Get the full details of the omni channel campaign, above.)

For example, the campaign email below is personalized using past purchase data to remind customers of items they had purchased in the past that were now on sale, incentivizing repurchase at a discounted price.

Currey & Company Personalized emailsThe email used dynamic content to pull double duty: customers’ previously purchased items were shown in the bottom section if the customer had purchased in the past, but dynamically displayed regular sale items for customers that hadn’t. Plus we tied it in with their website and sales application to create a crazy effective campaign.

Silverpop makes personalization easy by letting us use fields in our database or relational table data (as seen above) to personalize an email, while automatically replacing the dynamic content piece for contacts if we don’t have the data. This minimizes the complexity of building dozens of emails to speak to each scenario and manually segmenting our email list to make sure every lead gets an email that will personally motivate their purchase.

Ways to Get Personal

Personalizing interactions with your customers is easier than you think, and you likely have the customer data handy. Examples of data sources include customers’:

  • Purchase history
  • Webpages visited (products/pages viewed)
  • Registration at an event
  • Content downloads
  • Submitted webforms
  • Mobile app interactions
  • In-store actions
  • Abandoned carts
  • Browse abandonment
  • Location
  • Source of opt-in (an event, your website, etc.)

This list of data sources is far from comprehensive, but should get you thinking about ways to connect with customers. You can combine data sources for even greater personalization power.

Make sure you leverage data from all of your channels, not just your website or emails. Integrate your mobile app and automation tool, for example, to personalize mailings based on behaviors taken in the app. If your sales team meets with your customers, make sure their insights can be fed back into your database, so your follow up emails aren’t disjointed or repetitive. We live in an omni channel world. When we effectively harness data from all of our channels, we can understand our customers better, be more relevant in our communications, and ultimately develop deeper relationships.

But what if I don’t have the data?

At risk of sounding like a broken record, capturing customer data is vital to knowing who your customers are and what they care about, so you can provide relevant content to meet those needs. Customers are more willing to part with their personal information if the perceived value outweighs the perceived cost. This balance is maintained by collecting information slowly instead of all at once, and offering value in return, like an entry in a contest, a white paper, a free consultation, etc.

Progressive forms are one of our favorite ways to slowly build a comprehensive profile of your customers, without turning them off and losing the chance to collect more information in the future. They work by initially requesting a few fields of information that is perceived as less sensitive on the first interaction with a customer, like email and first name, and then requesting more information at later interactions. You can easily build progressive forms in Silverpop.

Opportunities to capture customer information:

  • Newsletter sign-up form
  • Opt-in form to receive a case study, flier, or other type of collateral piece
  • Sign-up form to receive exclusive deals or discounts
  • Surveys or contests
  • Engagement and capture on social networks
  • Offline – captured by employees in-store, at point of sale; or at networking events and conferences

Real-life personalization samples:

This David’s Bridal email is personalized using customers’ first names and order history.

Davids Bridal - first name plus order history

David’s Bridal greets customers by name, remembers their past purchases, and most importantly, conveys that they care about customers’ opinion of their products, by requesting a review.

According to Experian Marketing Services, thank-you-for-purchasing emails, like our next sample from Kate Spade, achieve a 13x increase in revenue compared to other promotional mailings.

kate spade Thank you for Ordering email

This email also does an excellent job of setting customer expectations (key to manifesting positive brand engagement) by detailing Kate Spade’s process of following up with shipping information.

Because personalization works

Here at Whereoware, we’re obsessed with creating personalized online experiences for customers, because this one-to-one approach is the most effective. Take an interest in your customers’ likes, dislikes, preferences, and behavior to create irresistible emails. Treat customers like people – not like numbers in a database or dollar signs to be converted.