Updated November 25, 2018
Can Your Marketing be Personalized and Automated?
Relevant. Timely. Useful. Your customers and prospects don’t mind, and even look forward to, getting marketing messages with these characteristics. How do you make sure your messages meet the test? One of the biggest trends in digital marketing today is personalization.
Since we all receive so many marketing messages, getting customers the right message at the right time is important to standing out in the clutter. Personalized email marketing is a good way to take advantage of this trend.
You may already know that email marketing is one of the most effective means of engaging your customers and prospects. While this is true, you also know how many irrelevant emails flood your inbox each day. If you are sending the same exact email to everyone on your list, chances are some of your recipients aren’t finding that particular email relevant or timely.
Personalizing your messages to customers and prospects can help. I know you may be thinking “I barely have enough time to send one email how can I send personalized messages?” Fortunately, there are some tools you can use to make your message more personal, while at the same time, allowing you to automate the process and reach more people.
Try these tips to get started with personalization.
Add Your Contact’s Name
Personalizing your subject line by adding a contact’s name or other contact details will make your subject line stand out in the inbox because it’s customized to them. Constant Contact has recently added this feature to their email platform. When your contacts read your subject line, they’ll see details unique to them, like their first name or company.
Personalizing the subject line is one of the best ways to get your readers to open your email, but what about inside your email? Adding contact details to your email, such as a first name, city, or state, lets you personalize the content for each contact and makes it look like you wrote the email just for them.
We look at typed communications all day long, and a handwritten signature gives the impression that you care just a little bit more because you took the time to personally sign your message. Consider adding an image of your signature to your email.
With list segmentation you create smaller lists, or segments, from your larger contact list. Group your subscribers by list according to their needs. For example, your groups may be customers, prospects, and employees. A veterinarian may have a general list as well as lists of cat owners, dog owners, or new puppy owners. It’s important to note that a subscriber may belong to more than one list.
Here are examples of emails you may want to send to a specific list only:
- Birthday email and offer for everyone with that month’s birthday
- Special offer to reward your best customers
- Promotional message specifically for leads who haven’t done business with you yet
- Event information by geographic location
- Related information to customers who purchased a specific product
Create segmented contact lists based on an action in your email.
When you set up click segmentation in your email, every time a contact clicks a link, a button, or a clickable image in your email, they’re automatically added to a list of your choosing. You can either use the list for future emails or immediately send them another email or series of emails (see autoresponders below).
Here are examples of how click segmentation works.
- A landscaper offers three different services in one email – maintenance services, tree services, and landscape design and how to learn more. Each button link is segmented so that when contacts click on it, they are automatically added to a list for the specific service they clicked on. When the landscaper is ready, he can send an email to only the contacts interested in that particular service.
- A yoga studio sends an email that explains the different types of yoga classes available. When someone clicks a link, a button, or a picture that represents that style of yoga, that person gets added to a list which triggers a series of autoresponder emails explaining more about the benefits of that type of yoga, why it is right for them, and how they can schedule their first class.
- A barbecue establishment sends emails to promote their in house dining, special cooking events, and recipes using their sauces. For example, when someone clicks a button, link, or picture that promotes recipes, they are added to a list that will send out a series of recipe emails that use the sauces they make, and of course those emails include the link to buy the barbecue sauce online!
Consider setting up autoresponders or drip campaigns. These will make your personalized emails even more effective, save you time, and improve your customer service. Autoresponders are a series of emails scheduled to automatically go out at predetermined times after a subscriber is added to a specific list.
You want your autoresponder content to be “evergreen.” This means staying away from specific dates or seasonal information in these emails. Since subscribers are added to the list on a continual basis, you don’t know when they will receive a particular email. Autoresponders are typically used for onboarding, lead nurturing, or delivering course information. Think about how often you tell customers or prospects the same information specific to their interest. Then automate this experience with an autoresponder to deliver your message consistently to more people.
Some examples of how autoresponders are used include:
- A fitness center sends information and tips to new members once a week for 8 weeks on how to make the most of their membership
- A veterinarian sends puppy care and development information to new puppy owners throughout the first year of a puppy’s life
- To nurture leads during the buying process, a salesperson sends a series of emails explaining benefits, how the product works, and customer testimonials to everyone requesting product information
- A real estate agent sends a series of tips on preparing a home for sale to listing leads
- A photographer offers a five-part course on how to take better pictures for social media
When you establish an ongoing dialogue with your customers and prospects, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. Using these techniques can help cultivate customer and prospect relationships by making sure you’re providing timely, relevant and useful information.