Personalization is more than using a customer’s name. It requires using customer data and information to create a contextually relevant experience for the end user. For example, brands can leverage customer preferences from the account sign-up or past purchase behavior information, like the category or style of a product purchased, number of products included in the purchase, total amount spent, channel of purchase and returns.
Personalization still happens way less than you would think, and this creates a negative customer experience, which can result in losing a customer forever.
Let’s say we have a customer, Peter, who recently purchased a pair of black men’s patent leather dress shoes in size 11W at full price from a multichannel shoe retailer. However, the first email Peter receives from the retailer is a blow out sale of women’s flats. Peter’s previous purchase provided every indication that he was a male who purchased a pair of shoes for himself. So, why would Peter be interested in women’s flats? Although it’s beneficial to educate customers on all product categories and gender offerings, this should not be the first communication he receives after a purchase.
If he does not receive product emails tailored to his preferences, Peter will miss relevant product information and will be lost as a customer.
4. Repurchase Series
Repurchase is foundational to retail, yet most brands don’t have a repurchase series. This is despite analysis and insight that shows a customer who makes a repeat purchase will do so quickly (many within the first 60 days) and will be likely to repurchase from the specific product type and category of his/her initial purchase.
With this information in mind, let’s continue Peter’s saga. Peter has purchased a black patent leather men’s dress shoe. The brand does not thank him, and he continues to receive emails for female products. He receives the same email campaign just like every other customer.
Alternatively, Peter makes the same purchase, but the brand sends him a sequence of follow up emails thanking him for his purchase and informing him of other products he may be interested in. During this time, he does not receive the same email blasts as every other customer.
It’s imperative for marketers to take advantage of data-driven analysis and insight to cut through the clutter and grab customers’ attention with relevant messages. It’s like going to the gym and focusing on one exercise while ignoring most of the equipment and resources available. You will be disappointed in the results.
5. Email Volume
How often do we need to hear from a brand that we love before we decide to say “enough” and break off the relationship (or opt out)?
Many brands fall outside of the optimal range for email send quantities per month and overwhelm the customer with too many. Just like overdoing it at the gym, too much of a good thing is still too much. You want to feel the burn, not burn out. Surprisingly, on the flip side, some brands don’t engage the customer and send too few. The optimal range to keep the customer interested is five to eight emails per month.
Next Step: Moving Beyond Just Email
Each of these tactics boosts email marketing performance. Together, they form the basis for stronger results and a higher level of success. However, much like working out, email marketing cannot happen in a vacuum. You need to incorporate it into a broader "wellness" strategy. Once you’ve nailed down these optimal practices, email must function as a part of a larger, cross-channel strategy. The goal is to build an improved customer experience and orchestrate a strategy that fuels dynamic, targeted and automated content across all your channels. That’s when marketing can really flex its muscles.