4 Ways to Get Personal With Your E-mail Subscribers
Do you recognize that greeting? It's the special code that e-mail programs use to merge audience data, then — voila! — insert each recipient's first name at the top of a campaign. It's quite possibly e-mail marketing's favorite magic trick, but it's not fooling anybody.
By now, recipients are wise to the first name greeting personalization gig, knowing full well that there's not some forlorn intern in a dark room who's personalizing and sending e-mails one at a time. But when e-mail marketers say they're personalizing their e-mails, 63 percent of the time, that's the only personalization they're talking about.
It's a fine place to start. But the big idea behind personalization is connecting with your audience members based on who they are - not just what their names are. Here are four ideas to get you started:
1. Personalize another field. What do you know about your audience members besides their first names? The same trick behind first name personalization works for any other information you're storing about your audience. If you know your subscriber's city, company name or purchase history, consider making generic sentences more personal.
2. Create personalized content for special segments of your audience. The most effective personalization doesn't stop at a word or a phrase. Try crafting unique messages to appeal to different segments of your audience.
Whether you vary the offer, the product or just the wording, personalize the content to connect with each segment of your subscribers. They'll appreciate a message that's meant for them, and you'll appreciate the results. In fact, recent research by the Aberdeen Group shows that organizations that implemented this style of segmentation saw both their clickthrough and conversion rates increase by an average of 9 percent.
3. Use trigger e-mails to personalize delivery. Personalizing what people read in your e-mails is important, but you also can create a personal connection based on when your e-mails arrive. Trigger e-mails, sometimes called auto-responders, reach your recipients on their individual schedules — and they do it all automatically. In a word, they're neat. For example, try setting up a welcome e-mail that's triggered whenever someone new joins your list.
4. Keep it personal. Above all, remember that personalization isn't only a matter of using these nifty database and segmentation tricks. Creating a personal connection with your customers can be as simple as keeping a natural, conversational tone in your e-mails and finding warm, complementary images. It's all about recognizing that your subscribers are more than just names you're e-mailing — they're people you're having a conversation with.