Today’s post is a contribution from a guest author, Justin Foster, Co-Founder and Vice President of Market Development at Liveclicker
There’s a scene in the movie Minority Report where Tom Cruise’s character walks through a crowded mall and is immediately bombarded with personalized ads in the form of holograms that speak to him by name. It seems that in this not-too-distant future, billboards use retina scans to identify consumers and serve up hyper-targeted offers based on age, gender, income, past purchases and other data.
Obviously, this is a futuristic view of advertising. Perhaps it’s one that makes it too easy to think of personalized messaging as “the future of marketing” and something we may not need to consider yet.
But in email marketing today, personalized messaging is a very real—and very viable—strategy. In fact, the most innovative marketers are already creating highly engaging, personalized experiences that meet consumers’ demands for increased relevance and content that informs, educates and helps.
It’s a wise decision, since research shows that consumers prefer highly personalized emails. According to a report from The Relevancy Group, “The Value of Personalization,” 55% of respondents reported that they prefer emails that include relevant products or offers.
As the data reveals, personalization presents a true win-win opportunity and contributes to many significant business results. Successful campaigns lead to increases in traffic (both online and in-store), engagement and conversions as well as sales and revenue.
In turn, more effective marketing campaigns also help brands better connect with consumers and transform them into happy, loyal, long-term, profitable customers.
It’s Not Too Late: Get Started with Personalized Marketing Now
What does all of this mean for you as a retail marketer?
First, if you’re not creating personalized experiences now, doing so should be the top goal on your list. The best place to start: Sending more behavioral-based messages and fewer mass emails and newsletters that fail to connect with the intended audience.
Second, you should not be intimidated by the thought of using new tools and approaches to develop personalized experiences. Sure, there are many technologies out there, and if you haven’t started yet, it may seem too late. But the fact is, improving existing efforts and capitalizing on personalized email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult at all.
What Makes Personalized Marketing Successful?
To help you become more successful with personalized marketing, we’ll provide some specific examples below, but first, let’s take a closer look at what makes personalization so effective.
As a marketing strategy, personalized messaging is at its best when it:
- Balances the company’s business goals with the customer’s preferences and needs. This might seem obvious, but it’s worth stating. Failure here ignores the very premise of personalized marketing: Consumers want content that helps them—not the marketing team or the company.
- Is timely and triggered on a user’s specific behavior in email, on a website, in an app or in reaction to changes to a brand’s products. A Liveclicker client has achieved success by building a “New Arrivals for You” section into customer emails, complete with images of clothing customers have shown an interest in.
- Provides real-time, contextual relevance using open-time data. Marketers can use consumers’ actual website behavior to create highly personalized email experiences, such as retargeting, cart abandonment or win-back emails.
- Uses business data to make sure the message is accurate and up-to-date. For example, if consumers respond to a personalized offer only to find the sale is over, the inventory is gone or the price has changed, they will be understandably disappointed. In the future, they may be reluctant to purchase.
- Spurs interaction, generates engagement and, ultimately, leads to the desired response. In the case above, imagine if the retailer could have created a contingency plan in case inventory sold out. Using moment-of-open data, the email could pull another example of fresh, relevant content. Crisis averted.
- Is easy to implement and deploy for the vast majority of users, especially the marketing teams charged with developing the actual campaigns.
Tips, Tricks and Best Practices for Personalized Marketing
If you’re not already using personalization, it may be intimidating as you try to determine where to start and what approaches may work best for your team. The following are proven examples that can be used to create highly personalized experiences (and, in turn, successful marketing campaigns):
- Welcome emails that offer videos, discounts, maps and other customer-specific information.
- Birthday emails with videos, scratch-and-reveals or countdown timers that disclose a special discount.
- Post-purchase emails that include package shipping details and cross-sell offers. This is a real opportunity: According to Bluecore’s “2018 Retail Email Benchmark Report,” relevant post-purchase emails experience a 39.1% open rate.
- Loyalty program status updates with animated charts showing how close customers are to additional rewards or points.
- Inventory announcements or price drop emails that contain product availability or fare information.
The Future of Email Marketing is Here Today
Consumer expectations for personal service and relevant content in email is on the rise, and behavior-based, event-driven triggered messaging is an extremely effective way to meet those expectations. For marketing teams who have yet to implement a personalized messaging strategy, it’s not too late.
Innovations now enable every retail marketing team to use moment-of-open data to deliver highly relevant email content. Best of all, this approach benefits everyone. Consumers see value in receiving content they actually want, and marketing teams gain higher engagement (and sales), deeper loyalty and happy, long-term customers.
For more on what it takes to bring personalization to life, click here to check out Bluecore’s take on the email personalization problem.
About the Author
Justin Foster is the Co-Founder and Vice President of Market Development for Liveclicker, a global provider of real-time email personalization solutions for B2C marketers.