November 20, 2013
There is no one-size-fits-all email for follow-ups, monthly newsletters, welcome autoresponders, or the ability to get your email to stand out in inboxes. Yet, email marketing is inherently about sending to more than one person at a time. So, once a potential or past client has received your marketing emails, how do you connect with your contacts in a meaningful, individualized way? Here's how you do it in three steps: segmentation, personalization, and the targeting of content.
List segmentation is the ultimate tool for refining your lists to groups or demographics that make sense to send to together. Rather than segmenting based on the content you want to send, try experimenting with letting segments determine some of your content. For instance, search and segment your lists by geolocation, email domains of interest, or buyer personas. You can even check out this list of 27 ways to segment your contacts or check out how to rate your network.
Use personalization tags to demonstrate you know who you're talking to. Personalization opportunities go beyond just "Hello (firstname)." Keep in mind that any data you've collected is a piece that might help you understand who's on the other end of your email. Using information like how you met, past items purchased, company name, or links clicked in previous emails are all ways to show your contact that they matter to you.
Rich Fleck, Vice President Strategy of Responsys explains what he's learned this way:
"...Personalization drives better consumer engagement and conversion. We often see targeted messaging out-performing status quo messaging by a factor of two to three times - on both engagement and conversion metrics. The challenge is finding the right personalization opportunities by leveraging analytics to understand consumer behavior and then aligning marketing initiatives to propel a positive behavior (purchase) or mitigate a negative behavior (unsubscribe, customer churn)."
Email marketing apps like Mad Mimi offer personalization tag features that make it easy for you to import custom data associated with each email contact. Then, when you send to a list of, say, 1000 contacts, each email is personalized with data that only pertains to that contact.
The largest benefit of highly refined 'buckets' (lists) of contacts is the subsequent ability to send only relevant content. Targeted content can be simply defined as content that is thoughtfully composed with ultra-relevance to your contacts in mind. If you know what makes your contacts tick, sending them engaging content becomes an easier task. Relationships are built by demonstrating respect and care. Reaching out thoughtfully (and, behind-the-scenes, efficiently) accomplishes this.
In her "How listening to customers KO'd mass marketing" post, Megan Van Vlack shared, "Smart marketers are tapping that opportunity to build relationships that last way beyond the opens and clicks. How? By listening. And to listen, successful marketers are leveraging customer data, social media, and profile preferences to create targeted campaigns across channels."
This can be done efficiently by making sure you're subscribed to industry newsletters that pertain to your client base, making sure you have relevant "Google News Alerts" or "Newsle" alerts set up, and even by seeing what your clients have been up to on social media lately. It only takes a little time, and experts all agree that it's worth the ROI.