Someone who wants to get your attention might get it by calling your name. Personalization in email marketing works the same way; by addressing your customers by name, you’re increasing the likelihood that they’ll answer. However, personalization means more than just an automated salutation and subject line to fill in the recipient’s name. Good personalization goes deeper and makes itself relevant to individuals, not just to undifferentiated audiences or broad marketing categories.
Why Personalization Matters
If the people on your email list only got messages from you, they might pay closer attention. As it is, though, they have an incredible volume of email, often hundreds of letters a day, to sift through and choose to discard, save or act on immediately. You want to be in that third category, and here’s why: The average email recipient is 80 percent less likely to convert on email that’s been opened once and saved than on first opens. It’s critical, then, that you find ways to get your readers’ attention now. Personalization is a proven way of making that happen.
Personalizing your email messages is also important to your future campaigns and your relationship with your prospects. Well-crafted email that relies on more thorough personalization than just a name in the subject line encourages your prospects to respond positively to future requests for more information. They’re more likely to subscribe to newsletters or sign up for access to white papers and case studies, giving you key demographic and firmographic data when they fill out the sign-up form. Communicative customers are exceptionally valuable to attract and retain; not only do you learn more about them, you also need their help to build better ideal-customer profiles for cloning as you seek to expand your audience.
More than a Name – Personalizing Your Email
The first step of personalization is automated, but it’s still important to get right. It’s now routine to address recipients by name in emails, but you need to work from a scrupulously clean database. Sending email to the wrong name is a good way to get email deleted before it’s even opened. Even misspelled can leave a negative impression, especially if you’re communicating with long-term customers. Data appending enhances personalization and helps your system spot minor errors such as transposed letters, giving you better-looking and more attractive personalized text.
You’re no longer limited to names in text. Variable data printing, or VDP, lets you custom-design graphics with personalized elements. If you market to restaurateurs and chefs, for example, you might feature an image of a chef’s coat with the recipient’s name appearing as embroidery on it. That kind of in-depth customization and personalization will help turn prospects into customers and customers into brand loyalists.
A name isn’t the only signal prospects read when they look for relevance. Personalization also includes bringing in other key data about a contact and incorporating it into the message. If your prospect works in the healthcare industry and travels frequently, the content of your message might reflect that. VDP also works for company logos or images that resonate with your customer.
Drawing the Line with Personalization
Testing is vital to your email campaigns’ success, but it also tells a larger story. Over time, marketers have learned the ideal range for personalization. Too little, and you may fail to reach your audience; too much information, though, can feel intrusive. Using first names only invariably tests better than using first and last names in personalization. The name that appears on the email should be the recipient’s; family members’ names, even if they’re part of your database, shouldn’t go toward personalization. Similarly, addresses, phone numbers and other personal data should not appear in subject lines.
Personalizing helps you connect with customers, earns more attention in subject fields and lets your prospects know you see them as more than “Occupant.” To make the most of customization and personalization, talk with a marketing pro to find the right mix of VDP technology, clean data and carefully crafted copy for your customized email campaign.
Contact our email marketing experts today at 855.867.3224 to help you devise your next email campaign strategy.
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