Getting the Most From Email Marketing Personalisation

Getting the Most From Email Marketing Personalisation

Done right, email marketing personalisation offers a way to connect to your audience, driving customer retention, and increasing sales. With that said, it can be all too easy to get email personalisation wrong. Many businesses either do not make use of personalisation or they do not fully understand the process, leading to commonly-made mistakes. The danger of not doing personalisation the right way is that it can end up having the opposite effect, putting off customers, angering them or breaking trust and affecting your reputation. In this guide, we take a deeper look at personalisation to find out how to use it properly within your email marketing strategy.

Email Marketing Personalisation Mistakes to Avoid

First, let’s take a look at how not to do email personalisation. From the dreaded {first name} error to failing to understand your customers, there are a few mistakes that can ruin even the best planned email marketing campaign. Here are some of the biggest mistakes to avoid.

1. Using “Hi {first name}” incorrectly.

This is a very unfortunate mistake that happens a lot more often than you realise. Although it is a good idea to address recipients by their name, it is not a good idea to do this if there is any missing contact details or any chance of getting this wrong. If you have a very short form that only collects email addresses, it is best to avoid using this approach. Aside from being very embarrassing and making you look silly, it can put off subscribers quickly.

What you can do instead of using the first name is to use a greeting and name associated with your brand. A fitness brand could use something like “fit fundis” or “fitness family”, an outdoor brand could use “outdoor lovers”, and a women’s clothing store could use “style sister”, for example.

2. Hit and miss customer greetings.

Greeting every single customer to wish them Happy Mother’s Day or even Merry Christmas can also backfire. Assuming that every single customer will be observing any given day is never wise. Greeting customers with a cheery Mother’s Day message when some have recently lost a child would end up being the worst thing you could do, offending customers and putting them off.

Use email surveys, feedback forms, social media, purchase history, online activity, and other strategies to form a deeper picture of your audience. You can then make sure that you create highly personalised campaigns that target the right customers, at the right time, rather than hit and miss campaigns.

3. Failing to target location accurately.

Another mistake to look out for is failing to get your location right. For personalised email campaigns, location is always important. Sending an email blast for an upcoming sale at your Cape Town store will not help those based on the other side of the country. Likewise, campaigns that assume all customers live in the same area and experience the same weather will also flop.

Make sure that your location data is correct, using forms, IP addresses, and other strategies that gain critical insight into your customers’ location. You can then segment your lists to send location-based campaigns according to the customer location. This allows you to personalise your campaigns without the risk of getting things like distance and weather wrong.

How to Use Email Marketing Personalisation

Now that you know what to avoid, how do you go about personalising your email marketing campaigns? Some tips to keep in mind for effective personalisation include the following:

Set clear goals.

Without clear, concise goals in place, it will be very hard to start planning email personalisation. Make sure that you know not just how you will personalise but also why you will personalise and how you will personalise. There is little point in using first names purely because you think it looks good or you have seen other brands take this approach. It is very easy to over-personalise and this can end up having the opposite effect, creeping your audience out and making them feel very uncomfortable.

Write down your goals and outline what you are hoping to achieve in your personalisation efforts. Think about whether you are aiming to increase the engagement rate or connect to your audience on a deeper level. You can also decide how you will personalise emails. You could use the first name as a greeting, you could create campaigns for different locations or demographics, personalise according to behaviour, promote personalised product suggestions or consider many other strategies that personalise more subtly.

Use personalisation naturally and authentically.

As we briefly mentioned above, over-personalising can quickly get creepy. The same goes for unnatural, awkward personalisation. If you mention your customer’s first name repeatedly or you do it in a way that comes across as forced, it will not have the same effect as it would if you use it like you were talking to someone in person.

Personalised emails should be easy and natural, like a conversation. Only use personalisation where it drives the most impact. Consider adding to subject lines and the very first greeting only. Think carefully about whether it comes across as genuine and ask yourself if there is not much point in personalising every single email.

Conduct thorough email testing.

Test, test, and test again. Without testing, it will be very easy for mistakes to slip through the cracks. You can test in several ways. Split testing is a great way to see whether personalised greetings perform better than generic or semi-personalised (fit family vs first name, for example). You can also get cold, hard data to see how your personalised emails perform. You can then fine-tune as needed.

Testing will also help you to double-check that information is pulling through properly. Make sure that you are also very carefully if you are sending out emails to specific groups so that the right emails go to the right groups. You can test the sign-up process and numerous other factors to be sure that your campaigns have the most impact.

Looking for a simple, effective way to create personalised email campaigns? Grapevine Interactive offers an omnichannel marketing automation platform that allows you to send personalised, automated email campaigns. Contact us today to learn more about how this platform will assist your email marketing efforts.

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