As a company that helps people send email, we were interested to attend the action-packed Emarsys Revolution conference, which was held in London, last month.
Having listened to many industry experts speak, one thing became clear: when it comes to sending marketing-related email, recipients/customers are expecting MORE from the emails that drop into their inbox. Email is still the most effective permission-based communication channel, and anybody who sends email campaigns really needs to up their game with email personalization. A basic ‘Dear <firstname>, is simply not going to cut the mustard any longer!
Customer expectations are rising
From hearing many industry experts speak, it became clear that most customers are not getting the experience they desire from the brands they shop with or the companies they hear from. Customer expectations are continually rising: they want to be treated as an individual and understood. But why is satisfactory customer experience so difficult to achieve and what can be done to improve it? A great place to start is email personalization and, in fact, more brands are personalizing email than ever before.
Brendan Witcher, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester, shares that 61% of consumers are unwilling to return to a website that doesn’t offer a satisfactory CX. “Customers will walk away when the experience isn’t right… which is why we need to get to a state of individualising the customer experience.”
So expectations are on the rise, while satisfaction is on the decline. When it comes to marketing emails, 60% of consumers expect completely tailored offers and 40% won’t deal with a company if they receive no personalization. Customers want to be treated as individuals. Listen to them!
How to improve CX with email personalization
What does email personalization really mean these days? It goes way beyond the basics of how we used to customize names, use segmentation, or send trigger-based emails. Those tactics are absolute bare minimum today.
- First things first, the customer journey starts with getting into their inbox – and staying there. This includes good emailing practice. Always be a good sender: use warm IPs and domains, create emails with clear subject lines that make it clear what you’re sending and always ensure the body of the email contains decent content. This is something SMTP2GO can help with!
- Make customers feel special by knowing what they want and need. Focus on the collection of relevant customer data and use this for personalization in a non-creepy way. Always keep GDPR in mind and only hold customer information that’s relevant and crucial to business operations. Don’t alarm recipients by revealing that you know too much about them. People don’t like this! Aim to be discreet and creative in the use of the data you hold. Don’t ever leave your customer thinking ‘how do they know that?’. Subtly is the key to great personalization. Make people think you’re clever not creepy…
- Always send an individual email for each recipient – there are some great automation tools for helping with this (check out Kick Dynamic) – and use different layers of personalization, as showing the right stuff to the right people increases CTR hugely. ‘Device targeting’ is another great way to personalize: for example, invite a customer to ‘tap’ on a link on mobiles, and ‘click’ on a computer.
- Use Open-time Content (OTC), which makes emails contextual. Great examples of this include using the weather (produce two emails, each with different content and visuals, that appeal to recipients experiencing weather more than 20°C/70°F degrees, and those under 20°C/70°F degrees); a countdown clock (counting down towards an event or promotion, etc); and location and local conditions. Automation of some kind can help a lot with this.
- Finally, prepare for the worst: always have an apology email ready. The last thing you need is to make a mistake in an apology email! It sounds so simple but mistakes to do happen and it’s easy, in the stress of the moment, to smash out an apology email, to only make the situation worse. Having a ready-prepped apology email on standby can save the day (and your sanity).
If you have any questions about this article please let us know! We’re available 24/7 via phone, live chat or email ticket support.