This piece originally appeared in Customer Think
The email marketing tide has turned. B2B and B2C customers don’t just think personalized content would be nice — they expect it. Key takeaways from McKinsey & Company’s Next in Personalization 2021 Report show that personalization remains a critical ingredient in brand marketing.
In fact, 71% of consumers expect personalized experiences from companies, with 76% expressing frustration when those expectations fall short. Over 75% of consumers indicated that personalized communications factored into their brand considerations — and a whopping 78% said personalized content would increase the likelihood they’d make another purchase.
It’s clear personalization is incredibly effective for increasing customer loyalty and driving repeat engagement over time. Companies interested in supercharging subscriber experiences, increasing conversions, and driving revenue outcomes can benefit from incorporating dynamic content automation into their email marketing campaigns.
How it works
Also called “adaptive,” “real-time content” or “smart” content, dynamic content automation uses customer segmentation and data to inform the content included in emails sent to individual customers. By pulling data to automatically generate email variations from one HTML tag, marketers can create one-to-one, individualized subscriber experiences.
Now, email marketers can highlight products, services, and content to personalize content for each subscriber based on:
- Products or similar content viewed.
- Popular items or those frequently purchased together.
- Past purchase behaviors.
- Top purchased services and products or top in the category.
- Loyalty program status.
- Preference center or CRM data.
Dynamic content strategy includes two approaches. The less powerful variable strategy includes basic message personalization. These emails include customized greetings, addressing recipients by their names and perhaps including a company name. But otherwise, every subscriber receives the exact same email content.
Content insertion, on the other hand, offers the ability to insert custom text and images based on subscriber data– including age, gender, location, interests, or demographics. Marketers can create multilingual versions for non-native English speakers, send abandoned cart reminders if a shopper didn’t complete a purchase, or use order history to proactively recommend other products.
Dynamic content automation is a powerful tool for creating unique, personalized email content — but it’s not without its challenges.
Marketers must take care to ensure their email content is error-free and personalized accurately. You don’t want to suggest a Philadelphia-based activity to someone who lives in Baltimore, for example. It’s also critical to verify that all the links in each variation work. Nothing’s more frustrating than seeing a product — wanting to learn more — but getting an error when you click on the link. These errors can potentially lead to lost subscribers, damage to your brand, low conversion rates, and missed ROI.
Manually creating and testing personalized variations of an email without automation is time-consuming. It’s also hard to maintain up-to-date content, inventory and product feeds without data integration like a CRM. Automated content requires technical skills, and companies without the right in-house expertise may need to outsource or create dedicated internal development resources. But outsourcing can reduce transparency, reduce control, and create potential testing obstacles before a campaign launch.
Benefits and best practices
Dynamic content automation adds significant value throughout the funnel, nurturing relationships and turning subscribers into leads for the sales team. Dynamically adjusting email content based on subscriber behavior and preferences accelerates the deal cycle by:
- Empowering sales teams and account executives to use their time more productively and efficiently.
- Providing subscribers with relevant, personalized information.
- Using re-marketing opportunities to incentivize reengagement.
- Cultivating and maintaining relationships with existing and potential customers.
Never before has personalization been so important. With content automation technology, marketers can connect eBooks, product feeds and other content sources to quickly create dynamic content templates. It takes just one tag of HTML code to automatically populate and send unique, engaging, and personalized content to target recipients. These best practices help marketers develop effective content strategies:
- Audit, update, and clean CRM data to keep it accurate.
- Be judicious in the content you choose, personalizing it based on each targeted subscriber group.
- Define and prioritize your marketing goals and metrics.
- Evaluate your email messaging and subscriber response effectiveness by tracking metrics like click and unsubscribe rates to analyze whether your emails engage subscribers you’ve identified as interested in specific content.
- Leverage behavioral cues, cross-channel user data, demographics, geotargeting, and psychographics to fine-tune personalization.
- Choose a “less is more” approach, introducing fewer dynamic content features in lieu of overwhelming subscribers with a flood of features at once.
We’re bombarded by ads daily — but using dynamic content to deliver relevant messaging to email subscribers helps break through that noise and stand out. Savvy marketers using individual preferences, recent engagements and past behaviors can leverage that data to cultivate customer loyalty, improve campaign results and drive sustainable revenue growth.