Email marketing – five personalisation opportunities you may be missing

Good personalisation can turn email marketing from a generic blast to a helpful prompt. Receiving information from a brand that tells you when a product you’re actively interested in is on promotion or being sent a tailored, relevant offer for your birthday is something to be welcomed rather than ignored.

But how many retailers that have access to a wealth of customer data aren’t actually using it fully to bring to life their email campaigns or dynamic approaches? Here are five ways to make your emails more powerful through good use of personalisation.

1. Age can be an important tool

Age-related personalisation can be incredibly effective. Decide what message or products are displayed to the end user based on his or her age by using conditional content. This way you will also ensure that content is age-appropriate (so no booze bargains slipping out to 13-year-olds).

For instance, a popular video-on-demand streaming service uses the data given when an account is first created to target and encourage users of specific ages to watch appropriate films on their platform.

There’s also the option for a child-friendly sub account which means that as well as receiving emails related to your age and interests, you can also get emails suggesting the best film choices for your kids. A great way to encourage engagement cross-generation.

2. Capture or establish gender and use it effectively

If you haven’t captured it already, there are a few ways to establish gender. The title the customer gives is a good guide or, if possible, filter based on the products purchase history – particularly useful are multiple gender-specific items.

Then make good use of it – for example if your customer buys a premium handbag why not follow up shortly after by suggesting lipstick, high heels or designer perfume? Likewise, promoting a sale on men’s clothing is much more likely to make male users open and engage than if you feature female apparel.

3. Use geographic location for timely emails

Going beyond closest store tailored communications, geographic location can also dictate the time of an email send. If your products are sold internationally and an offer is time-sensitive, ensure that the emails are sent correctly according to time zone.

And consider basing your email content on the weather in a specific region. If a customer’s region’s weather forecast is for sun later on, roll out the t-shirts and sunglasses suggestions. You can even quickly change new emails during the day if the weather turns, defaulting to displaying warmer clothes.

4. Record interests and build on them as interaction grows

If the email offer isn’t of interest, you have little hope of the customer opening it, let alone engaging. One of the easiest ways to establish interests is to host a preference centre. This can be a page on your site to allow customers or prospects to pick and choose their interests from a list.

Over time, overlay this with their purchase data to keep it fresh. They might start buying for children, for example, or change address. And remind them to update it after a set period.

5. Transactional and behavioural data are invaluable

Transactional data can be used to develop a post-purchase email trigger strategy. For instance, if a customer buys a set of tools, send a follow-up email three days after to ensure they’re satisfied and take the opportunity to suggest it might be helpful to buy the matching tool belt.

Always ensure you’re treating customers and prospects differently. Thank a customer for their purchase and nurture that relationship via a carefully planned email trigger strategy to ensure they become a repeat customer. For prospects, build trust in your brand from the start to make them feel comfortable buying your products.

Always offer the best price for the best quality. While discounts are an important tool, think about the longer term, lifetime value of the prospect turning to customer and ultimately, brand advocate. Offer a fixed monetary value or a percentage discount on sign-up and ensure that you plan in an abandon basket email trigger.

Al Keck is the founder and managing director of Infinity Nation, which helps manage the ecommerce operations for many major brands.

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