Personalized email marketing: 5 keys to success –

Personalization is the holy grail of marketing. Customers expect nothing less than personal, purposeful brand experiences with every interaction. In fact, 80 percent of people are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. It builds trust and shows customers that you value them.

Marketers are at varying stages of maturity in their personalization journeys. The fact is, when it comes to personalization, you absolutely have to crawl before you can run. Cross-examining your email marketing efforts is a good first step to advancing your personalization performance. To help with this, Epsilon created a five-question quiz on email personalization to uncover the maturity of your brand’s approach.

The quiz explores five key areas that brands need to master in order to succeed with personalized email:

1. Data alignment and activation

It all starts with data.

Customer data is the fuel that powers any marketing engine, and email is no different. The data you need is everywhere, but it’s messy—really messy—and not always easily captured. To get beyond basic customer attributes, you need to collect and harness the right data and use it to create more personalized interactions. Here’s a few things to keep in mind as you build your data capture strategy:

  • Ensure it’s realistic and fits in with your overall marketing goals.
  • Integrate your online and offline data and incorporate the enabling technologies.
  • Use preference centers to collect pertinent data at enrollment and keep it going over time.

The activation plan is also critical. Without the right integrations, you may as well not even have the data.

2. Real-time decisioning

Personalization is more than just presenting the best content or offer. It’s also about being able to meet the customer along their journey. If every campaign is the same or only slightly differentiated to all of your contacts, you aren’t engaging the customer in a meaningful interaction.

You need to provide each customer with the best offer and deliver the message to their preferred device to influence their purchase journey. This is not easy, but with a strategic vision and plan—enabled by technology—it’s certainly achievable.

3. Creating and managing content

“Batch and blast” is a thing of the past. Consumers have grown to expect personalized content. In fact, 90 percent of consumers find personalization appealing, and those consumers are 10 times more likely to be your most valuable customers. Creating unique content at the individual level can be challenging, time-consuming and expensive. You should regularly evaluate your email content strategy—and be prepared to invest time and resources to update accordingly.

Creative will then become the personification of your email strategy—the all-important first impression.

The email channel is bursting with innovation, much of it driven by the demand for more personalized content, richer experiences and deeper engagement. Following design and coding best practices is a good baseline, but experimenting with subject-line personalization, live content and social integration to transform your email from one-sided dialogues to meaningful conversations with your customers.

4. Channel alignment and optimization

All marketers aspire to remove channel silos in order to integrate teams, programs and messaging in the customer’s best interest. Simultaneously, they are pulled in another direction by attribution requirements, with each channel team hungry to carve out their piece of the revenue pie. To avoid this conflict, many organizations are removing silos and unifying their teams to focus on the customer journey regardless of the channel. This allows for a more centralized, omnichannel approach to marketing strategy.  

5. Holistic measurement

You can’t improve what you don’t measure, which is problematic for brands wanting to improve program performance but are only measuring email opens and click-throughs. To understand the impact of your personalization strategy, you need to be able to analyze engagement—do your life-cycle communications resonate with customers? What content inspires customers to act?

To be successful, marketers must first define their business objectives and map to them to KPIs and metrics. It’s also important to establish robust test designs, then monitor performance, analyze and adapt.

Embarking on the journey toward personalized email takes some time. We recommend a crawl-walk-run approach, with frequent testing, measurement and feedback:

  • Continue to advance your data strategy and insights to make your interactions more relevant.
  • Optimize your marketing across channels.
  • Tell people a connected story everywhere they go, anywhere you want to reach them.
  • Make the most of technological advances to provide personal, cohesive interactions that make people feel recognized.

Then you’ll succeed in delivering truly personalized experiences that drive value every step of the way.

Interested in learning more about where you are in your email personalization journey? Take our quiz today.