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Marketing 360® Blog

Personalized Email Marketing is Now an Expectation (Here’s How You Can Meet It)

Post By Scott Yoder | eCommerce Marketing

The days of blasting out one size fits all email to random lists are over.  Today people expect email marketing content to be personalized to their buying journey.  Here are tips and examples that will help you meet those expectations.

At some point, we all noticed that random email blasts started addressing us by name.  Hey Jeff! the email would begin, as if it were from an old friend.  Unfortunately, that’s where the personal touch ended.  Then came an offer for a vegan cookbook – when you’d gone Paleo long ago.

Addressing people by name was the initial step in personalized marketing technology that’s advancing rapidly.  Digital, of course, tracks all our online activities.  In turn, that tracking allows ads to target to our preferences and stage in the buying journey.

Today, sending out one size fits all email blasts is for hacks.  Consumers expect more than just their name at the top of the email.  They expect the content to match where they are in their buying process.

Email marketing and CRM software make this possible.  And the great thing is that once it’s set up, it’s largely automated.  In fact, it’s the least time-intensive way to get touches in with leads or make offers that generate repeat sales.

Let’s review what this looks like so you can make sure your email marketing is up to speed.

Connect to Your CRM

The key to personalized email marketing is your customer database, usually in customer relationship management (CRM) software (our small CRM software is free).

Within your CRM are data fields with details on each individual customer.  Email software interfaces with the CRM to “scrape” data on contacts including things like:

  • Name
  • Date/Time ordered
  • Order#
  • Items (including quantity and price)
  • Price per item
  • Payment method
  • Delivery method
  • Order comments
  • Abandoned cart info (what was left in the cart and when)
  • Shipping info
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Company name

*Note that the way a CRM interfaces with an eCommerce platform varies from platform to platform.  Not all these data fields exist on all CRMs, and not all website platforms allow for the same functionality. 

Scrapping from data fields allows you to produce personalized email templates:

email marketing template example

Campaigns are created by applying certain criteria and segmenting campaigns.  For example, you might start with this basic segmentation element:

email marketing segmentation

Next, you might segment based on something like location:

email marketing location segment

Most email campaigns today are automated journeys, where people get a series of emails sent out on a set schedule that starts when they get added to the list.  This works well for content marketing where you’re sharing information with leads through an email series.

However, this isn’t really personalized enough for eCommerce email marketing.  Instead, these campaigns work off of conditional logic, where the automation sends a different email based on data from a particular custom field.

For example:

email marketing conditional logic

The highest level of personalization occurs by dynamically inserting content into the email based on the custom fields of individuals on the list.  This is how emails refer to your past purchases and offer deals based on what you previously spent.  Here’s how the automation looks:

email marketing dynamic content automation

As we mentioned, a good example of how this can be effective is an email series triggered by an abandoned cart.  This case study shows what that type of email series looks like.

Put It Together

I’ve bought a few things off of Sierra Trading Post in the past, so I get email promotions from them.  Today, an ad for close-out shoes caught my attention.

I checked out a pair of shoes but decided not to buy them.  A few hours later, I got this email:

email marketing product follow up

This is personalized email automation in a nutshell.  They are emailing me back about the exact pair of shoes I’m considering.  They’ve also set it up so other similar shoes that I might like show up in the email.

That’s sales persistence, and anybody who’s worked in sales knows persistence pays off.

On the surface, all this may seem complex, but email marketing software takes most of the work out of it.  The most involved part of the tactic involves creating the right custom fields for your audiences so the system can generate an effective message for you.  Talk to one of our email marketing experts to learn more about how we can help with that process.

Email marketing remains one of the most effective channels for direct-response, promotional content.  In terms of actually getting sales conversions, it’s a much stronger channel than social media marketing.  According to the Direct Marketing Association:

  • The ROI of email is 3,800%.
  • 72% of people would rather receive promotional material via email than social media.
  • 38% of people say receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to an email list.

Consumers are simply more receptive to promotional material via email.  Today, most of us expect to get email promotions from businesses we previously purchased from.

Personalization is a big reason email maintains its effectiveness.  74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

Email marketing is relevant and timely.  It’s permission-based (if you’re buying email lists and spamming people, no amount of personalized content will help you) and one of the most effective channels for running drip campaigns.

People still check their inboxes every day.  Are the offers your customers are most interested in showing up there?