Three Key Lessons to Enhance Your Email Marketing Personalization Using Data

George T. Taft

Marketers know email marketing personalization is good for business. Personalized emails allow you to engage and connect with customers faster and identify where you can get the most return on investment (ROI) with your messaging. 

But the customer journey is not linear. Everyone has their unique path from awareness to conversion. The key to a good customer experience is understanding that journey and meeting each person with a consistent, yet tailored, email message at every opportunity.

We have outlined the three key lessons to enhance your email marketing personalization and meet your customers at every phase of their journey.

Leveraging data details

Lesson one: Types of data

Data makes the email personalization world go round. Without it, you could make the wrong impression. 

So what data do you really need for effective email marketing personalization and how do you keep up with constantly changing interests and preferences?

There are two key types of data you should leverage to plan your personalization strategy.

  • Zero-party data: Individual-level data explicitly given to you directly from your audience. Zero-party data can’t be inferred, bought, or collected outside of a direct relationship.
  • First-party data: Individual-level data that is collected directly from your audience on your own channels. This can be based on website interactions, purchase behavior, or account activity someone has voluntarily.

Applying these details strengthens your email marketing personalization strategy and allows you to deliver brand value and improve the customer experience.

Lesson two: Data hygiene

Good data hygiene for email marketing is one of the most important steps to designing high-performing campaigns. Having quality data that is accurate, current, trustworthy, and useful ensures your customers get the personalized experiences they want, and helps your business make informed data-driven decisions for your email marketing strategy.

Without regular data cleansing, your data can become stale – resulting in lower email engagement, poor deliverability, and ultimately, decreased ROI. 

Knowing what data points to access, how to store and use consumer information, and ways to routinely “clean” your data can take your email marketing personalization to the next level. And while flawless CRM data is unrealistic, there are best practices you can implement.

Data hygiene best practices:

  • Understand your internal data supply chains such as the sources and destinations, the formats of dates, text fields, numbers, and the latency at which data is expected to arrive or transact between these different sources to reduce issues.
  • Establish a governance model to control permissions in data tools and designate a power user for every data push. Be sure to think through your governance processes to identify which data issues can be avoided.
  • Create a data dictionary to catalog what each piece of data means to your company and make it accessible.

Using email marketing personalization at each stage of the customer journey

Once your data is in order, you can create truly effective email marketing personalization with every send and make customers feel valued throughout their journey

When it comes to execution, creating tailored messages can vary in sophistication. The good news? They all resonate in different ways. Simpler tactics, such as personalized images, require less effort and are immediately impactful. More advanced email marketing personalization like product recommendations based on site behavior, cart abandonment, special offers, or weather-related suggestions take your customer experience to the next level. 

Lesson three: email personalization tactics

Email personalization that resonates with customers:

  • Countdown timers that are reliant on email open times to display time left for sales, exclusive offers, or event registrations.
  • Geolocation targeting based on CRM data, such as brick-and-mortar stores closest to the zip code in the recipient’s account profile.
  • Weather-based content determined by the weather in the subscribers’ location at the time of email open.
  • Interactive polling that allows recipients to see what is popular, and vote on what they like, encourages continued engagement as recipients come back to see the results.
  • Social signals showcase live interactions with a product or service (through the live number of “likes”) on social channels. Displaying the engagement adds real social proof to emails and encourages more openers to click through.
  • Popular or new item updates based on best-selling products or new releases that are likely to appeal to a broad audience.

Subscribers expect personalization and delivering on that is a necessity. Knowing how to collect and clean accurate and timely customer data to tailor your personalization strategy lets you engage with audiences intentionally and effectively, every time.

For more lessons on personalization, we have partnered with our friends at Epsilon, a digital marketing company that creates data-driven, enriched customer experiences across digital channels, and Mutiny, the website personalization experts, to bring you the complete personalization package. 

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