Expert Answers to Biz Questions
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A Personal Touch: Improving Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Companies have been personalizing their email marketing campaigns for years, but there’s recently been much discussion of the process as experts pose the question, can there be too much of a good thing?
Great personalization creates a bond between brands and their consumers, but not all companies understand how to play the game and risking personalization can have serious fallout. Poorly executed personalization campaigns, for example, can drive away business and when companies acquire too much information, they risk security breaches and may be perceived as “creepy” by the customers. The key is to keep your company on the side of creative connection, not excessive involvement.
The first step to better email marketing is to understand the psychology behind the buying process. Color, for example, plays a significant subconscious role in how customers perceive your brand. Unfortunately, despite prominent messaging to the contrary, most colors don’t have a set association. Rather, color meanings are influenced by personal experience, as well as the appropriateness of a color’s match between preexisting brand identities. For brands, then, it’s important to understand your company’s personality before you try to choose a color for marketing materials.
Another part of developing effective marketing materials is creating a meaningful narrative that customers can connect to. Your emails should tell a story. The question that marketing experts are asking, though, is how specific should that story be?
Businesses should carefully consider how closely marketing narratives hew to the recipient’s life due to concerns about excessive oversight. Can you send an email recommending anniversary presents based on data from a wedding registry? What about birthday emails? It’s important for your company to put forth your story and then draw in connections, not try to tell customers about themselves.
Leverage the Obvious
The best facts to leverage when creating personalized marketing emails are those that customers give you directly, not those driven by artificial intelligence or other forms of data. Birthdays, as mentioned above, are a great example of this and they’ve become the gold standard in marketing. Almost every website registration asks for a birth date that can be used to send out discounts or specialty products, whether it's a free drink at Starbucks or a timely email promoting birthstone jewelry.
Other obvious traits that companies use in their marketing emails are brand VIP status, gendered listings, and membership anniversaries, all of which are non-invasive ways to offer customers recognition. These tactics help customers feel seen but they’re also easy to automate on your end.
Just because data allows you to know more about your customers doesn’t mean you have to demonstrate it in marketing emails. Rather, sticking to the tried and true methods marketers have been using for years, such as developing a color story and brand narrative and building basic connections with customers, is often for the best. Smart targeting is compelling but overly detailed observations are creepy. Buyers already know companies are watching them closely. They don’t need you to demonstrate it every time you send out an email.
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