Relevancy is key to getting results in email marketing.
It’s Marketing 101 really. Understand each customer as an individual, send content they care about and you’ll be rewarded with their attention. On the other hand, if you assume all customers are the same and only send content you care about, you’ll be ignored.
It’s a simple concept that many email marketers seem to struggle with. After all, it’s easy to send just one email with the same content to everyone in your database. But how do you send that same email and make it relevant to everyone in your database?
Well there is a solution and it’s probably not as hard as you think.
The answer is to use conditional content in your email. It’s a huge time saver and a clever way to approach your email marketing.
Here’s how it works.
When designing an email, you choose specific elements such as text, images, or entire paragraphs and decide whether or not to display them based on specific criteria within your database. So when each recipient views your email, they only see the content that you’ve set them up to see.
For example, an online retailer can customise their newsletter and showcase products based on an individual buyer’s profile. Jack, as an outdoors loving man could be presented with the latest men’s hiking gear; while Jill, the high powered executive, might be presented with the latest range of ladies business apparel.
But before you can make all this happen, you need to go through a few steps in preparation.
1. Review your data
Start by looking at the information you have for the contacts in your database and make sure they can be accurately segmented according to their profiles. If Jack and Jill are going to be segmented based on their gender, you’ll need a database field for “gender” where each contact has a value of either “male” or “female”.
The quality of your data is very important here. Make sure you fix any typos and rule out incorrect data associated with your contacts. If you’re not confident with the quality of data you have, consider running an update profile campaign first and ask contacts to update their details in your database. For best results, use pre-formatted field types such as dropdown lists, checkboxes and radio buttons to ensure contact information is added correctly.
2. Identify segments
Now that you’re happy with the quality of your data, you can decide how you want to segment it for your email campaign.
This will depend on the types of data you have, the nature of your business and the objectives of your email campaign. Popular segments include demographic (such as age, gender and location) and behavioural (such as purchase history, website activity and previous email activity).
3. Assign relevant content to each segment
The next step is to decide on the content that each segment will see when they read your email. Remember that relevancy is key with your email marketing so it’s essential to choose content that specifically relates to the interests of each segment.
Also don’t forget to think about the content you want to display when a contact does not fit into one of your segments. Suppose you don’t know someone’s gender for example. What content will they see when reading your email?
4. Add conditional content to the email design
Once you’ve identified the content for each segment, the next step is to insert it into your email. Most of the reputable email service providers offer features to help you with this step.
With Vision6 there is a Conditional Content feature within the Email Editor to help with this step. You simply insert a piece of content into your email such as an image, text or a paragraph and then create the condition for who you want it to display for.
5. Test each variation of your email content
The final step is to test how your email looks with all its variations of content. With Vision6 there is a nifty feature that saves a lot of time here. Instead of sending yourself multiple versions of the email so that you can test all the variations of content, simply use the Message Preview tool to view the email before you hit Send. This allows you to preview your email with all the different content variations in content based on any of the contacts in your list.
Even if you’re a beginner to email marketing, I encourage you to explore the possibilities that conditional content brings to the table. It will save you time by reducing your workload in managing multiple email campaigns and will boost your email’s performance by providing a more relevant experience for your customers.
So next time you’re planning an email campaign, consider how your database can be segmented and the content targeted to provide a more relevant experience for each recipient.