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Only 1.5% of Retail Brands Personalize Subject Lines – 3 Tips To Go Beyond That


Personalization is a huge challenge for marketers today. Most of us are collecting data on our prospects and customers, but the problem is that there is so much of it and it’s all stored in different systems. This creates a big headache when it comes time to create that super relevant email content. Gartner even stated that 80% of marketers will abandon personalization by 2025 because of these difficulties. But you don’t have to be one of them! Personalization is still one of the best ways to squeeze more ROI out of your email program.


In a survey conducted by Mailcharts of 500 retail brands’ emails, only 1.5% of those had personalization in the subject line. That is dismal, especially considering that subject line personalization is just the bare minimum of what you can and should be doing with personalization. To really get the most out of your personalization efforts, you need to get beyond a first name in the subject line. Advanced personalization features have led to 70% of retailers having a return on investment of 200% or more.


How can you cash in on more of that ROI? Here are three tips to get you started with deep personalization.


1. Collect the right data

I think it goes without saying that you are only as good, from a personalization stand point, as the data you collect. If you have just been asking the same questions to your customers and prospects forever, it might be time to switch it up. You need to decide what types of content you want to send and start asking questions tailored to that.

Basically, you can reverse engineer your entire nurture path by deciding what pieces of content work best for pushing people down the various paths and then adjust your forms, surveys, and polls to get you those segments.

Once you have the key information, it becomes easier to segment your lists and even create real-time content for each group.


Bonus tip: Make sure to revisit your data collection processes regularly and adapt it with feedback from the nurture cycle.


2. Showcase Exclusivity

Who doesn’t like to feel like they belong to a special group? Showing exclusivity in your marketing is one of the best ways to make your messaging feel like it was made just for each recipient.

Unless you have some special software to help, this type of content marketing requires lots of segmentation. You may find the most natural fit for this is within your loyalty program. You can hyper-personalize your loyalty program by segmenting out lists based on the most relevant deals or gifts to offer your best customers. Purchase history, cart abandonment, and browse abandonment are good places to start when looking for data to use when segmenting.


Loyalty might be an easy place to start but it certainly isn’t the only place to use exclusivity. You can use it with almost any type of email program. Messaging based on purchase history, cart abandonment, or browse abandonment for instance, works with almost any campaign type.


3. Utilize Contextual Data

Don’t have any collected data on a set of users? Want to make your messages even more relevant? A powerful way to personalize your email marketing content is by using contextual data.


Contextual data is the data that can be gathered based on a user’s context i.e. location. This type of data is usually gathered via an API or an IP address of each user. With it, you can create powerful and relevant email content that uses location, weather, or other geographical types of content to personalize your email content.

This works really well for stores having events in different locations. You can send potential buyers to the information that is relevant to their city or preferred store without cluttering the email or making them click out to enter their zip code.


Segmenting your users based on location can work if you have collected this information before, but you will need some software to help you do this automatically based on IP address if you don’t collect addresses from your potential customers and customers.


Wrap Up

Hyper-personalizing email content can be tricky. That’s why so many brands don’t do it as much as they’d like. It takes a lot of effort and time to create relevant real-time emails. You can alleviate some of this burden with the right tools. Real-time email tools can help you do much of this personalization automatically and can even use APIs (like weather or location as mentioned above) to create sophisticated email content on the fly without segmenting your lists.


Deep personalization is achievable if you are willing to put in the time and invest in the right tools to get you there.

Author bio: Cheyenne Ng is the Director of Marketing at Zembula where she gets to collaborate and coordinate with a team of marketing masterminds. Her main focus is using marketing to drive the mission of Zembula forward – making advanced email personalization accessible and easy to use.


This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

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