Sending a monthly email to your whole list of newsletter subscribers might give you good returns, but technology advances for a reason.
Using clever techniques on your campaigns is where you'll really start seeing the rewards. Here, we have a favourite, more advanced feature of email marketing that should get you aspiring for bigger and better...
What is dynamic content?
Dynamic content is automatically merging information or products into email marketing campaigns based on customers' specific individual attributes, whether these be explicit (demographic information for example) or behavioural (based on previous click or website behaviour).
Traditionally, email marketing requires details of a few attributes - perhaps just industry, and company size for B2B, or age and gender for B2C. Dynamic content requires much more detail, and for that you need to collect information from your recipients.
Where do I start?
In order to begin, you'll need clean data that you can begin to profile according to preference and behaviour. Don't worry if your data isn't complete, it's more important that it's responsive. You can fill in the gaps during data gathering. Look at other sources, such as a recipient repeatedly buying a similar type of product, or signing up for new product updates: these are both starting points for dynamic content.
You'll need to think about what sort of data you'll need to gather in order to be able to set up dynamic content. For example, history of your recipients can be used, especially if you have kept data on previous purchases, browsing history or notes on conversations you've had with them.
If you know the interests of your recipients, or their attitudes, then this knowledge can be used for dynamic content. Similarly, if you know other demographics such as geographic location, income or employment status these too can be used.
How to gather data?
A simple way to gather data is to use a survey, but completion rates will be low without the use of an incentive. Another way to gain small amounts of additional data is to use a poll, or a 'one-question-survey'. Busy people are more likely to answer one quick question when they're on your site or responding to an email, rather than wade through a longer survey.
Bear in mind that your intended recipients are not naive; they will be put off by intrusive questioning at point of sale or when they sign up to an email. Keep it subtle and short and you won't risk alienating your audience.
Targeted, tailored email marketing - creating dynamic content
When you have profiled your audience, and seen where you can gather data on their activities and preferences, you can plan how you will implement your content strategy.
The use of dynamic content is almost limitless. Some examples include:
- Content based on links to website browsing behaviour with subsequent emails based on the product pages visited by the user
- Content based on previous website purchases with up/cross sell opportunities
- Tailoring content or images to job, sector, age, gender, even marital status if you hold that data on your recipients
The trickiest thing with dynamic content is setting it up, but once you have it's easy to manage. Mix dynamic content and lifecycle techniques together, and you're laughing!