The Power of Personalization — How to Humanize your Email Efforts

Issue 08

“In email marketing,” Rockhouse’s Amanda Severs says, “segmentation, automation, and personalization are everything.” In our last issue, we dove into segmentation and automation. Now it’s time to dig in to personalization.

No smart marketer wants to come off like a spambot. Personalization — achieved through MailChimp merge tags — allows you to treat customers like human beings, and not just because you know a customer’s name.
 
For example, imagine a concert goer named Sarah. Thanks to MailChimp’s subscriber activity reports, Rockhouse Partners knows that Sarah likes to go to punk rock shows. They also know Sarah lives in Raleigh, N.C., and has purchased tickets to shows at Pour House Music Hall. So when Rancid comes to town, Amanda can personalize a campaign that not only mentions Sarah’s name, but also mentions shows she’s attended in the past.
 
Let’s say Sarah opens that email, but doesn’t buy tickets. A couple days later, Rockhouse can send a targeted email to Sarah and others like her who engaged, but didn’t purchase.

“As we get more personalized with follow-up campaigns, we add a good amount of incremental sales,” Amanda says.

By continually tracking customer behavior, Amanda can refine the personalization of her campaigns until she finds the sweet spot.

Always be testing

A/B testing is how Amanda and her team turn good campaigns into great ones. It allows Rockhouse to use customer data to answer small but important tactical questions:

Do more people click “Buy Tickets” when it’s at the top of the email or the bottom?

Are they more inclined to click if it says “Buy Tickets Now” or “Get Tickets Today?”

What if the template is blue? How about red?

What’s the perfect combination of all these variables (and others) to maximize engagement?
 
A savvy marketing team can find all kinds ofclever ways to use A/B testing. For example, Rockhouse recently started adding emojis in the subject lines of some of their clients’ email campaigns.

“At first, I thought it was kind of silly and that no one would care,” Amanda says. “But when we tested them, the emails with emojis in the subject line got an open rate that was at least 20% higher. It just shows that being able to stand out in an inbox is hugely important.”

Keeping your lists fresh

You’ve got to keep your email lists fresh to make the most of your campaigns. “MailChimp makes it very easy to maintain the health of email lists so they don’t go stale,” Amanda says.
 
Rockhouse uses MailChimp reports to monitor list growth, open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates. When a group of prospects hasn’t engaged for a while, Amanda will put together a “win-back campaign” — an email designed to activate a list of inactive recipients. If that fails, it’s time to remove those subscribers from the list.
 
When migrating a list to MailChimp for new clients, Rockhouse uses the data validation feature to determine which subscribers to keep and which ones to leave behind.

“Data validation applies an A, B, C, D, or F grade to each subscriber,” Amanda explains. “Those with an ‘A’ are healthy. Those with an ‘F’ you obviously don’t put on your list.”


Read the next issue.

This first appeared in MailChimp’s newsletter for agencies. Sign up for the newsletter here.