Email marketing is arguably the most successful marketing channel. Facebook, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms may seem like they’d be more effective in gaining and retaining customers. But as old school, as it is, email is still the easiest way to communicate with other people. This is because more people have email accounts than social media accounts. While almost 80% of the 4.3 billion Internet users in the world have social media accounts, almost all (if not all) of them have active email accounts. This means that you’re more likely to reach someone via email than social media.
There are plenty of facts that support the widespread use of email as a form of communication. According to Statista, there will be 5.6 billion active email accounts by the end of 2019. 99% of consumers check their inbox daily. Moreover, it was revealed in a study by McKinsey & Company that employees spend an average of 13 hours a week on their email inbox. The same company discovered that email is 40x more effective at acquiring new customers compared to social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. What’s more, according to Campaign Monitor, customers are more likely to click on a link sent via email than one sent via a tweet.
Email marketing is the key to growing your business. However, that doesn’t mean you need to send mass emails to your subscribers and expect a return of your investment. According to DMR, the average employee receives 121 emails a day. Amidst all that clutter, you’re going to need to be able to stand out and catch the recipient’s attention. The one-size-fits-all approach is not going to work. Especially not in this age of personalization. You’re going to need to utilize email personalization to get the results you’re looking for.
Email personalization is exactly what it sounds like – email that’s personalized or targeted based on personal information such as age, location, online behavior, and purchase history. By personalizing your email to the customer, you’re creating a better, more relevant experience and strengthening brand loyalty. There are several ways you can implement email personalization in your marketing campaign. One is through list segmentation. Another is through dynamic email content.
- 1 What is dynamic email content?
- 2 Why use dynamic email content?
- 3 Dynamic content basics
- 4 How to create dynamic email content?
- 5 Conclusion
What is dynamic email content?
Dynamic content in email is when the information within your email changes in real-time to provide personalized content to the reader. The personalization can be based on a variety of factors including demographics (name, sex, age, etc.), interests, online behavior, and preferences of the subscriber.
What does this mean? To put it more simply, dynamic content is the part of your email (certain blocks of text and images) that changes based on data points gathered on the end-user or recipient. For example, let’s say that your pet store is currently having a sale on all pet foods. Using the information you gathered on your subscribers, you use HTML to create content that will change depending on whether your subscriber has a dog, cat, iguana, etc. This means that dog owners will only receive an email informing them of a sale on dog food, cat owners on the sale of cat food, etc.
Here’s another example. Let’s say that your company is promoting a contest and the prize is a trip to Venice. Using dynamic content, you can ensure that subscribers living in Venice won’t receive the same offer. After all, they won’t be interested in getting a free trip to where they already live! Instead, the information in the email will change in real-time using the subscriber’s location to determine what kind of offer is shown. In this case, the offer changes into a trip to Paris instead. In short, dynamic content in email means that the images, text, call-to-action, etc. in your email will adjust or get switched based on predetermined values (demographics, online behavior, etc.) you’ve selected.
Why use dynamic email content?
We’ve already discussed why email personalization is so important these days. But why should we choose dynamic email content over other tactics like list segmentation? What are the benefits of utilizing this in your email marketing campaigns?
Because dynamic content is “adaptive” to the end-user, it makes you stand out from all the other emails in the inbox. More importantly, it enhances the customer experience because you’re giving the reader something relevant to him/her. Instead of having to deal with information they aren’t interested in, you provide them with the information that they need. You’re providing them with a personalized, simplified buyer’s journey, reducing friction and enabling them to connect more deeply with your brand, thereby increasing the likelihood that they’ll purchase from you.
Send relevant content
People engage with what they’re interested in, to what they can relate to. Generic emails are rarely relatable. They usually just clutter waiting to be swept into the junk mail folder or, worse, the trash. Why would a dog person want to know about sales on cat food or vice versa? Why would a Parisian be interested in winning a trip to Paris? Should they receive such an email, the likelihood that they’ll unsubscribe from your list is extremely high. When you use dynamic content in email, on the other hand, you can be sure that what the end-user receives is information that he or she can relate to or can use to benefit his or her life in some way. Dog owners will get info on current sales you have on dog accessories while cat owners will only receive notice of sales on products and/or services that they can use.
List segmentation requires that you create separate email templates for each segment, customized according to the data you’ve gathered on your subscribers. This means using different images, call-to-action, text, etc. for all of your lists. Eventually, the number of customized templates you need to create will increase exponentially due to further segmentation and the customer life cycle. That’s a lot of work and it will take a lot of time to accomplish.
On the other hand, dynamic email content only requires you to create one template with predetermined areas where the content will automatically adapt based on the segment/s you’ve chosen. It doesn’t require the same amount of effort, time, and resources but it produces the same result – an increase in engagement and click-through rate.
Dynamic content basics
Personalizing your email content is relatively easy. Of course, this would all depend on how much data you’ve gathered on your customers. But don’t fret too much yet. There are some easy ways you can start utilizing this tactic in your email marketing campaigns.
Dynamic content based on demographics
Engage your audience by sending them content that is relevant to them based on their demographic information. This can include age, sex, race, gender, location, marital status, education, and occupation.
For example, you can adjust the content of your email based on the age ranges of your customers or their gender. This enables you to target customers that are more likely to be interested in the product or service you are offering. Let’s say you’re a retail store and you’re promoting new arrivals. By creating dynamic content based on demographics, you can ensure male subscribers who are 18 to 30 years old will only receive content that shows clothes that are known to be preferred by individuals within that group. In the same way, female subscribers will only see new arrivals in women’s clothing.
Dynamic content based on preferences
Aside from utilizing demographic data, you can also increase customer engagement by sending them email content based on their preferences. It’s not unusual to be asked by companies about what type of content you wish to receive soon after you subscribe to their newsletter. This enables companies to make sure that they only send information that the user is specifically interested in getting. When they do this, the email is automatically highly relevant to the user which boosts engagement and increases the chances of conversion.
Let’s use the retail store example again. Some consumers love getting notified of upcoming sales but others prefer to receive notifications of new arrivals. Using the same dynamic email template, you can switch the images, text, and link in the email based on what the user prefers to learn about – sales or new arrivals.
Dynamic content based on email data
Your email service provider can gather data on how your users are “interacting” with your emails. It can track the open and click-through rates, enabling you to see what forms of content or topics they engage with the most. Using that data, you can create dynamic content in your next email that will have a higher chance of engagement.
For example, some readers have higher engagement when emails contain videos. Because of email data, you can create dynamic content for those individuals that will include more videos.
How to create dynamic email content?
Determine your segments
The key to creating dynamic content in email is to segment your audience. Use data you’ve gathered from your customers to create clear segments such as name, age, sex, location, family status, kids, job title, industry, personal preferences, previous purchases, previous online behavior, and customer life cycle. If you lack data, encourage your subscribers to complete their profiles or create customized fields in your email subscriber form.
Define the email elements
Once you have built your segments, you need to choose which parts of your email will be dynamic. The elements in your dynamic email template that will “adapt” to the end-user will be determined by the type of customer persona you are targeting. For example, if you’re sending an email to male and female runners, you can choose to place a dynamic image and text on the CTA button which will change depending on the gender of the end-user. For male runners, it will show a man taking part in a race with the text “Shop Men’s Running Shoes” on the CTA button. For female runners, the image will change to a female on a track with the text “Shop Women’s Running Shoes” instead.
Dynamic email content may be a more sophisticated tactic of email personalization but that doesn’t mean it is hard to implement. There is plenty of software you can use to get started. Moreover, there are a lot of scenarios where you can easily implement this tactic to create very personalized emails that will boost customer engagement such as time-sensitive offers, FOMO emails, abandoned carts, location-sensitive emails, cross-selling emails, and emails based on previous purchases. Just make sure of two things. One, you need to consistently update your data so that you can improve your segmentation and keep creating relevant content. Two, make sure to have metrics in place so you’re always aware of how well you are doing based on your goals and what needs improvement to reach them.