Email is constantly evolving. As email marketers, part of the fun of what we do is exploring new ways to engage audiences with email. It can also be a struggle at times. Email inboxes are increasingly crowded with promotional emails as more and more companies use email to communicate.
To help the end user, organisations like Google have customised their inbox layouts to include the segregation of promotional emails from the primary inbox, social media emails and general updates. These updates make it trickier for your emails to get noticed in subscriber’s inboxes, so it’s important to make your campaign attention-grabbing. One of the best methods we’ve seen over the years is by introducing dynamic content into email campaigns.
Dynamic content is essentially using what you know about your customers to provide them with content that is relevant to them. This can be anything from knowing the gender of your users and using the information to show them female/male specific products, to using birthday information to create a personalised birthday message for them each year. This technique allows you to send highly targeted information to your subscribers, and the best part is you can do it all through one email.
What are the benefits?
Higher levels of engagement
It might seem simple, but it also makes a lot of sense. Why would subscribers be interested in your campaign if it’s not relevant to them? To engage people, you need to provide content they find useful or enjoyable (or hopefully both!).
Before dynamic content existed, companies would spend unbelievable amounts of time creating separate emails for the same campaign. It was the only way to do it if you wanted to try and personalise. Now, the only bit which takes any time is the creation of the main email and then positioning your content in a dynamic setting.
This might seem like an odd one but many users don’t actually scroll all the way down to the end of an email; they scan for a couple of seconds and if they don’t find what they want they close the email. Goodbye to your click thru rates. Dynamic content enables emails to be shorter as you’re not trying to squeeze everything into one email in the hope that everyone on your database will find something interesting.
It’s technically interesting!
One for the front-end nerds out there. Dynamic coding is pretty fun (this is system dependent, of course). We’re very lucky with Enabler because it makes coding really easy to do. Enabler, like some other systems, will allow you to view the email in situ as anyone in your database would. This means no messy test emails, and no time wasting!
How can you get started?
The number one thing you need for dynamic content to work is information about your subscribers. There are lots of types of data you can use to make it work and you can even be inspired by your data:
Behavioural data – what have your users done before? What have they bought or read? When they were last on your website, what caught their eye? This data is incredibly useful when planning your campaigns. It can allow you to distinguish marketing to your leads and to your existing customers. It can influence what call to actions you use, where you use them, and other content placement decisions. It can also be used to influence pre-emptive emails based on previously purchased content.Groupon
Transactional data – what did your customers spend their money on? How often do they do this? Are they abandoning their baskets at checkout? Transactional data gives you incredible insight into the buying potential of your customers. Using this information, you could send reminder emails to customers who have left products in their baskets, remind customers of special offers based on content they’ve viewed, and provide buying recommendation emails based on previous purchases.
Demographic data – what gender or age are your subscribers? Where are they based? Knowing a customer’s gender can be really useful for something like fashion based emails, knowing their location can help with events promotions or deals in shops local to them. One of the best examples I’ve seen of this is Groupon:
They send out daily emails which are targeted by region. All the offers in their emails actually contain deals which are near to the post code I provided them with, and the copy reflects this. Check out this ‘Afternoon tea for two’ offer (right). It tells me how far from me it is, what the discount is, mentions the word Londoners and it really pushes the personalisation of the email in the top banner.
If you want to take all of this a step further, once you have completed your dynamic campaign you can also do some reporting on the campaign to find out what worked, then tailor your next campaign based on this information. Remember, with all of these options, testing is key.
The final checklist for dynamic content success
1. Accurate data – there’s no point trying without this. Why use information about your database if it’s not correct?
2. An Email Service Provider that supports dynamic content (if you want more information about Enabler, get in touch)
3. Knowledge of your customer database – what sort of targeting do you think will work on your list? For fashion brands, the key one is gender, for insurance we’re looking at regions and preference based sending, but what will work for your brand?
4. Testing – keep trying new things, A/B test to your hearts content. Never stop testing your email campaigns!
In today’s market, there is no better way to improve results of your campaigns than through dynamic content. Dynamic content is to the email marketing world what Dumbledore is to the wizarding world. Pure brilliance.