3 Email Personalization and Optimization Opportunities to Increase Engagement
Email marketing is one of the largest and most important marketing channels that a company can leverage to reach its customers. Email provides a unique online one-to-one experience where marketers can talk directly to their customers and leads. Even though email as a marketing channel is in its fourth decade of existence it’s still relevant in today’s vast marketing landscape. In fact:
- Roughly 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months - HubSpot
- In 2019, the number of active global email users amounted to 3.9 billion - Radicati
- 87% of marketers use email campaigns to nurture their audiences - CMI
- Email marketing has the highest return on investment for small businesses – Campaign Monitor
- Email marketing has an ROI of 3800% - DMA
However, due to the popularity of using email to reach people the competition within a customer’s inbox is fiercer than ever. In fact nearly 14.5 billion spam emails are sent each day globally and American workers will receive an average of 126 emails a day.
With all this congestion it’s more important than ever to make sure you are doing everything you can to stand out in the inbox. Whether you’re optimizing subject lines for opens or providing relevant content to drive click engagement it’s worth recruiting all the help you can get. Here we will look at three opportunities to up your email game and create unique experiences for your customers.
Optimizing Subject Lines with AI
It’s impossible to talk about email marketing and not talk about subject lines. In the competitive and crowded space known as the customer inbox your subject line is the most powerful tool you in your arsenal when trying to convince a customer to take that first step and open your email. The average email open rate across industries is 17.5%, meaning if your lucky 1 out of every 5 messages you send will be opened. What can you do to improve those odds?
35% of email recipients open email based on the subject line alone. - Convince&Convert
Subject line authors have a long line of best practices, such as:
- Use personalization to capture the customer’s attention
- Create urgency through language and punctuation
- Keep subject lines short – around 9 words or under 50 characters
- Make sure the subject line is relevant to the message
- Use numbers, pose questions, be actionable
- TEST, TEST, TEST
But best practices can only get you so far and if everyone is following the same rules how can you stand out? How do you know if a particular best practice is relevant for your industry, campaign or customers?
Luckily, technology allows us to get to the next level of subject line optimization using AI-powered copywriting. Vendors, such as Phrasee, now allow marketers to generate and optimize email subject lines that have been tested to beat human written subject lines 98% of the time. Using Natural Language Generation, Natural Language processing and Machine Learning based performance predictions tools such as Phrasee can write subject lines optimized toward your audience, brand and voice giving you an advantage in the customer inbox.
Don’t be Afraid to get Personal
Email is a very personal marketing channel, especially amongst the digital landscape. When you send an email to a customer you are sending a 1:1 message from your business to a specific person at the other end. When that person reads the message it’s within their private inbox, in their space. So, email itself is a personal channel, which lends to an increased acceptance of personalized content and the statistics prove it:
- Personalized emails deliver 6x higher transaction rates. – Experian
- 55% of consumers have stated that they like email messages that contain relevant products and offers – Liveclicker
- Message Personalization is the #1 tactic used by email marketers to increase engagement rates - HubSpot
- Brands that use dynamic content to personalize their emails see an ROI that’s 22% higher than the ROI of brands that rarely or never utilize dynamic content - Litmus
But there’s more to email personalization than dropping a name in the subject line or greeting of your email. Movable Ink is a tool that allows you to up your personalization game by going beyond first name greetings and instead personalizing images, CTA buttons and content to that specific customer and the time and place of open. The Movable Ink platform uses data provided in your email list along with other contextual information collected at the time of open (current weather conditions, device being used, geo-targeting and more) to customize the email experience for a specific person at a specific time. This allows for the ultimate level of personalization that updates with each open as the customer’s contextual information changes, giving them the most relevant experience each time they open.
Leverage Real Time Data in your Content
While we’re talking about Movable Ink, another capability they provide is the ability to generate real time content at the time of open. Using real time content allows you to provide different experiences for you customers each time they open the message:
- Drive urgency with a countdown timer that updates every time the email is opened, and when the timer hits 0 swap the content with a relevant CTA
- Leverage social channels to pull in your most recent Tweets, Pinterest or Instagram posts, which will update depending on when the email is opened
- Connect to web APIs to pull in up to date content relevant to your audience
- Deploy real time A/B tests that automatically defaults to the best performing creative once a winner is determined with statistical significance
By providing real time content you can be sure that customers receive relevant experiences when sharing time sensitive information, deliver creative that is relevant to a customer’s current conditions and location, or just streamline the customers process by providing a CTA based on their device or browser no matter what they open with. These experiences drive clicks and encourage customers to engage multiple times with a single email campaign, providing more chances for conversion. Check out Movable Ink’s case studies to learn more about how real time content helped Delta Airlines see a 51% lift in their open rates, Boden increase revenue by 2000%, and Under Armour see an 80% lift in engagement metrics.
Stand Out and Convert
Email can be a seriously effective tool in a marketer’s toolbox in all phases of the customer journey, however standing out and getting the customer’s attention is getting harder and harder. Marketers need to be innovative in their approach to earning the customer’s inbox time. By using new tools and technology on top of following industry best practices you can create unique experiences and optimize your content to give you the edge in the inbox, pushing your email campaigns over the top and increasing you campaign ROI.