I just listened to an amazing webinar on e-mail marketing (see it yourself here).  It featured Nate Johnson from Realtor.com (very smart) and great tips on personalizing your e-mail marketing (also very smart).

What were some of the key takeaways?


 

E-MAIL MARKETING IS STILL RELEVANT 

According to the survey behind this webinar, e-mail has a 246% return on investment for midsize companies.  Those are some strong numbers.  Because people look at their e-mail an average of 150 times a day, you can get in front of targets effectively through e-mail.

E-mail is a dominant channel for most marketers.    Everyone in the survey is spending more time, resources, energy, and effort on e-mail and seeing bigger returns year-over-year.

“I get really excited about e-mail.  I’ve seen how effective it can be as a marketer and a product executive,” said Johnson.


 

THE E-MAIL MARKETING LANDSCAPE IS COMPLEX 

The number of vendors and services willing to help marketers with e-mail marketing is growing.

  • Subscriber acquisition tools: One way to grow your list is through third-parties. When using this strategy, it’s critical to utilize best practices. Double check the quality of leads by segmenting them out from your other sources to see what the usage and click patterns are.  This will help you determine if this is a good investment.
  • E-mail validation services: Deliverability is not a key user concern, but it can be an administrative headache and a drainage of resources.  These companies will help make sure the emails in your database are current.
  • Customer Analytics and Personalization tools: These vendors help centralize customer and web data, then apply algorithms to the data to unearth unique customer personas. They claim to more accurately predict funnel stage and notify you when your customer is ready to buy.

 

THE NEW KID ON THE BLOCK  IS PERSONALIZATION 

The most exciting segment to emerge from email marketing is personalization.  There are some fascinating things happening in this space, including personalization based on real time, location, device, funnel stage, even weather!  If you’re REI, as an example, you don’t want to send a promotion on winter boots to an area that’s experiencing a heat wave.

“The innovation in this area is really fascinating,” said Johnson.  This trend will make e-mail an even more personal experience.

 

Levels of Personalization 

Where you can go with personalization is exciting, but if you’re looking to implement it in the short-term, there are easy (and extremely effective) things you can do immediately.

  • Level OnePersonalize your greeting and subject lines

This is easy to do and will significantly boost engagement.  In their survey, they saw a 40% lift in open rates just by personalizing the subject line. Clicks also improve.

  • Level TwoTrigger Based Actions

Personalize the e-mail you send based on the actions your customers or visitors have taken.  Let them take the lead in telling you what they’d like to see.  You’re more likely to get a better reaction to your communication this way.

  • Level Three Create dynamic content based on location or time of open

Dynamic content that knows what type of device your audience is using to read the e-mail, where they are, what time of day it is, etc. and then personalizes the message based on that data.

In real estate, this can be very location-specific.  “We are very geography specific – area and neighborhood specific,” Johnson said.  “We have a lot of people looking for a lot of houses.  People like to look for houses in specific neighborhoods or cities.”

So if you’re in real estate, understanding the neighborhood, area, or property a person is interesting in can help you personalize your messaging with great intent and success.


 

Okay! I’m in!  I want to do personalized email.  What are some rules of the road?

  1. Send fewer e-mails with more personalization. Don’t flood your consumers with superfluous information.  Stay focused.
  2. Look at your e-mail marketing with a user-centric point of view. If you do too much, people will stop engaging.  Be respectful of what users are looking for.
  3. Strategically, understand how e-mail fits into your overall contact strategy. Make an effort to outreach with relevant, compelling information that matters to them.
  4. Use the data and the tools at your disposal to make it the most personal message possible.
  5. Ask for feedback by creating open channels of communication. Email is no longer about broadcasting your message.  It’s now a one-to-one communication tool.

With our recent announcement on the intent to acquire AddressReport, Onboard Informatics is using the data at our disposal to create more compelling and personal e-mail marketing campaigns for our clients. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us today.

 

About The Author

Director of Marketing

Erin has 15 years experience in marketing everything from global conferences to global coffee companies. Her big loves include her baby boy, teaching too many spin classes, musical theatre, and Onboard Informatics (of course!)

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