It still surprises me today when I run into retail marketers who are sending the same email to all their customers. They are the ones who are surprised at the low levels of their open and click rates.
While there are probably a 100 reasons to begin to personalize email marketing today, here are the top 10 reasons to start now. Remember, in digital marketing, time is not your friend!
- Your customers are receiving personalized emails from your competition. As personalized emails become more common, consumers will begin to shift their spending to brands that seem to know them the best. That better be you!
- Your customers don’t know many of the products that you carry. Often, even best customers do not know your entire product assortment. By highlighting products that analysis suggests they might be interested in, you both intrigue and reward your better customers with more information.
- Your retail experience is largely unpersonalized. No matter how much training you give your store associates, regular customers are seldom recognized, and their service experience is often generic. Email campaigns give you the opportunity to add a personal touch not available in-store.
- Your customers may be running out of your products right now. You do not know what the consumption/usage patterns of your products are and cannot easily anticipate when customers may need a refill. Every time they run out of a product, they have to make the choice to repeat or seek out other alternatives. Help them make the choice to come back by letting them know that you know who they are and care about them.
- Email personalization does not require programming knowledge any more. “Back in the day,” you often needed a combination of HTML and SQL skills to execute personalized email marketing. Today, the new generation of email marketing tools allow you to “point and click” your way to basic email customization (images, offers, text). Don’t let software installation stop you, either. Most of these new tools operate in the cloud. You can get up and running quickly. You can load your email list, host your images and copy and build your campaigns as you need. In addition, you can download open/click files for further analysis as you wish.
- Your customers think you don’t really know who they are. Why should they? Do you? If you knew that the patterns of a mere 10% of your customers would determine not only your bonus but whether you stay in business, how different would you act? You can identify those customers with some basic analysis and then focus on them for your targeted marketing. Begin to convince those customers that you know them by referring to their prior purchases and other things you know about them, and follow-up with other programs, both online and in-person.
- Your customers are angry that they don’t receive the discounts “the other guy gets”. Why is it that companies give the largest discounts to prospects, who they don’t even know, and the lowest to their prize customers, the ones who “keep the lights on”? By the way, if you think your best customers do not know what other customers and prospects receive in offers, you are wrong. The Internet takes care of that. Preempt those concerns with special offers for Best Customers, based on their unique needs. That approach will help with retention.
- Bored customers try the competition. “Hey, the other guy has some shiny new bells and whistles! I think I will go try them out!” And there goes your Best Customers, trying the competition’s new offers or products while you send the same mass boring emails to them over and over again. Use your customer knowledge to customize the offers in ways a competitor can’t.
- Personalized emails make you more money. Over and over again, we see in our clients that personalized email subject lines and offers drive up to a 50% higher lift in open rates, click through rates and conversions. Yes it takes more work. Yes it will make you more money.
- Personalized emails contribute to customer retention. Customers, simply put, want to return to places that know them, speak to them as individuals and would miss them if they were gone. That is the goal of all marketing. Personalized emails are one small step in that direction, but they are a clear step, one you can’t afford to miss.
You probably realize by now how critical personalized email marketing is to the growth of your business. Now, how to start?
In our experience, the one place to begin with personalized offers is to offer customers exactly the same product category they purchased before. That approach may be counter-intuitive, but in client after client, the last product category purchased shows up as one of the products categories the customer is most likely to purchase again, even for categories with longer purchase cycles. So take the shortcut, and offer your Best Customers a product from the same product category as before, with personalized communications and subject lines. Sometimes the easiest approach is the best.
Personalized email marketing is a critical link to retaining and growing relationships and business with your Best Customers. Don’t wait to start. Your competitors already have.