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Trends in E-Mail Marketing: Dynamic, Personalized Messages

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While e-mail is an accepted and proven form of delivering marketing messages, professional marketers are looking for better ways to build customer loyalty and generate a greater return on their marketing investments.

The future of e-marketing is utilizing dynamic content – or matching messaging and offers to recipients’ demographic data. Though this approach is much more involved than standard e-mail marketing practices, it yields much higher results, as well as longer-term and more value-added relationships.

Dynamic content refers to sending highly personalized e-mails based on database-driven customer preferences. It can take the form of customized subject lines, greetings, offers or content and accompanying images within the body of an e-mail. This strategy allows marketers to send timely, relevant messages that resonate with recipients on an individual level. Dynamic content applications are becoming more readily available as add-on features to many e-mail marketing software packages.

What types of organizations benefit most from dynamic content?

By carefully collecting specific demographic information about customers, prospects or partners, such as zip code, occupation, hobbies, household income or spending habits, marketers can tailor e-mail promotions, offers and educational information to recipients’ specific interests. Organizations that can benefit most from this form of personalized e-marketing include e-commerce companies with deep product lines, professional services organizations that offer a variety of niche solutions, businesses that distribute regionally and companies that sell seasonal products or services. Some examples include sports team memorabilia companies, law firms with multiple practice areas or national clothing retailers that sell nationwide.

The value of dynamic content is two-sided

Using dynamic content to parallel e-offers with customers’ preferences brings value to both the marketer and the recipient. Customers appreciate being marketed to as an individual. With this marketing technique their specific interests, tastes and needs are being directly addressed through useful and relevant information or promotions.

For marketers, dynamic content builds brand loyalty and can positively impact customers’ attitudes toward organizations. It can also improve list retention, driving down costs associated with acquisition marketing and it can create additional revenue opportunities by generating repeat purchases. Additionally, highly relevant and personalized marketing increases the likelihood of customers taking action. By utilizing dynamic content, companies can stay ahead of the competition and increase the ROI from their marketing efforts.

Implementing a dynamic content strategy into e-mail campaigns

There are several steps marketers can take in order to incorporate a dynamic content strategy into existing e-mail campaigns:

1. Collect specific demographic data about customers and prospects

Collecting and effectively using demographic data will separate the one-size-fits-all e-mail marketing from highly personalized (thus high impact) e-marketing. To build a meaningful e-mail database, marketers should focus on collecting useful information such as age, income, gender, marital status, presence of children, education level and homeowner vs. renter status. This type of data allows marketers to anticipate buying patterns and purchase preferences, thus improving the interest and response rate from each e-mail campaign.

The best time to collect this information is through an initial e-mail sign up form or through Web or e-mail surveys. Marketers may also opt to contract for data enhancement and list appending services that can match useful demographic data to a current database of e-mail or postal addresses.

2. Improve and maintain the hygiene and segmentation of e-mail databases

As people become more selective about whom they accept e-mail from, sending unsolicited or non-customized e-mailings can result in an increase in unsubscribe rates and a decrease in response rates. While early e-mail distribution software was designed for mass e-mailing, sophisticated, newer systems offer ways to build and communicate with highly segmented lists.

Database segmentation, or list appending, is the process of incorporating additional pertinent demographic information into an existing database, thereby enriching customer data. This allows marketers to send targeted offers to specific segments. A strong e-mail partner can help you append your lists to merge in postal addresses, update existing records and integrate with no-call and no-fax lists to improve telemarketing efforts linked to e-mail campaigns. Utilizing data enhancement services can dramatically improve response rates and help you design promotions that speak to your customer on an individual level.

3. Give recipients choices of information they receive

Giving customers and prospects the option to select specific offers or certain categories of information they wish to receive demonstrates a company’s desire to build a meaningful relationship rather than pushing products or services. This practice also demonstrates that the company recognizes and respects its customers’ and prospects’ needs. This strategy will ensure the distribution list remains strong, reduces the instances of opt-outs due to recipients receiving non-relevant information, and will ultimately result in more successful e-mail marketing campaigns.

Send fewer e-mails, but make every one count

Dynamic content is the future of acquisition marketing. Consumers are becoming more savvy and are inundated with too much information to naively respond to generic promotions offering little value. The next generation of e-mail marketing etiquette is sending fewer messages to a larger database, but making every message count with high-impact offers tailored to the needs of the individual. New technologies are being introduced to help marketers easily automate this process.

While you will have to make the upfront investment to develop or obtain a quality, segmented list and you will have to stay committed to creating and delivering relevant content to targeted subgroups, the long-term payback of using dynamic content to market to customers and prospects is undeniable.

Neil Berman is an e-marketing expert with a wide range of experience developing and delivering successful e-mail marketing campaigns for many industries. He is the founder of Neighborhood Email, Inc., one of the countrys few full-service e-mail marketing companies. The companys areas of expertise include e-newsletter design and copywriting; dynamic content services; anti-spam consulting; list brokerage; database management; and backend integration with enterprise systems. Berman can be reached at 317-915-9400 ext. 204 or nberman@n-email.com.

Trends in E-Mail Marketing: Dynamic, Personalized Messages
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About Neil Berman
Neil Berman is an e-marketing expert with a wide range of experience developing and delivering successful e-mail marketing campaigns for many industries. He is the founder of Neighborhood Email, Inc., one of the countrys few full-service e-mail marketing companies. The companys areas of expertise include e-newsletter design and copywriting; dynamic content services; anti-spam consulting; list brokerage; database management; and backend integration with enterprise systems. Berman can be reached at 317-915-9400 ext. 204 or nberman@n-email.com. WebProNews Writer
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