Dynamic content and marketing automation can significantly improve open and click-through rates and generate more traffic. Here’s why…
If you’ve ever seen the film “Galaxy Quest,” about a troupe of washed-up actors from an old TV sci-fi show who get the chance to go into space for real, there’s a scene where the lead actor is stranded on a dangerous planet while the rest of the crew figures out how to rescue him. As the shuttle leaves the planet, the lead’s jealous co-star shouts back to him, “Of course, it’s always about YOU, isn’t it?”
Why, yes, it is. In fact, it’s always about you—especially when it comes to emails that use dynamic content to stand out from the glut of emails in your inbox.
We live in a world so automated and hyper-personalized that we don’t think twice when our most recent email from Amazon recommends a new product we can tell right away is absolutely perfect for us. Or when Netflix magically knows that we’ll be binging on that new series starring our favorite actor as soon as it’s available. Or when DSW sends us a generous coupon so we can treat ourselves to new shoes for our birthday. Or…
Well, you get the idea. And though the rational part of our brain knows we’re kind of being manipulated into buying, we kind of love it because these retailers are giving us what we want: to feel like we matter, like we’re not just one of 53 million people who might be included in that same email send.
In other words? It’s all about us. That’s why 22% of consumers consider customer-first marketing important—while the number of consumers who don’t care is a measly 5%.
Your B2B customers want to feel important, too. Most companies have a wealth of information about clients in their email database or CRM, and dynamic email content is a great way to put this knowledge to effective use by delivering content that reflects your individual customers’ behavior and history.
Sure, it’s possible to do this kind of segmentation manually if you don’t mind laboring over a hot spreadsheet for a while. But most CRM and email systems can be integrated—and automated—to do that hard work for you.
What Exactly is Dynamic Content?
At its most basic, dynamic content helps marketers automatically personalize their emails based on the preferences, interests or geographic locations of individual subscribers. You create a single email with customizable text blocks and images, and marketing automation fills in the blanks depending on the information you have in your database for each subscriber.
The personalized content helps marketers build relationships with their subscribers, who tend to engage more with content that interests them. In fact, the UK’s Direct Marketing Association found that 58% of all revenue is driven by personalized emails.
Easing Your Way Into Dynamic Content
If you’d like to dip a toe into the dynamic content waters, start with something simple, since it’s easier to report on single dynamic campaigns than multiple-campaign segmentation. As an example, let’s say you’d like to promote a white paper. You could vary your call to action, depending on whether your contact is the IT director or the CEO.
Or, maybe you’d like to send out an email with a special offer. You could use the purchase history available in your CRM to promote discounts on products similar to what your audience has purchased in the past—a great way to keep things relevant for the recipients.
According to a study by Experian Marketing Services, personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates, and 41% higher unique click rates than non-personalized mailings—a good return on a couple of dynamic fields and some automation. And that’s just by taking advantage of information in your email database. If your email platform can integrate with a web analytics platform to include recent browsing history on your site, imagine the results you could look forward to!
Tips and Ideas for Using Dynamic Content
A quick Google will get you hundreds—even thousands—of tips, tricks, dos, don’ts and ideas for creating emails with dynamic content. To help you cut through the noise, here are some of our favorite tips for creating emails your subscribers will want to read:
- Send your email recipients something they’ll actually want to read. They’re real people; don’t insult them with obviously generic templates full of sales-speak. The whole idea of personalized emails is to sound personal, so look at the email from their point of view to see what benefits they’ll enjoy, and frame the message from their perspective, not yours.
- The email’s subject line will be your best chance to get their attention. Subject lines can be customized, too, so write with that in mind.
- Use recipients’ first names. Not only is it friendlier, it’s a simple thing that can catch the reader’s eye from their inbox. Subject lines, headlines, or initial body content are all good places to use first names.
- “Based on this purchase, we think you’ll like…” is a good way to get your recipients thinking about future purchases. You’re using concrete information the recipient recognizes—their past purchases—to suggest a product or service that holds a similar appeal.
- If you use personalized video to create content, be sure to keep the accompanying email short and to the point so it doesn’t distract from the important message in the video.
- Use imagery to personalize your emails, informed by the demographic and subscriber information in your CRM. As an example, you could use photos with older models for an older demographic, outdoor activity-themed photos for a segment of your subscribers that have indicated an active lifestyle. You could even use a photo with familiar geographic landmarks: for instance, the famous Gateway Arch for subscribers in the St. Louis area, or Comerica Park for Detroit-area subscribers.
- Speaking of location, personalization is a great way to include upcoming events based on a subscriber’s location, or suggest classes or webinars based on previous courses they’ve taken.
- Personalize email messages or newsletters with the name of a customer’s account manager, or a prospect’s future account rep. It’s a great way for your reps to keep in touch and will go a long way toward personalizing the company and improving their perception of your customer service.
- Send them something they want to read. Earn their trust by sending quality e-mails, and don’t assault them with too many.
- Dynamic content is perfect for a re-engagement campaign. Personalized reminders or “We’ve missed you!” emails can show subscribers that you care enough to remember your previous interactions with them.
Results of Using Dynamic Content
So, what kinds of results have marketers seen using dynamic content? Thanks to the magic of case studies, here are a few glimpses into the possibilities of dynamic content. Of course, keep in mind that your mileage may vary, since these are enterprise-level companies. You’ll find links to detailed versions of the case studies in the Sources section at the end of this article.
Company: Hewlett-Packard, information technology
Increased numbers with dynamic content:
- 300% higher open rate
- 600% higher clickthrough rate
- Generates as much as 18% of overall traffic
Company: Li-Ning, sporting and athletic goods
Increased numbers with dynamic content:
- Dynamic content drew 11% of email clicks, which were responsible for 49% of email purchases
- 14% of Digital Li-Ning’s sales occurred through the dynamic email campaign
Company: Bundoo, parenting website
Increased numbers with dynamic content:
- 13% increase in monthly users
- 60,000 clicks per month
- Improved bounce rate of the platform’s traffic on the site by 25%
- Increased pages per visit of 45%
- Increased time on site of 70%
As you can see, the use of dynamic content and email automation has the potential to make a major difference in your email response rates. Even that Holy Grail of email marketing, the viral email, is 4.5 times more likely to happen when an email has meaningful personalized messaging: e.g., customized recommendations or photos of the recipients taken at previous events.
It’s a good bet, given the success of personalization, that dynamic content will become a permanent feature of automated email marketing. Isn’t it time your business started showing your customers that they’re the most important people in the world to you?
If you’re ready to learn more about the world of dynamic content and marketing automation, our Marketing Director (and Certified Pardot Consultant and SharpSpring Specialist), Jeremy Sterling, would love to help you get started. Contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-546-5434.