Delivering relevance is the top priority on every smart email marketers’ list in 2019. With the average office worker receiving upwards of 121 emails a day, generalized promo content is no longer grabbing the attention brands need to deliver results.
Traditionally, email campaigns have been carried out in a ‘batch and blast’ process. This refers to batching all your subscribers together into one giant mail list, and blasting one generalised campaign to all of them.
Whilst this traditional method may have worked in the past, especially when dressing your campaigns up so that they’re visual standouts, it’s no longer garnering the type of engagement you need to capitalise on your marketing efforts. This is because your email is no longer one of a few promotional emails in a person’s inbox, it’s now sometimes one of dozens.
How do we deliver content that gets high open rates and engagement? By increasing relevance.
How do we increase our email relevance? By using email marketing automation tools.
Delivering relevance is delivering value. When you deliver value to your recipients, then you’re more likely to deliver the results your email strategy was aiming for. After all, can an email be successful if nobody engages with it?
In this article, we’re going to explore the marketing automation tools marketers can use to increase relevance without increasing workload, or overhead needs.
Here are 5 ways to deliver relevance with email automation.
Trigger-based email campaigns are emails which ‘trigger’ to send when specific behavioural requirements are met.
For example, if you’ve ever received an ‘abandoned shopping cart’ reminder email from an eCommerce store, then you’ve received a trigger based email. In this case the email was pre-made and set up to send automatically to any contact who added items to their shopping cart, but didn’t checkout.
Trigger-based emails are extremely relevant to their recipients because they are sent to the right person, at the right time, about the right topic. Your triggered email is far more likely to be opened, and engaged with, precisely because it’s expected.
There are countless contact behaviours you can use to trigger relevant email campaigns. From email campaigns promoting products which contacts have previously clicked links to find out more about, to ‘thank you for attending’ emails sent to event attendees at precisely the right time; trigger based emails deliver relevance on autopilot.
Segmenting your contact database in order to target specific groups with email campaigns they’re most likely to see value in is another way of delivering relevance.
One variable you can segment your contacts by is their level of engagement. Using engagement as the basis for segmentation and targeting is clever; it acknowledges that not everyone in your subscriber base is at the same spot in their journey with your brand, and thus gives you the opportunity to move along contacts based on where they are – not where you want them to be.
Think of it this way: in your subscriber base you have both brand new subscribers, and old subscribers. Of the old subscribers you have some which love your emails and engage in them regularly, and some who rarely give your brand’s communications the time of day. Would a generalised email work for all these subscribers? If you want to see constantly improving email ROI – the answer is no. Your subscribers need to be attended to based on what their level of engagement is.
How do you figure out how engaged a contact is without having to manually view every single one of your publication reports?
With an Engagement Scoring tool, of course!
Here’s a quick explanation of how Swift Digital’s Engagement Scoring tool works:
- You allocate points to specific behaviours. E.g. 100 points for opening an email, 300 points for clicking a link, 1000 points for attending an event.
- As your subscribers interact with your brand, their scores are automatically tallied and can be viewed as profile overviews.
- You can segment your contacts based on their engagement scores. E.g. contacts with a score less than 1000 are sorted into a ‘low engagement’ mailing list, whilst those with a score of above 3000 are sorted into a ‘high engagement’ mailing list.
- You can use your segmented groups to target contacts based on their level of engagement.
That’s all there is to it!
We now know that we can deliver relevance by sending the right email at the right time, but how do we make sure the content of that email is specifically relevant to the individual receiving it?
Dynamic Content is a marketing automation tool which enables content creators to create multiple variables of email campaign content. For example, 3 different versions of an email header image, 2 versions of an introductory paragraph, and about 10 eNewsletter stories which won’t all appear for any one subscriber. These content variables are then set up with ‘rules’ which dictate whether or not they appear for a recipient based off of behavioural or profile data.
Let’s take a look at an example of how this might work.
Your marketing team has created an email invite to a travelling roadshow, but instead of making it generalised by talking about the roadshow nationally, you want each recipient to see the invite as being local to wherever they reside.
You create 3 variations of the email header image. One is a photo of the Sydney Opera House, one is of Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, and the other is of Parliament House in Canberra. Using Dynamic Content rules, you specify that each header image will only display for contacts who reside in the locale the header image is from.
You rinse and repeat for the text, and event links, making sure contacts only see copy and registration links for the city they live in.
As you can imagine, using Dynamic Content delivers extreme relevance to your recipient. Most of your contacts may well feel that they were specially targeted with an email custom made for them. That’s good – that’s the way you want your contacts to feel. Contacts who feel like individuals rather than one part of a massive audience are more likely to trust your brand, which leads to long term, high-value engagement.
Personalisation is a common out-of-the-box feature across most email marketing comms. You’ve probably received hundreds of emails yourself that refer to you by your first name. That’s personalisation.
Personalisation works by inserting ‘merge fields’ into email content. These merge fields refer to the collected data of your subscriber base and will automatically populate with the recipient’s unique details.
For example: ‘Hi [First Name]’ will show up as ‘Hi David’ when received by a contact named David.
Personalisation is only limited by the type of data you collect, so you’re able to get extremely creative with how you use merge fields in your campaigns.
Personalisation helps to deliver relevance because it custom fits the copy to the recipient. By addressing a contact by their first name, or referring to other profile data – such as their age, membership ID, or location of residence – you instantly make the email more relevant and less generalised.
The easiest way to deliver relevance to your audience is to give them autonomy over their relationship with your brand’s communications.
How can you do that? By swapping out your traditional subscription and unsubscription forms for a Preference Center.
A Preference Center allows new and existing subscribers to manage their subscription to your brand’s email communications. Depending on how you choose to build your preference center, you may ask subscribers to specify what topics they want to receive emails about, whether they want to receive email invites, or newsletters, or company updates, etc.
Preference Centers also take all the manual work out of database segmentation. This is because subscribers essentially segment themselves. By specifying what communications they want to receive, they’ll be automatically subscribed to those corresponding mailing lists, making them targetable for relevant content without much fuss on your marketing team’s end.
Giving your subscribers the option to manage their subscription increases your communications’ relevance by default, and has the extra bonus of increasing the relevance of your brand in the eyes of your subscriber base. It’s a lot easier to trust a brand when your contacts feel they have autonomy over their engagement.
Using a Preference Center in lieu of an unsubscription form also catches any would-be remaining subscribers who were just unhappy with some of the communications they were receiving from you, not all.
By employing a Preference Center, you can avoid unnecessary unsubscribes, and easily deliver on relevance by letting your contacts tell you exactly what they want.
Email marketing automation tools should be prioritised when it comes to designing and deploying your marketing strategy. Delivering relevance is extremely important in this day and age – where most people online are just about over-stimulated with marketing content. Being relevant with your comms can be extremely difficult, but with the right data, and the right tools – it can be a pain-free, automated endeavour.
If you want to deliver relevance with email automation, talk to Swift Digital about our decked out email marketing automation platform.
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