You have probably heard of Dale Carnegie’s famous book How to Win Friends and Influence People in which he states: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
If you are a human being with feelings, you understand this to be true, but I’m sure it’s the same with cats and dogs.
The same thing applies to your grandmother reading her own name in an email that was sent from a corporate headquarter, small store, home office or in your Christmas card.
We take this as an evident truth so business and personal communication has taken those feelings into account – at this point, everyone knows it and uses it, but are there other ways to build upon it, get a customer to open your email and feel that it was meant just for them?
Animate the recipient’s name (GIF or image)
This is still technically connected to the name, but it is so much more. Reading one’s own name gives them the impression that the email was crafted specifically for them, but making the name special will give them butterflies. Just have a gander at this:
Steve would be more likely to open and reply after seeing his name in a Harry Potter font. The animation (GIF) or image has to be connected to a campaign, otherwise it just makes you look quirky.
If it was a targeted campaign for the sale of tickets for the new movies, there is a high chance he would buy tickets.
As an example, Helzberg Diamonds achieved an amazing 288 percent increase in sales conversions by adding an animated image using the first name of the recipient (a bracelet with the recipient’s name on it).
Segment your email database
Before you do anything content-wise for your email campaign, you should definitely consider about segmenting your email database.
Your product can be viewed differently by users depending on their age, location, interests and not all content is suited to every user.
Different types of users are referred to as marketing personas – and they should help you segment your database.
For example, you could have users that are split into age groups.
Not every age group is interested in the same possibilities your product offers so you have to segment them into different marketing personas – teenagers, young adults, the middle aged (family/no family) and retired.
This method requires you to know how users perceive your product and how they can use it according to the marketing persona you identify them with.
Taking that into account, you should server them with different content they can relate to.
Companies run email campaigns, but humans like humans
While it is important to be recognized as a brand in the email, users generally dislike receiving emails from Company XYZ and prefer a more human connection.
They want to feel like they are standing right in front of you, free to ask and challenge you. You can still use your brand, but let a person represent it. This has a twofold effect:
The first being that users take into account who is sending the email right off the bat – the From <Name>. Before anything, users will notice of the sender’s name.
A brand might just get archived, but a person is intriguing. Users generally tend to open such emails to find out what it is all about.
The other is that a person generally gives more confidence to the user.
They feel as they are treated as individuals, with a special approach and that the representative – a member of the marketing team – is there just for them. In reality that same member is shuffling numerous users.
To make it feel real, the member should have a personalized email address in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org and a signature at the bottom of the email.
The signature should have as much information about the representative as possible, without getting too personal.
The Obama campaign has had some real work on this. If you registered for their email updates somehow, you would be receiving them from a living and breathing person: Sara, Jack, Jim, sometimes even Michelle and Barack.
Personalize the subject line
We are all used to greet the person on the other side, use their name and that gets us into the door. Wrong.
The subject line is your entrance. It is a very small door, but it requires all the bells and whistles. You have to grab the user’s attention in with an instant stroke of brilliance or you lost them, for that email or forever.
While that sounds like the end of days, you can always try and get them in the next email, but you want every email to have as much conversion as possible.
I feel obliged to mention this, but you are free to skip it – we have to go back to the user’s name.
Using the user’s name in the subject line has shown to increase open rates. It creates and immediate connection between the user and the brand, making the user more inclined to reward personalization.
eBay uses this method when sending out emails with special deals.
Using user statistics, you should aim to use important keywords in the subject line.
If you know that the user has been browsing for a specific item, adding a discount in the subject line on that very item might be the incentive they need to open your email filled with offers.
Again, eBay does a great job at doing this, sending you reminders for discounts, depending on your relevant searches.
This might go against all your beliefs as a marketer, but there is high possibility that we have grown immune to name personalization.
Some suggest that users have become so desensitized by marketing emails that as soon as they see their name mentioned in that way, they will dispose of the email.
While it used to be an attention grab, marketers got their hands on it and turned it into the marketing flag it is today.
Now it seems that we have moved on from name personalization to no name personalization.
It has to do with the human psyche – today we want to get straight to the point, no hellos, no how are you. The subject line is the same, free of the marketing department and over-proofing.
This gives the feel of a friend. He knows you are busy, he does not want to bother you more than he has to, but yet he wants to share something with you.
You are not expecting a marketing email because there was no marketing flag. It peaks the user’s interest, he opens it and it is done – you have an open. Will it move to conversion? That depends on your content.Be mobile-friendly
The modern world has one prerequisite: be mobile-friendly. Most users are on the go, commuting, travelling and rarely have the chance to use a desktop or even a laptop.
So they do most of their work from their pocket – smartphones.
Your emails should not be clunky and suffocate the user. They need to use space wisely, be responsive and straightforward.
Subject lines should generally be shorter, the font should be larger and do not stack links one after another.
Here you have to take into account that users often open an email, but do not act on it. Sometimes you will get a few opens without any action from the user – this is where you need to institute reminders.
I have found myself opening an email while rushing, forgetting about it the next moment. A reminder will ask the user to recommit their time and show them you are serious and not just there to spam them.
Even if they have not opened the email, you should still send them a reminder, but differentiate content between the two.
The most important thing to keep in mind with email personalization is that you have to give everything a try. Marketing has become obsessed with user statistics as it is the most valuable asset they can rely on.
User preferences, actions, inactions and responses change over time so you have to adapt. Different marketing personas need a different approach.
The root is that if the first method and reminder do not work, try a different one and so on until you hit your goal.