Getting personal with your emails
Data is at the centre of personalising
You can’t personalise emails without data. It gives you the power to alter your content and make it more appealing to each of your readers.
Marketers always list “lack of data” as the biggest stumbling block to personalising emails. What they don’t realise is they are most likely sitting on data they can use.
There are two forms of data that will give you the ability to implement personalisation. Remember, personalisation isn’t only about personal information within your emails, it’s about providing relevant content to your readers, and acknowledging the relationship you have with them.
- Individual attributes - This form of data relates to attributes specific to an individual such as name, company name, titles and products purchased. The accuracy of this type of data is essential for successful personalisation.
- Group attributes - This form of data looks for common elements across groups. It tends to be more general and usually more readily available to marketers. It can be used to deliver more relevant content that feels personal to that group of subscribers such as demographics, relationship, location.
Sourcing your data
Now that you know what you are looking for, here are three sources of data to review, collect and collate to personalise your emails:
Existing – Data that already exists in your company about your customers and leads.
Provided – Data generated at sign up through your email newsletter’s opt-in form or preference panel.
Collected – Data available following every email campaign send.
Okay, now you’ve identified what type of data you have, remembering to consider both your individual and group attribute options. You also have the three sources to check for your data. Now here are ten personalisation ideas to use in your emails.
- From field - The most influential field in an email. If it acknowledges the relationship and triggers instant recognition, you increase the chance of getting opened. Personalise the from field using: company, individual, brand or a combination of those three.
- Salutation - A popular way to add a personal touch to a broadcast email. It is essential that your data is accurate! Don’t forget to create a default salutation, such as Dear Customer or Dear Reader. Personalise the salutation using: title, first name and/or last name.
- Welcome message – An easy way to use a collection of personalised elements within one piece of content. Personalise the welcome message using: the Account Manager’s photo, relevant links, sign-off, contact details.
- Contact points – This can make the email quite useful to your readers. Personalise contact points by: location, website links, relationship (customer vs. prospect), postal address, email or phone number.
- Types of content – People like choices. Self-selection is a form of personalising, so think about giving your readers the choice of written, visual and audio content. Personalise types of content by offering: case study, white paper, image gallery, PowerPoint, podcast, video, recorded presentation.
- Localised – Acknowledge your subscribers unique regional identifiers. Personalise types of localised content by: time sent, geographical location, language and regional business days.
- Custom data fields – These are in-house data fields created by your organisation and attached to indentify individuals in your database. Use them to personalise by: customer, member or employee ID, industry, client type, company contact point.
- Relationship – This is an excellent ‘group attribute’ element. Personalise types of relationships by: customers vs. prospects; internal vs. external; candidate vs. recruiter, etc.
- Preference – Based on the data collected in your email newsletter’s opt-in form or preference panel. What can you ask your readers to select for their personalised emails? Personalise preferences by: frequency, business sectors, products and services, or specific events (such as breaking news or events).
- Engagement metrics – This data is generated from your email campaigns, giving you engagement metrics such as opens, clicks, etc. Use metrics to personalise future emails. Personalise future emails based on: non-open reactivation programs, what content you send, and one-message flyer follow ups.
How to add personalised content to your emails
Step 1: Before you begin, it is important to ensure the subscriber information has been uploaded and saved into the Newsweaver system. For help with this, watch this video.
Step 2: To begin personalising the content, you must first go to the Edit Page of your newsletter or flyer and click on the edit article icon to begin. This will open the Edit Article Page.
Step 3: Once in the Edit Article Page, you can begin personalising. For this example we will personalise the “First Name”. To do this, place the curser at the point where the personalised text is to appear. When the curser is in place, click on the “Insert Content Macro” icon on the edit bar to open the “Insert Content Macro” window.
Step 4: In the “Insert Content Macro” window, there are two dropdown menus. On the first dropdown menu called “Insert” choose the option “Subscriber field”. As the personalisation is field based, this is the default option on the menu.
On the next drop down menu called “Field”, choose from the list of fields that are available. This will determine what field of information will be pulled into the content of the newsletter of flyer. For this example we are using the First Name as a field.
The option to fill in a default appears next. The default is the text that will appear if the field you are personalising is blank for a particular subscriber. It is very important to add the default value as it secures against missing content within the newsletter. In this example we will add the text “Customer”; if the first name field is blank for a particular subscriber then the text “Customer” will appear instead.
After adding the default text, click ‘Insert’. On clicking ‘Insert’ you will be brought back to the editing screen. The personalisation macro has been added to the text. To complete, click save and close.
Step 5: The next step is to ensure the personalisation macro and default field has been added correctly. This can be checked in the preview page where “Dear Customer” is the default setting.
Step 6: Next you need to check the personalisation macro is working for a specific user. To check this, go the “Preview setup” on the bottom right hand side of the page and select the option to preview as a specific subscriber. When this option is selected a field appears for an email address to be entered. Type the email address of one of the subscribers on the account and click the update button.
This will show if the personalisation macro is working as expected. For more information watch this video on how to add personalised content to your email.
Case Study: G4S uses Newsweaver to increase engagement within the organisation
G4S uses Newsweaver to increase engagament within the organisation
G4S used an email solution to communicate with employees that was complicated and did not track engagement metrics such as opens and clicks, according to Denya Dessena, Communications Project Manager for G4S. Before deciding on a new email engagement solution, G4S drew up a list of requirements. The system needed to be easy to use and allow for data segmentation and targeting. All email templates needed to be designed in line with G4S’s branding guidelines and, if required, able to accommodate multiple languages. Plus, G4S needed to restrict access to sensitive internal content sent to employees.
G4S chose Newsweaver, as it answered all their requirements such as ease of use, unrivalled help and support, and a real understanding of the specific needs for an internal email communications tool. The first step for G4S was working with the Newsweaver team to design branded templates for newsletters (multiple messages) and flyers (single messages). To meet security concerns Newsweaver restricted the IP range that could access the email messages to internal IPs only. Ongoing targeting and segmentation requirements were addressed with Newsweaver’s activity based search facility to create lists based on G4S’s custom data fields.
G4S are very happy with the ROI on their internal email communications and have achieved the goals they set. They’re seeing a steady increase in open rates. Plus, they’ve seen an increase in traffic to the company intranet – another KPI measurement of their ROI success. Denya says “We’ve had requests from people within the organisation to be added to our mailing list. This tells us the content is relevant and useful, which is great direct feedback.”
The ease of creating, sending and tracking emails through their Newsweaver account has allowed G4S to increase the frequency of their communications. By using Newsweaver’s activity based feature, Denya can ensure emails are highly targeted and timely by segmenting based on G4S’s defined custom fields.
The reporting and analytic tools give G4S the ability to review engagement, including opens and clicks. For example, should there be a mandatory policy advisory, Denya says they’re able to see who has and hasn’t engaged with the information. They also use their business intelligence for both improving results and editorial guidance. They recently used the reporting to re-evaluate a communication they were sending and by tweaking the content got a 10% lift in responses.
Another great result for the team has been that over 11 regional offices so far have joined up to use Newsweaver for their own communication needs. Denya is able to ensure they use correctly branded templates – which also support the multiple language requirements of a global company. “The system is easy to use and intuitive. You don’t have to be technically savvy, and it has greatly increased the effective use of our email communications.”
“The system is easy to use and intuitive. You don’t have to be technically savvy, and it has greatly increased the effective use of our email communications.”
Denya Dessena, Communications Project Manager, G4S
Free webinar: Accelerate your email ROI with personalisation: 5 easy steps