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How To Personalize Emails for Your eCommerce Business

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In our Email FAQs series, we answer your email marketing questions! In this episode, Daniel Kohn, the Founder of SmartMail, answers a question he gets asked all the time by online retailers big and small: How can I better personalize emails for my eCommerce business?

Watch the video below for Daniel’s industry secrets revealed! You can also read the full article or listen to the audio at the bottom of the post.

Create Meaningful Communication with Shoppers Through Email

You might be sitting there right now asking yourself, “How can I create more meaningful communications with my customers? That’s the one thing that we’re all aiming to do, and the simplest thing to remember when you actually capture email addresses is to capture important data you can use later on down the line like agenda, or your shoppers’ first name, or their birth date, and all that information is easy to pass into MailChimp or Constant Contact or whatever emailing platform that you’re using.

But I think the very first thing, first and foremost is rather than just capturing an email, you also want to capture possibly one or two other really important fields.

The 2 Data Points You Can Use to Better Personalize Your Emails

Capturing your shopper’s birthday is really important because sending a birthday campaign can be really successful and very profitable, especially you know if you’re gonna be offering them an incentive around their birthday, and then you want to play around with it as well.

If you’re using a pop-up tool like Justuno, or OptinMonster or any of these tools where you can add or subtract fields relatively easily, you might want to A/B test having a version with an additional field, and without one.

Depending on what kind of business you are, if it’s really important to know if they’re a male or female, you’re gonna want to separate that out as well and decide which field is more important to include. Because if you have too many fields you’re gonna lose them and they’re not gonna fill out any information.

The Golden Rule of Lead Generation

Because the golden rule, (never forget this!), of lead generation is that the more information you ask for the less people are gonna fill it out, so the less fields the better (but one or two is okay).

So that’s the first way to start creating more personalized messaging.

If you can capture their first name, you know, it’s nice when you say, “Hi, Bob, how you doing? blardy blardy blar,” or “Hi, Bob, here are this week’s  top 10 sellers,” so that’s also okay. But from our experience it hasn’t really been a big game-changer in really moving the needle.

Segmenting Shoppers to Personalize Email Campaigns

Another thing you want to look at is segmenting shoppers. This is even more important and more effective when it comes to increasing the success of your email campaigns through personalization.

Segment your buyers based on what they bought from your website, either based on category or specific product items. With tools like MailChimp or any of these common out-of-the-box solutions today you can actually create segments within a list, and if you’re on Shopify or BigCommerce or WooCommerce or any other cart platform that actually integrate really nicely into MailChimp, etc., it’s very easy for you to start leveraging your purchase data and historical purchase data because the integrations between the email marketing platforms and the cart platforms are really simple nowadays! This makes it easy to create segments.

How to Segment Your Email List to Personalize Content

So you go in to your list and you say, “I want to create a segment of my list of all people who have bought from a particular category or bought a particular product,” and you add them to that specific list.

You want to be able to start sending personalized newsletters to that particular group of buyers, because they’re more likely to buy from that category again then from another category on your website.

Now, obviously that depends on the range of products that you sell, but usually, for example if a woman buys bras from you and they’ve bought two bras from you before, but they haven’t bought any jackets or coats you want to add them to the bra list.

The next time you’ve got a special on bras, or a specific brand of bras, then the next time you have a promotion for that particular brand or for that specific category, you can market specifically to those people who have historically not just shown interest but actually bought.

Segmented Emails With Personalized Content Convert 5x Higher

So that’s a very powerful way of personalizing your emails and the content in your emails to a specific group of buyers, and usually the conversion rate on those emails are going to be five times higher than the regular emails that you send out to your list, where you send a batch and blast email.

Because the contextual relevance to their historical connection to your brand is aligned, right? So that is another way of personalizing emails that goes above and beyond, “Hi Bob,” or “Today’s your birthday,” but actually personalizing the content itself.

Taking Email Personalization to the Next Level

To take that a step further, the next level of personalization is on the browsing side before an order is even made. Campaigns sent to shoppers in this stage are called browse abandonment emails.

That’s where tools like SmartMail come in (we can help you with this stuff, if you’re interested in finding out more so get in touch with us).

To break it down, here’s what targeting people on browsing means:

It means that you’re able to create segments in the same way we talked about before, for example based on how someone’s bought something, but in this case it’s not based on a purchase but rather what they’ve browsed or viewed.

So if they’ve browsed a product page, you could pass that information into your system and then if they leave the site before completing an order, before even adding an item to their cart you can message them about that particular product.

By doing that, you’ve just created a highly personalized email campaign based on exactly what they were browsing, and you can even include related recommendations for that particular product.

You could do the same thing on a category level, so we could ingest category data of people who browse specific categories and send them a category related email with the top-selling products from that particular category.

(By the way, if you’re using MailChimp and you’re interested in learning out how to do this on MailChimp, we’ve got you covered! Go to Chimp Express and check out how we could help you do that, because those particular campaigns, like the personalized browse campaigns, are going to yield a very, very high return, and they’re going to make you a lot of money because you’re sending contextually relevant content based on what your shoppers are browsing.)

A Secret Segmentation Trick for Increased Success

Now here’s another really cool tip for segmentation.

Segment the shoppers who have opened your emails and send them a survey request. See, if you create shopper segments based on shoppers who have opened your emails more than three times in the last 90 days, you know that those shoppers are more likely to open a survey.

We like to call these shoppers decent openers and relatively engaged shoppers.

What you might want to do is if you don’t have much content about those particular shoppers you ca run a competition, or a survey or something that basically gets them to fill out more information, and fill out their profile information.

Then offer a $10 discount or an Amazon gift card or whatever incentive you’d like and because you’re only offering it to the really engaged shoppers, then the more successful the campaign will be.

Send those engaged shoppers (that you’ve segmented out) an email encouraging them to fill out something that captures maybe five bits of information and directs and links back into your database (there are many tools that can do that) which will then allow you to update your profiling information of these shoppers so you can begin to start sending more personalized content to them.

So, that’s another way of personalizing the user experience and sending more personalized content to your shoppers.

Email Personalization For Your eCommerce Business

At the end of the day, you can send newsletters but conversions from those are like the cream of the crop. The next level down is to be able to send just as many emails but make them as personalized as possible, and with that personalized content, your conversions are going to increase.

If you’ve got multiple sets of personalized campaigns and they’re personalized in different ways then you’re going to have a greater volume of conversions from a much smaller group of people, and that’s going to really bump up the total revenue from your entire email channel.

Hope this has been helpful and opened your head up a little bit! Share your comments below and keep sending through your Email FAQ questions, I’d love to answer them. 🙂

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