The Great Email Personalisation Payoff

Data proves that personalised email succeed, but many businesses aren’t applying it. CEO David Swift explains why, and how to get your company on board.

Even if you were making a strictly intuitive argument about applying the power of Big Data personalisation to email marketing, it would still make sense: Any of us respond better to a personalised query, a sales pitch that hits our individual pain points or aspirations, the right offer that arrives at the right time …

But, of course, there’s plenty of data to make the case, too:

  • Experian’s 2013 Email Market Study showed personalised subject lines delivered 26 percent higher unique open rates overall, with travel companies experiencing the “biggest boost” from personalised subject lines — 65 percent!
  • The same study showed how personalised promotional emails listed transaction rates and revenue per email six times higher than non-personalised emails.
  • According to Aberdeen, personalised emails improve click-through rate by an average of 14 percent and conversions by 10 percent.
  • Listrak found that 77 percent of consumers are likely to make additional purchases if an option that matches their preferences is presented to them in a personalised email from a merchant or retailer.
  • 80 percent of marketers define dynamic personalisation in emails as highly important, according to a study by Adobe and the Direct Marketing Association.

But despite that last stat, the Experian study also found that:

  • 70 percent of the responding brands admitted they’d failed to personalise their email messages.
  • Only 35 percent asked customers how often they wish to receive emails.
  • 60 percent didn’t give customers options on what type of emails they wanted to receive.

So if email personalisation works, why aren’t more enterprises adopting it?

Challenges Facing Adoption

It’s not always out of ignorance or pigheadedness. There are challenges — some big, some small, but none of them unbeatable — that can hobble adoption of personalised email:

1. Big Data As A Big Hurdle: Most retailers simply don’t have the time or resources to analyse such vast quantities of data, let alone cope with the daunting talk of assimilating millions of individual impressions daily across often millions of consumers.

So integrating that data behind a concerted email marketing initiative can be a sizable commitment for any organisation.

2. Got (Good) Data?: Personalisation takes, well, personal data on each individual, and marketers may lack it in the first place. They might have never prioritised capturing usable personal data, or had poor opt-in or registration forms, or didn’t integrate market intelligence or data-mining tools that could attach a more rounded profile to a name and email address.

3. Know How To Use It: Having a wealth of data available can be a daunting obstacle in itself. That seemingly every system out there requires you to constructed a solid segmentation strategy to help effectively leverage each segment’s interests, is something we aim to blow out of the water.

Seventy-four percent of consumers get frustrated when online content has nothing to do with their interests, and that applies to email, too.

4. Activation Angst: The same 2014 Neustar study said 53 percent of digital marketers always or often struggle with personalising their marketing efforts on a large scale, with 26 percent claiming difficulty turning their data into action; 15 percent struggled to identify customers across different devices.

These are the kind of migraines that can spring from internal issues, but they also often point to not having an email remarketing program that does it for you. Even the latest, cloud-based segmentation tools (and their associated headaches) are being supplanted by SwiftERM fully automatic intelligent email remarketing software, where individual personalisation is the cornerstone and can drive real-time personalised messaging without you having to lift a finger.

Building An Enterprise Argument

Whether you’re simply working to convince yourself, as an entrepreneur or decision-maker, to make a commitment to email remarketing personalisation, or trying to convince others in the enterprise to embrace it, you can recommend a simple solution to smooth the path:

  • Run the numbers: Project just how much your business will benefit from the kind of upticks quoted in the Experian study or other resources.
  • Walk first, then run: Try out the 30-day free trial. No need to believe the success stories of others, which no doubt works well for them, but might be skewed by your market peculiarities.
  • Connect your marketing systems: As and when the reward are experienced you can begin culling irrelevant non profit making centres and marketing strategies otherwise being explored elsewhere in your company, from all those presently scattered fiefdoms around your enterprise, which will be more than worth the price.
  • Shop the platforms: There’s an entire expanding universe of different Big Data email marketing tools and vendors out there to compare, analyse and align against your specific enterprise requirements — and not the other way around. SwiftERM offers a “without obligation” free trial, and has a simple and low-cost entry level, of 1p per consumer per month, not the swingeing percentage based created to exploit you.
  • Show the research: I’ve cited just some of it, and there’s a flood of other data out there ratifying the effectiveness of personalisation.
  • Audit the competition: There’s a good chance that one or more of your competitors are adopting personalisation as a critical path in their email remarketing efforts. Spy out what they’re doing, and what sort of payoff they’re likely realising.

Personalise Or Perish?

The hard truth is, personalisation is the oncoming norm for every digital marketer: Consumers increasingly expect relevant, individualised engagement, and failing to deliver it in email will increasingly consign your messages to the spambox.

But even putting aside the real risk of your email campaigns capsizing by ignoring this tide, the potential payoffs personalisation and Big Data integration offer make the evolution totally worth the effort.

Plus, as email marketers and technologists find more ways to create eye-to-eye, heart-to-heart dialogues with audiences, those payoffs will only get better.