Personalized emails should go beyond “Dear, John,” but not be too creepy, says Thomas E. Smith, president of Goldcoast Consulting Group. It is important to be able to integrate data such as past purchase history and browsing history so you can create more targeted, personalized campaigns. And if you can include offline customer data to match your online data, you can build the perfect predictive piece.
“If you know someone is a great mountain bike person and they’re surfing for street bikes 20 hours a week, and they aren’t buying mountain bike stuff or looking for mountain bike stuff, maybe serve him an email with a totally different offer based on that behavior, even if he hasn’t made a purchase in the past,” Smith says.
Triggers can get pretty sophisticated, depending on what you’re planning to do. But you want triggers to be a part of your ESP’s campaign builder workflow.
You may want to start the new subscriber journey by triggering a welcome email, and if a purchase is made, sending a purchase acknowledgment email and thank-you email. Or, if you send an email and there is no reaction from the customer, you may want to be able to trigger a reminder email.
Megan Nonemacher, ecommerce marketing manager at Rodale’s, says she cannot wait to grow Rodale’s automated campaigns in 2015. Since the brand launched, Rodale’s has had successful welcome campaigns and abandon cart campaigns. Nonemacher says Rodale’s plant to take it a step further by adding campaigns such as post-purchase and win-backs, as well as an automated email series that provides personalized, recommended products based on customer search behavior and buying patterns.
“We know that personalization can increase customer engagement by as much as 22%, so we’re going to focus a lot of energy in this area.” Nonemacher says.
Smith says he once worked with a retailer that sold bulbs and gardening equipment, and it sent triggered emails based on zones and what to plant at what time of the year. But if Mother Nature brought a freak snowstorm to the Northeast, and no one was planting, it would be able to change scheduled messages up based on inventory timetables.
So if the early planting season was thwarted by a blizzard, the retailer could instead send an email about an end-of-season snow blower sale to customers in that area. Or if snow blowers were not available in a certain zip code, it could change the message to talk about snow shovels.