Email marketing consistently ranks as one of the most effective marketing channels in terms of return on investment and customer engagement. In order to stand out in a crowded inbox, however, emails can no longer be static.
Subscribers are looking for a customized experiences that speak directly to their individual wants and needs. Marketers are now expected to elevate email campaigns in creative and engaging ways to promote their product and brand while delivering both value and personalization to the customer. In order to do this, dynamic content is an absolute necessity.
Dynamic content refers to the inclusion or substitution of personalized elements within an email based on information about, or the history with, the recipient. This approach enables marketers to send a single campaign (at one time) that is optimized and targeted to each and every recipient by leveraging subscriber data and behavior. The concept of dynamic content is relatively new, but as its usage continues to make gains within the space, marketers can expect to further incorporate dynamic elements 2018 campaigns.
Read on for some tips on how to use dynamic content effectively in order to improve click-through rates and increase ROI.
Location, Location, Location!
Put simply, consumers are inundated with emails - and as inboxes grow more crowded, clicks and engagement are declining. In order to capture the attention of customers, email marketers must go beyond "name" when it comes to personalization. Geo-targeting is a great way to boost personalization and increase message relevance by selecting specific creative content to show based on the subscriber's geographic location.
Marketers can begin by segmenting their lists based on location (perhaps using data including postal/area code if available). Once marketers know where their subscribers are located, they can easily craft and aim messages towards areas where their target audience will be. For example, "Visit your nearest store in NYC" or "Come shop with us in Seattle."
Landing pages can prove helpful in personalization efforts as well. A marketer's goal is to make consumers want to buy from a brand and part of the challenge is making them feel like the brand knows them. Food delivery services such as GrubHub and Seamless have had sucess personalizing landing pages; displaying landmarks in the subscriber's location. For instance, when clicking through an email campaign, a consumer in Boston sees a very different website than someone in Los Angeles.
Cart Abandonment Calls for Dynamic Content
Of all of the challenges an ecommerce marketer faces, cart abandonment rates often rank high on the list. Retailers struggle with shoppers who add items to their shopping cart but leave before finishing the transaction. With the average abandonment rate at 69 percent (Baymard Institute, 2017), it is increasingly critical for marketers to find ways to re-engage subscribers.
Adding dynamic content to an abandoned cart email can be extremely helpful in re-engaging the consumer if executed correctly. Marketers can begin by displaying the unpurchased items with dynamic links back to the brand's website or the cart itself for a personalized experience based on the shopper's specified interests. This will not only remind recipients what specifically captured their attention, but it will also offer a quick way to return to the cart and purchase the items that interested them. As a result, these dynamic emails prove to be a value-add not just for consumers, but also brands.
Tick Tock - Time's A-Wastin'
Nothing gets a customer to make a purchase quite like a sense of urgency. Simply put, people are more likely to buy if they are in danger of missing out on a great deal, free shipping or a limited edition item. However, oftentimes marketers struggle with creating this sense of urgency using static and plain text emails alone.
Using dynamic content marketers can stoke this sense of urgency while engaging the consumer at the same time. A great way to do this is by adding countdown timers to emails (see sidebars). Ideally, based on when the email is opened, it will trigger the countdown to display the allotted time left. After the readers open their emails, their attention will be drawn to the moving timer. This serves as an effective way to incentivize subscribers into making a purchase now rather than passing up a deal.
The days of static emails are over. In order to keep pace with the competition marketers must be sure they are delivering timely, personalized and relevant messaging. By implementing dynamic content, marketers not only flex their innovative muscles but, more importantly, increase interaction, engagement and ultimately performance.
EJ McGowan, VP of Engineering for Glance Networks and Founder of Carpe Diem Software, is a highly experienced software professional with a career spanning over three decades. With a background in mini-computing and experience building major applications for microcomputers, EJ has a unique perspective on the evolution of technology. He was the architect for one of the first SaaS applications and now focuses on creating scalable and highly available applications for the on-demand marketplace. With a successful track record in building and leading development organizations and sales and marketing teams, EJ is a valuable asset in the software industry.