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Adapted from Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business by Susan Gunelius (Get it on Amazon and through all national book sellers)
Imagine how long it would take you to send different email messages to every segment of your email marketing list. That kind of manually-intensive process could take a very, very long time! However, if you’re using an email marketing tool that offers dynamic content features, you can speed things up significantly.
Instead of spending hours and hours creating messages tailored to different segments of your audience, you can quickly create and send unique messages to multiple segments of your list at the same time with dynamic content.
If you missed my article that explains what personalization and dynamic content are and how they can benefit your email marketing results, follow the preceding link and read it now. As a quick recap:
- Personalization in email marketing includes changing personal details within your messages for specific recipients. For example, you could include the recipient’s name in the subject line of your email message or in the message greeting. The variable data is pulled from the recipient’s record in your email marketing database.
- Dynamic content in email marketing refers to content that changes within your message based on who receives it. This content isn’t pulled from a field in your email marketing database. Instead, it’s “selected” by the email marketing tool based on criteria you choose. For example, a pet store could send an email message offering a 50% discount. Recipients who own dogs (based on prior purchase behaviors) would see an image of a dog in the message while recipients who own cats would see a photo of a cat. The content changes dynamically depending on the recipient. You set up several content options and the criteria when to display it, and the email marketing tool takes care of the rest.
With the definitions of personalization and dynamic content covered so there’s no confusion about the terminology, let’s dive in and learn 10 ways you can use dynamic content in your email marketing campaigns to optimize your results.
1. Similar Products or Services
An extremely effective email campaign is a sales follow-up message that uses dynamic content to display similar products or services to each customer’s last purchase. For example, you can create an email marketing message that includes an image of the product each customer purchased last with a message that says, “You loved this,” and then show images of some related products with a message that says, “You’ll love these, too!” This is a popular cross-sell campaign that many retailers use extremely well to increase per-customer purchases and gain a larger share of each customer’s wallet.
2. Pages Viewed on Your Website
When people on your email marketing list view specific product pages on your website, you can have a campaign ready to go that automatically sends a message about that product to convince them to buy. You’d create one message and use it for multiple product pages. With dynamic content, you can swap out the image and text based on the page viewed by the recipient.
3. Abandoned Cart
Abandoned cart email messages use dynamic content to display images and messages based on the product(s) in a person’s online shopping cart before they abandoned it. Abandoned cart messages can be very effective in saving sales, so don’t give up after one message! Instead, follow up with another message that offers a discount or free shipping if the first message didn’t close the sale. Using dynamic content, you can even tailor the offer based on the items in the recipient’s original cart.
Are there different images, messages, or offers that your male customers might prefer more than your female customers and vice versa? Consider how men use your products or services and how those uses differ from how women use your products or services. Are there certain benefits that women prefer versus men? Rather than creating multiple messages for each gender, use that information to create one email marketing message with dynamic content that speaks directly to each gender.
Location-based dynamic content could be as simple as displaying your closest brick-and-mortar store or office for each recipient or including a map in your message that shows how to get from the recipient’s address to your location. If you own multiple stores or offices, you can create one email marketing message and use dynamic content to replace special offers or contact information for each location.
6. Birth Date
Rather than simply using personalization to show a person’s birth date in an email message (such as a birthday celebration message with a special discount for lead nurturing), it’s more effective to use dynamic content that further connects your brand to the recipient. For example, use images and text that show recipients you know who they are and what they like. Offer a discount on a specific product they’ve purchased in the past (if it’s one that’s purchased frequently) or on a product related to something they’ve purchased in the past. This is a great way to build customer loyalty!
Do people use your products differently or derive different benefits from your products based on their age? If so, you can use dynamic content to create one message but tailor images and offers within the message to different ages. For instance, you could customize your message to Millennials, senior citizens, and so on.
8. Marital Status
Consider how marital status affects the ways people use your products or services as well as the types of messages that might appeal to them based on their marital status. For example, a massage studio could create an email marketing message offering a discount and use dynamic content to change the offer based on the recipient. Married contacts would receive a discount on a couple’s massage while single contacts would get a discount on an individual massage. Setting up one message with dynamic content is much quicker than creating different messages for two segments of your email marketing list.
9. Parental Status
Imagine you own a restaurant and you’re offering a coupon. Now, imagine you sent the same message out to everyone on your list promoting half off drink specials during Happy Hour. It’s unlikely that message would appeal to everyone on the restaurant’s email marketing list. Instead, it would be more effective to use dynamic content and send the best offer to each segment of the audience. For example, contacts identified as parents could receive a kids eat free coupon, which they might be more likely to use.
If you live in Florida and receive an email message from a clothing retailer in August that’s filled with sweaters, boots, gloves, and winter coats, it’s unlikely you’ll click through and make a purchase. Believe it or not, I live in Florida and get these kinds of messages all the time. It’s 100 degrees outside, and I’m getting email messages and catalogs from retailers trying to sell me scarves and hats. I don’t even own a scarf or hat, and have no need for them! If those retailers used dynamic content and showed appropriate products based on the climate where recipients live, their results would be much better.
Your Next Steps Using Dynamic Content in Your Email Marketing Campaigns
The goal of dynamic content in email marketing is to save time but more importantly, to match the offer to the customer. That’s how you drive the best results from your email marketing efforts. Of course, you’ll want to spend time experimenting and setting up A/B split tests to determine what types of offers, messaging, images, and so on your different audience segments respond to the best.
Keep in mind, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get it right the first time. However, don’t give up too soon. I see that happen so often with email marketing, but I promise, if you stick it out and keep testing, your results will improve over time!
Of course, if you need help with your email marketing, don’t hesitate to contact me or pick up a copy of my latest book, The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Business.
George W. Byers says
I read with interest your article on the failed marketing of Jane Walker whiskey by Diageo. Extremely well done! What put me off particularly is that although it’s the same whiskey as Johnny Walker Black, it retails at a higher price, about $3/bottle here in Texas. So, while Diageo is rattling on about how it’s contributing $1/sale of each bottle to women’s causes, etc., what it is are actually doing is asking the consumer to pay the $1 contribution, and $2 more in reatil pricing more for Diageo to make that contribution. Unfortunate timing with respect to increased awareness of the “Pink Tax” that has existed across a host of brands for years.
Further, is shouldn’t have been a “Limited Edition.” Jane Walker should have been introduced as an ongoing product of the brand, the first manifestation of an ongoing commitment. The limited edition notion combined with the pink tax suggested a corporate feel good gouge.