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Up close and (too) personal?

Up close and (too) personal?

In an age where Marketers go to great lengths to promote their brand and engage with their audience, have we become too familiar with our email audience?

Yes, the use of personalisation is widely spread, but how important is it in the grand scheme of your marketing strategy and what should we consider when personalising our emails?

Take, for example, the below email received by my colleague, Jenna. This well-known Travel advice directory has sent Jenna an email which includes some fantastic flight offers. Interestingly, these
great deals are somewhat overshadowed by the inclusion of Jenna’s own photo. Now, this would have been weird enough (Jenna obviously knows what she looks like”¦) but is the fact that the photo has been pulled through from Jenna’s Facebook taking a step too far in regards to personalisation?

Trip adviser email

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lovely photo but why has it been included in the email? Wouldn’t it have been more effective to have input an image that was relevant to Jenna’s previous buying behaviour? For example, if Jenna has shown previous interest in skiing holidays, why isn’t there an image of snow-capped peaks and subsequently, offers that relate to this type of holiday?

What also draws my attention is that they have included the date that Jenna signed up for this newsletter. How important is this? Again, Jenna knows this information and unless the date she signed up was going to bring some sort of offer based on loyalty, why is it in the email?

That’s not to say that I disagree with personalising your emails; in fact, I think it’s incredibly important, but what’s more important is making it relevant“¦

Recent research from the Fox School of Business suggests that the majority of their audience sample were turned off by emails that included their first name. So, what personalisation should we be including in the content of our emails?

  •  Always treat your Customers and Prospects differently. Using personalisation such as “˜Dear First Name’ to an existing Customer will have a much more positive effect than using the same personalisation to a Prospect. Engagement with an unknown brand is shown to be limited when personalisation is used, according to Fox School of Business.
  • Ensure your data is good enough. There’s nothing worse than receiving an email that says “˜Dear”¦.’ because my first name is not included in the data and has therefore not been pulled through into my email. Ensure that you use MessageFocus to provide an alternative, should the data not be fool proof.
  • Conditional content – Using this functionality within Message Focus couldn’t be easier; it just involves a little thought. Why not arrange your email content based on your recipients’ previous actions and likes? For more information on this, please do speak to your Account Manager.
  • Preferences- ensure you ask your audience what they want to read about and you’ll see your open rates go up and up. People (like me!) love to talk about themselves, so why not ask what their subject preferences are and email them based on this?

So what can we learn from all of this? Personalisation can make your email stand out (for all the right reasons) if it’s done well. Don’t stand out for the wrong reasons; make sure your personalisation is relevant!

*See how our client Centaur Media used personalisation to drive customers to the National Home Improvement Show (NHIS): the UK’s leading event for home improvers with a personalised itinerary, click here.

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