The first person to click ‘send’ on a commercial marketing email was one Gary Thuerk, marketing manager at Digital Equipment Corp. This was way back in 1978, when people were still called Gary, and marketing was essentially a gloopy trifle of direct mailouts, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.
Although it would be another 13 years before the internet exploded, Gary’s eureka moment was a groundbreaking event for digital communication, winning Digital Equipment Corp $13 million in sales and opening the door to a whole new era of marketing.
Fast-forward to 2004, when the three big digital players — AOL, Yahoo and Hotmail — had their own eureka moment and began gathering information about their users, heralding the start of the data-driven marketing revolution. With this gold dust the ubiquitous mass email was given the Midas touch, transforming it into the flexible marketing tool we know today.
With billions of marketing emails sent daily, the medium has had to evolve and become more sophisticated to continue being effective. Dynamic content is the latest in a long line of email personalisation tactics; it’s aim, to deliver different types of content to different people, depending on their preferences.
So, if you’re not already using it, here are the 3 big reasons to go dynamic…
1. People only get the content they want
The key word here is relevance. A lovely bookshop recently sent me an email, addressing me by my first name, entitled ‘The Autumn List: 25% off our manager’s specials’; an editorial run-down of the best new reads complete with a glorious autumnal image. They had me at ‘Autumn’. I clicked, I clicked again, I bought.
By utilising my previous purchase history and the time at which I made those purchases, they were able to send me a tailored email which led to a sale, proving the power of dynamic content. While a generic email can easily be relegated to the trash, studies have shown that even just personalising an email subject line makes it 26% more likely to be opened. In a nutshell, you need to know what makes your subscriber tick and make them feel like you’re talking directly to them.
According to The Aberdeen Group, emails with dynamic content improve click-through rates by 14%, and conversion rates by 10%, so for the most effective email marketing campaign, keep it relevant.
2. Your message will be more focussed
There’s a lot of noise out there. To break through it, you need a clear and focussed message that will engage your recipients instead of alienating them. Using dynamic content is the perfect way to keep your emails on-point and ensure your voice is heard, especially if you’re promoting a particular service or product.
Jim, a 52 year property owner and landlord from Stoke Newington, probably doesn’t want to hear about a one bedroom flat to rent in Edinburgh. However, Mary who is looking for a flat in Edinburgh probably does. When you want to address (or exclude) particular segments of your mailing list, dynamic content allows you to target the most suitable recipients so you don’t end up bombarding poor old Jim with the specifics of your rental properties. It's a win:win scenario: your campaigns gain clarity and focus, your customers are happy and your conversion rates go in the right direction.
3. Your buyer journey is serviced
Last time I checked my phone contacts list, it was a spectacular combination of family, friends, people I hadn’t seen for years and people I could barely remember. The same is probably true for most mailing lists. You don’t have the same relationship with all your recipients, so why would you send them the same content?
Mapping a customer journey can help you determine what stage they’re at, and consequently, what content you should send them. This makes your emails much more targeted and effective. While a new subscriber would probably expect a welcome email with an overview of your brand and some kind of special purchase incentive, a seasoned buyer might receive an appreciation email with a special ‘thank you’ reward. Two very different emails, potentially resulting in the same outcome: more effective engagement, stronger customer loyalty and higher returns.
Despite the rise and reach of social media and mobile apps, 68% of brands agree that email still prevails as their most effective marketing channel. This is largely due to organisations utilising the power of dynamic content to keep their campaigns relevant and targeted. So, can dynamic content improve your hit rates? Yes. Can it increase your conversion rates? Almost certainly. But this type of flexible content goes far beyond simply increasing revenue. It has the power to make your subscribers feel acknowledged, engaged and most importantly, special. And that’s the key. Nobody wants to feel like just another record on your mailing list, but get the content right and you might just have a customer for life.
For more advice on creating engaging and dynamic email campaigns, contact Winbox Ltd.