Personalizing Your Email Campaigns

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As I open my email every morning, I see dozens of emails that have inundated my inbox in the last twelve hours since my last check. I know every morning I will find some offer from Pottery Barn and other random marketing campaigns. Like most of the world, I skim the subject lines and delete 98 percent without even opening them.

So, what is it that draws me and others to open that remaining two percent? Personal impact. If the subject line and the contents of the email touch on something that impacts a current personal interest of mine, then I open it. Pottery Barn has the data to know that I have been browsing throw pillows the last few weeks, a subject line highlighting the sale of accent pillows is sure to peak my interest and warrant an open. It’s like they know me and are sending me a personal tip sharing that an item I have been thinking about is finally on sale. So why not buy it?

Creating targeted, personalized emails is an area that banks and credit unions can significantly excel in. You know more about your customers than most retailers and you have an extremely personal financial relationship with them. However, if you do not leverage that knowledge to allow you create personal messages, you will give your customers the perception that you don’t understand them, compromising that personal relationship and its growth potential.

The five following tips provide some starting points to keep in mind as you plan and design your targeted email campaigns. Let your customers see that you know them, you understand them and that you have their best interest in mind.

1. Build Personalized Lists

Your campaign, subject line and content must apply to the individual. A 24-year-old male who is not a homeowner is not going to care about a home refinancing promotion. But he may care about a promotional rate for that new car he has been dreaming about. By creating segmented lists that address customer demographics, interests and activity, you can focus your campaigns and efforts on messaging that impacts a customer personally. Filling their inboxes with campaigns that don’t impact them will only drown out the ones that do.

  • Demographics – Build customer contact information flagged with personal demographic information (gender, age, marital status, etc.) allowing for modifiable segmentation.
  • Activity and interests – Add your customers to lists based on their activity with your organization. For example, if they have recently filled out a mortgage information request, tag their contact record with a mortgage interest. As you plan your next mortgage offer campaign, make sure they are on the email list.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask – An email address is something that banks should strive to have for each customer account. It is just as important as knowing their address from a marketing perspective. As you ask your customers for their email for statements and online banking. When you do, find out what additional services they may be interested in now or in the future offering to keep them up to date on news and opportunities. For those customers who already receive e-statements, include a link to an opt-in survey on their next e-statement.

2. Personalize Your Message

With segmented lists, you can narrow your target and create a more impactful and personal message. But once you have the list, the next step is to ensure that the message is personal as well. If you have a new account offer that could apply to young families or empty nesters, create two email campaigns with the same messaging that are tailored to each demographic group. While fancy HTML offers are nice, a simple short personalized email with a signature from a banker at their branch brings a local personal touch.

3. Personalize the Destination

A link in an email should never abandon a customer on your home page or a general page. Just like when you ask your grocer where the bread is, a good one doesn’t just give you the aisle number. They take you to the bread. Create custom landing pages to accompany each email. The page should expand upon the information provided in the email and link directly to information on your promotion. Not only does this create a more personal experience, it gives you valuable results tracking data and retargeting capabilities.

4. Don’t Make Your Emails Work Alone

An email should never be sent out into the world alone without the backing of other digital marketing support. If a customer shows interest in your message, you can carry that message 10 times further with the additional digital marketing resources.

  • Landing pages – With the support of landing pages and pixel tracking technology, provide an opportunity for your messaging to continue to follow your customer and stay top of mind.
  • Social advertising – Use targeted social campaigns to pinpoint local customers and non-customer demographics. Your segmented lists can help ensure that your messaging is being repeated to your targeted customers.
  • Display advertising – Pixel technology and IP demographics can additionally be used to help carry your messaging through to other website your targeted audience may visit.

5. Learn from Individualized Results

As you execute and conclude upon each campaign, always use your results to modify lists and build future campaigns. Take what and where your messaging and targeting worked and build upon it. Individualized activity results from your email campaign (opens, clicks, etc.) and supporting demographic data from social, display and landing pages can be used to help you to continue to narrow and personalize your messaging.

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