Thursday, April 20, 2006

Dynamic Email Content: The Next Generation of Personalization:

Have enough work writing one email to your customers or prospects? Try having to write muliple messages for one email campaign!! Welcome to the world of dynamic email content. Before you go off saying "Where the &^$# do I even begin and how am I going to do this?", take a deep breath, grab a coffee (I prefer a large double double from Tim Horton's) and think about how you would want to receive an email if you had just signed up for a newsletter on a website.

While I will always advocate the need for personalization in emails (such as Dear Chad) as well as basic segmentation based on your relationship (i.e. customer vs. prospect), dynamic content in emails is taking persoanlziation up a notch. In the past I've written about how messaging is getting lost with the influx of email in a typical inbox these days. It's time that marketers "took back the night". Dynamic content gets you partially there as you're able to deliver a finely tuned message based on the great data that you've been collecting.

In Click Z, Derek Harding (he is one of the actual experts) has written an excellent article about ways that you can use dynamic content in emails to ensure that your emails are relavent to your intended audience. Depending on how you collect information and the technology that you are using, he writes that you should be personalizing your emails based on:
-Preferences: The type of content that they want to see
-Behaviour: purchase history, web visits etc...
-Demographic: Mostly B2B but geography is key in B2B
-Psychographic: "Interests, Attitudes and Opinions (IAO)"

He claims that you can gather this type of data from surveys, polls, preference forms and other sources (offers, call centres interactions). What he didn't mention is that you'll need a kick ass product to pull this off. It will be interesting to see how marketers will use these new dynamic email tools. I've found that marketers have a tough enough time trying to get any content together for an email campaign on top of all of their other daily duties. While technology can bring innovation, it still relies on people to actually use it and use it effectively. We'll see what happens! Hey, if you're reading this blog right now, at least you've discovered bloggins so I'm sure you can handle dynamic content.

What do you think? Do you use dynamic email content? Do you use any personalization?

Chad H.

PS: I personally see this as a lot of fun becuase if you have the tools to measure your success then you can do some really small experiments and see if you get a greater amount of conversions, opens and clickthroughs based on using even very small content substitutions.
PPS: Dynamic content will open up a whole new world for email marketing. We need to think about ways to maximize this new capability. I've started to see email campaigns that are not just one offs but at least a month in length and that integrate content that is gathered over a long period of time to nurture leads. More thought is needed in this area to plan out a strategy around how campaigns should be integrated.

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