Customers expect to receive personalized emails that make their experiences better at every stage of the customer lifecycle. It’s not just a “Dear First Name” line anymore that hooks subscribers, nor is it only dynamic content that makes them feel like you understand them.
Personalized email marketing is still misunderstood — and in many cases, not even used — in both B2B and B2C marketing. Out of 3,500 marketers surveyed in our fourth annual “State of Marketing” report, 51% say they send the same email to everyone on their subscriber lists, and only 29% say that their email messages evolve based on customer behavior.
There are any number of reasons why half of marketers have yet to make personalized email a go-to arrow in their quiver, such as:
- Not having enough budget to invest in the right technology
- Not having sales, service, and marketing efforts (and data) connected
- Not getting buy-in from the CMO or other company leaders
- Not having a documented strategy that outlines organizational goals for personalized marketing
The list of “nots” goes on and on. If you’re not gaining ground because these challenges are weighing you down, here are five reasons why you should prioritize personalization in your email marketing strategy:
Subscribers give you their personal information. Use it.
If you’re collecting data for the sake of just having it, you need to start putting it to work. Some 63% of Millennials, 58% of Gen Xers, and 46% of Baby Boomers are willing to share personal information with companies — if they get personalized offers or discounts. Collecting data isn’t a one-way street. There’s an element of give-and-take in which marketers have a key role to play.
If you’re not using customer data to improve experiences, on email or other channels, what are you using it for?
People want Personalization
Human instinct applies whether you work in the B2C or B2B space. And while there are plenty of statistics to back this up, if you think about it practically, it only makes sense. People want brands to understand them. If you do it right, you’ll have built a bridge. Case in point—millennials are willing to engage with businesses if they receive a personalized offer in an email. Moreover, in general, personalized messages perform three times better than blast and batch emails.
Spotify did this to great effect with their “Fans First” personalized emails. Essentially the recipient would receive an email congratulating them for being a top listener on Spotify. It would also come with special offers attached, like early access to tickets and invites to special events. So not only do recipients get a little flattery, but it’s backed up with cool deals, too.
You can increase revenue.
It may be old news, but every year, marketers are reminded that ROI from email marketing outweighs revenue produced via other channels. Salesforce’s own “State of Marketing” report also shows that 89% of marketing leaders agree that a connected customer journey has a positive impact on revenue growth.
Still, just having an email marketing strategy doesn’t guarantee revenue growth. Emails need to be personal — and in many cases, automated and tied to other marketing channels. According to eMarketer, the Data & Marketing Association (formerly the Direct Marketing Association) found that personalized email marketing generates a median ROI of 122%. With such high revenue potential, it’s a no-brainer to start personalizing emails.
Professionals Prefer Email
So now we’ve established that people are looking for a personal connection. We’ve also established that, in the world of e-commerce, personalized emails get higher open rates. Now consider the target audience. According to B2B stats, 86% of business professionals prefer to do business by email when communicating. And on the advertising side, 59% of marketers report that their personalized email marketing is the most effective channel at generating revenue.
So how best to apply the established principles of personalized email marketing to consumers in the B2B realm? Really, it’s best to look at it as “segmentation” rather than personalization. You can combine tactics to personalize emails. Regarding opt-in emails, you can segment your lists by customer shopping preferences, frequency, products and more. For repeat customers, you can send out transaction emails based on the above segments offering promotional coupons and complementary products. To maximize ROI combine this with personalization in all other aspects of your marketing, including:
- Social media (engage in personal dialogues with customers via social platforms)
- Websites (offer various landing pages with promo material, different navigation options, saved shopping carts, etc.)
- Loyalty programs (incentivize repeat business through rewards)
- Packaging (offer printed promotions attached to the orders you ship)
- Mobile (make sure your website and all your offers are optimized for mobile)
It’s Perfect for the Mobile World
Email marketing works because these messages reach people on any device, and since two-thirds of all emails are opened on mobile, it’s the perfect delivery system for your B2B branded message. You can reach your targets anywhere, at any time, with a personalized email. And because the message is tailored specifically to them, they feel they have a measure of psychological control in the business-customer relationship, which inspires confidence.
The great thing is you can send personalized emails across multiple devices simultaneously, and there’s a high chance the recipient will be interested. According to one statistic from nectarom, 64% of consumers have taken advantage of promotions found in an email. Also, it beats other marketing methods because, unlike, say, text, emails never incur the fee to send and receive.
There are a lot of different ways to craft a personalized email campaign. So let your imagination run wild. But don’t ignore the proven tactics. Do create customer buyer persona maps in order to glean insight into the personality of your target buyer. And learn how to craft personalized, engaging subject lines, as they will certainly increase your open rates. Most important, never fail to follow up and engage in meaningful dialogue with your customers.