Email marketing has been a staple of digital marketing strategies for years now. And, as all things that have been around for a while, it has gone through an evolution.
Today, dropping someone’s name in the subject line or sending them a colorful newsletter every week is old news. If you really want to set yourself apart from the competition, you need to start thinking about dynamic content.
When leveraged properly, this technique will help you surprise customers, provide them with useful content, and, ultimately, improve your results.
So, how do you go about creating dynamic emails? And how do you make sure that you’re getting results from this strategy?
Let’s see what dynamic email is and how you can leverage it to boost your marketing efforts.
- What is dynamic content in email marketing?
- What can you personalize for?
- Step 1: Gather demographic data
- Step 2: Gather behavioral and engagement data
- Step 3: Deliver dynamic email content
- Step 4: Use advanced content personalization
- Step 5: Track your metrics
- Dynamic content in email marketing: the conclusion
What is dynamic content in email marketing?
“Dynamic” usually means something that’s changing, something opposed to “static” – and dynamic email is no different.
Dynamic content in email marketing is a type of content that you adapt to almost anything: buyers’ interests, purchasing habits, location, and even current context. Instead of sending the same emails to all your customers all the time, with dynamic content, you’ll always change your emails to be more relevant.
You can also customize different elements of said email – subject lines, text, images, videos, etc.
So, for example, good use of dynamic content would be sending an email with your latest sneaker collection to a customer that has a history of only purchasing sneakers from your online sports store. Another example would be sending an email with ideas for Valentine’s Day gifts to a male member of your audience days before February 14th.
And – as you might have guessed – personalized emails tend to get better results than regular old template emails.
What can you personalize for?
Now, let’s say you’re sold on the idea of dynamic email marketing. What are some things you can personalize for?
Here are some ideas that you can use relatively easily.
- Personalize based on demographics. Different demographics will want to see different content. You can make an educated guess that your older customers might prefer a more professional tone while your younger fans will prefer different messaging. They also might be interested in different aspects of your offer: flashy Yeezy shoes have their own demographic and trying to sell them to boomers would be a waste of resources.
- Personalize based on purchases. On the other hand, you might have a 50-year-old customer that just loves Yeezys. That’s why you can use purchase insights to see which customers buy which products and target those customers with dynamic email content.
- Personalize based on email data. You should always track your metrics and see which customers are reacting to which emails. Then, you can adapt your strategy to target specific customers with the specific types of emails they seem to respond to.
- Personalize based on the stage in the funnel. Using an eCommerce sales funnel to deliver personalized messages can also be a good way of tailoring your content to the users’ needs. By simply tracking customers’ interactions with your brand, you’ll be able to tell which customers are close to making a purchase and deliver everyone the right messages for their stage in the funnel.
So, let’s see what are the crucial steps you need to take in your dynamic email marketing journey!
Step 1: Gather demographic data
It all starts with gathering data. You can’t tailor content to your customers if you don’t really know who those customers are.
An easy way to gather this type of data is by using the free analytics tools you have at your disposal. If you’re not already using Google Analytics and social media insights to inform your decisions and learn more about your audience, you’re missing out.
On social media, this is easy – you can simply navigate to your Insights tab on Facebook or Instagram, and you’ll see the demographic data of your followers. On Google Analytics, you need to enable some things.
First, enable your remarketing and reporting features. There is a good guide on how to do that here. Then you need to enable the demographics and interests reports – another guide on how to do that here.
After that, it’s easy. All you need to do is open Reports, select Audience, and then select Demographics or Interests. Here is how the Interests page looks:
Another good way to collect demographic data is through customer surveys. These allow you to get more elaborate data, both quantitative and qualitative. By mixing different types of questions that examine your customers’ interests, demographic data, purchasing habits, and product preferences you’ll be able to get a lot of useful information.
Collect all of this data and create email lists that gather similar customer profiles in one place.
Step 2: Gather behavioral and engagement data
Arguably the more important data set is behavioral and engagement data – it tells you not only who your customers are but how they interact with your brand.
Both behavioral and engagement data can be collected through multiple channels.
The most obvious place to collect behavioral data is your website. Which users visit which pages? Which product categories are they interested in? Which products have they already put in the shopping cart?
Answers to all of these questions can help you create better email campaigns. You can do this with the help of tracking pixels. Installing them on your website is quite easy and they allow you to gather data on which customers are visiting which pages so you can target those users with content they’ll find interesting.
Other than that, you can use data from your transactions to see which products each customer is purchasing. Most CRM tools allow you to track this data and use it to inform your campaigns. This data can tell you not only which products are the most popular but how often a certain customer makes purchases, what their budget is, and more.
Finally, you can gather engagement data with heatmapping tools. These tools can give you a visual overview of how your website visitors behave – which buttons they click on, which sections they read, etc. The data is easy to read and very informative!
By collecting all these types of data, you’ll take your list building to the next level and create audience groups that are ready to receive some highly personalized content.
Step 3: Deliver dynamic email content
How do you create this content?
Here are some ideas on how you can use personalization in different ways. These are some great examples from brands that understand how to create tailored email marketing campaigns that use not only customer but contextual data as well.
Use the weather to provide contextual content
Some smart brands who want to take their personalization efforts to the next level use ad-hoc things like the weather to customize their campaigns.
This requires being quick on your feet and reacting to sudden changes but if you do it properly – the response can be amazing. Here is how Brooks, a running gear brand, executed their email strategy using the current weather.
They took it all the way and changed everything: the image, text, image copy, and even the image itself. Notice how the models are wearing different apparel that’s perfectly suited to the weather conditions!
Re-Engage old customers
As we mentioned, you can always target users with different content based on where they are in the sales funnel.
The customers that have only a superficial knowledge of your brand might get an email listing your most popular products. On the other hand, you can target those customers that have put a product in the cart and quit the purchasing process with an email containing a discount.
And, for those customers that have already made a purchase but haven’t come back since, you can create a special message geared towards trying to get them back.
St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital does this very effectively:
They use emotion both in their image and body copy, which works perfectly for the brand.
Combine multiple data points
This next dynamic email template shows us how you can use multiple data points to send your audience tailored emails.
By examining this newsletter, you can tell three things: it’s intended for men, it targets people of a certain profession, and it was likely sent during a traditionally rainy season.
When you combine demographic, behavior, and contextual data, you can create a powerful message that will likely increase your chances of getting conversions.
Step 4: Use advanced content personalization
If you want to take things even further and capitalize on personalization to the fullest, you might want to personalize the content of the email – not just the offer.
Here at Hyperise, we call that hyper-personalization. It’s a technique that uses customer data such as their name, occupation, job title, profile picture, location, and other data points to send smart messages that leverage advanced personalization.
This approach can be particularly effective in B2B sales, where each lead needs to be approached on a case-to-case basis. To create deep relationships and show your prospects how seriously you take your job, hyper-personalization might be just the thing you need.
Here is how it looks when applied to LinkedIn outreach:
As you can see, we used multiple methods to create a tailored message.
We addressed each user by name, mentioned their occupation, highlighted our common interests, and topped everything off with a personalized image. You can’t get any more personal than that, right?
Wrong – you can! Hyperise also allows you to, for example, include a map with your prospect’s location pinned. You can also include their profile image or company logo anywhere in the message. So, instead of saying “Elon, here is what our tool can do for your company”, you can say “Elon, here is what our tool can do for Tesla”.
The difference is the level of connection is obvious, and it will be obvious to your customers as well.
If you want to try some of these methods out, register for a free trial of Hyperise!
Step 5: Track your metrics
The final step in every digital marketing strategy is tracking KPIs. While it may take place after everything is ready and the campaign is launched, this step should be among your highest priorities.
It’s the only way to tell whether your dynamic content is working.
Here are some important KPIs you should monitor:
- Email open rate. This metric tells you which percentage of your recipients are opening your emails. It’s a good indicator of two things: how effectively you’re targeting customers and how compelling your subject lines are.
- Clickthrough rate. This tells you which percentage of people who received an email ended up clicking on at least one link. Unlike the previous KPI, this one tells you more about the content of the email. If your clickthrough rates are low, you might want to work on your CTAs, targeting, or even your offer.
- Conversion rate. The percentage of recipients who completed an action you defined as a conversion (buying a product, filling in a form, downloading a PDF, and others). Consistently high conversion rates mean that your whole process is stellar: from your targeting, through your messaging, to your website experience and offer.
Other KPIs you should track include: email list growth rate, unsubscribe rate, mobile open rate, and others.
Dynamic content in email marketing: the conclusion
So, what is dynamic email marketing? It’s much more than flashy content and cheap personalization techniques.
It’s a complex approach that leverages user data and good email marketing practices to deliver the best experiences to the customer and the best results to the business using it.
And, like many things in digital marketing, it’s driven by results and constant improvement.
If you feel like it’s time to start infusing your emails with some dynamic content, check out Hyperise. Its intuitive interface allows you to execute the most impressive customization sequences with no coding experience!
Register for a free trial now.