Advanced Personalization: A Critical Email Trend for 2014

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Send better emails with advanced personalization. By Emilie Totten

Email is an increasingly vital means of communication for sales and marketing teams, and it’s still the No. 1 way businesses connect with clients and prospects, according to Exact Target. However, as more and more emails are being sent, marketers need additional ways to get their messages seen. Some companies send emails at strategic times while others send automated messages based on certain events and triggers, hoping to break through. Increasingly, companies are turning toward personalization to make sure their messages cut through cluttered inboxes.

Personalization still works, but it needs to evolve

According to Experian’s “2013 Email Market Study,” personalized promotional emails sent during 2013 had 26 percent higher open rates and 41 percent higher click-through rates than non-personalized mailings. Still, personalization is hardly breaking news. Most business have been using it for years, and customers are starting to get wise. While personalization still works, companies need to focus on advanced personalization strategies to deliver more targeted messages.

To many businesses, personalization used to mean just adding first name merge tags to mass email messages, but this approach has grown less effective over time. Recipients are savvy enough to know the difference between a message that is truly personalized and one that used a CRM platform to plug in their data. In other words, in the past, personalization meant addressing a recipient by name, which at this point, nearly all companies have the capacity to do. Advanced personalization means something more: reaching out to recipients based on who they are.

Financial services companies have to find a more sophisticated way to create personalized email messages. To do this, they can leverage the expertise of both the sales and marketing teams. Salespeople have a lot of unfiltered customer exposure that marketing people don’t have, while marketers have lots of quantitative information by way of email and web analytics. The idea is to infuse the personal experience and qualitative knowledge from salespeople into the email marketing process. While sales reps could be masters of writing personalized sales emails, the result won’t be as visually engaging or optimized for ideal send times as a message sent through a marketing platform. With a touch of both the marketing and sales approach, companies can improve their reach with more effective personalization.

How to get started

Advanced personalization requires working closely with your team, but also seeking out a more sophisticated platform that not only has all of the functionalities of a CRM, but facilitates more effective communication between marketing and sales. Here are three steps to engage your customers with advanced personalization:

  • Set up a solution that enables sales reps to easily construct, personalize, and send email marketing messages directly to clients.
  • To maximize the benefit, integrate existing tools, such as CRM and analytics platforms.
  • Provide easy access to a library of content that is approved by marketing and compliance teams. Make it easy for the sales team to connect by sending regular reminders and suggestions.

Ultimately, companies may be relying too heavily on software to input data for them, and customers are starting to notice. The best technology doesn’t replace your human team, but gives them an outlet to bring their best talents to the table and – better yet – share their expertise with one another.

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Emilie is Chief Marketing Officer at Synthesis. She brings over 15 years of integrated sales and marketing experience working with financial services, SaaS, and health and wellness companies. Her passion is architecting holistic marketing strategies that align with each business function to achieve client experience, employee advocacy, and revenue goals. When she isn't marketing, you can find her rehabbing her home in the Chicago suburbs, practicing yoga, or spending time with her family.

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