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Why Personalisation is Essential For Your Email Outreach Campaigns
According to one recent study, an estimated 3.9 billion email users sent messages all over the world in 2019 alone. By as soon as 2023, this number is expected to climb to about 4.3 billion users - equaling roughly half of the population of the entire planet Earth.
What other communications channel could you possibly use that would allow you to tap into half the global population in such an easy, convenient and engaging way? None that we can muster thus far, email is a communication tool for the masses.
Leveraging the reach of email
Why would you want to ignore the ability to reach almost anybody, at any time, from any location with an active internet connection?
The same study also revealed that email continues to deliver an incredibly strong return on investment - probably a big part of the reason why it's so popular for businesses and for marketing in particular.
It's estimated that for every dollar you spend on email marketing, you can expect to get an average of about $42 back when those prospects eventually turn into customers who make a purchase.
Not too bad, all things considered.
Email is an ever-changing and dynamic medium
But at the same time, it's critical to understand that email as we know it is constantly changing. What was born as a quick way to send essentially "virtual letters" to one another has turned into a perfect opportunity for content distribution.
It lets you stay at the top of the minds of your existing customers and grow your business to encompass new ones at the exact same time. It does all of this and more... provided that you're prepared to use it in the right way, of course.
Case in point: email personalisation. Gone are the days where you can spend a few minutes to come up with a cookie-cutter template and fire it off to as many people as possible. These days, people want richer and more fulfilling experiences, and it's up to you to give it to them.
Email personalisation is one of the best chances you have to accomplish this but to really get the results that you're after; you'll need to keep a few key things in mind while you do it.
Better personalisation through emails: An overview
By far, the most important thing for you to do as you set out to better personalise emails involves making sure that you understand exactly what it is that you're trying to accomplish in the first place.
Yes, the goal of any marketing campaign is always to build awareness for your brand and deepen the connection between the members of your target audience and your business.
But to guarantee success, you need to go a fair bit deeper than that and acknowledge what "success" actually means in this context.
- Are you trying to generate more traffic to your website?
- Do you have an important product launch coming up and you're trying to drum up anticipation and awareness slowly?
- Are you trying to create an opportunity to send more relevant content based on what the people in your target audience are actively looking for at the right time?
First, define your email goals
You need to know what your goals are for this particular campaign, and once you do, you can actually measure them as you send out more and more messages. If you can't measure it, you don't know if you're truly successful and at that point, you're "flying blind," so to speak.
If you're trying to embrace a more conversational tone in your emails, for just one example, consider using elements like emojis to show off a bit of your personality - while still keeping your overall messaging as professional as possible, of course. Just make sure that this is the type of thing that your audience actually wants to hear or you risk putting them off during a time when you can't really afford to do so.
If your goal is to send more relevant content to your customers so that you can open up a regular communications channel with them, head to a site like Respona to make sure you understand the current "hot button" topics in your industry. These types of resources are invaluable for paying attention to the types of conversations that real people are currently having.
Creating a personalised email strategy
Once you know the topics that people care about and are interested in, you can interject in strategic ways to give your own unique point of view. You can create content that answers questions before people have a chance to ask, or that sheds light on issues that are on people's minds. It's a great way to personalise your emails through specificity once again and establish yourself as a genuine authority in the industry, too.
Finally, you need to recognise that just because you're sending an email doesn't mean that you have to stick to a truly text-based experience. One of the major mistakes that a lot of brands make in terms of something like their email newsletter is that they treat it as little more than just a blog post - albeit one that is delivered directly to their customer's inbox.
Sure, sometimes you may want to sit down and write an essay and express ideas that are best conveyed through text. But don't be afraid to really switch things up a bit, too. If there's a topic that can be better addressed by sitting down with a line graph maker like Visme (which I founded) through a piece of visual collateral like a line graph, you should absolutely capitalise on that opportunity. You don't even have to send the content in the email as an attachment - you can embed it right in the message itself and create a richer, more fulfilling experience that people can't help but enjoy.
Understanding the importance of personalisation in email
In the end, understand that personalisation isn't a concept that is going away anytime soon - and that is especially true in terms of the emails that you're sending out to the members of your target audience on a regular basis. People are simply tired of being "sold to" - they don't want to be seen as leads; they want to be seen as living, breathing people. They want to know that you understand them and care about them and they want you to inject as much value into their lives as possible.
Beginning an email with "Dear [INSERT NAME HERE]" as opposed to a more generic "Dear Sir and/or Madame" is one way to do it - but it's also just one small part of a much larger story.
The entire email experience needs to be rethought and personalised as much as possible, and if you follow best practices like those outlined above, you'll put yourself in an excellent position to accomplish all of this and more.
About the author
Payman Taei is the founder of Visme, an easy-to-use online tool to create engaging presentations, infographics, and other forms of visual content. He is also the founder of HindSite Interactive, an award-winning Maryland digital agency specialising in website design, user experience and web app development.
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