To Know Me Is To Love Me

by Neil Berman

There are a lot of online conversations taking place on channels like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Through these channels, people are connecting with each other and also with companies and brands in ways unimagined just five years ago.

These channels are a dream for marketers interested in easily expanding their reach. But for all the millions of interactions that take place daily on social media channels, not many are personal interactions.

Email marketers often fall into the same trap of pushing content instead of building relationships. This is a real shame because email is especially suited for personalization.

Personalizing emails is fairly easy to do because, while they have the appearance of being one-off emails, they actually can be done on a large scale using just three steps:

1. Use natural language. When writing an email, write like you’re actually talking to a friend or acquaintance. While you don’t necessarily want to use slang, a more informal tone can be very welcoming to recipients. I received a wonderful email recently from an online retailer that I haven’t purchased anything from recently. The email addressed me by name and spoke to me like I was a long-time friend. The email said, “Where are you? We’re getting the feeling you don’t want to hear from us anymore.” How wonderful that this company ditched the typical marketing-speak, communicated with me like a human being and used a bit of humor at the same time.

2. Segment your lists. Segmenting identifies people on your lists who are likely to respond to a type of message. This can be done through demographics, past purchasing behavior, zip code, etc. In the email I received from the retailer, the segment was customers who haven’t bought from us in X months. Another segment could be those who abandon shopping carts. Once your segments are set, determine what message you want to convey in order to achieve a desired response. This can include a coupon, product suggestions, etc.

3. Show the love. This is done through personalization. The more personalized the email is, the more your customers will feel you care about them. Personalization can be as simple as including the person’s name in the email, or as complex as suggesting a product or service based on location, season, interests, etc.

Of course, to be successful you must be committed to a data strategy that gathers and leverages key customer attributes. Soon you will find that your emails contain less “canned” material and more information that’s highly relevant to your subscribers.

Now that’s what I call love!

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