In my conversations with email marketers, a common set of hurdles is often mentioned -- factors that keep emails from being more personalized and targeted. Many issues can’t be totally overcome without an investment of resources: financial and time. There are, however, some ways to chip away at the challenges to markedly improve your programs.
The following are three common issues faced by email marketers, followed by proven recommendations to help you overcome them and build more sophistication into your email program.
Can’t Access or Don’t Have Data
While having access to automated data from your company’s CRM or data warehouse is ideal, not all marketers are afforded an integration or even have a central data repository to pull data from.
Don’t fret. There are creative ways to gather and use data to provide more personalized experiences to your subscribers.
For example, open-time personalization allows for marketers to optimize emails at the time of open and personalize execution on the fly through the following ways:
- Dynamic events, offers and products based on availability at the time of open.
- Countdown clocks to drive urgency based on event timing or expiration of an offer.
- Device-specific call-to-action and links to specific apps based on the device used to read the email.
- Live social-media feeds that show real-time activity on popular social networks.
- Weather and geo-location at the time of open to show specific products or content based on preset circumstances.
Click profiling (progressive and indirect) is an easy way to collect information on your subscribers. This can be done directly as questions or even just by tagging all of the links in your emails and assigning them to a certain category. The links your subscribers click on can be used to fill out a profile or even determine the next program that they receive.
Lack of Resources
A client once asked me how he could make the case to get more people on his team. Together, we forged a plan that included a strategic hit list of programs that he wanted to build, but couldn’t due to lack of resources. We then assigned a range of revenue that each of those programs could provide annually if he had more people that could build and manage them. The resulting revenue results were more than 2x what it would cost his company annually to hire another person. It was a slam-dunk from an ROI perspective.
Another client wanted to get IT resources to help her automate data. When told no, she had her team manually mimic the automations for a period of time. When her executives saw how much revenue was being driven through the manual efforts and how much time the team would save to focus on strategy if IT built automated data feeds, they approved the tech time to automate the data.
The point here is that you need to develop a solid business case to make it easy for your executives to green-light adding resources. At the end of the day, they just want to ensure the firm is spending money wisely.
Innovation Isn’t a Priority
When innovation isn’t a priority, it makes it harder for your emails to stand out in a crowded inbox where others are using new technologies and techniques to get subscribers’ attention. The good news is that your current ESP is probably launching new features, and there are a multitude of email startups that have come up within the past few years that need clients like you to road-test these new capabilities.
If your organization isn’t willing to give you the budget or resources to test new capabilities, speak with your ESP or relevant startups to see if they’d be willing to build a POC for free or at a discount in exchange for your brand participating in a case study. By being an early adopter and serving as a strong case study, you may be able to jump in ahead of your competition without breaking the budget.
What are some challenges you are facing in your email program today? Have you been able to get a resolution by thinking outside of the box? Let me know in the comments!
This article originally appeared in MediaPost on April 5, 2016.